Free Poker Strategy Articles

A collection of poker posts written by poker players for poker players

The +EV Poker Squeeze

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One of the most profitable plays available to you in a game where preflop raises tend to get one or more callers is the squeeze. Done correctly, squeezing can pick up lots of uncontested pots preflop, even when you have marginal hands.

But squeeze in the wrong spots, and you will bleed chips quickly.

So let’s explore this together.

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Poker Folds Correctly

Folding Correctly In Poker

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Folding is the least sexy topic in poker. Folding is just so…final. Your cards hit the muck, you concede the pot to your opponent, and you’re off to the next hand. But the honest truth is that poker players fall into two main categories:

  1. Players that fold far too often
  2. Players that fold far too rarely

There is a third type of player though. A rare breed of player that folds a correct amount of the time and keeps their continuance frequencies and ranges during a poker hand right on track.

Folding In Poker

The average poker player goes through a very similar path of progression.

They start as a fish who calls too often and folds too rarely. Then they get punished for that and eventually learn that they need to fold some of those junk hands. And then eventually they learn how to put those junk hands back into their ranges, at least sometimes, in smart spots to generate extra profit. The issue is that most TAG and Nit players are stuck in the middle – folding too often for their own good. So either push play and/or continue reading and let’s break this down…

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free poker sheets

Free Poker Spreadsheets

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Poker contains a lot of repetitive math, especially when studying poker hands away from the table. While you can use software to do a lot of this math, sometimes a good ‘ol fashioned spreadsheet is the best way to visualize and play with the numbers. So to save you a tremendous amount of time, I put together this pack of my spreadsheets that you are free to use while exploring spots!

This is a name-your-own price download, so if money is super-tight, you can enter $0 and get it for free. But if you throw a few chips my way, not only would I massively appreciate it, but I’ll also give you a free PRO video AND over $200 in discounts. No pressure either way – I just wanted you to know your options 😃

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Auto-Profit Bets In Poker

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As a general rule, our main focus in poker is to make as many profitable bets as possible and reduce our number of losing bets along the way. One of the best ways to measure this is with the concept of auto-profit bets.

An auto-profit bet is when your opponent folds too often given your bet size, and as a result, you make an immediate profit when betting with any two cards. This is also referred to as a bet being “outright profitable” or “immediately profitable.”

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Understanding 3-Bet Ranges

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As poker matures and aggression increases, it’s very important that you are understanding 3-bet ranges correctly. Today’s players are using advanced 3 bets more often and applying lots of preflop pressure, so it’s imperative that we can handle their 3bets profitably. In this article we are going to discuss how to assess a 3-bet range to help choose the best line when facing a 3bet.

Whenever we do anything in poker we want to first consider our opponent’s range. Now, some 3bet ranges are very easy to estimate and others are much more difficult. For instance, take a 12/8 nit with a 3bet of 1.2%. This person is obviously 3betting a much stronger range of hands than a 23/20 LAG with a 3bet of 8.3%.

But what does their 3bet % actually tell us about the hands they are 3betting?

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To understand that we need to understand polarization and some very simple range math. First, what is polarization?

Polarized: A range made up of nuts or bluff hands

Depolarized: A range with nuts and stronger hands

So a polarized range may include hands like QQ/KK/AA/AK and maybe a 54s/A7o/J8s. A depolarized range may include hands like QQ/KK/AA/AK and also JJ/TT/AQ/AJs. Notice the polarized range includes super strong hands and weaker hands, while the depolarized range includes super strong hands and some other strong-side hands as well.

Polarized versus Depolarized

Now let’s take this concept and compare it to range math. So when we look at our hud and see that a player is 3betting 2.5% of the time, what does that mean? What does a 2.5% 3bet range look like? The tough part is that we will never 100% know. And as that 3bet % increases, it becomes even more difficult to asses the entire range correctly. But we can understand some basic poker ranges to get us started.

First, what are the logical strong-side ranges and what % of hands are they? Well KK/AA (KK+) is .9% of hands. So if a player is 3betting 1% of hands or less, chances are it is incredibly nutted. Another logical strong-side range is QQ+/AK, which is 2.6% of hands. If a player is 3betting TT+/AQ+ that is 4.7% of hands.

QQ or better

So let’s say we face a 3bet and our opponent has a 3.5% 3bet. We think they will 3bet QQ+/AK as the strong-side of their range, which we know is 2.6% of hands. So this means 74% (2.6/3.5) of their 3bet range is very strong, and we can simply estimate how we would perform against the entire 3.5% range. Or say a player resteals (3bets our steal) 12% of the time and that they would 3bet TT+/AQ+ for value. That means that only 39% of their resteal range is strong. But what is the other 61% of their range here? Is it hands like AXs or 44? Hands like K7o or Q9s? We can’t be 100% sure, but at least having an idea of the strong-side density of their 3bet range gives us a starting point.

qq plus2

Now we can bring this back to the polarization concept we talked about earlier. Say we think a player is 3betting 6% of hands in this spot and that they would 3bet TT+/AQ+ each time. Well that means 78% (4.7/6) of their 3bet range is TT+/AQ+, but what is the other 1.3%? If they 3bet a depolarized range it probably includes hands like AJ/KQ/99/JTs sometimes. Whereas a player who 3bets polarized would probably use some weaker stuff (A4s, 22, 86o, etc.) the other 22% of the time. This may not seem important, but it can influence our outright equity against their range and also the postflop playability if we decide to call the 3bet.

Pie Chart of Range

It should go without saying that you will rarely ever know a player’s exact 3bet range.  But if you can visualize their range like a pie chart, it helps you understand the density of strong vs weak hands in their range. If you need a more in depth explanation or a visual example, check out this video.

in it I take you step by step, showing the powerful framework for building your opponents range in a precise and structured manner. Learn how the range forks, how different hands fall into different buckets, and how to narrow their call vs 3bet range. Once you’re able to apply this knowledge, your postflop play will become a million times easier while also helping you find extra bluff 3bets preflop.

And you should also remember that good players 3bet dynamically.  Meaning they will 3bet a different range from the CO against an EP open than they would 3bet from the blinds against a BUT open.  Good players will also 3bet you differently than they 3bet fish or an unknown player, so while a reg may have an overall 5% 3bet, they may 3bet this exact situation differently.

This article was meant to be a starting point so you can start understanding what normal ranges look like, how to visualize strong v weak densities, and how polarized v depolarized ranges look and change things.  Do some work on your own to think about how this can be useful (hint, think about 4betting!) and you’ll be well on your way to hand reading better in 3bet pots!


Want to understand what players are CALLING your 3bets with? I created a free guide just for you…

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Thin Value vs. Fat Value 101

How To Value Bet In Poker (With Examples!)

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There are three main types of betting in poker: value betting, bluffing, and betting for protection. While bluffing is important and protection is a bi-product of understanding equity – knowing how to value bet in poker is an essential part of improving your winrate whether you play ABC poker or another style. In this guide, I want to discuss what a value bet is, why it’s so important, and some useful ways to improve your value betting strategy.

First, what is a value bet?

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Combo Blocker At Poker Table

Blockers In Poker: How They Work In 2021

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The concept of blockers in poker has been around for a while but, until recently, it’s one that has been far more stressed in Omaha games. Lately, however, we’re seeing the concept applied more in Texas Hold’em as well. While the value of blockers may not be as high in Hold’em as it is in Omaha, they’re still well worth considering as a part of a greater overall gameplan.

Poker Board & Blocker
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Simple Poker Bluff Math

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The honest truth is that poker bluffs are simple with a small amount of math. But in saying that, I also realize that many players are scared of poker math.  It can look overwhelming at first, but with some basic knowledge it becomes very easy to do.  And with a just little bit of extra practice, you can memorize a few things and correctly estimate the value of certain bluff plays at the table.  

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LAG Poker Strategy

Playing LAG: Loose Aggressive Poker

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One of the bigger things I get when I coach students is the consideration of playing a LAG poker style. There are major differences between TAG and LAG players, but the common misconceptions and adjusts against a LAG style are what make it the most profitable style in today’s games.

LAG Poker Style

What Is A LAG?

LAG is short for “Loose Aggressive” and is a playstyle that is more aggressive, and with more hands, than a TAG (Tight Aggressive). Even though players think that loose = bad, a good LAG focuses on finding spots where each extra hand added into their range is +EV given the mistakes their opponents will make.

Good vs. Bad LAGs

A LAG plays more hands, and more aggressively than just about every other player – and because of this, they must be solid on more levels. It is important to emphasize this…because a LAG style is NOT for everyone. If you do not have your fundamentals down, if you do not understand most spots you get into, if you cannot quickly deduce a +EV line – then LAG is not for you at the moment.

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7 Best Poker Audiobook

The Best Poker Audiobooks (Updated 2021)

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Over the years I’ve transitioned a lot of my reading time from traditional books over to audiobooks. The audio format makes digesting information easier, quicker, and gives a deeper learning experience. If you are looking for more high-quality advanced poker guides but can’t stand reading – poker audiobooks are a GREAT option that I suggest you check out.

The following will be a rundown of what I think are the best, most comprehensive audiobooks for poker. I will try to show what can be expected from each book and help you decide if it’s the right book for you. An audiobook breaking down the basic rules of poker won’t be of much use to a seasoned tournament player…

Here’s my list of the 7 best poker audiobooks that I think go above and beyond to teach you different aspects of the game. Pick up the ones that are right for you and enjoy! Continue reading