Poker Strategy – Guides, Tips and Tricks for Online Poker Players

Poker Strategy

Poker is a game of chance. However, it is also a game of strategy. There are a number of ways to approach the poker table, and players can use a variety of strategies and tactics to read other players, gauge the strength of hands, eliminate competitors from the table and maximize winnings.

Poker allows plenty of freedom for stylistic play, tactical play, expressive play and strategic thinking, meaning that there are few limitations to what you can accomplish, depending on the decisions you make at the table.

The basic rules of poker are easy to pick up and can be learned in no time. However, if you really want to become a high-level poker player and master the game, it is essential to understand poker strategy. Learn the basics of poker strategy now with Poker Loco.

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Basic Poker Playing Strategy

Get to grips with the basics of poker playing strategy and what it is that you want from the game.

The first step you need to take when deciding how to approach a poker game is to figure out what it is you are looking for – are you playing for fun, or are you playing to try and make money?

Your motivation can dictate how aggressively or passively you play as well as how cautiously or confidently you approach each betting round.

Before formulating your own poker strategy, it is essential to learn the basics of loose and tight poker play. The way you play poker can be a reflection of your personality, and once you know what you want from the game, you can stylize and adapt your play to get what you want.

There are a number of focused playing styles that you can employ as part of a wider poker strategy. Here are some basic poker playing strategies and table styles.

Loose Play

Play more hands and take more risks as a loose poker player! ‘Loose’ poker play is a no-holds-barred, full-throttle poker strategy that can be risky but rewarding.

Loose players tend to play more hands, bluff and make extreme bets. Loose poker players could be described as gamblers because they are more likely to take risks, bet big and play hands wildly.

While this poker strategy is undoubtedly risky, loose poker play can wear down other players and add an unpredictable edge to your game that makes you harder to read.

Tight Play

Take it easy and play it tight! The exact opposite of loose play, ‘tight’ poker play is a measured and conservative approach to the table. It involves playing as few hands as possible, waiting for the right moment to strike and making highly cautious, defensive bets.

Tight play is often employed as part of a defined poker strategy in which a player makes a focused effort to make money or maximize winnings at the table.

By taking as few risks as possible, only playing strong hands and avoiding preventable confrontation or loss at the table, players are better able to last longer in a game or tournament setting. Whilst this might not be the most exciting poker strategy, it can really pay off in the long run.

Aggressive Play & Passive Play

What kind of poker player are you? Learn more about how different poker strategies employ different levels of aggression.

As extensions of loose and tight poker play, poker players can choose to either approach the game aggressively or passively. How you play hands and interact with other players can dramatically influence the success rate of your poker strategy at the table.

Aggressive Play – Aggressive poker players tend to thrive on putting pressure on their competitors with big bets, bluffs, frequent plays and intimidation. Aggressive poker players are more likely to play loosely and unpredictably, opening pots and actively trying to wipe out more vulnerable players.

Aggressive play can be a really effective poker strategy. However, it can be easily dismantled when faced with other aggressive players or players who are adept at identifying bluffs and tells.

Passive Play – Passive poker players are more likely to employ tight play, playing fewer hands, making more modest bets and taking a back seat when it comes to opening up pots.

Passive poker players will usually call rather than raise and wait for the right time to take action, allowing their competitors to take the wheel.

Passive poker strategy is a more reactive style of play. Passive players monitor and assess the competition whilst maintaining a defensive position against aggressive players, wild bluffs and extreme bets that could harm their balance.

Starting Hand Strength Play & Odds

Knowing your odds and playing on the strength of your starting hand is a key part of any poker strategy.

poker-strategy-starting-hand Poker Starting Hand Strategy

Download Poker Hand Starting Strategy PDF

Poker Hands Win Percentage

The following table will show you the percentage chance of a winning hand based on your starting cards. This table starts from the premise that the opponent’s cards are not known.

It is very important to understand the odds of poker when it comes to poker strategy. If you know the odds of the game inside out, you can understand your likelihood of achieving a high hand based on the number of cards that are in your hand and on the board and how many players remain in the game.

With each new card turn and subsequent betting round, the odds of a poker game can fluctuate wildly. As more cards are eliminated from the deck and players start to drop out of the table, it is essential to keep on top of the odds of the game to maintain a poker strategy.

Many aggressive or loose poker players will charge into a round based on the strength of their starting hand alone. By always approaching each round with an emphasis on the strength of your opening hand and keeping the existing odds in mind, you should able to maintain a consistent playing pattern as the odds fluctuate.

However, many poker players tend to put all the emphasis on the final hand, waiting for the final turn to really make their intentions known in earnest. At the end of the day, whether you are a starting hand player or a final hand player, being fully aware of the odds remains a crucial part of poker strategy.

Common Poker Out Scenarios

We’ve all been in some point in our life where we had to make a difficult decision and calculate the odds of a certain situation. In poker the math adds up and you can make educated decisions that will impact your bankroll in the long run.

Our team of experts has put together the outs and odds of some of the most common scenarios you’re likely to see at the poker table.

Poker hands out strategy

Download the Poker Hands Out Strategy

10 Quick Poker Strategy Ttips

10 Quick poker strategy tips from our experts to help you control the game

1. Play fewer poker hands and play them aggressively

Creating a poker persona is one of the hardest things to do as an amateur or professional. You can start by creating a solid preflop poker strategy so you can improve your bottom line. Showing discipline is one of the most difficult things to do, however playing a tight range of strong and playing them aggressive will put in advantage compared to your opponents.

Showing an aggressive playing style will put you in advantage even when playing more speculative hands, such as7♠ 6♠ or 5♥ 5♣, which will allow you to disguise the strength of your actual hand.

Your opponents won’t know the difference between A-A, A-K or 7-2, which makes you a though opponent in any situation. Remember, the turtle won against the hair. Tight and aggressive wins the game!

2. Never be the first player to limp

As the first player to make a move, do not limp. This is an absolute no-no as it increases the odds for the player behind you and makes it almost impossible to win the pot before the flop.

The only time limping is acceptable is when at least one other player has already limped. This is generally a good play as you are getting a free pass to join the action, and increase your chances of hitting something on the flop.

3. Semi-bluff aggressively with your draws

Being a good poker player, means mixing up your game and being an unpredictable player. This translates in bluffing with hands that will give you a higher pay out at the later stage of the game (turn, river) and the range of the hands you can bluff are either open enders, flush draws, straight draws, 1 pair or just even an overcard.

Think of this as your plan B in case you get called by your opponent(s).

4. Fast-play your strong hands

You want to get paid on your good cards, period. Slow-playing good cards is often a mistake among players whom are afraid to confront their opponents, offense is the best defense.

In most cases, the safest thing to do is to bet your strong hands and push the opponent out of the pot. This will help you build the pot and protect your equity.

There are a few scenarios where you can check your strong hands:

  • When you know that you have the best possible hand
  • When there aren’t many scare cards left in order to prevent you from getting paid.
  • That you won’t be outdrawn

Being aggressive also means that you might push your opponents out of the pot, but that’s not all bad as it protects you from being outdrawn. A win it’s still a win.

5. Protect the big blind

We all love a good discount. Because of the mechanics of the big blind this means that you are already vested in the pot and the last one to act, increasing your pot odds to call than any other position.

Because you’re the last person to act preflop, you can easily call with many more hands than if you wee sitting in any other positions.

You might be asking, when should I protect my big blind? Here are a couple of scenarios:

  • Positioning of the raiser
  • How many players are in the hand
  • How many raises have there been in the hand
  • You’re stack size

6. Fold when in doubt

Ever wondered what separates good poker players from professionals. Pro’s know when to throw away a good pair when they think they’re beaten.

No one enjoys lying down their hand and surrendering to the enemy, but in order to be great at what you do you need to have the discipline to choose your battles.

Pro Tip: Be a nerd and document every move you made, if you were unsure by a certain hand you played and you had to fold it. Write down the scenario and possible ins and outs, this will help you improve your skills and fill in those poker knowledge gaps.

7. Smell weakness, attack!

Attack is your best offense. When sharks smell blood, they start swarming the waters and find the right place to attack.

You can train this, and once you feel that your opponent is unsure about their hand or what to do, it usually means that they have a relative weak hand and if you show enough aggression you can easily push them out of the pot.

8. Poker tournaments – don’t worry about surviving, go all in

Go 110% in your poker tournament games. In tournaments everyone if playing against the clock so you need to move fast and win as many chips as possible.

Remember, depending on the tournament size you only win money if you make it pass the “bubble” so focus on getting a deep enough stack, so it keeps you in the games long enough.

9. Play on your own terms

If you’re playing for fun or professionally you should still enjoy what you’re doing, so in order to get the best out of your game, be happy when you’re playing the game.

Remember if you play poker full time, this literally translates in a full-time job were you have to commit to a daily 8h grind. Thus, it’s extremely important to feel good when you’re at it, this will save you time & energy in the long run and help build your bankroll.

As a rule of thumb don’t play when you are feeling frustrated, fatigue you can feel the anger building up. Call it a night and get back to the grind next morning.

10. Choose your battles

Poker is a game of luck in the short run, but in the long run it turns in a game of skill. If you can’t spot the fish in the first hour at the table, chances are that you are the fish.

It’s a simple strategy, you should always put yourself in a position of strength so it increase your chances of winning. In life and in poker there is no room for ego, so take a step backwords so you can take two steps forward.

This is our signs for a good poker game:

  • You can see that one player is limping regularly
  • You can see 2-3 players go all in an battling for the pot
  • Re-raises are rare or very often

If you can spot 2+ of the above signs you’re in a great spot to make a profit. If you can’t see any of the signs, better start looking for a more profitable table.  If you are looking for a real money poker room our experts got you covered, and if you want to get a bang for your buck, we recommend checking our selection of Poker Free Rolls.

Reading Other Players & Bluffing

Identifying the tells and bluffs of other players is an essential part of poker strategy.

The ability to read the poker table is a key skill that can go a long way when playing strategic poker. There are plenty of factors to take into account here, including odds calculation, bluffing and identifying and exploiting ‘tells’ (the micro-expressions unconsciously made by other players).

Assessing the betting patterns, playing behaviour and ‘tells’ of other players can help you to gauge the strength of their hands and even predict their actions at the table, enabling you to take them out of the equation more easily and increase your odds of winning.

This skill comes with practice. The more you play poker, the more easily you will be able to identify the strength and playing habits of other players at the table.

As well as effectively reading the behaviour of other players and recognizing fluctuating odds, there are a number of ways to protect yourself from other players reading you. Here are a couple of ways you can maintain your poker face and stump competitors at the table.

Avoid Tilt & Emotional Play

In poker strategy, it is essential to avoid exposing your emotions to other players. When faced with a terrible hand or caught up in a particularly aggressive poker game, it can be pretty hard not to get stressed out. Similarly, when the dealer turns over the card you were waiting for, it can make you feel great.

However, it is really important to make sure that you do not show any emotional response or reaction when playing poker, no matter how crazy you might be going inside. Tilt can produce major tells that other players will use against you in the following rounds.

By always maintaining a straight face and a level of consistency in your betting, you will make it more difficult for your competitors to figure out what you are thinking or how strong or weak your hand is.


In poker strategy, bluffing used to throw your competitors off the scent. To put it simply, bluffing is an action that is made to convince other players at the table that you have a strong hand and that they should back off. However, players only bluff when they have a duff hand, so bluffing is a deceptive tactic.

Bluffing is used to manipulate players holding strong hands into folding. It is an aggressive tactic based on intimidation and false tells. Bluffing is a great way to eliminate strong competitors, maintain an aggressive playing strategy and implement, manipulate or read the patterns of the poker table.

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Texas Hold’em Strategy