Four Killer 4th of July Poker Tips

Happy 4th of July! These four tips are things I heard for many years… and I wish I had listened and done something about them sooner.

Better late than never!

So, take action this holiday weekend and put each of these to use to improve your game from moment one.

Listen to this episode as you follow along below:

4th of July Tip #1: Play In Position as Much as Possible

Position is king!

Being in position (IP) gives you:

  • More information. You get to see what your opponent does before you have to act.
  • More time to think. You can put more thought into your decisions: look at their stats, consider how their range interacts with the board, etc.
  • Intimidation power. Your opponent has to contend with being out of position (OOP) for the rest of the hand.

How to live for playing in position:

  1. Call less often from the blinds and the EP and MP. And definitely DO NOT LIMP! Allow yourself to fold more often when you know you’ll be OOP.
  2. 3bet and open-raise more in the CO and BTN. And if you 3bet from the MP and CO, be sure to size it big enough to discourage late position calls (unless you want them to call).
  3. Widen your range as position gets later. EP range < MP < CO < BTN for any pot-entering plays.

 

Tip #2: Play Against the Fish

Fish are your most likely source of profits. They’re calling stations who can’t fold a pair nor a draw if their life (tourney and cash) depended on it.

My favorite acronym for FISH: Fresh Income Source Here

How to live for targeting FISH:

  1. Find the Fish! Look around your table(s) and figure out who you’re up against. Hopefully you’ll see 2+ fish (lots of calling to see flops, can’t fold with any pair or draw… stations!).
  2. Tag them as fish (color code their HUD, give them a fish symbol if software allows, write their names down, etc.).
  3. Get to the flop as often as profitable (with strong hands an in position) against the fish you’ve tagged… and exploit ’em!
  4. Iso-raise the fishy limpers… open-raise when they’re in the blinds… 3bet their open-raises. So many ways to get the fish to yourself.
  5. Tick sheet tip: Every time you see the flop against a fish, make a tick mark. Also do this against non-fish on flops. The goal: more tick marks against fish by the end of the session.

 

I achieved max value against this Fish (QQ hand):

 

Tip #3: Learn Something, Do Something

This is how we’ve done all our learning since we were babies: using a fork, tying shoes, dribbling a basketball, multiplication, reading and everything else.

Why do most of us NOT do this when it comes to poker? Just watching video after video, listening to podcast after podcast, reading a poker book in 5 days… none of it improves our skills if we don’t purposefully do the things we’re learning about.

How to live for learning and doing:

  • As soon as you learn something and you say to yourself, “Wow, I should use that strategy.” – BAM! That’s your cue to take action and do it.
  • Play your next session with a focus on putting that strategy to use at every opportunity.
  • Action is the greatest teacher. This is how you’ll become the player you want to be.

 

Tip #4:  Join a Training Site

The first site I joined was Tournament Poker Edge. I loved it and learned so much from videos by BigDog, Chris Moon, Andrew Brokos and others. They had series of videos from each coach linked together to teach specific strategies that I could use in my tournaments.

If you’re not already a member of a site, I’m being partial here, but I recommend The Poker Forge (my own person site).

I created this site to suit my preferred style of learning:

  • Course work: Training that builds critical skill upon skill within one subject at a time. This builds your skills in a logical progression.
  • Start with preflop fundamentals and move to post-flop fundamentals.
  • Strategy videos along with action steps so you can easily “learn something, do something”.
  • Quizzes and demonstration videos that force you to think critically about the strategies you’ve learned.

Let me be your coach! Join the Poker Forge today.

Sky Matsuhashi