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Poker Tips for Beginners

Looking for some poker tips that will take you from beginner to pro? Well, look no further.
I’ve been playing poker for some time now and by now have also taught most of my friends and family how to play. In my opinion, these five tips make a world of difference and seem to be the easiest way to jump ahead in your poker journey.

Let’s have a look.

Poker Tips for Beginners

There’s no right or wrong way to play poker – not one method that will guarantee success. 
But there are ways and means for you to maximize your chance of winning. 
There are good habits, and bad habits. Situations to avoid, and situations to seek. 

In the end, experience is always going to be the best teacher. But familiarizing yourself with basic aspects and practices will instantly set you apart from other beginners.

1) Know the Basics of Poker

There’s no way around it. Poker becomes a lot easier when you know the poker basics like rules, the different hands and what beats what. It will loosen up your game and give you the confidence you need to build and play out a strategy. It’s a lot easier to place a bet if you know that you’re holding a full house and that that beats a flush.
This may sound daunting at first but don’t worry, you really only need to scratch the surface here.

I’ve gone ahead and made a complete YouTube playlist of 6 videos that will tell you everything you need to know in less than 30 minutes total! They are easy to understand and have a ton of great visual examples.

Poker tips

2) Stick to Playing Strong Hands

This is something I see in all new players. They are always eager to take part in the action and can’t stop themselves from chasing a bad hand to see what the community cards will make of the two cards they’re holding. But actually, top poker strategy says that most hands should be discarded and folded the minute you’re dealt them. 

Most professional poker players these days practice a tight aggressive poker playing style. This means they’ll fold most hands pre flop but go hard when they’re dealt cards within a specific top range. Your range is for you to decide but it’s probably too wide, so look into narrowing it.

Not throwing money after a bad hand will save you a ton of chips and make a huge difference to your game – allowing you to go hard when you get the hands you do want to play. So, unless you’re big or small blind, consider folding a lot more. 

To nail down your very own range check out this short video I’ve made explaining starting hands in poker.

3) Play with Confidence

Confidence is key in poker. Both when bluffing and when playing an actual monster hand. Or at least the impression of confidence.

Good poker players will sniff out insecurity and pounce on it, if you get caught betting with a lack of faith in your own cards.
In general, you want to stay away from checking and calling. Checking and calling tells everyone around the table that you are still not happy with your cards but hope that something on the table will save you. This is called limping, and that’s pretty much a death sin in poker. Unless of course, you’re faking a limp to get other players to challenge you, only to get beaten by your monster hand at showdown. But don’t worry about that for now.
If you have good cards; bet or raise.
If you have bad cards, fold.
Yes, it’s really that easy.

4) Play Poker with Friends

I know, I know. When you’re first starting out it’s very tempting to just run down to your local casino and live out your James Bond poker fantasy. But I’d advise against this. 

Instead, try to keep things fun and experimental by just playing against friends in a home game over a couple of beers. This cozy sand-box environment is exactly what you need to experiment with different playing styles and strategies. It’s nice to know that you can try out different things without the fear of losing your life savings. 

Playing with friends also has the added upside of being able to discuss different aspects of the game or a given hand with someone – which is a good way to learn more and get some instant feedback on your plays.

Poker Rules

5) Consider Your Opponent

There is an old saying in poker; “You don’t play the hand, you play your opponent.”
A lot of new players fall into the trap of just looking at their cards, then at the community cards and then back at their cards. Look up for God’s sake!
Your opponent’s face and body expression might be telling you exactly what you need to know. 

And this is not just to determine whether or not they’re bluffing. Paying close attention to the moves of your opponent can also help you tell exactly what hand they have.
Players like Daniel Negreanu have become infamous and feared for the ability to accurately guess and call out the hand of their opponent.
Pay attention to their tempo, when they choose to raise or bet as well as how they react after seeing the flop, turn and river. Do you get the feeling that they’ve made a hand somewhere, if so, what could it have been? Maybe they got aggressive after seeing a 10 on the turn, but you’ve made a pair of jacks on the river. What does that tell you?

And while we’re at it, consider the community cards as well. Not just in relation to your own hand – what might this board provide your opponents? Does it contain a possible flush or straight for someone to have?

Best App for Poker With Friends

As mentioned in the beginning, one of the best poker tips for beginners is just to play a lot of social poker with friends. And with our free EasyPoker app, it’s never been easier to play poker with friends – anytime, anywhere.
Our app works like a digital version of a physical poker set and provides you and your friends with both chips and cards, for free. Just create a game, share the game code with your friends and slide to deal. It’s so simple that everyone can just pick up the app and start playing right away – no hassle.

Poker strategy

More Poker Tips for Beginners

I hope you enjoyed this blogpost and found my tips helpful.
I would love to hear your thoughts, or maybe additional tips you think might help someone get better at poker. Let me know in the comments below.

If you’d like more poker tips, have a look at these two posts.

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poker playing styles

Top 5 Poker Beginner Mistakes

I see a lot of new players make the same poker beginner mistakes.
Poker is an awesome game, easy to learn but hard to master. However, knowing these 5 poker beginner mistakes will instantly make you better at poker and separate you from the other poker beginners.

So let’s get into it.

Common Poker Beginner Mistakes

All beginning is hard, and poker is no exception. But in my years of teaching friends and family to play poker, I’ve seen how 5 beginner mistakes seem to repeat for everyone.
And I was certainly guilty of these mistakes myself when first starting to play poker.
Luckily though, they are super quick to fix once you understand the basic aspects of poker strategy. 

1) Seeing too many flops

The most common beginner mistake in poker is to see too many flops.
This basically means that you play too many of the hands you’re dealt.
The first decision you make after getting your cards is the most important one; are these cards you want to play or is it best to just fold them without getting invested.
Most poker beginners are too restless and curious to see what the flop will make of their hand. They just want to take part in as much action as possible. A loose playing style.

But actually, most poker pros have a very tight playing style and play only very few of the hands they’re dealt. Mathematically, there is no reason to bet chips on a bad hand, in the hopes that the community cards will turn it into something. 

Unless, of course, you’re trying to bluff. But you really shouldn’t bluff a lot – more on that later.

Take a minute to familiarize yourself with what cards to play and what to throw away – what we call ‘ranges’. I’ve made a 3 minute video that explains the concept with lots of visual examples.

The lesson here is simple:
Stick to playing mostly good hands – don’t waste money chasing a lucky punch.

2) Bluffing against too many players

Ah, yes, bluffing. Perhaps the most recognizable and well known aspect of poker strategy.
And it is a great tool. But TV and movies make it seem like every hand is a huge bluff.
In reality, good poker players don’t bluff a lot – and you shouldn’t either.

It’s fun, it’s exciting and it gives a great rush to trick someone into folding an otherwise superior hand. 
But you have to be smart about it.
Again, I’ve made a short video telling you everything you need to know here. 

The main factor when deciding when to bet is not your cards but the amount of players you are bluffing against. It’s a lot easier to fool one player, than a whole table.
And if you’re bluffing against a whole group of players, chances are that at least one of them has something good enough for them to call anything. 

And the last thing you want to do is get caught bluffing.

The key take away: 
Limit your bluffing to when you’re up against one or two players. 

3) Playing against the big boys & girls

Right when you start off, you just want to play a lot of poker. And so you drive down to the local casino or go online to sit at a digital poker table. But I’d advise against this.
Getting absolutely schooled by some poker sharks won’t do you much good.
When first starting out I would recommend playing with just friends and family.
And stay away from big money games. You need to be able to make mistakes without losing your life savings along the way. 

Luckily, our free EasyPoker app makes it super easy to play an authentic game of live poker with friends – anytime, anywhere.
It works as a digital version of a physical poker set and the app takes care of everything. All you have to do is play your cards and focus on learning.

The key take away: 
Download EasyPoker to play poker with friends.
No – just kidding. But make sure the opponents you play are at your level or willing to teach you their skills. And stay away from big money games at first.

Poker strategy

4) Not knowing the the fundamentals

A lot of new players don’t know the fundamentals of poker – and I get it.
It can seem kind of daunting. But, you really only need to scratch the surface here, guys and girls. No need to run out and buy thick old books or pay for online courses.
Having just a loose understanding of poker strategy like hand rankings, bet sizing and playing in position will instantly elevate your game and put you miles ahead.

Lucky for you, I’ve gone ahead and created a playlist of easy-to-understand videos telling you everything you need to know in less than 25 minutes. And with a ton of great visual examples. You can find it here.

The key take away: 
Familiarising yourself with just the basics of poker strategy will make a huge difference and put you miles ahead.

5) Limping

This is perhaps the most common of poker beginner mistakes – and something all skilled poker players look for. At its core, poker is a game in which you bet on whether the cards you’re holding are better than everyone else’s. So it’s about confidence.
Therefore, it’s best to either bet or fold – calling and checking isn’t advised. 

Trying to just ‘limp’ your way into seeing more community cards is seen as a sign of weakness – as if you need something from the board to make your hand good.
Players holding good cards will see that, and immediately think that you’re grasping for straws. Especially if you revert to just checking and calling on the turn after betting on the flop – they’ll know you are bluffing. 

Top 5 Poker Beginner Mistakes

You have to play with conviction – and try to avoid hands where you have to make a huge bluff to ride home your terrible hand. 

The key take away: 
If you have good cards; bet/raise.
If you have bad cards; fold.
Don’t limp. 

More content on poker beginner mistakes

We’re building a vast library of poker tips and tricks for players of all stages.
If you’re new to poker and want to get better I recommend diving into one of these two. 

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Poker playing styles

Being thoughtful of poker playing style is a fast way to get better at poker whether you’re a skilled player or a poker beginner. Things like bluffing and betting becomes a lot easier when you get a read on your opponents playing style. 

No players fit perfectly into just one of the playing styles – it’s more fluent. And players may switch between playing styles if they get bored or if they are really talented and use it to set a trap for you. 

If – like me – you prefer watching a short video instead of reading a page, you’ll be happy to know that this entire blog post has been condensed into a five minute video.
The text version continues beneath the video.

What is poker playing style? 

Some players bluff a lot, others are more reluctant. Some players are always a part of the action, while others play less hands. This all comes down to a player’s playing style. 

A poker playing style is determined by how many different starting hands you’re willing to play – and how aggressive you play them. 
To sort of categorize the different playing styles we use this chart.
Tight versus passive & aggressive versus passive.

Poker playing styles

Tight playing style vs loose playing style

On the far left of the chart, we have tight. Tight players will only play a very narrow range of starting hands. They are in no rush, and don’t mind waiting for a perfect hand.
This means they’ll often fold their hand pre flop. 

Loose, on the other hand, means you’ll play a wide range of starting hands. This is the type of player who gets bored easily, and so they want to take part in everything.  

Passive playing style vs aggressive playing style

In the bottom of the chart, we have the passive player. One who doesn’t like to come off too strong. They prefer checking and calling, in an effort to see what their cards may turn into with the right community cards. But they stay away from confrontation. 

Aggressive players are quite the opposite. They play their hands with great conviction and prefer to bet or raise. They feast on the tension and pray on other players too tight to call their crazy actions.  

The four different poker playing styles

This creates four different poker players – and those are what we refer to when we talk about the different poker playing styles.

Each poker playing style has its pros and cons and while some of them are more efficient than others, you’ll often find all four types around your table.
Let’s have a closer look at each of the different playing styles – and how to beat them.

Poker playing styles

Loose passive poker playing style

This is a common beginner’s choice of playing style and perhaps the worst one. 
They are loose, so they’ll play a lot of the hands they are dealt. But the passive side to them means they don’t do much – they just check and call.
For this reason, they’re often referred to as a ‘Calling Station’. 
Since they have money in every round, but play it slow, they often end up losing all of their chips in a hurry.

Going into a hand without conviction is essentially what we call ‘limping’ – a death sin in poker.
The hands you play have to be played with conviction.

Loose passive players take part in all the action in the beginning of the night, but will spend the majority of the night as a spectator with no chips.
Don’t be a calling station.

Poker playing styles

When facing a calling station, stick to playing your strong hands. And don’t bother bluffing – they’ll happily call anything.

Tight passive poker playing style

This player has a more conservative and ‘boring’ approach to the game. Unlike the calling station, these players are ‘tight’, meaning they only play a narrow range of the hands they are dealt. They’ll happily fold hand after hand pre flop, waiting for that perfect hand.
And when they do get their golden hand, the passive side to them means they usually just check or call. So even if they win the hand, it’ll be a small price pot. 

The risk-averting, and kind of boring, approach to the game has earned this playing style the nickname ‘Rock’. Since they just sit there, without doing much. 

They may get more time at the table than a calling station, but eventually, they’ll bleed out from the blinds. 

When facing a Rock pay attention to the times when they are small or big blind. You have a great chance to ‘steal some blinds’ by placing a bet pre flop – they’ll fold their blinds way too often. 

Tight aggressive poker playing style

Often shortened to just TAG, this playing style is generally considered the most effective and it’s also the playing style most professional poker players use – at least as a baseline. 

As tight players, they only play a narrow range of the starting hands they are dealt. 

They sit patiently, waiting for the right hand. But when that hand comes along, unlike the rock, a tight aggressive player will pounce and attack with force – betting or raising.

They are often called ‘sharks’, because they’ll patiently circle around the pot until the perfect time to attack, delivering that deadly bite. 

But, there’s always a bigger fist, and there are ways to blow a shark out of the water. 

Their tight plating style makes them fairly easy to read. If they have something, they’ll be aggressive. So if you spot a shark trying to just limp their way into the next round, by checking or calling, hit them with a raise. 

Loose aggressive poker playing style

Also known as a TAG. These are the maniacs – the entertainers.
The players that make poker worth watching.
Their loose approach means they play a wide range of starting hands and take part in most hands. And they play aggressively with lots of bets and bluffs.

These players are nearly impossible to read but the playing style also comes with great risk – you either win big or lose big.

But there’s no denying it’s very thrilling to watch, and you think of players like Stu Ungar, Doyle Brunson and a personal favorite; Gus Hansen. 

When facing a loose aggressive player, you’d be smart to take the tight aggressive approach. Lure them into a trap and have them build a huge pot for you to steal from under them.

What’s the best poker playing style

So, the million dollar question (sometimes even literally) is of course; what’s the best playing style in poker

First, it’s important to note that no player fit’s 100% into just one category. It’s fluent and you probably find yourself somewhere between. You may also switch between different playing styles during a game. A tight player may turn loose if bored and vice versa. 

You’ll see a lot of new players take a passive approach, before understanding the strategy and mechanings of the game. But there is no doubt that an aggressive approach is the most effective. As long as you pick the right times to be aggressive. 

In general, it’s best to either bet/raise or fold. Try not to check or call.

Most players practice a tight aggressive playing style, and that is probably the most efficient and winning of the four. Although the loose aggressive playing style is the one that produces the most poker icons and legends.

Poker Rules

The best poker playing style seems to be switching between different playing styles.
Stick to aggression but fake a passive play to set a trap once in a while.
That’s the best strategy to win at poker. 

Practice your poker playing style

If you and your friends want to practice your poker skills and play around with different poker playing styles, you should check out our app. The free EasyPoker app works as a digital version of a physical poker set. We think it’s the best app to play poker with friends – whether you’re physically sitting together or playing online from separate locations. 

The app takes care of everything, so all you have to do is just play your cards and have fun.

Plus, it’s free. So you might as well give it a try?

Poker strategy

More poker strategy

We try to build the best online library of easy-to-understand poker tricks and tutorials. 
If you like this guide og poker playing styles and want to dive deeper into poker strategy take a look at one of these.

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Poker Strategy

Finding the best poker strategy for you is crucial if you want to optimize your poker game.
Good poker players know that every hand is a winner – it’s not about the cards you’re dealt, but how you play them. This post breaks down some of the most basic and best poker strategy. 

If you’re completely new to poker, you may want to learn the basics rules of poker, before diving into poker strategy. Lucky for you, we’ve made a simple video telling you everything you need to know in just 4 minutes.

What is Poker Strategy

Poker strategy is one of those things that really surprises players who just started playing poker. Most people outside of poker think it’s a game of luck. You’re either dealt a great hand or a terrible hand. And the player who’s dealt the best hand always wins. 

Luckily, poker is much more complex than that. After all, it’s no coincidence that the same handful of players always end up at the final table.

The different aspects of poker strategy

There are of course a bunch of different aspects to a good poker strategy.
In this blog post, I break down some of the most effective aspects of poker strategy.
I plan to dive deep into poker strategy over the coming weeks, with new videos and additional paragraphs and topics for this post.
Let me know if you have any topic in particular you’d like me to talk about. 

Together, we’ll create the complete guide to the best poker strategy.
Now, poker of course isn’t just one game, but rather a whole genre of card games. The most widespread version of poker is called Texas Hold’em, and that’s the genre we’ll talk about throughout this blogpost.

How to bluff in poker

A pair of aces or a royal flush doesn’t come around too often in Texas Hold’em. Most hands you’re dealt are just ok or straight up bad. This means you can’t just fold every bad hand, and go all in when you hit a monster hand. 

This is simply too easy to read, and your opponent will catch on to this poker strategy.
This is why we ‘bluff’. 

Bluffing is when you ‘lie’ and pretend to have a great hand, in an effort to have your opponents fold their otherwise better hand. Bluffing is a great tool in your poker strategy, since it allows you to win some pots even with weak hands and also keeps your opponents guessing.

Poker betting strategy

Betting is obviously a core aspect of poker – and probably what most people think of, when they think poker. Shoving that pile of chips into the pot. But poker betting is actually a science and one of the absolute most important aspects of poker strategy.

Betting is usually divided into two different kinds of bets. A blocking bet and a value bet.

Blocking bets are a mind game. 
Sometimes, you’re dealt a hand that could turn into something, with the right community cards. So you may want to see a flop or a turn. In this case, you want the price of further participation to stay low – so you can’t have other players betting heavily. So we place what’s called a blocking bet. A small bet, designed to tell other players that you may have something – keeping them from placing huge bets of their own. Allowing you to see more cards without too much investment.
If done right, a blocking bet can actually control the action of other players and keep the game right where you want it. 

Value Bets are essentially the opposite of bluffing in poker, since this time you actually want the other players to call or, even better, raise. Let’s say you’re dealt a great hand, like pocket aces or that you hit a flush from the flop.
In this case, you’re on track to win the hand. 

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So, naturally, you want to build the pot and raise your imminent prize. But you can’t just go all in at this stage, since this would most likely scare off opponents and have them fold – leaving you with just the blinds and some change in the pot. Not a great win.
In this case we place a value bet – a small bet, nudging opponents to either call, or even better, raise. This means they are still in the game, betting chips, and driving up the pot for you, thinking it’s all their idea and that they are in charge. Quite genius. 

Table position in poker

You may not know it, but the way you’re all seated around the poker table has a big impact on the game. More specifically, in what order you get to act your turn in a round.

Every round of poker of course has a dealer, a small blind and a big blind. As we all know, the small and big blind are required to place a bet upfront – so the first player to act freely is the player sitting after the big blind. This is usually thought of as the worst position to be in, since you haven’t seen anything from your opponents. You have to just act from your cards alone. 

The later your position, the better. Since you get to see more players act before you – giving you an idea of what they may have.
The best position to be in is the dealer, also known as ‘the button’. In this position you get to act third last in the first round, and last for every round after that.

Poker Positions

In general, the later your position the wider range of starting hands you should play.
We’ve made a video and a seperate blogpost that goes into greater detail about what starting hands we would recommend you to play in what position.

Position in poker may not sound like a big deal, but skilled players know what an important aspect of poker strategy it really is. 

Poker limp

Limping in poker is often referred to as the most common beginner mistake.
Poker is about confidence, and in most cases it’s advised to either bet or fold. When someone tries to just check or call, this is seen as a weak attempt of limping one’s way into seeing more community cards. It’s especially obvious when someone bet preflop but then decide to just check post flop. 

Poker R

If skilled players catch you doing this, they will turn up the heat and put some pressure on you with big bets.
If you have good cards, raise.
If you have bad cards, fold.
Don’t limp. 

Private table poker app

The best way to get good at poker is really just to play a lot. We’ve created the free EasyPoker app that works like a physical poker set – and we believe it’s the best poker app for friends. 

Whether you’re sitting together or playing apart from separate locations, EasyPoker gives you that feeling of a good old physical poker night. The app handles everything for you, so all you have to do is just play your cards and focus on your poker strategy.

It really is the easiest way to play poker with friends, plus it’s free. Give it a try.

Poker strategy

More poker strategy

We’re constantly adding new and exciting content to our library, and if you have something particular you’d like us to dive into, let me know in the comments.
Here are a couple of other blog posts you may find interesting.

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Poker positions

5 Tips to Win Poker

If you’re new to the game but want to win poker, this is the place for you.
I’ve been playing poker for some time now, and I’ve noticed how 5 tips changed my game dramatically – and took me from poker beginner to poker pro. 

They aren’t complicated, in fact you probably practice some of them without even thinking about it – but being conscious about it will instantly improve your poker skills.  

I’ve made a short video that quickly explains the 5 tips to win poker, but this page continues underneath the video with a more in depth explanation, a lot more detail and more of my videos to further explain each tip.

How to win poker

Easy tips to win poker

There’s no right or wrong way to play poker. There’s not one method that will guarantee success. But there are ways and means for you to maximize your chance of winning. 
There are good habits, and bad habits. Situations to avoid and situations to seek. 

And there are those who have the knowledge to exploit them. These five poker tips will make a huge and instant change to your game, and show you how to win poker.
Let’s get into it.

1. Know your starting hands

One of the most common beginner mistakes in poker is to see too many flops.
New players are curious to see what the flop will make of their hand, and so they end up throwing chips after a hand that was never going anywhere. This may not sound like too big a deal, but if you constantly waste your chips hoping for a magic flop, you’ll quickly see your stack go down. Advanced players know what starting hands to throw away so as to not waste chips, allowing them to trust their math and go big when needed.

Great players immediately access their starting hand after being dealt their two cards, and they know what to look for. What gives a hand potential, and what cards should just be thrown away? 

There’s a science behind this.
I’ve made an in depth video about starting hands, in case you want to get into more detail and see some examples of what starting hands to play and what to throw away.

If not, I’ll outline the basics underneath. 

Basically, paired starting hands are best. Like two kings.
After that, we look for ‘high card value. Cards of high value, like an ace or a queen, have good potential for high pairs from the board.
We then look for suitedness, meaning cards of the same suit – like hearts.
This is because a suited starting hand has potential for a flush from the community cards.
Lastly, we look for ‘connectedness’, meaning cards that are close to each other in rank.
Cards that are close to each other, like a 9 and a 10, have potential for a straight. Cards when a larger gap has less potential, and cards that are 5 ranks apart are terrible.

What starting hands to act on very much depends on your position. Another main pillar of poker strategy. So let’s have a look at tip number 2 in how to win poker.

2. Beware of position

Position is one of those things that no new player thinks about, but when told about it you go “Oh”. But it’s actually pretty simple. ‘Position in poker’ refers to the way players are seated at the table – more specifically, in what order they get to act.

Poker Positions

As you probably know, every round of poker has a dealer, a small blind and a big blind. Since the small- and big blind are forced to bet an amount, the first player to act freely is the player sitting after the big blind. This is the worst position to be in, since you have to act your turn without having seen anything from your opponents.
You have no intel to go from. Just your own cards.
The later your position, the better. Since you get to see other players act first. 

The dealer is considered the best position, since you get to act third last for the first round and last in every round after that. Like the role of dealer, small blind and big blind, your position of course changes clockwise after every round. 

Position and starting hand strategy is very much related, and the later your position, the wider range of starting hands we should play.
For more on position, and an in depth view at what hands to play in what positions, see this video or our blog post on the subject.

3. Know how to bluff

Bluffing is easily the most recognizable and famous tool in the toolbox of poker strategy. Made famous by TV and movies. And it is a great tool, although the frequency of which players bluff in movies is very much exaggerated. 

The perfect hand doesn’t come around too often in Texas Hold’em. This means you can’t just fold every bad hand and go all in on every good hand. That’s too easy to read.

Bluffing is a great way to win some chips even with terrible cards and keep your opponents guessing. Whether you’re doing a semi bluff or a pure bluff, you should always keep your opponent in mind.
And it’s one of the secrets of how to win poker. 

Limit your bluffing to when you’re up against one or two players. It’s easier to bluff a few players than a whole table.
Likewise, you should focus your bluff to times when your opponents seem hesitant or are low on chips. Weak players probably won’t not have the guts to call you out.

How to bluff

Lastly, it’s important to consider your opponents playing style. It’s a lot safer to bluff against a player with a tight playing style than against a loose cannon, who might randomly call your bluff.

And of course, most important of all, if you’re bluffing, the last thing you want is to go into a showdown with your weak hand. Finish the job before that, and force your opponents to fold. 

For more info and example of how to bluff in poker, check this video or our designated blog post on the subject. Now you know how to win with a bad hand – but what do we do when a great hand comes along? Let’s look at betting.

4. Know how to bet

Knowing how to make the most of a great hand is absolutely crucial if you want to win poker. If you’re dealt a great hand, like two aces, you can’t have everyone fold before the flop and leave you with just the blinds. You need to make the most of your hand. This takes a good betting strategy. 

Betting in poker is usually divided into two different categories; a blocking bet and a value bet

A blocking bet is designed to control the pot. By placing a small bet, you get inside your opponent’s head and stop them from making a larger bet. Since just the fact that you made a bet makes them more cautious and less aggressive. They’ll most likely call. 

That way you get to set the price for further participation – allowing you to see another round without too much investment. Quite genius. 

Now, let’s say you’re dealt a great starting hand – like a pair of aces.
This is the best starting hand in poker and you’d be pretty likely to win.
When you have a great hand, it’s important to make the most of it – you want a massive pot to win.

Win poker

But, if you try to build a pot by instantly raising by a lot, other players might be scared off and fold their cards – leaving you with just the blinds and some change. Not quite the massive win you were hoping for. 

This is when we place what’s called a value bet.
A value bet is designed to build the pot, but to do it in such a manner that opponents won’t be scared off. You place small bets, big enough to drive up the pot but just small enough to not scare off opponents. 

A value bet is essentially the opposite of bluffing, since this time you actually want other players to call or even raise your bet. You want them to think that building the pot is their idea, and that they’re in charge. Essentially doing your dirty work and digging their own grave. It’s actually quite evil – but oh so effective to win poker.

5. Don’t limp

Limping is perhaps the most common beginner mistake in poker. And easy for more advanced players to spot and pounce on. 

Limping basically means to ‘hesitate’ or show a lack of faith in your cards when it’s your turn. This is typically when a player tries to just check or call instead of making a decision.

If you want to win poker, you have to play with conviction. Therefore, it’s best to either raise or fold – checking and calling usually isn’t a good idea.
If you have good cards; raise.
If you have bad cards; fold.

It’s that easy.

face to face poker - EasyPoker App

Limping is very obvious when players try to check after the flop or, even worse, after the turn. Especially if they start aggressive and bet pre flop but then suddenly show a limp the next round. It could be that they have great cards and are trying to play it slow – but most likely, they just didn’t hit anything on the board and try to limp their way into seeing if the next community card will make something of their hand. 
Don’t limp – play with conviction.

Best poker app for friends

If you and your friends are new to poker and just want to have some fun, you should consider downloading our free EasyPoker app. It doesn’t ask for a credit card, has no gambling and you only play against friends. The best app for poker nights with friends. 

The app takes care of everything, so all you guys have to do is just play your cards.
Perfect, whether you guys are physically sitting together or playing online from separate locations.
And it’s free, so you have nothing to lose.

Win poker

More tips to win poker

Knowing just a little poker strategy goes a long way and you’ll be amazed how even just small tips will make a huge and instant difference to your game – making you stand out from the crowd. As mentioned in these tips, knowing how to bet and how to bluff is really the most important part of poker strategy. It’s the salt and pepper of poker. 

Lucky for you, we’ve made complete beginner’s guides to both.  

Have a look 👇👀

Poker betting
How to bluff

Poker Betting

Want to understand poker betting?
You’ve come to the right place. 

We all know that poker is about betting and, hopefully, winning poker chips.
But what is the best strategy for betting in poker, and how do you make the most of a good hand?

It’s important to know how to bet in poker, and if it’s done right, your poker betting strategy can actually control the choices other players make.
Let’s take a look. 

If you’d rather watch a video than read a blogpost, here’s a video I made about how to bet in poker.
This blog will continue beneath the video, and go into further detail of how you can make the most of your poker betting. 

Poker betting

What is poker betting?

Starting off small here. More advanced players might wanna skip this paragraph.

‘Poker’ is not just one game, but rather a whole genre of games. The most popular version of poker is called ‘Texas Hold’em’, made popular by film and TV. 

In Texas Hold’em, all players are dealt two cards for them to see but keep a secret.
You then bet on whether your cards are the best. This is called poker betting.

Betting is the main aspect of playing poker and most people probably think of chips being pushed into the middle of a table when thinking of poker. It’s easily the most recognizable aspect of the game. 

It’s also crucial to master if you want to win, so taking the time to understand poker betting and finding the best poker betting strategy will help you a lot.

Let’s get into it. 

Reasons to bet in poker

Betting your chips is how you win new chips. You gotta risk it to get the biscuit.
If you try to just cruise through a game of poker without really betting, you’ll just be bleeding chips from the blinds and eventually run out. 

But, you know what they say, sometimes the best defense is a great offense.
The same is true in poker, and as we’re about to see, betting can even be used to control other players and have them play less aggressively. 

There are generally two reasons to bet in poker; to control the pot with a blocking bet or to build the pot with a value bet.

Blocking bet

You can actually guide the choices of your opponent and control the pot by betting.
Sometimes, you’re dealt a hand that might not be great but could turn into something with the right community cards. This means you may want to see a flop or a turn before making the final decision.
But, if you just check or call here, players sitting after you, who feel pretty good about their own cards, might place a large bet. Making it expensive for you to see a flop or turn. 
This is when we place what’s called a blocking bet.

This is a small bet, often around a quarter of the pot, designed to have a physiological effect on your opponents. Although small, this bet shows initiative and will most likely make your opponents think twice before making too large of a bet up front. Allowing you to see more cards without too big an investment. 

Poker betting

Value bet

Alright, but what do you do, when an actual amazing hand comes along? Like when you’re dealt a pair of aces. This is the strongest starting hand in Texas Hold’em and will most likely win the round. So how do you play a great hand like that?

Poker betting

You of course want to make the most of the hand and try to get a lot of chips in the pot for you to win. But you can’t just go all in right away – that will scare off your opponents causing them to fold and leaving you just the blinds to win. A great hand wasted. 

This is when we use what’s called a value bet. It’s called that, because it aims to increase the value of the pot – without scaring your opponents. Let’s dive into it. 

The opposite of betting in poker

Value betting is a form of poker betting that’s essentially the opposite of bluffing in poker, since this time you actually want the other players to call – or better yet, raise. Bluffing in poker is designed to scare off opponents with a bold and aggressive play, forcing them to fold their otherwise superior hand. But when poker betting, we not only want them to follow along, but ideally have them think it was all their idea and that they are very much on top of the situation.
It’s quite cold, when you think about it. But very effective.

How to value bet

You of course want your value bet to be big enough to grow the pot, but not too big for others to follow. The ideal value for a value bet actually varies, and depends on three things. The strength of your hand, the board and your opponent’s playing style. 

The strength of your hand

If the flop gives you a monster hand like a full house or a flush, you’re probably well on your way to win the round. In this case, your goal should be to get as many players to continue as possible. Take your time, and don’t be afraid to ‘slow play’.
If, on the other hand, you get a hand that’s good but not great, like top pairs from the flop you may want to be a little more aggressive with your betting. Although your hand is probably strongest at the moment, future community cards could turn the ties and give your opponents an even stronger hand. 

The board

The 5 community cards, commonly referred to as ‘the board’ can flip a round on its head, turning an otherwise great hand into nothing. So you need to always be aware of your hand.
Let’s say you’re dealt a queen of spades and a queen of diamonds, and the flop comes 2, Q, 6 – all hearts. 

Poker betting

You now have a really strong starting hand, that became three of a kind on the flop. But, since the community cards are all hearts, the risk of an opponent developing a flush is high – and that would render your three queens useless. 

You need to watch out for boards that have cards of the same suit, connectedness or high value, since these could give your opponents strong hands. These kinds of boards are commonly referred to as ‘wet boards’, and in this case you’ll want to play aggressively, getting your opponents to fold and securing you the pot before others make a great hand.

But, if the board is ‘dry’, meaning low value cards of different suits and no real connectedness, your pair of queens is still looking strong – and you can take your time.

Opponent’s playing style

The last thing to consider when poker betting a great hand is your opponent’s playing style. If you’re playing against what we call a ‘tight player’, someone who doesn’t like to bet or bluff, you’ll probably be best off playing it slow. So you don’t scare them away. 

Poker betting

But, if you’re playing against a more loose/aggressive player, who likes to raise, bluff and see many flops, you may want to be more aggressive, in an effort to challenge them and have them pile chips to the pot.

Digital poker set

Now that you know the basic strategy of poker betting, you should try our free EasyPoker app. It’s a digital version of the physical poker set you know and love – but this poker set is always with you and fits right into your pocket. 

We don’t facilitate gambling, and you only play against your friends – so it’s really the perfect poker app for friends to practice their poker skills. 

It’s meant for physical poker nights, but with features like our built in voice chat, it works great for digital poker nights as well. 

You should try it – it’s free. 

Poker betting

More poker betting & bluffing

Now that you know how to use poker betting to either control or build the pot, your game will instantly improve. But you can also use betting to bluff in poker, allowing you to win hands even with weak cards. Bluffing in poker is perhaps the biggest difference between good and great players, and we’ve got the blogs and videos to teach you both how to bluff in poker – and how to spot when someone is bluffing

Let’s have a look 👇👀

How to bluff
Poker positions

Poker Rules

Understanding poker rules is of course crucial if you’re trying to get a game going.
Poker is easy to learn yet hard to master – but there’s no reason to over complicate things when explaining poker rules.

This blog will tell you everything you need to know and I’ve even created a 4 minute video, so you don’t have to read unless you want to dive deeper. The video is a part of a 6 video series teaching you poker strategy, but you only need to see the first one to understand poker rules.

Let’s get started.

Poker Rules

Texas Hold’em Poker Rules

Now ‘poker’ is actually not just one game, but a whole genre of card games.
But Texas Hold’em is by far the most popular one, and probably the one that brought you here after watching Casino Royale’ playing Red Dead Redemption or binging Kakegurui.
All great reasons, by the way.

Texas Hold’em Poker is usually played by 2-12 players who all sit down at a table.

You then choose who’s going to be the ‘dealer’ for the first round. This role usually just passed clockwise after every round.
But how do you decide who gets to be the first dealer?

Who is the first dealer in a game of poker?

This is usually decided by ‘dealing to the first ace’. So, one of you picks up the deck of cards, and starts dealing a card to each player, for everyone to see. The first person to be dealt an ace will have the honor of being the first dealer of the game. This is not a part of the official poker rules, but it’s how most home games do it.

Being the dealer of a round is usually considered a positive thing, since this means you get to act last – after watching all other players act their turn. More on this in our blog about playing poker in position.

Basic Poker Rules

After shuffling the deck, the dealer serves all players two cards, heads down.
You see your own cards, but keep them a secret. 
The very essence of poker is that you then bet on whether your hand is the best, or not.
The order in which players have to act moves clockwise around the table. 

Have a bad feeling about your hand? Fold.
Feel good about your cards? Bet. How much is up to you.

Poker Rules

Players who fold their hand, give up their cards and sit the rest of the round out.
If someone makes a bet, they automatically up the cost of further participation in the round. Meaning all following players need to match that bet to stay in a round. 

Once every player has made the choice to bet or fold, the chips are gathered in what we call the pot.
The aggregated prize for winning the round.

To ensure every hand in poker always has something to play for, we have the two roles of small and big blind.

Small and Big Blind

What does small and big blind mean? Don’t worry, although this is often the part of poker rules that confuses beginners the most, it’s actually pretty simple.

The person sitting after the dealer is small blind and the person after that is the round’s big blind. Just as the role of dealer, small and big blinds change clockwise after every round. The small and big blind are required to bet a predetermined, often small amount. Like 10 and 20. Big blind is always double the small blind.

Blinds are there to make sure every round of poker matters, and that there is always something to be won.

Other than that, it works as a gentle ‘push’ for players who haven’t got the nerve to bet. 

Poker Rules

What are community cards?

Alright, so we now know that the essence of poker rules is to be dealt two cards and then bet on whether your cards are the best at the table.
But, as you might imagine, this becomes pretty boring and predictable. Like, if you’re dealt a pair of aces, you’d be sure to win.

This is why, in a full round of poker, another 5 cards are drawn from the deck and placed on the table, face up, for everyone to see. These are called community cards, and they are the part of the game that makes poker unpredictable. 

At the end of a poker round, your final ‘poker hand’ will consist of the best 5 card combination of the two cards in your hand and the 5 cards on the table.

Poker Rules

The cards in your hand are for you to use only, but every player in the round can mix their cards with the community cards – and yes, multiple players can of course use them at the same time. In some rare cases, your final poker hand of the round doesn’t even include the two cards you’re holding in your hand, if the community cards have a straight for instance.

But, to keep the possibility of twists and turns, not all community cards are drawn and placed at the same time. It goes flop, turn and river. 

What is the flop?

After all players have made their initial choice of betting or folding, the chips are gathered in the pot and this is when 3 of the 5 community cards are drawn and placed on the table.
These first 3 community cards are called ‘the flop’.

Poker Rules

After the flop, another round takes place, where players again get to either bet, fold or check. Checking means you’d like to proceed without betting and is only possible if no one before you has betted in this round. If any remaining player makes a bet, all players have to either match that or give up their cards.
So if I check, but the guy after me makes a bet, I then have to make a choice to follow or fold before the round can continue.

The small and big blinds are not forced to bet any amount after the flop – that is only for the first round of a hand. 

What is the turn?

When all remaining players have made their choices, assuming 2 or more players are still in the round, another community card is drawn from the deck and placed by the other 3.
This one is called ‘the turn’.

Poker Rules

Exactly same procedure as after the flop was turned.
Remaining players get to check, bet or fold, before a fifth and final community card is drawn.

What is the river?

The river is the fifth and final community card, and all players now know what 5 cards make up their final hand. A last round of checking, betting and/or folding follows.
After that, we get to see who wins, when all remaining players have to show their cards in what we call ‘the showdown’.

Poker Rules

Showdown in poker

When the last actions have been made in a round of poker, players lay down their 2 cards and show the rest of the players what they’ve got.
You can really do it in whatever order you wish, but according to the official poker rules, the showdown follows the same order as the round has.

The player with the best 5 card combination of the 2 cards in their hand and the 5 cards on the table, wins the round and collects all the chips in the pot. If two or more players have the exact same hand, they split the pot evenly.

In this case we win because we have a pair of aces + a king, a jack and a ten.

Poker Rules

What are the different poker hands?

There are 10 different kinds of ‘poker hands’ to have.
Here is a video explaining what beats what – also described in this blogpost.

A digital poker set

If you and your friends are new to poker, and just want to play and learn – I recommend using our free EasyPoker app
It’s designed to take care of your poker night, so you don’t need chips, cards or even a table. 
The app takes care of everything. 

It’s free, simle to understand, has no gambling and you only play with friends you know.

Perfect for poker with friends.

Poker Rules
Poker Rules

More Poker Rules & content

So, now you know your poker rules and are ready to play some poker with friends.

Ready for ‘all in’, ‘pocket aces’ and ‘flipping the nuts’. But what does all of this even mean?
Prepare for your next poker night by reading up on some poker lingo.

Or if you’d like, you can brush up on how to tell if someone is bluffing. Should come in handy. 

poker terms and slang
Poker positions

How to Bluff

Want to learn how to bluff in poker?
You’ve come to the right place. 

Alright, so you’ve been playing poker for a while now and feel like you’re beginning to understand the game. Aces are good, a flush beats a straight – and the player who’s dealt the best cards always wins – right?
Thankfully, no.

Because poker is a game played in the mind as much as on the table – and great players know how to get a quick win from terrible cards, by tricking their opponents into folding an otherwise great hand.

It’s time we talk ‘bluffing’ – and, oh boy, is it going to make a difference.

If you prefer watching over reading, we’ve made an entire video explaining how to bluff in poker. This blog post continues beneath the video. 

Why Bluff? 

Alright, so, the perfect hand doesn’t come around too often when playing Texas Hold’em.
This means you can’t just go all in when you’re dealt a monster hand, and fold every time you get a bad hand. This would be too easy for your opponents to read.

This is why the best poker players switch up their play, and sometimes try to trick their opponents into misreading them. 

This effort of misleading is what we call bluffing and, if done right, it will keep your opponent guessing, never getting an actual read on your game.
Allowing you to win pots with a terrible hand. So it’s important to know how to bluff. 

Now, bluffing is usually divided into two different kinds of bluffs, called a ‘pure bluff’ and a ‘semi bluff’.

What is a pure bluff? 

A pure bluff is when you’re dealt a terrible hand but choose to play it very aggressively in an effort to convince the other players that you have a great hand. To scare them into folding their otherwise superior hand. 

Like if you’re dealt a hand of 7 2 off suit. This is the worst hand in Texas Hold’em poker, and would normally always lose. But, let’s say you’re big blind and therefore already somewhat invested in the round. Raising here might get everyone else to fold, and so not only would you not use your big blind, but also steal a nice little pot. 

A pure bluff is of course extremely risky, and is therefore often referred to as a ‘stone cold bluff’. But, getting a quick win with a terrible hand can help you a lot – and will keep your opponents guessing.   

What is a semi bluff?

Less risky, is the semi bluff.
This is when you’re dealt cards that aren’t good, but could turn into something if the community cards hit just right. A hand like 7 8 suited. This of course isn’t a strong hand, but it is suited connectors, so you have a decent chance of hitting either a straight or a flush in combination with the community cards. 

A semi bluff is when you have cards that aren’t great, but could turn into something.
Like 8 9 suited. This isn’t a strong hand, but since they are suited connectors, you have a decent chance of hitting a flush or a straight from the community cards.  

A semi bluff is of course a lot less risky than a pure bluff, and for that reason, it’s usually performed a bit less aggressively.

When to bluff

Now, when you bluff should of course vary. Never be easy to read. 
But, 3 factors should help you pick the optimal time to bluff. 

1) Number of opponents
The more players in the hand, the more people have to buy your bluff.
It is always going to be easier to convince one or two players, than a whole table.
You’ll want to limit your bluffing to when you’re up against one or two players. 

2) Strength of opponents
Players who are low on chips or who try just calling instead of raising, might not have the courage to call your bluff. But the chip leader probably will.
Consider your opponent’s situation, and make sure you don’t challenge a hard ball. 

3) Your opponent’s playing style  
All players are different, and you should always consider your opponent when choosing a strategy in poker. Players who call and fold a lot are referred to as ‘tight players’, and other players who bluff and raise a lot in are often called loose or aggressive. 
It might be more prudent to bluff against a player with a tight playing style, than a loose cannon who might suddenly call your bluff.

When you bluff

So, you’ve found the perfect hand to bluff – now, how do you actually convince your opponent? He or she is probably looking for tells to spot your bluff, and you’ll want to use every trick in the book to hide it. 

 Luckily, we have some rules of thumb that will help you do that.Namely ‘representing a hand’ and the ‘continuation bet’. Let’s have a look.

How to bluff

Representing a hand

You need to always be aware of the game’s development.
Keep the community cards in mind, and act accordingly. If you’re bluffing hitting a pair of aces on the flop, and the turn shows another ace, you need to double down on your first bet – since you’re now bluffing having 3 aces. When fully committing to a bluff, forget your actual hand and act like you have the hand you’re trying to convince them. 

Otherwise, good players will easily spot your bluff and lure you into a trap.

C-bet (continuation bet)

In for a penny, in for a pound.
If you’ve made a bet pre-flop you need to keep betting after the flop, whether the community cards have given you anything or not. The last thing you want is for someone to follow an initial bet and then just ride it out from there to the showdown.
You have to be more aggressive, and keep betting.
A C-bet shows confidence and initiative. Without it, your opponent will easily be able to spot that your initial bet was just a bluff.

🚨 Most important rule of how to bluff 🚨

Remember, if you’re bluffing, you need to make all opponents fold.
The last thing you want is to end up in an awkward showdown with your terrible hand and a bunch of chips invested. Finish the job before that, and get your opponent to tap out.

Practice how to bluff

So there you go. Now you know when and how to bluff. If done correctly, this will make a huge difference to your game, by allowing you to win pots even when dealt terrible cards.

To practice your skills, I recommend downloading our free EasyPoker app.
It’s a digital version of a physical poker set – perfect for poker with friends! 

Pokerface app alternative download
Poker Rules

More tutorials

Poker is a wonderful game – easy to learn, but hard to master.
To add more tools in your poker toolbelt of strategies, consider watching the full playlist we have on YouTube. I tried to keep it light and fun, and it is in to way overly complicated. 

It will take you through the most common aspect of poker strategy and take you from beginner to advanced – in under an hour!

Or head on over to this blog post, that talks about poker tells and how to spot them.
That way, you’ll be able to sniff out a bluff from other players as well.

You can find it here.

Poker tells

Poker Positions Explained

What are poker positions and how do you play poker in position?
You’ve come to the right place.

I’ll tell you exactly what the different poker positions are and how to play each position.
And by the end of this breakdown, you’ll find a complete visual chart for you to save and look at whenever you need a reminder.

If you prefer watching over reading, here’s a video explaining the basics of poker table positions.
Beneath the video, you’ll find further explanation and in depth charts.

What are poker positions?

Poker positions refers to the way players are seated around a poker table and in what order players get to act in a round. Being one of the last players to act is obviously a huge advantage, since you get to see all other players act before you need to make a decision.

All rounds of course have a dealer.
To the left of the dealer is the small blind, and left of the small bind is the big blind.
Since the small- and big blind are forced to place a bet, the first player to act pre-flop is the person sitting after the big blind.

After that, we continue clockwise around the table, ending with the small and big blind.

After the flop however, the small blind will be first to act for the rest of the rounds. 

We usually divide the different positions into 3 groups; early, middle and late position.

Poker Positions


The first couple of players to act in a round are in what we call early position.
This includes both the small- and big blind – but also the players sitting after the big blind.
This person is usually referred to as ‘Under the Gun’ (UTG), since you have to act without any clue from the other players. If you are playing at a table with nine or more players, the person sitting after the player ‘under the gun’ is often considered early position as well, and referred to as ‘UTG+1’.

Early positions are the hardest positions to be in, with Under the Gun being the absolute worst position. 

How to play under the gun

If you’re sitting under the gun, you need to be careful. The only thing you have to go on is the two cards in your hand – and that’s not a lot.
We recommend staying within the top 10 starting hands – that’s high pairs and aces with a suited face card kicker.

Poker positions

Middle Position

The players sitting between early and late positions are in what we call ‘middle position’.
Since early position is usually 3-4 players, and late position is 3 players, the size and number of players who fall into middle position of course varies depending on the total number of players at the table. 

The later your positions, the more hands you should consider playing.
Sitting in middle position, you have seen the actions of some of the earlier players, which is a huge advantage. You still need to keep a level head though, and know your chances. 

How to play middle position

If everyone before you have folded:
Raise with medium pairs or higher, aces with a face card kicker or any two suited cards higher than a 10 – like JQs or 10Js.

Poker position

If someone has already called:
Call with medium high pairs, suited cards of ten or above and any suited connectors.

Poker positions

If someone before you has already raised:
Re-raise with pairs 10 10 and above, ace king or ace queen.

Poker positions

Or call, if you have suited connectors or a pair of up to 9 9.

Poker position

Late Position

Sitting in late position opens up a lot of different hands to play.
You’ve had the advantage of seeing how other players chose to act, and can feel a lot more secure. 

The best poker position to be in is the dealer, since you get to act third last before the flop, and lastly for the rest of the rounds. The dealer is often referred to as ‘The Button’ since this position is usually show by a physical or digital button with the letter ‘D’ on it.
The player sitting just before the button is often referred to as ‘Cutoff’.
And the player before that is called ‘Hijack’ – because players often “hijack” late position advantage from the cutoff and button with an opening raise.

How to play late position

If all players before you have folded:
Raise with any pair, any suited ace, any ace with a kicker of 7 or higher, any two cards of ten or higher and any suited connectors. 

Poker position

If someone has called before you:
Raise with a high pair, or an ace with a face card kicker.

Poker positions

Feel free to call with any pair, suited high cards, a suited ace and suited connectors.

Poker positions

If a player has raised before you:
Re-raise with high pairs or aces with a king or queen kicker.

Poker positions

You can call with medium pairs or suited connectors.

Poker positions

Mix up your play in poker positions

So there you go. Now you know what positions are, and how to play them.

All of this being said, you should of course mix up your play from time to time in order to stay unpredictable.
And keep in mind that your position in a round depends on the location of the button.
Since the dealer button changes clockwise after every round, your position changes as well.

Practice playing poker positions

The best way to learn poker positions is to play a lot of poker. I recommend downloading our free EasyPoker app. The app takes care of everything from dealing cards to sorting chips – so you can focus on assessing your hand and poker position.

The app is meant to be played with friends and works as a digital version of your physical poker set. It’s intuitive design and built in voice chat makes it perfect for poker with friends
– whether you guys are playing face to face or online from separate locations.

Poker Rules
Poker positions

More on how to play poker

I’m not a professional poker player. I’m just a guy who fell in love with the game.
So, like all other beginners, I went online to do some research. But everything I found seemed overly complicated and not at all easy to understand.
That’s why I decided to boil it all down into a few YouTube videos called the ‘How to Player Poker’ playlist on YouTube. It will take you from complete beginner to skilled player – in less than an hour.

Now that you know how to play poker positions, you might want to read up on how to sniff out a bluff! We’ve made a great blog post about that as well – and you can find it here

Poker positions

Doyle Brunson – Poker Player Story

Doyle “Texas Dolly” Brunson is known as the ‘Godfather of Poker’ and this living legend may very well be the biggest icon of the poker world. Through an entire lifetime of playing professional poker, Brunson has seen it all and his life is the stuff of Hollywood movies. This is the story of Doyle Brunson.

We’ve also made this blog post as a video, if you’d rather watch than read.

Early Life

Doyle F. Brunson was born on August 10, 1933 in Longworth, Fisher County of Texas –  a dirt poor, rural town smack in the middle of The Lone Star State.  The town had a population of less than 100, and almost all were farmers. His family lived on a cotton farm with no electricity or plumbing. Brunson was the youngest of 3 children and had a textbook Texas childhood, although often feeling like a bit of an outsider. 

Doyle Brunson

He was an active kid, and shaped into a natural athlete who received a spot on the All-State basketball team and also dominated in the statewide track community. This is especially impressive considering that Brunson never actually had a track coach or knew anything about running track. According to a 2018 podcast interview he did with ‘Poker Stories’, after baseball practice, Brunson would just go to the track, start running and never let anyone get past him. These performances led to him being offered college scholarships for both basketball and track.

Doyle Brunson was well on his way to realizing his lifelong dream of playing in the NBA. The then-Minneapolis Lakers wanted to sign him, but his basketball career would end before it really began. One faithful day, while working at a local gypsum factory, Brunson was in an accident that shattered his leg. His leg never fully healed, putting an abrupt end to his athletic dreams. To this day, he’s easily spotted around the poker table by the crutch standing nearby. 

But, as Doyle Brunson would prove again and again, no matter what you’re dealt in life, anything can be turned into a winning hand.

Doyle Brunson

Picking up poker

Doyle Brunson had always been an observer of people. Perhaps because he grew up feeling like an outsider looking in. Barely able to move around after shattering his leg, he would often just sit and watch people – which would only advance his skills of reading faces. Something that would become his ace in the hole later in life. 

Doyle Brunson got his bachelor’s degree in 1954 and a master’s degree split between administrative education and business administration the next year, with a new plan of perhaps becoming a school principal
But he found the pay scale to be too low, so straight out of college he went and got a job as a business machine salesman. Not a dream job to Brunson, but a place to start and a way to make a living. He wouldn’t stick around long though.

The young Brunson had always enjoyed poker, but played a lot more after his injury. So when his co-workers invited him to play with them after his first day, he went along. 
They played a game of seven-card stud, and Brunson absolutely cleaned up, winning more than a month’s salary that night.
Always eager to chase a goal, Brunson soon quit the job and started playing poker professionally. 

Calling Death’s bluff

In 1959 Brunson met his future wife, Louise. The two got married in August of 1962 and soon thereafter Louise became pregnant with a baby girl. Things were looking great, but then life took a turn for the worse when doctors found a tumor in Doyle’s neck.
When they tried to operate it, doctors found that the cancer had spread and Brunson was given just three months to live. 

Doyle Brunson

Doctors felt that a second operation might prolong his life enough for him to witness the birth of his daughter and so they went ahead. After the operation, doctors were stunned to see that the tumor had completely vanished. They found absolutely no trace of the cancer and so Doyle was healthy for the birth of his daughter and back on the road soon after. Like the true gambler he is. 
This wouldn’t be the last time death came looking for Doyle, but he would always call the bluff and see death fold his cards. 

Adventures with the Texas Rounders

After the birth of his daughter, Doyle Brunson  went to Fort Worth, Texas, where he and his friend Dwayne Hamilton would play in illegal games. But even Fort Worth soon proved too small for their appetite, and so they took to the road. They met fellow poker players  Amarillo Slim and Sailor Roberts and formed what became known as the legendary ‘Texas Rounders’. A team of truely elite poker players who completely cleaned Texas dry playing high-stakes poker in the 1950’s and 60’s. Probably poker’s closest thing to a team like ‘The Avengers’. 

These illegal games were often run by criminals and so things could get heated. Brunson remembers literally staring down the barrel of a gun more than a few times – and he has seen 2 players get shot in the head at the table.

Dwayne Hamilton headed back to Fort Worth while the rest of the gang expanded to Oklahoma and Louisiana, playing bigger and bigger games. They would pool their funds for gambling, participating in the biggest games around.

After six years of dominating the southern poker rooms like this, and outrunning the law and the hijackers who preyed on winners of illegal big-money card games, the Texas Rounders had amassed a massive pool of funds.
And now they arrived in Las Vegas.

Doyle Brunson

Las Vegas

The Texas Rounders arrived in Sin City as legends, but were about to get a harsh reality check.
In fact, they quickly lost everything they had – a six-figure amount. Which was a hell of a lot back in those days.

Vegas had chewed them up and spat them back out. They decided to stop playing as partners, but remained friends, always watching each other’s back. 

Doyle however, did just fine on his own and was quickly becoming one of the major attractions in Vegas, as audiences would literally gather to see him play

Brunson would settle down in Las Vegas, and has been a solid component at the World Series of Poker since it first started back in 1970. He would mostly play at the Bellagio, which to this day remains his favorite spot.  

Doyle Brunson

Why is Doyle Brunson called “the Texas Dolly”?

The poker scene is full of nicknames – and players love to name fellow players – probably because it is easier to remember than real names and because it adds an element of fun.
And, honestly, why call a guy Tomas Austin Preston, when “Amarillo Slim” sounds so much cooler? 
There are some legendary nicknames out there, but the most famous nickname in poker of course belongs to the game’s biggest icon. But exactly why is Doyle Brunson called “the Texas Dolly”? It’s actually a funny story. 

Back in 1973, Doyle Brunson had a well-established relationship with a guy called Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder. Jimmy would later become famous for his part in CBSs “The NFL Today” throughout the 1980s, but in 1973 he was still just a gambling columnist for the Las Vegas Sun. Jimmy was covering the WSOP and therefore frequently mentioned Doyle Brunson’s accomplishments. But at the time, gambling was still frowned upon in Texas, and for that reason Brunson asked Snyder to use an alias – and so he would call him “Texas Doyle”. 

A member of the Associated Press picked up on an exchange between Brunson and Snyder, but misunderstood the nickname to be “Texas Dolly”, which then made the report and has since then gone down in history as a legendary poker nickname. 

Doyle Brunson’s Poker Winnings

Doyle “Texas Dolly” Bruson is often referred to as the ‘Godfather of Poker’. And this title makes sense, as he’s been around since the very beginning and very much made the game what it is today. After an entire lifetime of playing professional poker, it’s really not possible to summarize his winnings in one blogpost. But let’s have a look at some of his major wins. 

Brunson is believed to have won more than $6,100,000 playing at live tournaments. More than $3,000,000 of those comes from his impressive 37 cashes at the WSOP. He even won the WSOP main event 2 years in a row, and has won a total of 10 bracelets, which puts him in the top 3 of all players ever playing in the tournament.
His 10 WSOP bracelets are: 

1976: $5,000 Deuce to Seven Draw

1976: $10,000 No Limit Hold’em World Championship

1977: $5,000 Seven-Card Stud

1977: $10,000 No Limit Hold’em World Championship

1978: $5,000 Seven-Card Stud

1979: $600 Mixed Doubles No Limit Hold’em

1991: $2,500 No Limit Hold’em

1998: $1,500 Seven-Card Razz

2003: $2,000 H.O.R.S.E

2005: $5,000 No Limit Shorthanded Texas Hold’em 

Doyle Brunson

Super System – The Poker Bible

Doyle Brunson has given poker so much, but perhaps his biggest contribution came back in 1978 when he changed the game forever by writing and publishing the book ‘Super System – How I made over $1,000,000 playing poker”.

This was right after his back to back WSOP win and the book was the first comprehensive book on strategies for various poker games. The book became a huge success and is largely considered the “Bible of Poker”.
Even today it sells about 14,000 copies a month
In October of 2004, a second version was published called “Super System 2 – A Course in Power Poker”. This version featured updated lingo, new games & strategies as well as insights from, not only Doyle Brunson, but also other players like Daniel Negreanu. 

Doyle Brunson also has an autobiography called “The Godfather of Poker”. Surely a life like the one Brunson has lived needed to be told in a book and one could easily imagine this becoming a movie at some point as well. 

Doyle Brunson

Doyle Brunson’s Recent years

Doyle “Texas Dolly” Brunson really is a living legend and perhaps the biggest icon of poker. At the age of 87 he’s still going strong, although he has scaled back on the amount of games he plays. Doyle and his wife Louise still live in Las Vegas and if you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of this living legend in “Bobby’s Room” at the Bellagio. Although we wouldn’t recommend playing him. 

Doyle Brunson has no less than two hands in poker named after him.
One is the hand of a ten and a two, which was named after him because that’s the exact hand he had when winning both of his WSOP No Limit Hold’em Main Events in ‘76 and ‘77. In both cases giving him a full house.
The other one is when holding an ace and queen of any suit. This is because on page 519 of his book, Brunson famously wrote that he never plays this hand. 

Doyle Brunson

Brunson’s son, Todd Brunson, is also a professional poker player.
Doyle didn’t teach Todd to play, in fact Todd never knew how to play before going to Texas Tech University and learning on his own – perhaps from reading the Super System?
Todd left Texas Tech before his senior year and turned professional poker player.
In 2005, Todd won a WSOP bracelet in Omaha Hi-Lo, making Doyle and Todd the first father-son combination to win WSOP bracelets

The next Doyle Brunson?

Back in the day, Doyle Texas Dolly Brunson and the Texas Rounders had to pretty much risk their lives when playing poker in smoky back rooms against criminals and big time drug dealers.

Luckily though, things have changed today and if you and your friends want to play poker all you have to do is just download the free EasyPoker app. It’s by far the easiest way to play poker with friends, whether live or online. No chips or playing cards needed. 

It’s a digital version of a physical poker set. Create a private poker table with a single tap, and invite your friends to play by sharing the 4 digit game code. Poker with friends have never been easier. 

Doyle Brunson
Doyle Brunson

Want more poker player stories?

Here at Easypoker we really like talking to our users – and we really value your opinion.
If you have anything to add to this post, feel free to comment below. 

We also have a ton of other amazing poker stories, like the crazy story of Daniel Negeranu.
A highschool dropout that became what many believe to be the most successful and beloved poker players of all time.

Or perhaps the story of Mike Saxton,
“The Ambassador of Poker”. A professional poker player who became a commentator and was even inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame. 

Doyle Brunson

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