Poker Tips

This collection of poker tips was put together by Mike Sexton (commentator for the World Poker Tour), and Linda Johnson (a noted poker player and personality).

  • Pay attention
    Watch who's playing in an aggressive or loose way and who's playing tight, try to play the loose players and avoid the tight players, unless you've got a strong hand.
  • Watch the chips
    Always be aware of everyone's chip count. Know who has more chips than you and play more carefully against them - a mistake could knock you out. It's usually better to play pots with players who have fewer chips than you do.
  • No match
    If your cards don't match any of the community cards, throw your hand away when someone else bets.
  • Ace in the hand
    Don't play every time you have an ace in your hand. However, play an ace if it's accompanied by a card of the same suit or by a 10 or higher.
  • Hands to stay with before the flop
    Play with pairs (7-7, 9-9), two face cards (K-Q, Q-J), or hands that can make both a straight and a flush (8-9, 6-7 of the same suit). Be patient and fold other hands, unless you're in the blind.
  • Good hand? Bet strong
    In no-limit Texas Hold'em, players can bet all of their chips at any time, so bet aggressively when you have a good hand.
  • Watch and wait
    Play fewer hands when you're one of the first players to act, because you'll be 'out of position' and vulnerable to raises from the remaining players.
  • Wait your turn
    Do not act until it is your turn; play proceeds clockwise at the poker table.
  • Be a 'bettor,' not a 'caller'
    Being aggressive is good.
  • Call their bluff
    If someone raises in a late position (near or on the button), re-raise them a good amount if you are on the blind. Chances are, they don't have a big hand and they're just trying to steal your blinds. (This style of play, known as going 'over the top', is probably the strongest play one can make in no-limit Texas Hold'em.)
  • Be patient
    The biggest mistake most players make is to act too quickly. When you're making an important decision pause to think about how the betting has gone and what your opponent might have. Take your time.