If you want to be a better poker player you need to take action. It can be difficult to make a plan when you have to deal with the everyday busyness of life, so I’ve put together a list of things you can do to improve your poker results.

The list has 30 steps, so you can do one each day for the next month. Most of them can be done or learned in a few minutes, and each one can be done in a day. This way you don’t have to waste time coming up with your own list; just plug and play.

1 – Stop Playing AK like AA

I’m always amazed when a player plays AK as aggressive as they play AA.

Most of this comes from watching televised poker tournaments where players on a shorter stack move all in with AK.

It makes some sense to play it that way as a short stack in a tournament, but in the early stages of a tournament or in a cash game it’s a terrible way to play.

You should enter with a raise, but if you don’t improve on the flop you should proceed with caution. I’m not willing to go broke with a hand as weak as AK, and you shouldn’t either.

2 – Stop Bluffing

It’s a drastic change for most poker players, but I bet your results will instantly improve if you simply stop bluffing.

Most players bluff too much, and it costs them money. Most poker players lose money too.

I believe there’s a direct correlation between bluffing too much and being a losing player.

Eventually you need to start making an occasional bluff to keep your opponents honest, but don’t rush to add it back to your game. And when you do start bluffing again, only do it once per playing session.

3 – Play Fewer Hands

Most poker players play too many hands. And just like in the last section, when I mentioned that most poker players lose, there’s a correlation here too.

Poker is a complicated game to win consistently, but one way to improve your chances is to enter the pot with a better hand than your opponent.

The only way to do this is to increase the average value of your starting hands. When you play fewer hands you only play your best ones.

This raises the average value or your starting hands.

4 – Stop Chasing Second Best Hands

How often do you see a poker player chase a flush or straight, only to see their hand beat by a better one? How often do you do this?

I see players chasing second and third best hands all of the time, particularly flushes. But I also see them chase the low end of a possible straight.

Sometimes when they hit their hand they win, but sometimes they lose.

The mistake is investing too much money in a hand when you’re drawing toward a better hand, when that hand might not win even when you hit it.

This is how losing players play poker. Try to do the opposite of what losing players do.

5 – Learn about Pot Odds

Pot odds are the building block that any poker player can use to improve their results. They can tell you when a potential play is profitable and when it’s unprofitable. And pot odds are easy to learn.

But most players are too lazy to learn how to use them. You can quickly find out more about poker pot odds with a quick internet search and once you learn how to use them once, you can use them every single time you play poker in the future.

6 – Specialize

Many poker players jump from game to game, limit to no limit, and from cash games to tournaments, without thinking a second thing about it.

This is acceptable if you’re a winning player, but why would you do it if you haven’t figured out how to beat one game at one limit in one format?

Pick a game, limit, and format, and become the absolute best player possible.

Figure out how to crush your current situation before looking for something else.

When you specialize you can dedicate all of your time, energy, and resources, to becoming the best you can.

This is a smart use of your resources.

7 – Read a Poker Book

Most poker players don’t read books about poker. And, once again, most poker players lose. Do you see a pattern?

Even if you don’t enjoy reading, you can read one poker book every month if you simply take 15 to 30 minutes every day to read.

Look at the best selling poker books on Amazon, or look through some of the books 2+2 publishing has released over the years.

8 – Find Some Losers

The fact is that if you play poker against losing players it increases your chances to win.

If you always play against people better than you, it might increase your skills, but it’s going to cost you a great deal of money.

Look for poker games with the worst possible players and jump in as fast as you can.

You still need to work on improving your game as much as possible, but there’s no reason to do while losing money.

9 – Learn about Position

Each position at the poker table has a value, just like each starting hand has a value.

Most players have at least a little understanding of the different values of starting hands, but few seem to have any clue about the value of position.

Early position has less value than middle position, and middle position has less value than late position.

This means you should play most of your hands from late position, and only a few from early position.

If you don’t understand why playing KQs from early position is a mistake, learn more about poker position before you play another hand.

10 – Fold More on the Flop

When you see the flop in a Texas holdem game, you can see five out of the seven cards you have to make a poker hand.

At this point you should have a good idea how strong your hand is, and you should be able to make an educated guess as to whether the hand is profitable to continue with or is going to lose more often than win.

It’s easy to be optimistic about your chances to win, but you can use simple math to determine the value of most hands once you see the flop.

Instead of chasing an unprofitable draw or hope your opponent is bluffing, fold your poor hands on the flop so you don’t lose more money on the turn and river.

11 – Play below Your Bankroll

Every poker player has losing sessions. Most poker players have losing weeks. This is true even for the best poker players in the world. Poker is a game where you put your money in the pot with a small edge and trust the percentages to work out in the long run.

The reason why it’s important to understand this is because if you don’t keep enough money in your bankroll to cover the down swings you’re going to go broke.

Make sure you have at least 10 times the amount you usually buy in to a game with if you play cash games. 20 times is much better.

Tournament players should also have at the minimum 10 tournament buy in payments.

Most poker players play when they have money, and wait until they have more to play again. Set aside a real bankroll and only use it for poker.

12 – Learn about Expected Value

Every decision you make while playing poker either makes you money or loses in the long run. Even when the cards go against you, it’s important to make the most profitable decision every time. The positive or negative long term outcome of every decision can be defined with something called expected value.

On day 5 you learned about pot odds. Once you understand pot odds it’s easy to continue your education and learn about expected value. Once you master expected value, your results are going to instantly improve.

13 – Learn about Tells

One of the most famous books about poker tells is Caro’s Book of Poker Tells. I highly recommend it to everybody who plays the game.

But don’t fall into the trap of thinking it’s a book that just tells you how to read other players.

It’s important to learn how to spot tells in other players, but the most important thing to learn is how not to give tells when you’re playing.

As you learn how to read other players, take a close and honest look at yourself to make sure you never give away any information about the strength of your hand.

14 – Fold Small Pocket Pairs

In no limit Texas holdem, one of the most powerful hidden hands is when you start with a pocket pair and hit a set. These hands are usually quite profitable, especially against a pre flop aggressor.

Once a player learns how powerful a set is, they look for reasons to play all pocket pairs. I used to do this as well, including small pocket pairs.

Small pocket pairs are 22, 33 and 44. Some players include 55, but I usually include it in the middle pocket pairs group, depending on the game.

The reason I stopped playing small pocket pairs in most games is because I was watching Doyle Brunson pay in a big cash game and he folded them.

I don’t remember if he said something on the broadcast or if I found more information in one of his books, but what I learned from him changed my game.

When you hit a set in Texas holdem, you try to get as much money in the pot as possible. You want to create as big of a pot as possible when you have a big hand.

But when you have a set created from a small pocket pair, sometimes you’re going to lose to a higher set. And when you do, it’s a big loss.

It’s better to simply fold them and wait for a better hand.

15 – Get on the Right Side of Trap Hands

Earlier you learned about chasing second and third bets hands, and in the last section you learned about small pocket pairs. These are two examples of trap hands.

Another example is hitting a flush with two suited cards on the board that can give someone a flush on the turn or river, and you don’t have the flush possibility.

Yet another type of trap hand is when you’re drawing to a better hand and are trapped between two players who keep raising.

You make the first call and then are forced to keep calling or folding and losing your first call.

Every time you realize you’re on the wrong side of a trap hand learn from the experience and try to avoid it in the future. You need to trap other players and avoid being trapped.

16 – No Limit Is Glamorous but Limit Is Easier

No limit Texas holdem is popular because of television and because players get a rush from shoving all of their chips into the pot. But the truth is that it’s easier to learn how to beat limit Texas holdem.

It’s easier to predict the pot size, pot odds, and your chance of winning in a limit game. Basically, you’re dealing with fewer variables.

You can break everything in a poker hand down mathematically, and fewer variables make it easier to do so. I suggest mastering limit holdem before playing no limit.

17 – Learn to Put Opponents on a Range of Hands

One of the big steps any poker player can take to improving their game is to learn how to make an educated guess about the range of hands their opponent has.

When you can narrow down your opponent’s possible range of hands you can use pot odds and expected value to make profitable decisions.

You need to use a combination of what you know about your opponent and the exact situation in the hand. It’s not easy, but with experience you can get better at predicting what your opponent holds.

18 – Start Taking Notes

For years I didn’t pay much attention to my opponents. I just played each session using the current information I had. If you’re a good player, you can do this and turn a profit.

Eventually I started taking notes on players who I played against, especially those I played against over and over. As I started paying attention and learning more about my opponents it helped me make more profitable decisions when I was in a big hand against them.

In hindsight, it makes perfect sense to gather and use as much information as possible, but it took me several year to start doing it. Don’t make the same mistake with your opponents.

19 – Set a Poker Goal

Many people benefit from setting goals. If you ask the majority of poker players what their goal is, they might say it’s to win. But a good goal needs to be more specific and it needs to be measurable.

My first big poker goal was to be able to beat the rake. I tracked my play for a year and found that I was able to beat the rake, by turning a small overall profit for the year. This wasn’t a flashy goal, but it was specific and measurable.

Set a poker goal for the short and / or long term. Figure out how to reach your goal and then take the steps to make it happen.

20 – Freerolls

A poker freeroll can mean two things. The first thing is when you enter a tournament that doesn’t have an entry fee. But the one I’m talking about here is the second kind of freeroll.

The second type of freeroll is when you have a winning hand that an opponent may also hold, but you have a chance to improve your hand where your opponent can’t.

Holding the nut straight with a chance to improve to a flush is a common freeroll opportunity.

Learn which hands can lead to freeroll opportunities and look for situations where you can use these hands to get all your money in the middle.

21 – Treat Poker like a Business

If you want to be a winning poker player you need to stop playing as a hobby. A business needs to make a profit and keeps track of the money coming in and going out.

Start treating your poker play like a business, figure out exactly what you need to do to start turning a profit, and start doing it today.

22 – JJ is the same as 88

Pocket jacks are a dangerous hand. A pocket pair of face cards looks good, but most flops have at least one card higher than a jack.

When you start with 88, you know you need to hit a set to have a good chance to win. You need to start playing JJ just like 88, instead of assuming it can hold up unimproved.

23 – Small Suited Connectors Suck

Small suited connectors can help you make a straight or a flush, but the flush is never the nut flush unless you hit a straight flush, and the straight is often not a nut straight either.

It’s true that small suited connectors play better against pocket aces or kings than most other hands, but it’s still a weak hand.

It’s better to fold them and wait for a better opportunity.

24 – Eat Better

While your diet might not seem like it has much to do with poker, the truth is if you take care of your body it can help your mind. Start eating better and consider exercising to help keep your body in shape and your min sharp. Your poker results won’t suffer from taking care of yourself.

25 – Get a Coach

Top performers in many occupations use a coach to improve their performances. A coach can help you see things you might miss and they help you stay accountable.

Make sure you take your time and find a coach that fits your personality, but when you find a good one they can help you make fast improvements in your game.

26 – Track Your Play

If you want to know if your play is improving, you need to track your results. This can be as simple as tracking your win and loss amounts, but I suggest taking it a step further.

Here’s a list of things to track:

  • Game and limit
  • Buy in amount
  • Win or loss for the session
  • Where you play
  • How long you play
  • When you play
  • Opponent notes

27 – Fold Less on the River

By the time you reach the river you should fold any hand that doesn’t have a chance to win.

If you get to the river you should tend to call all bets unless you missed a draw.

If you find you’re losing too often when you call on the river, you need to get away from more losing hands on the flop and turn.

28 – Learn Why Aggressive Play Works

Aggressive play is better than passive play because it gives you an extra way to win. When you bet and raise, you can win when your opponent folds, and you can’t win this way when you check and call.

But you can’t be aggressive in every situation. Learn when you can be aggressive and when it’s more profitable to not be aggressive.

29 – Play the Opposite of Your Competition

Tight and aggressive play is generally believed to be the best way to play poker, and in many games this is true. But most games are filled with loose passive players.

It’s usually most profitable to play the opposite of your opposition, so figure out how the table is playing and play the opposite for the most part.

30 – Play at a Lower Level

The competition changes as you move from level to level. Drop down to the buy in level below where you currently play to see what it does to your results. Sometimes you can make more at a lower level overall, even when you can beat your current level.


Start using this list today, and by simply learning one thing a day for the next month you can improve your results at the poker table.

You don’t have the excuse of not having time to create a list, so dedicate a small amount of time every day for the next month and your poker profits and bankroll will be better off.

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