Poker Strategy Articles

While the blog often focuses on particular example of a strategy or tactic, longer strategy and advice articles provide an opportunity to expand on a single concept or theme a little more. Please don’t hesitate to let me know topics you’d like to see discussed in future articles.

General Poker Strategy

Pre-Flop Hand Reading  Newly Posted!
It’s never too early to start hand reading! Learn how the pre-flop action can provide important clues to help you determine the best play on much later streets.

What Are You So Afraid Of?
Are you getting outplayed? Learn to think objectively about your fears and determine just what it would take for an opponent to exploit you.

The biggest risk in slowplaying isn’t losing the pot, it’s failing to build the pot. Learn when and why to check strong hands and when to bet them hard.

Out of Position Against a LAG
This in-depth analysis of a single hand illustrates important principles about one of the toughest situations in no-limit hold ’em: playing out of position against a good loose-aggressive opponent.

Bluff Cooler
This article introduces a new term to the poker lexicon and a new concept that will help you better analyze your bluffs, both the ones that work and the ones that do not.

Betting for Protection
It’s not just for fish anymore. Learn when and how to protect your hand in NLHE.

Thinking Ahead
Your plan for future streets should influence the cards that you choose to play on the current street. Find out how to choose the best hands for bluffing, 3-betting, and more!

Bluff Catching
Explore the game theory behind a common river situation and learn how to use concepts like blockers and range balancing to protect yourself from exploitation.

Capped Ranges
When you are sure your opponent can’t have the nuts, then you are virtually guaranteed good bluffing opportunities. Likewise, you should avoid playing in a way that makes it easy to exclude the nuts from your range. Find out how!

No Such Thing as a Free Hunch
Sometimes it is undesirable or nearly impossible to conceal the strength of your hand. This article discusses how to recognize such situations and the importance of charging your opponents the right price when you cannot avoid revealing such information.

How to Spot Level 3 Thinker
Maybe you know how to play against a Level 2 or 3 thinker, but how do you know if you’re up against one? This article is full of specific behavioral clues to watch for in your opponents that will help you determine how they are thinking and playing.

Continuation Betting for Advanced Players
By now, c-betting feels like the oldest play in the book. Everyone knows about it, and it seems like no one falls for it anymore. This article explains how to keep your continuation betting strategy up to date, even against the best of players.

Float On
You know how to bluff, and you know how to bluff-raise. But do you know how to bluff-call? It’s called a float, and it’s in every great player’s arsenal.

Hand Reading Made Simple
Sometimes figuring out where you stand is as simple as eliminating one type of hand from an opponent’s range. This article explains an easy method for determining what your opponents have and what you can do about it.

Debunking Myths About Implied Odds
Implied odds are one of the most important and misunderstood factors in big bet poker. Learn how possible future outcomes should influence your play on the current street.

Relative Hand Strength
When is the better hand not the better hand? When it’s drawing thin or dead to your opponent’s calling range. Sometimes, it’s better to be drawing than made but behind.

Real Time Equity
You can’t use an equity calculator at the table, but learning which factors affect your equity and how can help you to make better decisions in real time.

Value Flows Downstream
An advanced article about how the ability to make thin river value bets can generate extra fold equity for you on earlier streets.

De-Polarizing Your Turn Range
An advanced article about when, why, and how to mix up your range for firing a second barrel on the turn.

Creative Bet Sizing
Big bet poker is a game of options and creativity. There are a lot more options for bet sizing than fixed limit, and not all players take full advantage.

How to Bluff a Calling Station
Conventional wisdom holds that you should make more thin value bets against a very loose player but never bluff. I argue otherwise in this article.

Level-Headed Thinking
What does it mean to think on a deeper level than your opponent? Is it possible to overthink a hand of poker?

The Myth of Any Two Cards
The examples in this article aren’t the best, but I stand by the central claim.

Profitable ‘Mistakes’
Believe it or not, there are times when you want your bluffs to be called!

Your Opponents’ Arsenal Part 1: The Flop
Recognizing specific mistakes that your opponent will make on the flop can help you make better pre-flop decisions against him.

Your Opponents’ Arsenal Part 2: The Turn and River
Recognizing your opponents’ specific strengths and weaknesses on future streets can help you make better decisions now.

Making Tough Decisions
To make the toughest decisions about poker, you have to think about not just the cards you hold now but all of the cards that you could hold in this spot. The key to resolving these dilemmas is using one part of your range to protect another.

Thinking About Ranges
You probably know that you are supposed to put your opponent on a range of hands rather than one specific holding. But what exactly does that mean, and how should it affect your decision-making at the tables?

Calling for Information
Betting or raising purely for information is rarely a good idea, as you can often get the same information by calling if you know what to look for.

Tournament Poker

Standard Bet Sizes Newly Posted!
Stop playing like a robot and use your head! Varying your bet sizes doesn’t have to mean giving away information about your hand, and it is one of the most valuable tools available to you in a NLHE tournament.

Improving Your MTT Skills
Hone your short-handed skills and your multi-tabling practices to make the most of every final table appearance.

Profitable Situations
My favorite strategy article I’ve written. A succinct and fairly comprehensive introduction to what is in the back of my mind whenever I play a hand of poker. Included in An Anthology of 2+2 Wisdom on Multi-Table Tournaments.

Attacking and Defending Dead Money in Tournament Poker
An introduction to my basic philosphy for tournament play.

The Last Bet
An explication of how and when to apply aggression in mid- to late-game tournament situations.

Hidden Costs in Tournament Poker
In this article, I reveal an often over-looked piece of information that can help you make good decisions about when to call, when to steal, and when to re-steal.

Game Selection for Tournament Players
A discussion of the factors to consider when deciding which of the thousands of poker tournaments available every day you should play.

Making Quick Reads in Tournaments
This article will suggest several strategies for formulating preliminary profiles of new opponents and adapting your play accordingly.

Ten Tips for Improving Your Bubble Play
A somewhat dated guide to abusing weak players (and sometimes strong players) on the money bubble.

Knowing is (Only) Half the Battle
Some betting lines reveal more than others. Against good players, it is important to find ways to keep your own ranges wide while defining theirs.

World Series of Poker

Your First World Series of Poker
A beginner’s guide to the World Series of Poker, including a discussion of whether to play at all and how to handle the practical and psychological issues that may arise when playing outside of your bankroll.

Top 10 WSOP Mistakes Than Even Good Players Make: How to Adjust to Deep Stacks
In the main event, players begin with 20,000 in chips, and blinds start at 50-100. You can put away your unexploitable push/fold charts, because with 120 minute levels, you’ll be playing real poker well into Day 2…

WSOP Trip Reports
In our Trip Reports section you’ll find narrative accounts of WSOP’s past.


Three Days in Madrid  Newly Posted!
A sequel to Gray Friday, this article recounts my play during EPT Madrid as well as some larger thoughts about poker.

Gray Friday
This is one of the most personal pieces I’ve written, the product of several days of introspection following the sudden loss of online poker in the United States. This article ended up forming the basis of a profile on ESPN.

How I Became a Poker Player
No strategy content here, but hopefully an enjoyable story of my early involvement with poker and the fortuitous events that set me on my way.

10 thoughts on “Poker Strategy Articles

  1. Hi Thinking Poker,
    My name is Hugo and I work for Mango Publishing. I came across your blog and I thought that the content could make for a pretty cool book. If you’re interested, let me know and we can jump on a quick call to talk about the partnership.

    Thanks and sorry for the late-night email,

  2. Hi Thinking Poker
    Your articles are really deep stuff. You are really thinking poker. I was reading your protection bet. I don’t fully understand the two examples. For example. I don’t understand why in the example 1 AK is not strong enough to be bluff catcher while in example 2, it is. The oponent’s range is weaker in example 1 than 2. So I thought AK is a lot stronger than example 2 where his oponent’s range is a lot stronger for being tight.
    Could you explain a little more about it ? Thanks a lot

  3. Hello Thinking Poker,

    A topic I would like to see discussed is when to change seats at the table. Recently I was in a 9 handed game getting brutalized by suck outs. I had position and was getting in good and there were really no maniacs to worry about position. However, after the 5th straight loss to 4 outs or less I decided to move seats. The next two players to sit down in my vacated seat won over $1,600 in just over 2 hours while I languished to stay even. Any thoughts??

    • Changing seats is not going to make suck-outs any more or less likely. There are other reasons you might want to move, to change your position relative to a certain player for instance, but it’s not going to change your cards or your luck.

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