How Do You Go From Being an Online Player to a WSOP Winner?

Becoming a WSOP Winner

The first ever amateur poker player to win the World Series of Poker Main Event was Chris Moneymaker in 2003. The American qualified for the tournament through an online satellite and bested 838 other players to win $2.5 million. This moment is credited with kick-starting the online poker craze which boomed in the 2000s. It suddenly became clear that unknown poker players had a chance to win against the professionals and become a WSOP winner. In the modern age, a lot of poker players now learn the game online. They then take their skills to Las Vegas to compete for the ultimate prize. How can the average player replicate these people and have a chance of winning big?

Chris Moneymaker Started a New Era in Poker

Prior to Moneymaker’s success at the paramount poker competition in the world, it was almost exclusively for elite players. Regular tournament names included the likes of Stu Ungar, Johnny Chan, and Doyle Brunson. People with knowledge of the game could have a decent stab at predicting who the final table. But when Moneymaker made the world realise that it was possible for anyone to compete in the competition, it paved the way for a brand new type of player to emerge.

This began a trend where players would train for a lengthy period of time online before taking their skills to live games. Because people were playing at online poker rooms where they couldn’t see their opponents and try to read their behaviour, they had to rely on other techniques in order to increase their chances of winning. This brought about a new breed of poker players who could be considered mathematical geniuses.

The modern player needs to be able to quickly calculate their odds of winning based on the number of outs. At the same time, they are considering their pot odds in relation to how much they have already invested. They are also assessing theirs and their opponents’ stack sizes. There are many variables that need to be taken into account in every hand that some players have got the game down to an almost exact science.

Perhaps the best indicator that poker can now be played in a scientific way with strategy and methodology prevailing over luck is the fact that artificial intelligence has mastered the game. Pluribus, an AI machine designed by boffins at Carnegie Mellon University, recently managed to beat the likes of Darren Elias and Chris Ferguson in a game of six-hand poker.

Scott Blumstein is a Recent Success Story

Caption: Scott Blumstein won the 2017 WSOP when he hit a deuce on the river.

Since the poker boom, a number of WSOP Main Event winners have been players who started off playing online before trying their hand against the pros in Vegas. One of the most recent examples of this type of player is Scott Blumstein. He came out on top against 7,220 other players in 2017 and took home $8.15 million. Prior to completing the ultimate endurance test and winning the world’s premier poker tournament over three days, Blumstein racked up a decent amount of earnings online during his college days.

Blumstein has almost $150,000 in online earnings. Most of which he gained from grafting regularly while studying for his accounting course at Temple University. It took some time to accrue this amount of money, and Blumstein cleverly opted to up the stakes as his bankroll increased. He managed to put himself into a position where the $10,000 buy-in to the WSOP made financial sense. He was well rewarded for his investment.

Is It Possible to Replicate Their Triumphs?

The great news for aspiring poker pros who want to take on the best in the business at the WSOP is the fact that anyone who is dedicated enough has the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of players like Moneymaker and Blumstein. Moneymaker was slightly more fortunate than the latter, as he won a competition for a place in the tournament. Blumstein took the approach of a number of professionals and steadily grew his bankroll while gaining vital experience at the same time.

Players who are serious about reaching the big time can use Legal Betting to find a list of the best online poker sites in 2020. This method means that players can find bonuses to get them started in the game. It can prove fruitful if they want to start building up their bankroll straight away by playing in low stakes tournaments.

Poker is a game which requires a lot of practice and patience. Players can play and watch training videos to improve. It also takes a lot of time to get to the top. The beauty is that anyone can win the WSOP Main Event if they put their mind to it. The best option would be to try to replicate Blumstein’s success. Become an expert online before entering the Vegas competition and you may be the next WSOP winner.

The featured image is from Chris Malinao Burgett/ @norestinthewild

Good Poker Habits to Get Into

Good Poker Habits

In addition to learning poker strategy, gaining experience and developing as a player, there are some good poker habits to get into. They will increase your hourly win rate and ROI. This article will detail 7 good poker habits to take your overall game further.

Rest Well

Poker is a tough mental game that can take its toll on you. Ask any tournament player at the end of a tournament day. They’re shattered. Getting plenty of sleep is necessary in order to ensure you’re mentally sharp so you can make good decisions. Playing tired will increase chances of mistakes, tilt and ultimately cost you money.

Track and Monitor Results

Many poker players just play. They don’t actually record keep or monitor performance one month to the next. I was like this at the very beginning. Whilst this mentality doesn’t impact your actual technical game, it is still a good poker habit to get into. You should be able to compare month on month and year on year so you can gauge progress. If you are winning less than 12 months ago, then you can look at reasons why and tackle the problem. Tracking your results is a must for anyone playing reasonable volume. Check out my poker excel spreadsheet article. It shows how you can use spreadsheets to track results. We also offer monthly reporting as a standalone product if you’re interested.

Hand History Reviews

Most online professionals don’t sit on their winning game and assume they’re the best. They continuously review and think about their game, looking for ways to better themselves. A hand history review is where you download hands or record a session and watch it back. It’s a great tool for improving as you see things after that didn’t come to you in real time. Perhaps you incorrectly calculated pot odds or didn’t pay attention to the flop bet from your opponent. This portion is not meant to be a plug for our hand history review service, but feel free to check out if you are interested in discussing and reviewing hands you’ve played. Most of the players I perform hand history reviews with record hands from a session and upload. I then watch and narrate, pause and give advice and insights to help. Check out our hand history review page for more information.

Understand Odds Better

Drill down into it and poker is a game of numbers, maths, probability and odds. You need to familiarise yourself with the odds so much that they become intuitive. There are different types of odds you need to learn (pre-flop showdowns, calculating outs and pot odds). They are all important and will help your long term ROI. If you are interested in other forms of gambling, you should already be familiar with odds. These skills are transferable to poker. You can bone on up these skills at the most reliable and trustworthy sports betting sites according to

Take Notes on Opponents

Taking notes on poker opponents is a must. We recently wrote an article dedicated to this topic. It helps you make better decisions and will undoubtedly increase your ROI. Without notes, you are playing only on memory and it’s almost like playing a stranger. With notes, you have more of an idea of how that player plays. I tend to colour tag players based on what I see. It’s a simple and effective way to categorise players. Obviously, you must be open to amending their notes as you know more.

Take Your Time Over Decisions

Online poker is very fast paced and it’s easy to play quickly. This is a blessing and a curse. Yes, you want to see more hands and earn more money, but sometimes it’s better to stop for a moment and think. When you act fast, you may miss the trees from the woods and make mistakes. If you take your time, you are more likely to give proper consideration to the situation and make the correct decision. This is an important skill to develop and a great poker habit to get into.

Think Ahead

You can distinguish the great chess players by how far ahead they can accurately predict their opponents moves. This foresight and forward thinking skill can be transferred to poker. One should already be planning ahead for the hand. For instance, you may lead out with Qs 9s on a Kd Qd 8c with intention of folding to raise on flop, betting again on a non diamond turn and giving up on diamonds or Ax turns. Notice the line of thinking. You already have a plan for most reactions from your opponent. Already considering the next play is a great poker habit as it means you are prepared. You won’t be taking aback and will have a good idea of what to do next. This skill can really help your game.

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How to Determine Trustworthy Gambling Websites in 2020?

Gambling Sites 2020

If you are new to the world of online betting, looking at the list of the best or even reputable casinos feels overwhelming. Each review has different sites listed and you probably don’t know who to trust. In this article, we will show you how to find the best gambling sites for you and your needs. The mission of websites like WeGamble is to provide a different and unique perspective on the world of gambling that should ease the whole process.

The Most Important Ranking Factor of Online Casinos

As we previously mentioned, the lists of top casino sites might feel overwhelming. Although most of the reviews list the parameters they used to rank those sites, we don’t know the most important ones among them. Therefore, we can’t rank the sites on our own, and we have to trust the reviewer unconditionally. But, if we knew the strength of individual parameters, we would know how to rate the site on our own.

The most important ranking factor for online gambling sites is the trustworthiness of the site. The best welcome offer, the biggest collection of casino games, and amazing user experience are worthless if you registered on the site which is not legit.

How to check is the site legit? There are a few ways, and you should combine all of them. First, there are user reviews online. However, if you are suspicious of sponsored content you see online, you should be suspicious when reading user reviews. Many of them are sponsored by competition, or simply not true. Many gamblers are quick to register when they see a great offer, but they don’t read the Terms and Conditions of the site, wagering requirements, and other important info, and then they feel scammed. You should always read everything you can about the particular casino before making your final judgement.

Do The Research

You should also check if the casino is licensed and by which gambling authority. By doing small research there you will definitely find the answer fast, but we recommend reading customer reviews anyway. Although most of the popular casinos in 2020 are generally trustworthy, you can come across some things you don’t like, regarding payment methods, wagering requirements, waiting time after you make a withdrawal request, and similar things. Therefore, reading user reviews is good, but always take them with the grain of salt.

The Best Site Must Follow Your Preferences

After we learned how to recognise scamming websites, we need to find the best partner for our online gambling adventure. Like we stated at the beginning of this article, you can find numerous reviews. Reviews of casinos, casino games, and gambling providers, but in most of them, you will find different sites at the top. That should tell you two things: first, it is really hard to make a definite list of the best online casinos, and second, the lists are different because ranking criteria is different on each of those reviews.

The solution is – ask yourself what is the most important thing you expect to find at the chosen casino website. Is it free spins? A great welcome bonus? Lots of casino games to choose from? The beautiful design or user experience, and then search for the best online casinos in that particular category. You will find out that searching for the easiest wagering requirements or the best welcome bonus will give you more consistent results. After that, you can register an account at the desired online casino and get the best experience based on your preferences. Of course, we always recommend going further and not sticking with one casino. There is plenty of fish in the sea. By widening your preferences, you will certainly stumble upon more great online casinos. Some of which will give you the best possible experience.


We learned that finding the best gambling site in 2020 requires more work than it seems. Also, your favourite might not be the site which is topping the most of the best gambling site lists. You need to figure out your preferences and what is the most important thing for you. Once you know, you will easily choose the perfect gambling partner, based on those preferences. If you repeat that process for each casino you choose, you will never feel robbed or think that you registered at a scamming website.

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Texas Hold’em Strategy for Beginners – 8 Practical Tips to Winning

Texas Hold’em Strategy for Beginners

If you’re new to Texas Hold’em and still learning the basics, you may feel a bit overwhelmed with the information around. Don’t worry, every professional started the same place you are now. There is an abundance on information available to you that can help you improve but there’s no use running before you walk. This article on Texas Hold’em strategy for beginners will provide 8 practical tips to help you start crushing the low stakes games online.

One Table

As you’re new to poker and learning the rules, it’s wise to stick to one table initially. This may seem a little boring or tedious but trust me, it’s in your interest. Texas Hold’em is more complex than you think and requires full attention. Once you have mastered one table and play to a decent standard, you will be able to start increasing the number of tables but please play one to start with. Your bankroll will be all the better for it.

Table & Game Selection

You are probably a tournament or cash game player but not both yet, right? Either way, select your games carefully. Don’t just jump into any game. Like anything, if you are worse, you are more likely to lose. Instead, pick the cash games with higher % of players at flop and bigger pots. If you’re a tournament player, stick to the sites that are generally softer.

No Limping

One of the most common traits of a beginner is to flat call before the flop. This is known as “limping” and is widely considered poor poker strategy. Presented with 3 options before the flop, open limping (to enter the pot with a call), is the worst of all 3 options. It’s much better to raise and take control of a pot or just get out of the pot than to enter with a flat call. Without going into great detail, limping will get you into lots of difficult situations and cause you to get run over by regulars. If you are keen to learn more about why limping is bad. Read our article “Limp in poker and why it’s almost always bad”.

Use Late Position

You may have heard that playing on the button is the best, without understanding why. Simply put, it’s the best position because you’re last to act on every round of betting post flop. This privileged position means you get to see everyone else’s actions before deciding to invest more money or tournament chips. This means you can play more hands than you would in other positions. When I say “use late position”, I mean raise from it, call more raises from late position and bet flops when checked to. It’s the best seat at any poker table and will make you more money than any other position.

Be Careful with Ace Rag

Beginners get a little too excited when they are dealt an ace. Whilst it’s the best card to be dealt, the card that comes with it is equally as important. There’s no use playing big pots with ace two off suit as you’re always going to be at a disadvantage. If you are playing ace rag, be careful if you hit top pair, the second card (kicker) will often fail you and cause you to lose more money. This is arguably one of the biggest reason’s beginners lose to nitty low stakes regulars. They can’t get away from ace rag. Check out a previous article on ace rag here.

Play Small

Like most things in the 21st century, there is almost too many options available. Login into any major poker site and you will see countless games running at different stakes. As you’re new to Texas Hold’em, don’t get excited and play higher stakes than your ability. Instead, start small at the micro stakes. Work up a bankroll and move up gradually, in line with your ability. Winners at low to high stakes will prey on beginners who take shots. Don’t be one of them. Your day will come when you will be playing with them and hopefully have an edge.

Be Aggressive

One of the most important pieces of Texas Hold’em strategy I can impart is to be aggressive. There are lots of ways to be a winner at poker but none of them, to my knowledge, involve playing timidly. You need to be aggressive when you play pots. A tight aggressive style will help you beat the micro and low stakes games still. Tight aggressive poker means playing fewer hands but assertively. It requires you take control of pots by open raising and betting post flop. This Texas Hold’em strategy for beginners is mathematically sound. If you are playing better hands than your opponents, for bigger pots, you should expect to win in the long run.

Watch Poker Training Videos

A little plug for our poker training video membership here. Watching, listening and learning from experts will undoubtedly help you improve at Texas Hold’em. Our poker training video membership is exclusively focused on Texas Hold’em. With over 16 hours of video content, you can learn tips, secrets and insights that will help you beat low stakes tournaments and cash games. It’s an efficient time saving device as you can learn effective strategy that might take another beginner several years to learn properly. For more information and to join, click the join below or click the banner for more information.

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If you enjoyed this article perhaps you’d be interested in our poker cheat sheet article? You can download it for free too!

Poker Cooler – You Can’t Escape Them, or Can You?

Poker Cooler

We’ve all had them and they sting, don’t they? There are few worse feelings in poker than being on the wrong side of a cooler. You think you’re about to rake this huge pot and end up losing. Often, you can’t control anything to do with a poker cooler. You can control how you react to them. Some people will quit a session superstitiously believing “it’s not my day”, others will go on tilt whilst a seasoned professional or experienced poker player will shrug it off. This article will look at what a poker cooler is, a personal cooler story, examples of coolers, a brief look at probability and famous televised coolers.

Beginner Texas Hold’em Question

What is a Cooler in Poker

A cooler is a term used to describe a scenario where two or more poker players have very strong hands matched up e.g. flush vs full house. It’s a hand that will cost you money or chips, not because you’ve played badly but because of being on the wrong side of the luck element.

My Cooler Story

Many years ago, I was planning on playing what I considered a big live tournament (£1,000 buy in). I was only 19 years old and never played for these kinds of stakes before and wanted to get some deeper stacked, slower paced live tournament experience.  

I found a great £300 tournament in London that seemed perfect. An hour on the train, a few tubes stops and I was there at Gutshot poker club, eager to play. I was already thinking this tournament is perfect for me. I will play solid and let people blow up into me. Tournament poker rewards those who are patient in the early stages and the aggressive later on so I felt good about my chances.

The tournament begins..

It was about 15 minutes in and pocket threes are dealt to me. There was a raise and a few calls and I called from the blinds. The flop came out a beautiful 2d 3d 9c. I was going for the standard and predictable check-raise line. My plan was coming together, the initial raiser had continuation bet and I wasted no time in getting making a raise. You’d think most people would only flat with overpairs facing a check raise this early on.When my opponent put in a re raise of my check raise, I was still not concerned about pocket nines. I went ahead and got my stack in, instantly called and the first person out of the tournament. I paid £20 per minute I was in the tournament.

On the way home

I mulled over whether I played the hand correctly or not on the train home. It was a long ride. Was that hand worth £300 or should I have played it differently? Perhaps I could have played a little slower given it was so early on? Always perform an audit and examination of a cooler hand to find out whether you were unlucky or misplayed it.

Examples of Poker Coolers

Pocket Aces against pocket Kings

This is the most standard of coolers in poker. You have the second-best possible hand in Texas Hold’em. Few professionals have ever folded pocket kings pre-flop. Have you? It’s incredibly hard. Even when all the evidence points to them having pocket aces, you find yourself stacking off.

Set over set

As with my cooler story, flopping a set and being up against a higher set is incredibly unlucky. There are the odd occasion when the board run out may save you e.g. a flush possible or 4 card straight. But generally, you will just have to pay it off.

Flush against higher flush

I am referring to when the board shows 3 of a suit and you both have 2 of a suit in your hand. This is another one of those unfortunate situations. If you are the one holding a smaller flush, sometimes it’s best to be prudent, particularly if your opponent plays fit or fold and is betting and raising.

Swings & Roundabouts

On a positive note, volume in poker is the great equaliser. Play enough and you will see everything happen. Its simple probability isn’t it? You will be on the good side of coolers and be on the bad side too. When you get out of the way from a few spots when you’re on the wrong side, you’ve made money. After all, money saved is the same as money won, particularly in scenarios where 99% of players would lose.

Is it Possible to Avoid Coolers?

First of all, we need to establish that it is in fact a cooler. Most casino card-rooms and online poker forums are littered with poker players claiming “I lost to a cooler“. More often than not, it isn’t one, or, they should not have been involved in the hand in the first place. Calling a raise with K8 offsuit out of position, flopping K-8-Q and losing to K-Q or Q-Q is tough, but you misplayed the hand and had no business being involved.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but you can’t easily avoid poker coolers. If you can’t handle them, feel free to look at other games online for your fun, but make sure you get a casino bonus. It’s the law of odds. On the other hand, facing a very tight opponent with no inclination to bluffing and also reads the board well, then you may be able to fold and avoid a cooler, but it’s not easy! It takes a lot of practice and gut instinct to avoid them.

Consider is whether the hand that beats you is more likely than any others. A nitty opponent who has raised from the under gun and putting in lots of raises and bets on a Q-T-J is very possibly sitting there with big slick, so 8-9 might be easier to fold than you think.

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Famous Televised Poker Coolers

To help you fee a bit better, check out a couple of famous televised coolers below. Even Phil Ivey runs bad sometimes!

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Sports Betting Tips for New Players

Sports Betting Tips

With lock-down measures easing around the world, sports are slowly coming back. With it, comes the sports lovers need to gamble on the events, have fun and hopefully make money. The football season may have just ended but it’s just a few weeks before the major leagues start their new seasons. The US Open is starting in a few days and boxing is thriving with Povetkin scoring an upset knock out over Dillian Whyte in Essex. Whatever sport you’re into, there’s something for you. But are you maximising your chances of winning? This article will provide some useful sports betting tips to help your chances next time you have a flutter.

Pick the Right Sportsbook

The gambling market is saturated with sportsbooks. There are so many options available it can be overwhelming to a new sports bettor. Sites like Bettinglounge are dedicated to providing information on the best betting sites around. This means the most ethical, best value and best operationally too. Don’t just pick the first sportsbook you come across, do some research and sign up to the one that will treat you as their number one customer.

Sign up for Bonuses

If you are signing up to a new site and not getting any bonuses, you’re doing something wrong. All the major sites should offer bonuses in exchange for your custom. This can come in the form of a free bet or matched deposit. Either way, you should be taking advantage of these bonuses. It’s free money! Why wouldn’t you? There’s nothing better than winning money on a free bet.

Find Your Niche

Did you know that there are over 200 recognised sports? It’s amazing that there is such a variety of games for people to play, watch and bet on isn’t it? This is a problem when it comes to betting though. Generally, those who win from sports betting know something about the field. They have a dedicated interest in it and know intimate knowledge that gives them some kind of edge. I recommend sticking to betting on a sport that you know well. Otherwise, you may as well just play roulette.

The old saying “knowledge is power” is true for gambling too. A football fan who knows that West Ham United are terrible at home with an injury to a key player can profit with astute betting. Stick to betting on sports you know well and you will have a better chance of earning.

Sports Betting Forums

There’s a wealth of knowledge available from other sports bettors. Some are professional and are paid for their tips. Sports betting forums are a great place to learn about betting, how to identify when a bet is good and when odds are in your favour. A quick google search brings up over 6.8 million results. Why not join a community and enhance your knowledge of betting?  

Know When to Stop

It’s easier said than done for some people, but knowing when to stop is an important skill in all forms of gambling. Don’t gamble with money you can ill afford to lose, when drunk or tired. These are all recipes for disaster and will almost certainly cost you money. If you want more information on this area, check out our responsible gambling page.

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Implied Odds – What They Are and How to Use Them

Implied Odds

When it comes to poker maths, there’s lots of curious terms you will come across. Implied odds are one of many that you will hear players use. Many players use the term to justify poor call or bad beats they inflict on opponents, you won’t though as you have this article to help you. This article will look at what implied odds are and how you can use them correctly.

Beginner Texas Hold’em Question

What Are Implied Odds in Poker?

Implied odds is the amount of money or chips you expect to win if you have you hit your hand. This estimation can be used in conjunction with calculating pot odds to determine whether a call on the flop or turn will be profitable.

Problems with Implied Odds

One of the problems with implied odds is that people over-estimate the amount they will win if they hit their outs. My advice is to be conservative when predicting the amount you hope to win. You need to consider your opponent type, stacks sizes and board texture when making a “best guess” as to what you will win.

Player’s often defend a poor call by stating they had implied odds when they really don’t.

Example of Good Implied Odds

You’re heads up in position against a wild fishy player. Both of you have over $500. You’ve got to the turn with 6h 7h and your opponent bets $25 into $40 on a 5d 8s Kh 2c.

Against a wild player who is prone to bluffing and/or calling a future bet and deep stacks – this is a good implied odds situation. Your opponent has over $475 behind him and your hand is well disguised if you hit. Looking at the pot odds, you need 27% equity to call and make it break even. With just 8 outs you are around 17% so you don’t have the right pot odds. However, given we expect to get paid handsomely, we can make the call here. When you factor in that you have last action, it makes a call a little easier. As we are behind by 10% equity, we need at least 10% more of the pot to make the call ok. With $90 in the pot at the river, we can certainly expect to get called for more than $9 and thus make a call profitable.

Example of Bad Implied Odds

You’re heads up and out of position against a nitty reg.  You have Kd Jd on an Td 9s 8s 5c board. Your opponent has $120 and bets $20 into $30 on the turn. In this scenario, you have outs to a Q or 7 giving you 8 clear outs and 17% equity in the hand. However, the bet requires you to have 28.5% or more. Moreover, your hand is not well disguised if it hits. For a Q or 6 to come would bring an obvious straight on board. Do you really expect to get paid from a nitty regular?

Things required for good implied odds

  • Disguised hand
  • A nice pay off
  • In position
  • Deep stacks
  • An opponent that is likely to call you


Implied odds are a great tool to have at your disposal. They are primarily used for cash games but have merit in slow paced, deep stacked tournaments too. I think there are many players that make money from poker without using this concept – but it is one that will enhance your game and give you a better appreciation of accurate bet sizing, value betting and poker maths in general.

Who Are The Most Famous Poker Players?

Famous Poker Players

Poker has generated interest from lots of different specialisms. Many an actor, sportsman and comedian have sat at the felt on equal terms with professionals. The beauty of poker is the opportunity one has to sit with the best, albeit without a handicap. There are few professions where this is possible. This article will share information on some famous poker players with you, please accept our apologies if your personal favourite is not in the list.

Johnny Chan

Johnny will forever be remembered for his role in the 1998 movie Rounders with Matt Damon and Ed Norton. He was cast in the role due to winning the WSOP main event in back to back years (87 & 88) and shared an acting scene with Matt Damon. Johnny Chan is one of the best players around and currently has 10 WSOP bracelets to his name.

Doyle Brunson

Doyle or “Texas Dolly” has been around the poker world for some time. He has been through the different poker eras and is still playing today at the ripe old age of 86. Doyle is known for his aggressive style which was unique at the time. He authored the bible of poker “Super System” which is a must for all poker enthusiasts. Doyle also has 10 WSOP bracelets to his name.

Phil Hellmuth

Love him or hate him, you can’t get away from the “poker brat’s” charisma. There are countless videos of Phil blowing up on camera but the truth is, he’s an amazing tournament player and successful businessman. Phil has 15 WSOP bracelets to his name with a win as recent as 2018. Phil has authored several books with relative success and is, despite his tantrums generally loved by most who make his acquaintance.

Daniel Negreanu

At 46 years old, he isn’t “The Kid” anymore, but Daniel Negreanu certainly sits in good company as one of the most famous players on the planet. The face of PokerStars for 12 years, this Canadian-Romanian has 6 WSOP bracelets. He has gained popularity for his likeable nature and ability to call out opponents’ cards on TV. A skill many professionals have of course but keep quiet, Negreanu has used this skill well to market himself. He is also famed for the small ball poker strategy which exploded in popularity in the last decade.

Phil Ivey

Last but not least, the one and only, Phil Ivey. This man eats, sleeps and breathes poker. He has been known the world over as the best poker player on the planet. For this reason, he has to make the list. The man has been cleaning up cash games for decades and is pure business when it comes to poker. No gimmicks, no showmanship, just business. The fact this man has 10 WSOP bracelets despite his attention solely on cash games is testament to his skill. Simply the best.

Special Mentions

  • Tom Dwan
  • Amarillo Slim
  • Chip Reese
  • Stu Ungar
  • Chris Moneymaker

There are lots of famous poker players in the world. Dislike our list? Contact us and leave feedback.

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Poker Leaks and How to Fix Them

Poker Leaks Hurting Your Bankroll?

Nobody is perfect. This is a universal truth for the real world and poker world. Poker is a complex game that requires a wide range of skills. You are unlikely to be proficient in all of them. Perhaps your strengths mask your weaknesses. Or maybe you’re playing games that are soft enough that your poker leaks are not costing you lots of money. Either way, you have leaks in your poker game whether you want to admit it or not. This article will look at common poker leaks and potential solutions to help. Whilst you won’t ever be perfect, you can strive for it still.

Beginner Texas Hold’em Question

What is a Poker Leak?

A leak is a part of a poker players game that they are particularly weak in. It leads to them consistently making errors that will cost them money in the long run.

Leak – Not Value Betting Thin Enough

This leak is more common than you imagine. Think of it this way, every time you check back a hand on the river which beats your opponent, you’ve allowed the worse hand a free showdown. Realistically, we can’t expect to value bet correctly 100% of the time but the point still stands. Think of your last session. How many times did you check back the best hand on the river? Expert players are experts because they realise the times when their hand is likely to be best and will try to extract value from it.

Solution – Make Small Value Bets on the River

The problem a lot of players make is wrongly assuming they don’t want to bet in case they get check-raised. Look, if your opponent is strong enough to check raise bluff the river, then kudos to him. That’s no reason to check back. In scenarios where you think you probably have best hand, throw out a 20% value bet. As you gain experience and find yourself getting paid off by weaker hands you will begin to take your game to the next level and identify when you can value bet more even when it’s for thin value.

Leak – Calling Small 3 Bets Out of Position

Flat calling a small 3 bet out of position is one of the most common poker leaks players come to me with. They justify it by saying “I had odds” or “I won’t overplay post flop”. Either way, it’s a big poker leak that will hurt your bankroll in the long run. The scenario typically goes like this:

With blinds at $1/$2 in a full ring game, you make it $6 with Ks 9s from middle position, the cut-off (a strong regular) makes it $15 to go and action falls back on you.

This is one of them spots where you have a hand of value that you want to play but the context has now changed. You no longer have the aggression, are out of position against a strong opponent and likely to have the weaker hand.

Solution – Don’t be afraid to Fold

Most players continue here because they don’t want to appear weak or timid and end up flatting more than they should. Don’t be that player! Fold and move on to the next hand. Naturally, there are some hands where it’s profitable to call the 3 bet but often the ingredients are not there.

Every decision in poker can be converted to represent the long run. In the example with Ks 9s, you are spending an additional $9 before the flop. Disregarding what can be lost on the flop, turn and river for a moment, we can assume you will probably win the pot 1 in 4? That means you are losing this pot 75% of the time. If this scenario or a similar one happens 4 times a month on average, you are losing $324 per year from this leak alone. You can do a lot of things with $324!

Leak – Open Limping Before the Flop

It’s staggering that there are still so many players adopting a limp in style of poker. It doesn’t work. You will find yourself getting bullied around and losing lots of big blinds by limp/calling or limp/folding. Players that open call before the flop usually do so to try and hit big on the flop. The truth is, you will only pair up one in three and even than you can’t assume your hand is best. This passive style of poker just doesn’t work. Have a look at our limp in poker article if you want a detailed analysis of why this style is bad.

Solution – Play Less Hands But More Aggressively

Instead of trying to limp with hands and hit your monster hand, play fewer hands but aggressively. This will mean you will win more pots before and after the flop and also earn more money when you do hit. It’s well established that a tight aggressive poker style can win money at low stakes and up.
Have you noticed the players that play fewer hands seem to be raising and winning the pots that they do contest? They usually have the positional advantage and mathematical advantage too.

Leak – Playing Too Many Hands

It’s irrelevant if you’re raising or not. If you are playing too many hands at 6 max or full ring poker, you are going to be spewing and leaking money all over the place. It’s practically impossible to play too many hands in heads up format but in the more popular 6 max and full ring games, you will get punished for open raising too much. You will find yourself getting 3 bet, playing against opponents with better cards and be out of position too often to expect to overcome this leak. No amount of skill post flop will counter act the fact you are playing poor cards. Other poker sites like BeastsOfPoker will attest to this too.

Solution – Slow down, Focus on Situation and Position

Poker rewards patient players in the long run. I am not advocating playing a nit style of poker but you need to pick your moments. You can afford to play a wider range of hands in the later positions, but if you’re opening hands like ace rag from under the gun, you’re in trouble. Slow down the aggression and you will find you get will get 3 bet less, face less resistance and will have a higher continuation bet success rate too.

Final Thoughts

This article has focused on 4 common poker leaks. There are loads more that may be appropriate to you, including poor bankroll management, no table selection, tilting, playing when tired and not bluffing enough. If you are a small winner or worse and would like to find out your leaks and resolve them, feel free to contact us at . We will help identify areas of your game that need working on and offer practical, timely advice to help fix your poker leaks.

If you enjoyed this article, perhaps you’d like to read our article on “how to handle running bad” or “dealing with bad beats“.

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Do You Take Notes on Opponents? You Should…

Take Notes on Your Opponents to Increase Profit

You might have heard of the phrase ‘Play the player, not the cards.’ The idea behind the statement is a little outdated because poker has moved on a great deal since poker faces and picking up on tells were the big thing.

While many tells – signs that a player subconsciously gives off to reveal the real strength of his or her hand – are indeed true, good players know this and can double bluff by deliberately showing a tell to confuse an opponent. For example, taking a sip from a water bottle was once supposed to be a sign of anxiousness or weakness. A good player might, therefore, drink in this way, hoping his opponent believes him to be weak… only to walk straight into a full house.

The whole debate about live tells means nothing in online poker, of course. Here, you don’t get to see your opponent, hear them talk, or see how they handle their chips.

Watch for Betting Patterns

What you can do is study their playing patterns using a HUD, which will help you better predict what they might do next. But while HUDS are all well and good, not everyone has them. And anyway, nothing beats good, old-fashioned note-taking on players to build a picture of how they play.

Every online poker room has a note take facility. You simply click on the player avatar or name and see the option to take a note. When you add one, the avatar always has a label to show you a note is in place, perfect for when you stumble upon the player again weeks, months, or even years later.

What Notes Should You Take on Players?

While you would think the more notes you take, the better, it’s not that simple. You might not be a fast typist, for one thing, and spending too long trying to write a note, even in abbreviated form, means you may miss out on an essential piece of the action.

It is best to keep things as straightforward as possible. Certainly, enough to have a basic idea of how a player performs. If you are new to the game, then start practicing with notes immediately, so it becomes a habit. You can do this risk-free if you play free poker games to gain confidence.

Colour Labels

Some poker rooms provide a coloured label system you can apply to a player name. You might, for example, have green for a calling station fish, blue for a rock who only puts in a bet with a monster, and red for a tight-aggressive player who could get you in trouble.

Colour labelling players at your table is fine, so long as you update the colours as you learn more about an opponent. Where once you had the player down as a calling station, you might find after a few hundred hands on the same table that, in fact, his range is tighter, and he does not get involved in so many pots.

Just relying on colours is not ideal. You should train yourself to write occasional notes, too, which should be an essential part of any poker coaching. There is no point in recording everything you notice. After one or two long sessions against the same player, you will have made so many notes that making sense of them if you meet again weeks later will take far too much time.

Example Questions for Note-Taking

It’s best to keep your notes to top-level ones that you can use to help future decisions. Here are some examples you might add to your list:

  • Does the player pay too much for draws, and too often?
  • Does he call out of position with weak hands?
  • Does he always min-bet monsters pre and post-flop?
  • Does a check-raise always mean the nuts?
  • Does he semi-bluff bet flush or straight draw?
  • Does he routinely open-raise on the button or cut off?
  • Does he always make a continuation bet, even if missing on the flop?

If you manage to build three or four of these notes on a particular player, you are in a much stronger position to make profitable calls or folds when you play them next.

Sometimes the difference between losing or making a profit in poker is wafer-thin. Some solid note-taking might be just what you need to move you into profitable play.

Reverse Engineering

While observing and taking notes on opponents is undoubtedly a good thing, don’t concentrate on it so much that you forget what image you are portraying to them. Your own play might be so robotic that a skilled opponent will be making notes on your style. This negates any advantage you had.

Take a cue from top players like Daniel Negreanu. He will mix up  play so that opponents can never easily classify him one way or another. Sure, min-bet with aces or kings one time, but open with a bet of four times the big blind on another occasion. Semi-bluff with a flush draw occasionally but elect to check to see a cheap turn or river another time.