Scared Money in Poker: What it is, How to Exploit & How to Avoid Being it

Scared Money

It’s a tag that nobody in poker ever wants to be associated. Scared money is a major problem that permeates the poker world. It’s not exclusive to low stakes and beginners. Far from it, seasoned semi-professionals in mid and high stakes games fall victim to it too. They may not accept it yet, perhaps they attribute their losses to other factors, but the reality is scared money is a potential problem for all poker players. Fortunately for you, we are going to share what scared money is, the pitfalls that come with it and more importantly, offer tips to help you avoid becoming it.

What is Scared Money in Poker?

The expression scared money means a player is nervous or scared to lose their chips or money. As such, their decision making is impaired and likely to cause them play worse. Scared money is funds that a player for whatever reason cannot afford to lose and subsequently easy to attack and bluff out of pots.

The Signs of Scared Money at the Poker Table

Since playing afraid is an undesirable state to be in, as sharks we should be on the lookout for scared money. There are some obvious signs to tell when a player is fearful of losing. Here are some below.

Playing Fewer Tables

Generally, players who are fearful of losing money are going to reduce the tables they play. So, if you are playing with someone who regularly 4 tables but seems a bit off, search them up in the lobby. If they are now playing two tables, they may well be scared money and trying to limit variance.

Tightening Up

A natural reaction to playing scared is to be conservative. You’ll notice that a play who may be accustomed to a LAG style is playing fewer hands. This is an instinctive action players take when fearful of losing. They stick to only playing premium hands.

Folding Too Much on the River

Another commonality among those playing scared is to fold a lot on the river. When you get to the last card, the pot is often at it’s largest. Facing an over-bet is a lot of pressure to face when a player is concerned about going broke. For this reason, you will often see a player fold on the river when facing a big bet unless they hold the nuts or near nuts.

Facial Expressions (Live Tells)

In live games, scared money is easy to detect. Perhaps it’s the first time they’ve moved up in stakes or trying poker for first time but with money they shouldn’t be gambling. Unlike online poker where you can’t see their face, scared money is easy to pick up on just through their facial expressions. The post-flop action may put a scared money player through turmoil. You can see it plain on their face that they should not be involved in the game.

poker spreadsheet

How to Exploit Scared Money

Now you know the signs, we need to recognise how to exploit them. It’s very simple really, bully them into submission. Anyone playing in a game that they can’t afford to or with money they shouldn’t be is liable to get beaten up (metaphorically). Relentless aggression is the ideal strategy against these players. This involves stealing their blinds, 3-betting them liberally and executing over-bet bluffs. This works on most gambling sites, see here for a list.

Pure aggression isn’t the only way to exploit scared money though. We also need to recognise that since their bluffing post flop is greatly reduced, we need to limit our calls. The majority of their post-flop betting is going to be for value. Therefore, we need to ensure we have a very strong hand to call them down.

Finally, another way to exploit them is to ensure our value bets are correctly sized. This may seem a little too logical and not very GTO to bet big on bluffs and small on value, but at low stakes exploitative poker is the best style. So, ensure your value bets still get called. This might mean only betting 25% on the river if your opponent has a perceived weak hand. After all, a player on scared money is harder to get paid off from.

How to Avoid Being Scared Money


The best way to avoid playing scared is to ensure you’re practicing solid bankroll management. That is just the tip of the iceberg though. You also need to make sure you’re playing in the correct game and stakes that are appropriate to your level. Scared money only rears its head when you are playing out of your depth financially or technically so these are easy ones to avoid if you adopt a conservative mindset to the games you play.

 It can also pose an issue when you have problems outside of poker and mentally not with it. If you are in peril financially with your personal life, it can spill out on to the poker table. To avoid this, we recommend taking regular breaks from poker and only returning when you’re mentally prepared.

If you’re losing regularly and unsure if it’s down to being scared or something else, feel free to contact us. We offer 50% off a trial hand history review session which can be a great way to have us look over your play and identify any potential issues that can be ironed out.

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A Beginners Guide to PayPal Poker Sites

We all have our favourite banking methods for poker playing. For many, the banking method will drive the site you play on. It’s not uncommon for the modern era players to disregard a site that doesn’t accept Bitcoin. We’ve found that there is not much literature on PayPal as a payment option for poker players. So, in this article we will give an over view how to create a PayPal account, share some advantages and disadvantages to using PayPal and list a few of the best PayPal poker sites to play on.  

Creating a PayPal Account

To get funds to your poker site, you need funds in your PayPal account. One of the largest payment merchants, PayPal have made creating an account swift and secure. The first step is to visit PayPal website and register an account. You’ll need to enter some personal information e.g. Name, address, email address etc. Once you’ve done that, you’ll have to link your bank account or credit card to PayPal. Doing this by bank is safe as they send you a few pennies with a code that you use to authenticate your account. Once verified you’re good to go.

Advantages to Using PayPal

The main advantage to using PayPal is the security and speed of transaction. A deposit or cash out from PayPal is practically instant. I’ve made cash-outs in the past and had a push notification before the confirmation email has been sent!

PayPal also has a great app which removes the nuisance of doing everything on the browser. I don’t even need to enter password to access my account as you can login by fingerprint.

Another benefit to using PayPal is the privacy and anonymity you’re afforded. Transactions are within your own PayPal account and not visible on credit card statements or bank statements. This is a perk for poker players who like to keep their favourite hobby private.

Finally, most PayPal casino and poker sites let you deposit from PayPal without charging a deposit fee. Make sure you read the small print first but this is generally the case for the sites we tested with PayPal.

Disadvantages to Using PayPal

There are a few drawbacks to PayPal too. During our research for this article, we discovered that some sites could charge on withdrawals. This was not the case for the ones we recommend later but it’s important you check first. PayPal charge a few percent as a merchant to the poker site who could in theory pass this on to customer.

Another disadvantage is the limitation on PayPal in terms of amount that can be cashed out. You can potentially get this lifted but it requires PayPal to approve. The current daily limit for UK accounts is £7,500 per day. So, if you like to play high stakes or bink a big win, contact PayPal ASAP to arrange a greater limit.

Finally, having been an active PayPal user for years, we feel their customer support is mediocre. Like many companies, their customer support is running very much on FAQ and HQ sections. They deter you from contacting them by email or chat as much as possible. This can be frustrating if you urgently need to get clarity on something.  

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The Best PayPal Poker Sites

There a decent number of online poker sites that grant deposits and cash-outs via PayPal. However, most due to legislation most don’t accept Americans. The top 3 below are primarily for UK, Irish and European poker players.

PokerStars

The biggest poker site of them all has to accept PayPal, doesn’t it? PokerStars caters to proper grinders so they need to ensure they accept as many payment methods as possible. They have amazing volume, decent tournaments and plenty of cash tables. We don’t consider PokerStars one of the softest sites around but they are certainly up there for traffic. Read our review to see the pros and cons of playing on the world’s biggest site.

888 Poker

One of the softest poker sites online, 888 is a great option for PayPal users. What’s awesome about 888 is that they offer PayPal to most European countries, unlike many other sites we researched that only accept UK or Ireland. Cash outs might take a little longer from 888 but its worth it when you consider the competition level is lower and thus your win rate should be higher.

Coral Poker

Coral is one of the oldest and most trusted UK brands and quite rightly accept PayPal. We always recommend this site to our readers as the software is neat and the opposition are fishy. You’ll get the chance to play against mostly sports bettors who barely know the rules of poker so it’s certainly worth trialling Coral. As with 888, they don’t appear to charge players for depositing or cashing out via PayPal. The minimum deposit by PayPal is only £10.



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4 Pitfalls to Avoid as a Poker Player

Playing poker isn’t always free flowing, running good and playing easy to beat opposition. Most of you should know this already, otherwise you haven’t been playing very long. As a poker coaching website, we try to sharpen players skills and strengthen their talents. However, there are potential pitfalls beneath a player’s consciousness that could be lurking. It’s important to recognise our weaknesses and avoid them as best as possible.

In this article we will share the most common poker pitfalls so you will hopefully be on guard as you go through your own poker journey.

Using Poker Winnings to Cover Casino Losses

One of the challenges many poker players suffer with is their penchant for playing too many other forms of gambling. Perhaps they think they can dominate other casino games like they do poker? Rarely is this the case.

There are countless stories of player going broke, squandering their winnings at the blackjack table or playing casino games they have no business being involved with. This isn’t a problem for the best poker players as they recognise the other casino games are a bit of a fun. If they win great, if they don’t, it’s no big deal as they are risking very little.

Moving Up Stakes Too Soon

A problem many players struggle with is choosing when to move up in stakes. This a pitfall both losing players and winning players have. A losing player may think that the current level is beneath them, they don’t think the players are competent enough to give them credit. As such, they move up quickly even though they can’t beat their current stakes.

A winning player has a different issue. They beat their current game but not over enough volume. You need vast data and lots of hands of experience before going up in stakes. It’s not something to do lightly. Players that move up soon and lose hard are not only hitting their bankroll but their confidence too. It’s not uncommon for a player to move back down then lose there too, seriously harming their overall ROI.

poker spreadsheet

Stagnation (Hitting a Ceiling)

A live cardroom is full of players that have stagnated in their poker playing. They reached a level years ago and never went any higher. This is a serious problem for players, particularly online where the game is constantly evolving.

You’ll find lots of online players who were keen to learn and improve, spent hours a week studying and beat the games. Then, without rhyme or reason, they stopped the good habits and stunted in their poker growth. Perhaps they met their poker goals and have an ok win rate? But that will only last so long. A winning player needs to be dedicated to self-improvement and tweaking their game to ensure they are ahead of the competition.

If stagnation is something you suffer with, we recommend you trial our mentor service. Having a mentor is a great way to get honest feedback, support and advice.

Developing an Ego

One of the dangers of success, even a little bit, is the threat of developing an ego. This is certainly true in poker where you’ll see many players exhibit this trait. They want to be table captain, execute all the bluffs and proudly get paid off with their over-bet. However, we’re here to tell you that an ego is a pitfall to avoid! Professionals lose their ego when they realise it’s of no financial or psychological benefit at the tables.

An ego is just another word for pride or arrogance. In most walks of life, these character traits are unlikely to help you are they? So, if you are seeing good results or feel like you’re playing well, keep on guard to avoid developing a big ego. It could rear its head when you’re facing opponents who try to get under your skin. Rarely will letting your emotion and pride get the best of you be a profitable solution in poker.


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4 Ways to Spots Regs at the Poker Table

To become long-term winning player takes skill, patience and game selection. The simplest way to ensure you’re maximising your win rate and beating the game is to sit with weaker opponents. That sounds straight forward but with sites offering games like snap and rush where you can’t table pick, it can be tricky. Furthermore, there is only so much information before you sit so it can take time to realise, you’re on a tough table.  In this article we’re going to share several ways you can spot the regs at your table quickly so you can make an informed decision whether it’s better to get up or alternatively, adapt your strategy now you know who they are.

Beginner Texas Hold’em Question

What is a “Reg” in Poker?

A reg is someone that plays regularly. It’s a shortened term but also implies the player is competent and likely a winner. Regs are not necessarily great players but they can play a TAG style that makes it hard to beat them for lots of money.

With the simple stuff out the way, let’s move on to the ways you can spot them at the table.

1] VIP Status

Many online poker sites show the VIP status of player. It’s a badge that reveals what level a player has achieved on that site. Not all sites show this but some do, like PokerStars. If a player is a bronze status, you can safely assume they don’t play much. Conversely, if they are Supernova, they play all the time and racking up some serious volume. A player’s status is a dead giveaway to the time they commit to poker and regs put in lots of time.

2] Number of Tables they Play

Another way to spot a reg is to see how many tables they are playing at one time. This feature is very easy on most sites. You can either right click and find them or search them from the lobby. Regs understand that multi-tabling is necessary to optimizing their ROI so all regulars play at least 4 tables usually. They don’t mind sacrificing some edge if it means they earn more per hour. A recreational player is more likely to play just two or even one table.

3] Pre-Flop Tendencies

The regs online are not pussyfooting around with weird limps, min raises or limp re-raise moves. These are reserved for novices who haven’t honed their strategy yet. If you see someone doing the aforementioned moves you can rule out them being a reg. They are almost always executing the same pre-flop bet size regardless of position or hand strength. They have the customised buttons that let them raise the size they like at a click. This is a fairly easy way to spot regs online.

4] HUD Poker Stats

The final and best way to spot regs is based on the stats revealed on the poker HUD. If their VPIP and PFR are close together and relatively low, you know they are a likely to be a reg. Players who are inexperienced or losing consistently will generally have wild poker stats that are easy to distinguish from better players. Regs are playing solid range of hands and raising when they play so you can expect them to have stats like 25/22 or 23/20 in 6 max games.

Conclusion

There you have it, four easy ways to spot regulars. It doesn’t take much resource to spot them, a couple of clicks and an observant eye is all you need. Just see their VIP status, the number of tables they’re currently playing, what their HUD stats are showing and how they are playing before the flop to tag them. Due to most sites having lots of regs it may be a case of ensuring you don’t have 3-4 on your table. Having one isn’t going to be reason enough to quit the game, particularly if there are several fishes on your table.

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Rakeback: A Beginner’s Guide

Introduction to Rakeback

Firstly, let’s look at rake. You know how the gambling sites make their money right? The rake is charged on pots in cash games or on top of a buy in a multi table tournament. Every pot or tournament played by an individual contributes to the site’s revenue in the form of rake. You play a $10 tournament and they will probably charge $1, win a cash game pot and they will take a percentage too. Rakeback is kickback from the website to you as an incentive to play more. It is essentially commission paid back to the player. There are two main forms which we will cover here.

Contributed Rakeback

The player’s rakeback is proportional to the pots they are involved in. For instance, if you are involved in a pot that is $25 and the rake is $2, you will receive a percent of this back in form of contributed rakeback. The percentage is dependent on the agreement but often around 25% so you will receive $0.50 for that pot.

Dealt Rakeback

This is where the rakeback from a pot is split evenly by those on the table. For instance, a pot of $25 on a 9 handed table, the rake of $2 with 25% agreement is split between the players, entitling you to approx. $0.22c. The scheme is more beneficial for the tighter player as it rewards you whether or not you are directly involved in the pot. Remember, nit poker is losing poker in the modern era. It’s more profitable to adopt a solid TAG or LAG strategy these days.

Who is Rakeback for?

Anyone can sign up for it. Players who put in lots of volume and play regularly will gain the most. It can turn a break even player into a winning one, and a losing player into a break even one with sufficient volume. It also makes a winner, a much bigger winner. In short, it is free money and every poker player should be involved in a scheme.  There are millions of players playing that are turning down free money. There are no minimum requirements so every poker player should be on one.

rakeback

Do You Play Turbo SNGs?

If you’re playing lots of turbo sngs you absolutely need to get on a rakeback scheme. There are lots of sites out there that offer rakeback schemes so be sure to find the highest rakeback deals. Turbo SNGs are notorious for high rake so signing up to a rakeback deal will mitigate this and help your ROI. It’s also worth pointing out that there are players around the world that are playing thousands of turbo sngs on rakeback deals. They don’t need to play high or even medium stakes due to the currency conversion.

Conclusion

Now you understand what rakeback is and what it is, it’s time to sign up for it. It’s essential to any and all poker players. Whether you are playing recreationally or professionally, you want to make money from poker and rakeback is a way of contributing to this, for free. If you are making full use of your poker tracking software and employing bankroll management, you’ll find yourself moving up stakes in no time with the addition of a rakeback scheme.

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Poker Bankroll Management: How to Stay in the Game & Never Go Broke

Good Poker Bankroll Management

It doesn’t matter how good you are or what games you’re playing, solid bankroll management is a must for any and all serious poker players. It’s a universal truth that is attested to by those amazing poker players you hear of that end in up debt. Look at Stu Ungar as one of the most famous examples. In terms of raw talent he was arguably the best ever poker player but lacked proper bankroll management skills.

In this article, we will explore some important aspects of bankroll management and what you can do to ensure you don’t go bust.

Going Broke

One of the most common reasons a poker player will go broke is exercising poor bankroll management skills. Many a strong, technical poker player will play the wrong stakes and with too few buy-ins and scratch their head after they lose their bankroll. This can be mitigated if a player sets strict rules like implementing a stop loss that prevents them losing lots in any given session.

Size Matters

Proper poker bankroll management is understanding that the size of your bankroll dictates the games and stakes you should be playing. Perhaps you think you can beat a high stakes private game, but if it costs you your entire bankroll to sit in that game, clearly you shouldn’t. The reason is simple, poker has a large element of luck in the short term. Variance isn’t something that can be negotiated with or eliminated. By exercising poor bankroll management and playing with an insufficient number of buy ins, you are putting your bankroll at stake every time you play.

How Many Buy Ins?

There’s differing opinions on the number of buy-ins required for cash games and tournaments. It’s widely accepted amongst professionals that games involving higher chance require more buy ins e.g. playing turbo sit-n-go’s are very high variance due to the fact that blinds go up quickly and you are playing more all in before the flop poker.

The table below can be used as a guide for the minimum number of buy-ins you should have for different formats of No Limit Texas Holdem.

Game Format Minimum Buy Ins
No Limit Texas Holdem6 Max Cash Game 50
No Limit Texas Holdem Full Ring Cash Game 50
No Limit Texas Holdem 9 Player Sit-N-Go60
No Limit Texas Holdem 180 Player Sit-N-Go100
No Limit Texas Holdem Turbo Multi-Table Tournament (MTT)200
No Limit Texas Holdem Regular Multi-Table Tournament (MTT)100

If you find yourself going broke alot and you’re playing with less than 50 buy ins in your bankroll, you need to think about moving down to a level that your bankroll can afford.

Poker Money & Personal Money

Another aspect of poker bankroll management is the ability to separate poker money from personal money. We all love withdrawing and using the money we win on luxuries and that’s great but not if it means restricting your ability to move up stakes or worse, move down.

Why not implement a rule where you cash out 10% or 20% of winnings at the end of the month? This is something other forms of gambling recommend too as sports betting sites offer free betting tips suggesting punters withdraw a specific percentage at regular intervals.

Sound bankroll management allows you to play your A game regularly without pressure. You’re recognising that you are focused on the long term. It also means knowing the right time to move up and down stakes and finding the right level for you. There are players playing higher stakes than they should be and players too scared to move up. Recognising your skill level and reconciling this with your bankroll and the appropriate stakes is a skill in itself. Feel free to contact us if you want a consultation on this. We offer 30 minutes consultation for free.

Conclusion

Poker bankroll management is a key element to being a long-term winning player. The importance of being sensible with your bankroll can’t be overstated. It mixes common sense with budgeting skills and self-awareness. Assess your poker bankroll management today and ensure you are properly equipped next time you play.

If you enjoyed this article perhaps you’d like to read our article on poker excel spreadsheets?

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Featured Photo by Mathieu Turle @nbmat.

When You’re Thinking of Quitting Poker…

Everyone who has played for a long time has considered quitting poker at some point. It’s a game that will test you in so many ways. Whether you’re always losing, running bad, burnt out or just lost the passion, there will be times you will want to quit for good. In this article, I’m going to share some reasons for hope but also give a dose of reality too. I hope you find it helpful if you’re considering quitting poker.

Take a Step Back

The most common reason for quitting poker is without doubt the losses. People play to win and if things aren’t going well, it can make you want to quit. The underlying reasons for losing will vary from one reader to another so there is no universal truth here. What I will say is that in the midst of a prolonged period of losing, it’s wise to take a step back. Assess the situation with impartiality, if possible, and be frank with yourself. Consider getting opinions from those around you who know poker well to offer some insight into your situation.

Find out whether you’re losing because of a bad run of luck or if there is more to it. Perhaps you’ve been in the wrong games, playing above your head or playing too many tables. There are loads of reasons why a player might be losing. The best advice I can give is to take a step back and analyse the situation as if you’re helping a friend.

Stop Playing & Have Fun (but stay involved)

Once you’ve taken a step back and assessed the reasons, you can attempt to fashion a solution. This might mean taking a long break, investing in poker courses to learn fundamentals or just choosing your games better.

Now you have the solution, don’t rush back to the tables yet. If you’ve been thinking about quitting poker, it’s probably a good idea to at least stop for a little while. I highly recommend you use this time to enjoy yourself, have fun and don’t fixate on the negative side of poker in this rest period. Play football, spend time with friends, watch movies or have free spins at an online casino. Taking time out and having fun will put in you a better mood and keep your morale up.

Whilst you’re on a break from poker, you can still be involved with it – just don’t play. This might mean surfing two plus two, watching YouTube videos or just reading our blog posts. It keeps your subconscious mind ticking over on poker so you aren’t rusty when you choose to return. I suggest between two and four weeks as a sensible rest period before returning to play.

Be Realistic & Set Goals

So now you’ve taken a step back, you’ve had a break and enjoyed yourself away from poker. If you’ve decided you want to continue with poker, it’s the perfect time to be realistic with yourself and what you hope to achieve in poker. It’s a cold hard fact that not everyone is destined to be a professional. For some, a side income from part-time poker is the best they can strive for, and for many, they will be consistent losers. Having said that, I firmly believe anyone can beat the micros and low stakes with hard work and dedication, but few are prepared to do that.

If you’re honest and realistic about what poker can do for you in the future, you will be better prepared mentally to deal with the challenges. You can set poker goals and plan out how you will achieve them. This can be a huge motivation to persevere and is very rewarding when goals are completed. Building a longer-term view is an excellent trait. It will can serve you well in poker, a game with short term fluctuations and volatile results.

Conclusion

Quitting poker is something we’ve all considered at one time or another so don’t worry if you’ve been thinking about. I hope this article serves as relief for those of you who love the game and work hard but having a bad run and hurting. Just remember there are countless others like you. It’s how you deal with the tough runs that shape you as a complete poker player.

For those of you who have lost for years, completed the steps I recommended (assessed the why and taking a break) and wondering what to do. It might be time to call it a day. There’s nothing wrong in quitting poker. You can reclaim some valuable personal time, save money and explore other interests. If you’ve never quite got it or haven’t got the time to dedicate yourself to improving, it might be time to stop and that’s fine.  

And finally for players who are at a crossroad and want to improve but don’t know how, I’d love to hear from you. We have various methods of poker training that can help you. Just fill in the form below to tell us about you and we will be in touch to see if we can help you.

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4 Ways to Boost Your Bankroll

Whilst we want all of you to become excellent poker players and have a good win rate, we also want you to maximise opportunities to grow your bankroll. After all, if you are relying on skill alone, you are missing other ways to give your roll an injection of cash. That’s why in this article we’re going to share four ways you can boost your gambling bankroll.

1] Rakeback

One of the easiest ways to generate extra money and build your bankroll is via rakeback schemes. Most of you should already know how rakeback works. If you’re new to it, a simple way of understanding is this:

Any time you play at a poker room you are paying rake in cash game pots or tournament buy-in fees. By signing up to a rakeback scheme you are entitled to a percentage of rake back to you. The amount can vary based on site and scheme but whatever it is, it’s more than $0.

A rakeback scheme will usually pay players at regular intervals e.g. weekly, fortnightly or monthly. The more you play the more rakeback you earn.

2] Reload Bonus

The online poker sites are less generous with their bonuses than online casinos but some reload bonuses are quite common. Basically, a poker site incentivises their players to deposit again. The reload bonus is different to other casino bonuses where they tend to attract new customers, a reload bonus is solely for existing customers.

The poker sites have found this to be an effective way of retaining players on their sites. For instance, they may email you if they notice you haven’t played on their site for some time. They may send a promotion stating they will match your deposit up to a sum of $500 for instance.  

To take advantage of a reload bonus you need to be checking emails regularly. We recommend that you don’t have the poker sites emails marked as spam otherwise you are potentially missing awesome promotions like reload bonuses.

3] Freerolls

We’re not a huge fan of the cheap freerolls as a means of learning, but there are other freerolls which should be taken up. Most major sites have a daily or weekly freeroll for active players that pay very reasonably for final table finishes. It’s not uncommon to find freerolls with as high as $5,000 guaranteed. So, if you have time to play and are an active poker player, you are probably eligible for many freerolls without realising it.

Freerolls can be tedious and frustrating when you play hours for a few cents can’t they? But you should always bear in mind the calibre of opposition. The majority of freeroll entrants are terrible and the ones that aren’t bad are often just playing it cos it’s free to enter and therefore not taking it seriously. It doesn’t matter if you play part-time or as a professional, you should strive to play well all the time and if you do that in freerolls you can boost your bankroll.

4] Converting Loyalty Points

Almost all poker sites have loyalty reward schemes in place to thank their regulars. A lot of poker players don’t pay them much heed or check how many points they have accumulated but they can be very useful over time. Many online poker sites like PokerStars offer their players the opportunity to convert points into other practical items like merchandise, tournament tickets and even cash. So, this can be a brilliant way to boost your bankroll and best of all, you don’t have to do anything different than you already are! The only difference is that instead of playing satellites or using points for a mouse mat you can turn it into cash.

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Important Poker Stats & How to Use Them to Improve

Introduction to Poker Stats

The modern era of poker deeply rooted in maths and science. It is no longer just a game played with gut instinct, looking across at the table and trusting whether or not their bluffing. There is far more to it than that…

It doesn’t matter what poker tracking software you are using to display the poker stats; they will all have similar features that can help you. However, many of the pieces of information they share are not essential or may even hinder your game overall. There are several key poker statistics that you will need to grasp and understand though to help you generate a good online poker win rate and that’s what we’ll be looking at in this article. I will also share a few tips on what good and bad stats can look like so you can tweak your game to eradicate potential leaks too.

VPIP – Voluntary Put Money in Pot

The most obvious poker stats of all is the “voluntarily put into pot” or VPIP. Any time you enter the pot either through calling or raising, your VPIP will increase. It doesn’t cover the blinds hence the term “voluntarily”.

Interestingly, this stat alone is not a big indicator as to a player’s capabilities. Obviously, if a VPIP is crazy high like 50% then they are playing too many hands but a VPIP will fluctuate based on a players preferred style of play. A strong loose aggressive player will certainly have a higher VPIP % than a capable TAG.

What is a Good VPIP?

It’s commonly accepted that a decent 6 max poker player will have a VPIP between 22% and 30%. For full ring it should drop to between 17% and 21%.

PFR – Pre-Flop Raise

The pre flop raise % or PFR is one of the best poker stats. It reveals how aggressive a player is before the flop. When you combine this with a players VPIP you begin to get a good idea as to how a player behaves before the flop.

If a players VPIP and PFR are far apart, they are likely to be too timid. Conversely, if a player’s VPIP and PFR are within 1 or 2% they are probably only playing raise or fold poker.

What is a Good PFR?

A decent PFR is likely to be between 18 % and 21% in 6 max games and between 12% and 15% in full ring.

poker software

3 Bet %


The 3-bet poker stat reveals how often a player is re-raising before the flop. Gone are the days when most players only 3 bet with queens or better. Therefore, we need to assess how 3 bet happy our opponents are. It’s important to recognise that this stat only reveals itself when opportunities arise for a 3 bet. A player who has a 3 bet of 10% is therefore re-raising when someone open raised and it folded to them 1 in 10.  

The trick with the 3 bet % is to look at what seat they do it from. For instance, a player will rarely 3 bet from UTG+1 facing an UTG open raise. Most 3 bet opportunities are button vs an middle position or cut-off raise, or the blinds against a late position raise. This where players tend to play more creatively as they are reacting to a player who is likely to have a wider range of hands.

What is a Good 3 Bet %?

This is tricky to answer as poker stats are skewed here based on your position. However, generally speaking, a profitable 3 bet % in 6 max poker games is likely to be between 5% and 8%. This drops in full ring to between 4% and 6%.

Fold to 3 Bet %

One of my favourite poker stats of all is knowing how often a player will fold when 3 bet. Many players in the modern era are trying to be aggressive but not reacting well to 3 bets. They like to open raise but won’t defend or 4 bet often enough when facing a pre-flop re raise.

This is certainly one of the most prevalent poker leaks I find through my poker mentoring (see here for information).

What is a Good Fold to 3 Bet %?

I’m going to sit on the fence on this one a little bit. There’s no hard and fast rules when it comes to folding to 3 bets, but you certainly don’t want to be folding more than ½ the time otherwise you are inviting players to 3 bet you with impunity.

Cbet Flop %

Last but not least we come to the c bet flop poker stat. This statistic shares how often a player continues to bet on the flop after a pre-flop raise. Another common poker mistake made in the 2020’s is players continuation betting too much or not enough. Not just that, but when they opt against c-betting they will almost certainly fold to a turn bet.  

If you are facing an opponent who is cbetting over 90%, you can throw in some re-raises or floats to counter them. On the other hand if you are facing a player who continuation bets a low percentage you can donk lead to try and take the pot away. Knowing your opponents cbet flop % and adjusting your plan to them based on your situation is essential to playing the flop well.


What is a Good Cbet Flop %?

Continuation betting is a vast topic with very little literature on it which is why I created a comprehensive continuation betting course. It would be too simplistic to give a “good” cbet % here as it varies based on multiple scenarios. Instead, I recommend you check out our course below.

c bet poker


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Everything You Need to Know About Part Time Poker Playing

Part Time Poker: Introduction

Many players that come to Texas Hold’em Questions for coaching are not necessarily aspirational professionals. The majority are simply looking to capitalize on part time poker playing to make a secondary income for themselves. Like many things in the 2020’s it can be another revenue stream or side hustle that can bring extra income to their household.

The thing to remember is that online poker is not an easy gig. Few generate massive win rates so playing part-time may be the peak for some, even those who may wish to go full time professional. In this article I will highlight the advantages of only going semi-professional and the typical criteria of who it will fit.  

Advantages of Semi Professional Poker


There are numerous benefits to playing poker as a side job rather than your main income. For a start, playing semi professionally removes the massive burden that weights on you every month where you are completely reliant on poker as your source of income. Playing professionally adds a lot of pressure and even the great one’s struggle with this at time. Whereas, if you play part time poker you are not relying on your winnings to pay for your monthly bills. Your side job won’t have to pay for expenses like food, gas, electric and rent.

Another advantage to playing part time is the enjoyment factor lasts longer. Anyone who plays professionally that tells you it’s always fun is fibbing. Most pro’s suffer burnout at some point and you can play too much poker. Playing part-time by definition means you’re playing less than full time hours and therefore playing fresh.

Finally, semi-professional poker ensures you are not restricted in the real world. This may sound odd but speaking from experience, buying cars or moving into a new place can be tricky when you’re job is “professional poker player”. By having a proper job with payslips you will remove the obstacles that professional poker players face. You won’t always have to buy a car outright or pay for 6- or 12-month tenancy agreements in advance.

Who Suits Part Time Poker Playing?

Now you know the advantages, let’s filter those of you who are suited for poker as a side hustle. For a start, you need to be winning regularly and with a decent amount of data behind you. There’s no use saying you’re turning semi professional and have only played 3 months. Even part time poker players know they need lots of data backing up them up.

Discipline

A part time poker player also needs to be disciplined, both with their bankroll management and with their scheduling of time. Most semi pro’s are playing around their day job and study poker too. This means devoting a few hours each evening and possibly more on weekends. If you want to go semi-pro you need to take it seriously and schedule the time in to play. Fortunately, the times you play should also be around the times when recreational players are at the table.

Focused on Poker

Part time poker playing doesn’t suit those of you who are heavily interested in other gambling forms. This is not a snipe at other gambling games but focus should be on poker only. If your bankroll and interests are intertwined with other forms like roulette or blackjack, poker probably won’t be for you as a side gig. There are plenty of online casinos that might be up your street instead. Feel free to visit relevant sites like MrCasinova.com for all the information you need on these online casinos and their perks.

People Who Enjoy the Game

Finally, playing poker as a part time job suits people who are level headed, content, realistic and enjoy poker. These are the ideal people to thrive as they won’t be looking at poker as their way to escape their current situation. In other words, if you are working at a grocery shop, hate it and trying to get out by playing poker without enjoying it, you will fail. Sorry if this crushes dreams but the players who win at poker have an interest in the game. They are dedicated to improving and enjoy the game too.

Part Time Poker: Conclusion

I’ve stated before poker isn’t dead and plenty of money to be made for the right players. It’s not an easy way to make money anymore. But, if you’re someone that enjoys poker and dedicated, part time poker playing could be for you. Earning another income stream can help you and your family have extra holidays, pay for cars or even buy property. It can be a fantastic benefit to loads of players around the world. Best of all, can be done without pressure.

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