Why Regs Still Get Paid at the Poker Table

regs get paid

I know my readers vary in ability. Some of you are at the start, learning fundamentals and some are winning players trying to move up stakes. But you all probably notice a similar trend that might irk you just a little bit, regs getting paid. It’s frustrating when you play a long session and it feels like your monster hands aren’t getting paid off. Yet the regs who are probably playing double the tables are getting paid off, despite adopting a standard tight aggressive style.

In this article, I’m going to give you a few reasons why the regs are still getting paid. By the end of this post you’ll be less irritated and a hopefully a little more enlightened too.

Bad players don’t care

The clearest reason why regs get paid is they are playing with fishy players. Occam’s razor says the simplest reason is usually the correct one. Bad players simply do not care about the context of the hand or what their opponent has been playing like. If they think they have a good hand, they will call you down regardless.

Most regs recognize this and do not need to do fancy plays to confuse opponents. They don’t take advanced lines in hands to extract value. They can just play solidly and bet their strong hands for value. Now, what differs from you and a reg is that they may be playing with fishier plays more often. They will probably spend a little time before choosing where to sit or what site to play on. Many grinders are playing online poker with Bitcoin because they know fishy punters are using crypto-currency to gamble.

Bad players don’t care and pay off regardless in low stakes games. It’s best to avoid fancy plays for the most part.

Thinking players level themselves

This argument may upset some of you but it’s something I’ve noticed a lot through hand history review sessions, experienced players can level themselves in key spots. I’ve seen it over and over again, regs get paid at the table due to their opponent overthinking the situation. Most regs are playing many tables at once and are probably not as tough as you envision in your mind. Sure, occasionally they are throwing in some creative bluffs to keep their ranges balanced and to not be exploitable in big pots, but a lot are playing on autopilot. As such, when you find yourself in a key pot at the river facing a bet, use pot odds and your intuition to come to your decision. Don’t level yourself as chances are they are not executing some amazing play most of the time.

Good thinking players sometimes overthink and give regs too much credit for bluffing.

Regs manipulate the pot properly

You have to tip your hat to regs when it comes to pot manipulation. They know how to get the pot size to be what they want. This can range from checking back flops for pot control to 4-betting the flop with top set. Most regs are capable when it comes to sizing their bets in a way that suits them. This is something all of you should be working on. Ensuring you limit losses when you’re behind and maximising it in scenarios where you’ve got the best of it. It sounds simple but in practice it can be challenging as you’ll find yourself making weird plays that can actually cost you and your win rate in the long run.

Regs set up pots to extract the max value with less checking or smaller probing bets.

Observation bias

Lastly, regs may not be getting paid off as much as you think. Remember, you’re probably seeing a fraction of what a grinder is actually playing. They could be playing on four other tables and playing 40 hours a week. Therefore, you’re seeing a small percentage of their overall game and it could just be a lucky session on your table. Variance isn’t just suffering bad beats, it’s also having coolers go your way so you are sometimes just suffering from observation bias.

You might think they get paid off more than they do as you’re only seeing a small sample of their hands.


It can be frustrating seeing regs get paid, especially if you’re not. However, you shouldn’t be concerned with how or why they are getting paid. Instead, with study and dedication, work on your own game and how you can get paid from players at the table. As stated earlier, bad players don’t care and lack the skills to fold so for many of you working on pot manipulation may be more important than trying to create a loose table image. If this is something you’d like help with, feel free to book in a call with me below.

Narciso Baldo is the Director and Head Coach of Texas Hold'em Questions. He has been playing poker for over 16 years. After spending many years as a professional, he now runs UK poker training site Texas Hold'em Questions. Narciso regularly writes poker articles sharing tips, strategy, news and experience with gambling enthusiasts. Narciso also writes for reputable gambling portal Casino City Times, (bio here). Contact: info@texasholdemquestions.com