Have you been playing for a while but looking to find that extra edge? Here we will discuss our top tips for our more advanced players.
You will have already taken many actions on this list you as an experienced player, but possibly not all of them.
The ones you have missed so far could be your opportunity to find that missing edge.
20 Advanced Poker Tips Are:
- Create/Improve Grinding Schedule
- Actively Work on Mindset
- Run Detailed Database Analysis
- Run Population Analysis
- Work with GTO Solvers
- Use Advanced Equity Calculator Features
- Learn Default Preflop Ranges in Every Spot
- Learn Default Postflop Strategies in Every Spot
- Run Rake/Game-Quality Analysis
- Run Villain Analysis
- Run Profile-Based Population Analysis
- Hire a Coach
- Increase Awareness of Scripting Possibilities
- Analyse Table Setup
- Analyse BRM (Bankroll Management)
- Play New Variants
- Offer Some Coaching
- Work with a Neural Network
- Work with Tree Building Software
- Run Own Preflop Solve
1. Create/Improve Grinding Schedule
Getting in volume is crucial for success. Some otherwise advanced poker players still resort to “playing if they feel like it”. If this describes you, why not try a more organised and consistent approach to putting in volume?
Pull up a spreadsheet or online calendar and plan out exactly how much volume you’ll play per week and when you’ll put in the hours. This setup helps to maintain consistent volume on those days when we don’t feel as much like playing.
This system also helps us to schedule our poker playing time around other essential commitments such as work and family.
2. Actively Work on Mindset
There is many a talented poker player who never made it because they couldn’t cope with the swings. Being a great poker player is not just about the technical side of strategy but also a measure of our mental constitution.
Most serious professionals set aside dedicated time solely for working on their mindset. If, so far, you’ve just said things like “my mindset is probably ok; I don’t tilt much” why not try exploring your mindset in greater depth?
Just because we don’t tilt much doesn’t mean there aren’t ways in which we can increase the quality of our mindset.
3. Run Detailed Database Analysis
There are advanced players out there who solely use their tracking software as a means of tracking their results. A serious professional should be able to dissect their data using tracker filters and spot areas where win rate could be improved.
If you have so far not attempted to run analysis on your database, make it your goal to list five areas where your tracker indicates win rate is being dropped. There will be a learning curve here, but it’s well worth it in the long run.
4. Run Population Analysis
Population analysis is one of the most effective ways of improving our game. Despite this, many professionals are still in the dark or have simply never run this form of analysis for themselves. So, what exactly is population analysis?
It involves collecting an extensive database of hands from a player pool and looking for common tendencies using our tracking software. This insight allows us to create strategies which exploit the player pool by default rather than merely seeking to play a balanced/GTO style approach.
If you have never run population analysis, why not do some research on the different ways in which it can run?
5. Work with GTO Solvers
A GTO solver is a tool which takes two ranges and computes a balanced (i.e. GTO) strategy for each range given a particular game tree. If you’ve never played around with a GTO solver, now might your time to start.
Solvers are easy to use but difficult to use effectively. Many players make the mistake of trying to run overly complex models involving overly precise scenarios. In reality, a solver is much better for improving our overall understanding of theoretical play rather than merely improving our cognition in one isolated situation.
If you are already making use of your solver, try and think about ways you can improve the efficiency and relevancy of your solver work.
6. Use Advanced Equity Calculator Features
Equity calculators have been more than just equity calculators for quite a number of years now. Here are examples of some of the features available with a commercial equity calculator (advanced players will typically make use of all of them at some point or other).
- Storing ranges for later access (great for preflop ranges)
- Equity distribution graphs
- “Hotness” of various turn and river cards given two ranges
- Equity training
This list is by no means exhaustive. Make sure you have a good equity calculator and are aware of all of its extended functionality.
7. Learn Default Preflop Ranges in Every Spot
A big turning point in a players career often comes when he resolves to not merely “play what he feels” in every spot but to approach the game with a set strategy and make logical deviations to this strategy based on relevant variables.
In every preflop spot, we should have a precise, default continuing range which we have documented somewhere (such as in a spreadsheet or the aforementioned equity calculator).
Sometimes players claim that they don’t have defaults and they base their decision solely on their opponents. They look to loosen up against some players and tighten up against others. But, loosen up relative to what? We have no way of knowing if an adjustment is on the loose side without having a default.
Sometimes players might believe they are “loosening up” but are playing on the tight side since they’ve never learned a good default strategy.
If you don’t have default ranges for every single preflop spot, make it your goal to generate these or at the very least source them from somewhere reliable.
8. Learn Default Postflop Strategies in Every Spot
Most of the decisions we make at the table should be predetermined. Only 10% or less of our assessments should be unique and require deep thought.
Memorising the majority of our postflop strategy allows us to make decisions faster. In the context of online play, we can add more tables and generate a higher hourly rate.
If you currently do not have standard lines in all common postflop spots, make it your goal to generate and document these. Don’t wait until you are faced with these decisions at the table.
9. Run Rake/Game-Quality Analysis
Sometimes the great player breaks-even, and the mediocre player makes a consistent living. Why? Because the great player is playing against other great players while the average player is targeting soft environments.
Assuming our goal is to make as much money as possible, part of our strategy should be selecting an atmosphere which facilitates that. Take a look at your current games.
- What is the rake structure format?
- What VIP incentives are you being offered by the room?
- How soft are your opponents?
- How easy is it to multi-table?
It can sometimes be an overnight fix to establish that we are not playing the best games and migrate to a softer player pool. We didn’t even improve our skill set, and we are suddenly earning double.
10. Run Villain Analysis
At higher levels, we should be looking to analyse our opponents’ games in-depth, probing for any additional exploitative opportunities that might be available.
The skill set for this is essentially the same as the skill set required for DB analysis. In the same way we analyse our own database looking for leaks, and we should run DB analysis on the hands we have collected from our highest-volume opponents.
Naturally, if you’ve never even run DB analysis on yourself, it’s going to be challenging to run DB analysis on Villains. Better get that tracking software fired up!
11. Run Profile-Based Population Analysis
Profile-based population analysis is the next step after running standard population analysis. Standard population analysis looks at data from the entire player pool while profile-based population analysis only considers data from a specific subset of the player pool.
For example, how do nits (overly tight players) play on the later streets? It’s possible to run population analysis purely on a specific player type (perhaps a shorthanded player with a VPIP below 18 in this case). We can then generate specific default strategies for playing vs particular types of opponents.
As we leave coloured tags on our opponents during the game, each of those coloured tags can be associated with the best counter-strategy to use vs that specific player profile.
If you’ve never run range research or even left a coloured tag on your opponents, there are great opportunities here for improving win rate.
12. Hire a Coach
Maybe you are already a great player. But there is possibly still someone better than you out there. And perhaps that specific individual offers private coaching for a fee. The right coach can significantly accelerate your progress.
There are other ways of learning from better players also, such as watching their training content, using their tools, or reading their books.
Always be on the lookout for a way in which a better player can give your game a boost.
13. Increase Awareness of Scripting Possibilities
It’s no secret that the most successful online players usually have at least some facility with computers. This ability helps with computer security, transferring funds, setting up poker accounts, and installing the various tools that are helpful to poker players.
One particular set of poker tools fall into the category of “table scripts”. They generally offer features such as the following.
- additional HUD display with data such as pot-odds, stack to pot ratios and fold-equity requirements.
- chip to bb conversion
- pre-configured bet sizings
- table arranging/tiling/highlighting
The more we can automate, the more we can focus on the action and also potentially increase the number of tables we play.
Of course, we want to be careful that whatever we decide to do doesn’t fall outside the terms and conditions of our poker site. We are not encouraging botting here, just an awareness of the possibilities in terms of table scripting.
14. Analyse Table Setup
Selecting the perfect amount of tables, and correctly arranging them is a critical discipline.
Playing too few tables ->Can result in boredom and doesn’t maximise hourly rate.
Playing too many tables -> Results in stress/over stimulation and doesn’t maximise our hourly rate.
We are looking for that sweet spot where we enjoy the action and make the best decisions as a result (while still maximising our volume).
Even if we are currently happy with the number of tables we are playing, we should explore whether it’s possible to increase this after taking advantage of some of the other tips in this guide.
One method is by thoroughly learning default postflop strategy and implementing the use of table scripts.
15. Analyse BRM (Bankroll Management)
Much of the existing advice regarding bankroll management (BRM) revolves around the idea of always making sure we have enough buy-ins in our roll when playing a particular limit. Since having more buy-ins means a lower likelihood of going broke, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the more buy-ins, the better.
Playing over-rolled is a big leak because it prevents players from being able to move up the limits as quickly as possible in the long run. In many cases, a talented player might be being held back by trying to achieve an arbitrary number of buy-ins before shooting the next limit.
The maths, on the other hand, supports the idea of taking small but extremely aggressive shots.
It’s a good idea to analyse your BRM strategy and make sure you are not falling into the trap of playing over-rolled.
16. Play New Variants
It’s common to see brand new variants of poker cropping up at online sites. One of the problems with branching out to new variations is that it’s hard to find strategy advice – after all, no-one has ever played the game before.
However, as an advanced player, you should already have an understanding of the theoretical principles that govern a good strategy. As such, you should be able to get up to standard with new variants of poker, faster than your opponents.
Combined with the fact that new variants often attract recreational players, learning and crushing a new poker format should be a soft and lucrative target as well as increasing our theoretical knowledge of poker variants in general.
17. Offer Some Coaching
The classic quote is that you don’t understand something properly unless you can explain it to your grandmother.
Even if you don’t consider yourself an advanced player, there are less experienced players out there who would potentially benefit from some of your tuition.
Even if we don’t get paid directly, teaching others helps to solidify and improve our understanding of various poker concepts.
18. Work with a Neural Network
A neural network is essentially the “machine learning” version of a poker solver. Rather than attempt to solve poker through raw calculation, it looks to develop GTO solutions by playing lots of hands against itself and measuring the expected values.
You could either sign up with an existing poker neural network. Or, if feeling very, very brave and have some experience with coding/machine learning, you could look to build your own.
19. Work with Tree Building Software
Tree building software is similar to solver software with a couple of crucial differences. Tree building software revolves around calculating the expected value of different game-trees (rather than providing a GTO solution, although tree-building software can do that also).
It’s hence especially useful for constructing exploitative strategies. (GTO solvers are always looking for the balanced response rather than the exploitative one).
Working with tree building software can help us to get a good feel for how expected value is affected by the types of decision we make.
20. Run Own Preflop Solve
It’s possible to solve a given game tree to the point where we end up with complete preflop ranges. Preflop solves are complicated, however, and require a vast amount of system resources. Most readers of this article will not have a computer system powerful enough (although some might – think 64GB RAM and higher).
It is still possible for anyone to generate solved preflop ranges by using a powerful cloud computer. It’s a great learning experience to create our own preflop solves whether on our own system or in the cloud.
Note that solved ranges are not necessarily identical; it depends on parameters such as the exact game tree and the effective stacks. It’s hence possible for us to create an approximation of GTO preflop ranges for any environment.
This option is not for the faint of heart. It will require some time and a certain amount of capital. GTO solvers with preflop solve capability are not inexpensive. Then there is the cost of either owning a very high-end machine or renting a high-end cloud computer.
Think of this Top 20 Advanced Poker Tips as your poker bucket list.
Complete everything, and you probably just projected yourself into the top 1% of all poker players.