For April 1st, we at 888 wanted to share with our readers some of our favorite tips and tricks to commemorate the holiday. But please note: although there are a plethora of online training videos, articles, and resources, the best poker advice will always come from first-hand experience. Mathematical data and strategy derived from expert analysis can only go so far – your number one source of information should always be from local home game and casino players.

  1. Just jump right into it! Get a running start. Mindset is overrated; you will perform the same if you start playing poker immediately, no matter what kind of day you had or your headspace. Don’t be fooled into thinking you need to “warm-up” or take it easy a few orbits to feel out the table. Some so-called “experts” recommend going for a walk or grabbing something healthy to eat – don’t fall victim to these snake oil salesmen. The best time to play poker is NOW. Don’t get caught up in your mental state or if you're distracted from things going on in your life. Sit at the table as fast as possible before you miss a hand – it could be aces!
  2. Trust your gut! Poker probability calculators and mathematical outs take the fun out of poker – not to mention your gut instinct is usually the most accurate. Studies show that if you “feel” like a flush is coming, it’s more likely to come. Don’t spend countless hours trying to do the math – listen to your heart. Your wallet will thank you.
  3. Vary your raise sizes. You should definitely raise much, much larger with a hand like Jacks or Tens because you are not sure if you want to get called. Every time you have a big pair, consider raising huge. If most people open to around $15, for example, then try opening to $50.
  4. Limp. The best way to play poker is by raising to enormous sizes with your good hands and limping everything else. Raising narrows down the field to less players therefore increasing your likelihood of winning, but limping allows you to play more hands. Most beginners lean heavily into limping which is why they have “beginners luck”.
     poker player
  5. Gamble to build a stack. If you feel disadvantaged as a short stack, start going all-in to get chips. Any two cards have the power to win!
  6. Flips are your friend. You definitely want to flip as much as possible. If someone has a hand like KQ and you’ve got pocket deuces, this is an automatic all-in. Always. Don’t be afraid to flip for stacks – if you keep getting your money in with about 50% likelihood of winning repeatedly, you’re destined to succeed.
  7. Tell bad beat stories. People at poker tables love hearing bad beat stories! Remember that CRAZY time your full house lost to quads?? Classic! Pro tip: make sure to take notes and write down hands so you can share the exact play-by-play in the future with your tablemates – including the exact bet sizes!
  8. Bluff beginners. The best players to bluff will always be beginners. The newer someone is to the game, the more likely your bluff is to be effective. Execute well-constructed plays representing straights, flushes, and full houses to target their one pair holdings.
  9. Never fold aces. This one may seem obvious. We all know aces are the best poker hand! But too many people make the mistake of tossing them into the muck when faced with a little aggression, illogically fearful of sets, straights, two pair holdings, etc. When you’re dealt a pair of aces, it’s time to go the distance! And while a flop like 6♠️7♠️8♠️ may seem scary when you’ve got A♦️A♥️ – especially multiway against several opponents – you need to have the courage to hold onto your hand.

  10. Don’t let people push you around. The best poker players never allow themselves to get bluffed. Ever. Protect your image by letting people know you are always calling – and don’t fall victim to someone trying to pull one over on you. It’s better to always call and get bluffed zero times even if you’re mostly wrong than it is to veer towards folding and get bluffed every once in a while even if you’re mostly right.
Amanda is the author of the book A Girl's Guide to Poker, dedicated to making poker friendly and accessible to everyone. In 2021, she was a World Series of Poker final-tablist where she and her father took third place in the WSOP tag team event.