5 Insanely Useful Advanced Poker Strategy Tips
This article was written by blackrain79.com contributor Fran Ferlan.
Poker is an incredibly competitive game, and it’s no surprise by any means.
Wherever there’s money, there’s people scrambling to get a piece of the
One great thing about poker is that, unlike many other endeavours, there’s a
minimum barrier of entry. Anyone can play, and anyone can win, and it only
takes an hour or so to learn. All you need is a "chip and a chair" as the old saying goes.
The basic poker strategies are widely available online, and with a little
effort, anyone can learn to be a winning player, or at least not a complete
noob just waiting to give their hard-earned money away.
But to be a successful long-term winner, you need a little more than the basic
know-how, especially in today’s games, where the edges seem to be getting
smaller and smaller.
It’s not enough anymore to just play tight, wait for a hand and get paid.
After learning the fundamentals, it pays to keep building up on your poker
knowledge, because that’s the only way to keep up and stay ahead in an
increasingly competitive environment.
This article will give you five advanced tips to take your game to the next
level and crush the competition who just wait around for the nuts all day.
Let’s dive right into it…
1. Get the Jesus Seat
What do poker and real estate business have in common? Location, location,
location. Poker is a business, and where you choose to conduct your business
will greatly influence your profitability.
So even before you sit down and play, you should consider choosing a seat
carefully. Ideally, you want to grab as many Jesus seats as possible (if
you’re playing online and can multi-table).
Jesus seat refers to the position on the direct left of the fish. If you have
a recreational player (or more of them) on your right, you’ll have the most
money making opportunities.
The most profitable spots in poker are when we are playing in position, as the
preflop aggressor, against one opponent. And all these conditions can be met
frequently with the Jesus seat.
When you are seated on the direct left of the fish, you’ll be playing in
position against them most of the time.
You’ll be in a great position to take their money first, by isolating them if
they limp in the pot, or even 3-bet them if they raise, which means you’ll be
playing a heads-up pot with them with the range advantage post flop in most
By being in position, they’re going to have to be the first to act, so you can
get better reads on them. Also, you’ll be able to control the size of the pot,
get to showdown cheaply with your weak hands, and value bet them heavily with
your strong hands.
But there’s an even better variation of Jesus seat you should be on the
lookout for. Jesus seat deluxe, if you will. It’s the seat that is directly to
the left of the fish, and directly to the right of a nit, a supertight
Not only will you be able to isolate the fish all day long, you won’t need to
worry about getting reraised yourself.
By the way, if you don't know how to spot the fish at the online poker tables, I highly recommend using a good poker HUD.Just look for the players on your HUD with a VPIP of 40 or more. VPIP by the way is just a fancy term used to indicate the percentage of hands that somebody plays.A VPIP of 40+ is a guaranteed recreational player (fish) in any poker game.Your HUD will tell you everyone's VPIP (and dozens of other highly useful stats) directly on your online poker table screen. BlackRain79 actually shows you step by step how to setup your PokerTracker HUD in less than 5 minutes in this video:You can download the free trial version of the PokerTracker HUD, right here.
Anyways, as you move up in stakes, you’ll encounter more and more solid and aware
players who will realize you’re abusing the fish, and they will start to make
adjustments to your play.
They’ll start calling your isolation raises more widely, or start 3-betting
you lightly. This can get quite frustrating quite quickly.
Fortunately though, these kinds of players are a minority at the lower
Most solid players still play pretty straightforwardly a large chunk of the
time, and there’s a bunch of multi-tabling nits still populating the lower
They don’t make a lot of mistakes and you won’t be able to make a lot of money
against them, but they aren’t that difficult to play against either.
If they have a strong hand, they’ll let you know, if not, they’ll let you have
it and look for a better spot. So having these kinds of players on your right
is great for your bottom line.
Not only you need not worry about their incessant aggression, you can also
pick up their blinds uncontested most of the time, which will add up nicely in
the long run.
2. 3-Bet Resteal
Anyone familiar with the basic poker strategy knows the importance of stealing
the blinds. Winning poker players know that most money comes from playing in
position as the preflop aggressor.
Conversely, playing from the blinds you are actually expected to lose money in
the long term, no matter how good you are. It’s just how the game is
structured, and there’s really no way around it.
So when playing in the blinds, your primary goal should be to lose as little
as possible. The easiest way to go about this is simply folding a 100% of your
hands in the blinds.
That way, you’re losing 1.5 big blinds per orbit, or about 25 big blinds per
hundred hands if you’re playing 6-max, for example. So folding all the time is
hardly an optimal strategy.
One way to reduce that kind of negative outcome is to occasionally 3-bet light
to steal attempts. When we say steal attempts in this context, we’re talking
about open-raising from cutoff, button or small blind.
You can see your opponents stealing tendencies by checking their Attempt to
steal stat in PokerTracker 4, by the way.
The beauty of this play is that it is insanely simple and can be outright
profitable, because you’ll be able to win the pot right then and there
Also, you’ll be able to pull it off quite frequently, because open-raise
stealing situations are very common.
It will also make you harder to play against, because your opponents will have
to think twice before trying to steal your blinds. Rightly timed aggression
can go a long way.
The best players to target with this play are of the TAG and LAG variety. They
tend to be positionally aware, and they widen their range considerably in late
positions.See The Micro Stakes Playbook for much more on how to create optimal strategies versus TAGs, LAGs, and all player types in small stakes games.
But basically, these two player types will have a lot of speculative hands in their range, and even some
borderline junk in some cases, like A6o or 85s, and a lot of these hands will
fold to a 3-bet.
Remember, the idea is to get folds preflop, so your opponents have to have a
fold button. Doing this against recreational players can backfire, and you’re
better off 3-betting them mainly for value.
You are dealt A♠3♠ in the SB. A TAG villain open raises from the BU to 2.5x.
You should consider 3-betting to 10x.
An average tight and aggressive player will play about 40% of their hands on
the button, and a lot of them will fold to a 3-bet, which makes this play
We have a great speculative hand that can flop a lot of monsters, and blocks a
lot of villains' big hands (like Aces, Kings and Ace-King) as well.
Even if we do get called, we’re going to see the flop with the initiative and
range advantage, and can often take down the pot with a simple C-bet.
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3. Squeeze Preflop
A squeeze is a preflop 3-bet where there was an open raise and one or more
callers before you.
If someone open-limps and one or more players limp behind and you raise, this
is not considered a squeeze. If someone open-raises and you 3-bet them, this
is also not considered a squeeze.
It’s called a squeeze because: a) you’re trying to “squeeze out” dead money,
ideally from weak ranges, and b) because the original raiser and caller(s) are
“squeezed” between two opponents and find themselves in hard to defend
The primary objective of the squeeze is to get your opponents to fold and pick
up the pot uncontested preflop.
Here is a recent hand where BlackRain79 discusses the benefits of squeezing in more detail:
If you 3-bet Aces after an open-raise and one or multiple calls, it’s
technically still considered a squeeze, but in this case you are not looking
to get folds, but rather get called by weaker hands and build up the pot with
your value hand.
But in this context, we’ll consider only bluff squeezes, where we intend to
get all our opponents to fold and pick up easy money preflop.
What makes this play so effective is that we’re ideally attacking a weak
open-raising range and callers’ capped ranges, both of which are likely to
give up when facing a 3-bet.
Let’s consider the open-raising range first. We should ideally target opens
from late positions (cutoff and button) because these tend to be the
We should be more wary of attacking under the gun open-raises, because they
tend to have more value hands in their range (like AA, KK, QQ, AK) and are
less likely to fold to a squeeze.
We should be less worried about callers’ ranges, because we can basically
eliminate those strong value hands from their range.
Had they had them, they would have 3-bet them themselves instead of calling.
That’s what we mean when we say someone’s range is capped.
Now, that’s not to say that some players won’t try to get cute and flat call
with Aces preflop, but that’s a suboptimal strategy for a number of reasons,
which we won’t be getting into here.
Our target(s) should be weak players with loose ranges, because they typically
can’t stand the pressure of the 3-bet, especially in a multiway pot.
It’s important to mention right off the bat that they also need to be able to
fold to 3-bets, otherwise we run the risk of getting involved into a bloated
multiway pot with a bluffing hand. Not a great look.
You are dealt A♣J♦ in the BB.
A LAG villain open-raises to 2.5x on the BU.
A nit calls in the SB.
You should 3-bet to 11x.
We can certainly call in this situation, but the chance of encountering a lot
of gross spots postflop is through the roof.
We are playing a multiway pot, out of position, with an easily dominated hand.
We also don’t…