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20 key poker insights from Reddit users

“What thoughts have most drastically changed your game? After which ideas did you first start significantly profiting or playing more confidently?” — these were the two questions answered by Reddit users.

  1. If you have a hand on a coordinated board (e.g., two pairs) and your opponent doesn’t fold to your large bets, chances are you’re behind. Try dealing yourself two cards and dealing eight more to your opponents face up, then reveal the board — repeat this several times. You’ll be surprised how often opponents hit something, and you’ll understand the importance of playing aggressively and not letting opponents buy their outs cheaply.
  2. Don’t be afraid to 3-bet and 4-bet for value and as a bluff. Don’t be afraid to raise on the flop without a hand (but not too often). Don’t be afraid to fire two barrels in a bluff without equity if you were the preflop aggressor.
  3. Rarely do big bluffs happen on multiple streets at low offline limits. I bluffed too often, especially when my opponent bet on three streets. Playing online, I was afraid that regs would exploit me if I didn’t call frequently enough. But now I know: most regs at low limits simply make strong hands and bet three streets for value to get fish to pay them. At low limits, no one thinks about balance. All regs play tight, catch hands, and collect value.
  4. Play in your own style, don’t copy other players. I played poker for a long time and achieved decent results. When I started making good money, I read all the poker books and then tried to incorporate strategies into my game. After reading the books, I started losing a lot. It’s not that these strategies don’t work. I just felt uncomfortable at the table when I played outside of my style. Now I don’t read any poker books and take any advice with skepticism. The beauty of poker is that you can’t play “wrong.” Many will argue with me, but if everyone played “by the book,” poker would become the most boring game in the world.
  5. In poker, the most crucial thing is choosing the right game. Look for games with the highest average pot size per hour and the lowest number of hands dealt, play tight-aggressive, sit like a nit, and simply print money. The worst scenario is a large average pot and a high number of hands per hour. This means there are plenty of other tight-aggressive nits at the table who fold all evening, then win a huge pot with the nuts or second nuts.
  6. The most important stat online and offline is PFR. Every time you call a raise preflop instead of three-betting or folding, you narrow your range. Let’s say UTG+1 makes a min-raise. You’re at UTG+3 with AQo. Many people would just flat-call here. But flat-calling in this situation means you don’t have AA, KK, or AKs.

    When you enter a hand not as the first player and choose to call instead of fold, you put yourself in a disadvantaged position in terms of information. Your bluffs won’t work, you’ll lose a lot of money with weak hands, and you won’t win enough money with strong hands. Your opponent will understand your range better than you do, and therefore, against good players, you’ll lose a lot in terms of EV.
  7. With medium-strength hands, it’s better to play aggressively preflop and sometimes even on the flop (play a 3-bet or 4-bet preflop, and raise on the flop). In terms of your hand’s equity, these plays are unfavorable, but you need to consider your opponent’s fold equity.

    For example: JJ preflop is best played through a 4-bet — this will make your opponent fold hands like AQo (this hand has 44% equity against JJ).

    A9s is better played through a flop raise on a 935 rainbow flop to get hands like KQs and A2s to fold.
  8. “Forget about MDF” (minimum defense frequency). One coach kept talking to me about MDF. I used this concept for a long time, but it didn’t work for me.
  9. “Forget about GTO.” I’ve always played exploitatively, but my friend/mentor was teaching me GTO. Because of this, I regressed in my poker success by several years. Forget about GTO. Believe in yourself. GTO Wizard isn’t the ultimate truth.
  10. Think about your range, not just about your opponents’ ranges. After this thought, I learned to play AK much better, even when I miss the board. I just fire two or even three barrels so my opponent thinks I have overpairs.
  11. Understand how GTO works and why you need an equal number of bluffing and value hands for a flop bet. Understand why the solver chooses certain hands to bluff with.
  12. Hire a coach. I was a losing player for a long time. One day, I got tired of it and decided to hire a coach. The coach pointed out my leaks. I learned to understand what range advantage is, how it affects my play. I learned to play check/overbet on the turn, learned to choose bluffing hands correctly, build ranges, and understand the logic of thinking.
  13. Nobody bluffs on the river! Well, sometimes they bluff, but not as often as I thought.
  14. Making money in poker doesn’t mean having fun playing poker. If you want to make money in poker, you need to have good self-control and take it seriously.
  15. The most important thing is the pre-flop range. I realized this when I watched Andrew Neeme play. He plays 5 hands in 6 hours and never enters a hand with hands like K3o just because it’s “by the odds.” The same goes for suited connectors and hands like Ax.

    I used to think: other opponents play these hands, so I should too. But then I started comparing my range to bloggers’ ranges and learned to print money.
  16. To increase your EV, you need to make opponents make mistakes (instead of trying to always play perfectly yourself).
  17. To win in poker, the most important thing is to find the fold button.
  18. Don’t listen to the majority opinion on forums, especially from low-stakes offline regs. Especially if they have been playing low stakes for years or decades. Those who have been playing low stakes for years and earning 7-10 bb/hour are using a terrible strategy. It’s just that this strategy is slightly less terrible than the others. It’s better to listen to guys who have crushed low stakes with a stat of 20+ bb/hour, moved up in stakes, and are playing there.
  19. Be “greedy.” With a top-range hand, don’t slow play, don’t let your opponent play their mediocre hands cheaply. This is especially relevant in three-bet pots. Play for stacks. If your opponent goes over the top of you, it’s no big deal.
  20. Several years before the appearance of solvers, Paul “Internet” Otto posted a video in which he played check-calling with top pairs with weak kickers to protect the check-calling range. And because, in his words, opponents always make a probe bet on the turn after a check-call. He also played check-raising with lower pairs and some other hands on BB vs BTN. The funny thing is, many people on forums didn’t like this style of play, but it hooked me.

    At that time, I was already winning, but these two simple concepts suddenly opened up many possibilities and new branches on the decision tree for me. I was able to find new exploits. That 45-minute video allowed me to double my win rate at the time and put me two heads above my opponents.