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How To Be A Better Poker Player Than Your Friends

Updated on April 10, 2015
The amount of chips you will win when you follow this guide.
The amount of chips you will win when you follow this guide.

Poker is a game being enjoyed by millions. Its enjoyed at the green felts in casinos, the virtual felts on the online sites and the dining table at your buddy's house. If you're having trouble beating your buddies look no further! This guide will give you some simple and easy to follow tips that will help crush your friends in no time.

d= diamond
h= hearts
c= clubs
s= spade
Hero= Us
Villain= the guy we are against

Tip 1 - Pre-flop play

Usually, in the home game everyone is calling pre-flop in anticipation for the flop. Whether they are holding Aces or 7-2 off suit no one thinks about putting in a raise or mucking their cards. Instead of following everyone else begin to fold a little bit more and only play decent starting hands. These starting cards include

  • Pocket Pairs = Cards that are identical. Example AdAc
  • Suited Connected = Cards that are close to each other in number and the same suit. Example AdKd
  • Suited = Cards that are the same suit Ad7d
  • Connected= Cards that are close to each other in number 8d7d

Now that you have limited your range of opening cards you will be one step ahead of everyone else who is playing everything blindly. Also, when you do get one of the cards above it is better to raise instead of just calling. You remain tight (limited card selection) but are also aggressive as you will raise with these cards. This kind of style is called tight aggressive style (TAG) and is considered one of the best styles to play in poker.

Tip 2 - Thought Process

Often times players in a home game will not think properly. The only thing that will go through their head is "is this guy bluffing or not" but this is an incorrect thought process. There is a lot more to think about than just if the other guy is bluffing. Here is a scenario of a proper thought process and a not so proper one.


Hero is holdng 8c5c

Hero posts small blind of $5
Villain posts big blind of $10

Preflop:Hero completes his small blind and puts in another $5. Villain raises to $20.Hero calls.

Flop : 5d Ac Jd Hero checks and villain raises to $20.

Proper Thought Process

Hero: Villain has been raising all day pre-flop when he has a decent hand. I'll call and see what he does.

Villain raises hero pre-flop.

Hero: There just like I thought he would. I have a hand that could flop a flush or a straight and I can crush his strong cards. I have great odds to call also.

Flop comes out hero checks and villain bets

Hero: This flop definitely hit villains range. He was representing a strong hand that would hit this flop. Also, my straight draw went down the drain and I only have a slight change of hitting my flush. I could call and hope to get lucky but it seems like im not getting the proper odds here.

Improper Thought Process

Hero: Awesome, I only have to put in 5 more dollars to see the flop.

Villain raises hero preflop.

Hero: Hmm, its only 10 more dollars i'll call.

Flop comes out hero check and villain bets.

Hero: Huh, I wonder if he is bluffing or not. Whatever, I got a pair I think I should call.

Tip 3 - Slow Playing

Pocket aces. The best two cards you can get before the flop. Often times, when players have a good cards like this they will slow play their cards. This mean they will not raise in an effort to make their opponent think they have a weak holding. They will only call or check. This is a good strategy as it gets your opponent to bet into you with a weaker hand but you need to know when to slow play properly.

Slow play when :

  • You are only up against one opponent.
  • The board is not dangerous. Eg not many suited cards or connected cards

Do not slow play when:

  • There are a lot of players in the pot. You need to raise when this happens otherwise one of the players will suck out on you.
  • The board is dangerous. If it looks like someone is searching for a flush or straight you have to bet to make them pay for searching. If you let them get a free card and potentially hit their flush you will be in trouble.

Tip 4 - Mini Tips

The following are miniature tips that are good but don't deserve their own section.

  • Try not to bet too much when you have a draw. It is good as you could potentially get your opponent to fold but it is also good to see the next card for cheap.
  • Your opponents are bluffing less than you think. If you have a not so great holding and your opponent just raised you by a lot it is common to think that they are bluffing. But more times than not they are not bluffing.
  • This little trick works a lot of the time. When the flop comes out paired ( two of the cards are the same) put out a small little bet and more times than not your opponents will fold. Since the board is paired it is more likely that they did not hit the flop.
  • Only slow play your cards against very aggressive players. Often times the tight playes will check right through and fold when you show some aggression on the river.


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