I am really glad that you found my easy to follow complete Texas Hold’em strategy guide where we will cover the basics as well as advanced concepts on how to play poker. The four-part tutorial is designed to benefit beginners, intermediate players, and even advanced players. No matter what your background, this guide will help you sharpen your skills with the end goal of making you a big winner in your chosen game.
I have been playing and teaching poker for over 10 years and know how difficult it can be to find useful information that actually leads to winning money at the game. My strength has always been in breaking down the game into simplified and easy to understand elements that optimize the speed at which anyone improves at poker. It is my belief that anyone can become an elite poker player with a bit of knowledge and hard work.
First, we need to establish the entire reason we play poker.
What Is Poker and What Is the Object of the Game?
You may be wondering why I would even bother to define something that might seem really obvious to anyone reading this guide.
The reason is that the vast majority of people who sit down at a poker game really don’t understand what they are trying to accomplish or what the object of the game truly is.
- They may think it’s all about making a better hand than your opponent or winning some giant pot with their monster hand.
- Others may believe that the “secret” to winning is to know when to orchestrate a well-timed bluff or figure out your opponents’ tells so that you can spot when they are bluffing.
On all accounts, everything that thinks these things is completely off base. Let’s establish the object of the game and what should be at the forefront of every decision you make at the poker table. That information will allow us to hone in on a formal definition for poker.
So, what is the object of the game in poker? The object of poker is to win more money or chips than your opponents over your lifetime by consistently making better decisions than them at every possible decision point.
So here’s the formal definition of poker: Poker is a family of card games where individual players compete to see who can win the most money or chips over the long term.
Ultimately, your goal as a player should be to figure out how to win more money. In this guide, we will focus on Texas Hold’em since it is the most popular game today. However, many of the concepts we will discuss will be relevant for any variant of poker you choose to play.
The Goal of This Guide
The mission of this guide (and website) is to expedite your journey toward mastering all the simple and complex concepts of poker so that you can become the best player you can be. Unlike other poker tutorials, I am not going to spend a bunch of time telling you what hands to raise, what to 3-bet, when to c-bet, etc. Each of those topics could fill an entire book. Besides, there are hundreds of articles, books, forum posts out there that go into the minutiae of that information in depth.
Instead, my objective is to provide a solid fundamental and theoretical foundation that allows you to comprehend poker strategy in a more efficient way. Basically, I want to teach you the proper mindset and give you the fundamental knowledge that allows you to maximize your potential. Once you understand the basics of how to win money in poker, building a strategy around that core goal becomes much easier. Put another way, if you don’t understand the information in my guide, learning poker would be like playing golf with a blindfold.
Who This Guide Is For
I wrote this tutorial for everyone. Whether you are new to the game, are a struggling intermediate player, or even an advanced player this guide has something for you. Beginners will benefit from obtaining all of the basic knowledge that I wish I had when I started over 10 years ago. Intermediate players will likely find a few things that they might have missed along the way. Advanced players will sharpen their skills by getting back to basics as a refresher course.
Whatever your background, this guide will help you either build or rebuild a poker game that is firmly based on sound fundamentals and theory. Once you master all of the concepts I have laid out for you, the rest all comes down to adjusting to your opponents. Your ultimate level of success in Texas Hold’em, or any other poker variant, depends on how well you adjust your strategy based on what other players are doing at the table.
What Format Will I Learn to Play?
This guide will focus on teaching you to win at Texas Hold’em cash games. Even so, the knowledge you will gain here will have relevance for any game format you choose. After all, cash games are the purest form of poker since there are no prize pools or ICM concerns to worry about. Mastering the information here will make you a beast in whatever game you choose to play. There is a reason cash game specialists are the best players in the world.
Why Should I Trust You to Teach Me Poker?
Because I actually win big at poker. I am not some famous “poker star” or someone who travels to the World Series of Poker every year. I am just one of many poker professionals who you have never heard of that plays poker as a side hobby instead of as a career.
The best thing is that I have been grinding the stakes that everyday players, like you and me, play right now in the real world. I know how the games run from 2NL all the way up to 600NL. I can teach you how to crush those games because that’s what I have been doing for years. I also am a winner in MTTs, SNGs, and even have won over 100 local live pub poker events. No matter the format, I can help you play better.
If you want a brief history of how I got started in poker, check out the about page. Or, if you prefer to see it with your own eyes, I have a ton of content on YouTube that shows me playing and talking through hands. In 2017 I completed something called the Spare Change Challenge, where I took some loose change from around the house and ran it up to $4,000 in about 70,000 hands. During that span, I also took first place in a small stakes MTT for $1,800 and had an ROI of 150%. By the way, the picture at the top of this page is one of my graphs.
What You Will Learn
For ease of navigation, I have split up the guide into 4 parts:
- Part 1: Basic Rules of Texas Hold’em Gameplay
This part is for people who are either complete beginners or need a refresher on how exactly the game is played. If you an intermediate player and already have a firm grasp of how to play Texas Hold’em, you may skip to part #2.
- Part 2: Basic Poker Fundamentals & Theory
In this part, we cover the basics of poker strategy and fundamentals as well as where the money comes from in poker.
- Part 3: Fundamentals of Advanced Poker Theory
The goal of part three is to start bridging the gap between the fundamentals of poker and how we use that information to formulate a winning strategy.
- Part 4: Building Your Poker Strategy
Once you understand the basic fundamentals and theory, it’s time to create a core “vacuum” strategy that will serve as the foundation for all of your play. We will also discuss the mental side of poker and how to study and improve your game going forward.