How to Become a Stronger Texas Hold’em Player Overnight

by Michael Stevens
on January 6, 2018

It can take years of hard work to become a professional poker player, or even to be good at the game. Some players study poker for decades before they even get close to competing in a major tournament or playing at the same table as a well-known poker pro.

But there are tricks you can learn about poker quickly and things you can start to work on right away to immediately become a much stronger Texas hold’em player, even overnight.

Start working on the basics of poker and Texas hold’em, and you’ll be on the path toward becoming one of those well-known poker pros yourself.

Study the Game

If you want to be great at Texas hold’em, make sure you know the game. Watch videos online of Texas hold’em being played so you can get a look at how the table play works, what happens and when.

The player “on the button” is the person who is last to act after the flop, the turn and the river. There are four rounds of betting in Texas hold’em. You want to know when they happen, and how to bet.

Watch a few poker hands online, and you’ll get a good feel for exactly how the game is played and when the action happens. Just knowing this information will make you stronger at the game, because you’ll know the mechanics, so nothing will come as a surprise and you’ll always know when you have to act.

You also want to know all the poker hands backwards and forwards, meaning you have to know what beats what when it comes to poker. A lot of fancy stuff happens in Texas hold’em, and there are special names for everything, but remember that poker is still poker.

A full house still beats three of a kind, and all the standard rules apply. Study the poker hands, and where they fall.

When you’re at the table, it can cost you big if you can’t remember whether a straight beats a flush.

It’s easy to memorize the poker hands in a single night, because there aren’t a lot to memorize.

Practice saying them in order so you’ll know which hands beat which other hands. Keep saying them out loud until you know them all cold, and you’ll know instantly how many other hands can beat your hand when you’re at the table trying to play.

Learn How to Spot Lies

Become better at poker by paying attention to everyone around you. People have certain mannerisms and habits, things they do when they’re lying or feeling stressed, when they’re happy or feeling confident.

Look at the faces of the people closest to you, the people you know best and see the most often, and look at their expressions. Once you learn how to spot the tells that convey emotions, you’ll be much better at spotting tells in all the people that you’re playing poker with.

Become more aware of everyone around you and their facial expressions, and you will immediately start to become a better poker player. The more you work at studying these expressions and spotting tells, the better you’re going to get at it.

When you can spot these things in people you know, you’ll be closer to spotting tells in the people you don’t know. Start practicing right away, and you’ll start getting better right away, too.

Remember Not to Play Every Hand

Texas hold’em is a tempting mistress, because the cards are revealed slowly. This can be absolutely excruciating, and it’s also a trap. Too many players keep betting and getting involved in every single hand because they want to see the flop, in hopes that suddenly a good hand will appear.

Don’t do it.

Smart poker players player less than half the hands they’re dealt. Only play a hand when you’ve already got a hand to play. If you get dealt absolute garbage, don’t throw money away on your hand in hopes that the flop will bring you a present.

Most of the time it won’t, and other players at the table who started out with strong hands are still going to win almost every single time.

Poker isn’t about getting lucky, it’s about playing smart. Play smart by playing only the hands that are playable, rather than trying to make a playable hand appear out of thin air.

Ignore Your Gut Feelings

You know how people say always trust your gut?

When it comes to Texas hold’em, don’t.

Your gut can’t predict the future, or tell you if that guy at the end of the table is holding pocket aces. Use your head, and not your belly or any other part of your body, to make your poker decisions.

Always leave your feelings, your hunches and all your other baggage at the door when you step up to the poker table. Base your play off what you know about the game, not on what you’re feeling about the game.

Don’t play your hunches or bet big because you had a dream last night that you went all-in and won. You can always go back to trusting your gut when it comes to everything else in life, but when it comes to poker, just do yourself a favor and tell your gut to go take a nap.

Trust your head and what you’ve learned about the game
and about the tells you can see.

Don’t put your faith in the cards. If you do, you’ll end up disappointed.

Keeping your emotions in check is always an important aspect of playing poker. Put your emotions to the side and play only with your brain, and you will immediately become a much better poker player as a result.

Don’t Drink

When you’re at the casino or playing a card game at a party, there’s going to be lots of booze available. Everyone at the table wants you to drink it.

Guy Gambling with Fog

The casino wants you to drink it so badly, they’re going to give it to you for free. It will be offered to you, handed to you, and even shoved at you on occasions.


Don’t drink alcohol when you’re playing poker, and it will make a difference in an instant. Drinking alcohol impairs judgement, makes you act hastily, and clouds your thinking.

None of this is good for playing poker, so it’s obvious that you simply shouldn’t drink alcohol at all if you’re going to play. Keep your mind clear when you’re at the table, or you will make more mistakes.

Wait to have a drink until after you lose the game, or win it.

Don’t Bluff Lightly

Every poker player wants to dominate the table, fool everyone sitting all around and just bluff the crap out of a huge pot. But you can’t force that dream to happen by blindly bluffing to build up a reputation at the table. In other words, don’t bluff just for the sake of bluffing.

Lots of players go into a game trying to prove something, or with the intention of creating a certain persona. Don’t worry about doing this. Focus on being a great poker player by knowing the game, knowing how to read others, and knowing how to play your cards.

A flashy personality is the least of what you need to be a successful card player, and that’s the truth. It’s much more important and much more valuable to master the mechanics of the game itself than it is to razzle-dazzle everyone else at the table into folding their cards.

Bluff other players when you know for sure that other players are weak. Bluff only when you know that you can scare the others away from a pot and steal it.

Don’t bluff just to look big. Bluffing is a strong poker tool when it’s used the right way.

When it’s used at the wrong time, bluffing is a double-edged sword that can end up impaling you rather than destroying your opponents.

If another player knows they have a strong hand, you can’t bluff them off a pot no matter how big you act. Bluffing should only be used when everyone is weak, and you know you can afford to act strong.

Get Out, and Get Out Now

You just knew you were going to hit that flush, so you bet the flop. You bet the turn, and you didn’t make it. Now the action is on you, and you know you’re going to lose.

Don’t throw more chips on the pile just because you’ve stayed in the hand this long. If you didn’t get the hand you thought you were going to make, fold. Even if it’s “just a small bet,” it’s still not money that you can afford to lose.

When you know you haven’t got it, get out.

Good players know when to get out of a poker hand, and sometimes that moment is near the end of the hand. If you keep yourself in the game, you’ll just end up throwing more money away, and that’s less money you’ll have to play with when you really do flop the nuts.

When it’s time to get out of a hand, get out. Don’t think about how it will look to the others or how affordable it is to stay in. When you think it’s time to get out, then it’s time to get out.

Have a Poker Face

Reading everyone else, playing with your head, and being smart at the poker table isn’t going to help if you’re also expressing every single thought you have while you’re playing. Remember that you need to have a poker face, and think about maintaining that face always.

Ideally, you want to have no expression on your face at all. Have no reaction to the cards in front of you, even when you flop a straight flush.

Stay blank to stay unreadable to everyone else at the table.

Practice your poker face by sitting in front of the mirror with your tablet or smartphone. Watch a funny video clip or movie scene, and practice not having any reaction to it. Watch a sad clip or scene, and don’t react to it. Work on this while looking in the mirror.

This will help you be more aware of your own facial expressions, and that’s the first step toward creating a perfectly blank poker face. Stay aware of your expressions, and you’re already well on your way to having a perfectly blank face when you’re playing Texas hold’em.

Let Go of the Fear

Texas hold’em is gambling, and some of the time, you’re going to lose. The pros lose a lot of the time, too. The difference is that the pros know how to make the most out of their wins and minimize their losses.

Card Tunnel Shadow Hands and Girl in Fear

If you want to be good at the game, let go of the fear that can hold you back and make you more cautious. Don’t be afraid to lose. Know that you’re going to lose, and hope that you will also be able to win a little, too.

When you sit down to play the game, you are fearless. Have this mindset. Tell yourself it’s true even when it’s not. Work on defeating your fear and ignoring your fear, and you’ll get better and better at playing fearlessly — which is exactly what you need to do.

Good players can spot fear in others and exploit it. Don’t become the target. Take charge of your fear, and you’ll be that player who is preying on the weaker people at the table.


The basics of being a good Texas hold’em player are the same for everyone, whether you’re just starting out with the game or you’re a 30-year veteran of the Vegas tables. You can learn the basics of being a good player overnight, but mastering them can take a lifetime.

Once you start working on these basics, you’ll start to become a much stronger player every single time you sit down to play the game.

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for since early 2016.

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