The BIGGEST Poker Strategy Guide from the World's Biggest Poker Ambassadors
How would it feel to get poker advice from some of the best poker minds in the world? To hear from the Ambassadors and representatives from the biggest sites in online poker history?
Well wonder no more, because we went and asked them!
Jump to your favorite ambassadors here:
Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospellier
Arguably the most recognizable European poker ambassador, Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospellier left the world of competitive StarCraft to win poker's Triple Crown and over $14 million in live earnings. He advocates for both mental and physical preparation to keep performing at your best.
"To become the best poker player you can be, it is important to master all of the following aspects: strategy, hand and people reading, mental strength and discipline, risk taking and adaptation.
"However, nowadays I think one of the most underestimated parts of the puzzle is still the mental and physical preparation. By being mentally and physically fit to play, you will maintain your A-game for a longer time, and this is extremely crucial, particularly in tournaments, because the mistakes you could make after 8-10 hours of play are the ones that cost more.
"The mistakes you could make after 8-10 hours of play are the ones that cost more"
"Unfortunately, there is no secret or magic fix here, and conditioning yourself physically and mentally to play your best will require sustained efforts and work. What I find works best for myself might not be your optimal routine, but before long poker sessions, my favorite routine is a good night's sleep, meditation, very light workout/yoga and fasting until I am done playing poker. You should experiment until you find the routine where you feel in the zone playing and you don't feel time passing by."
Is he the most successful poker player of the 21st century? Fedor Holz certainly in the equation with a staggering $32 million in live earnings and countless tournament victories including High Rollers galore. He takes it back to the basics, encouraging players to focus on preflop to avoid getting involved in pots you shouldn't.
"When I started out playing poker,the way I won money at the mid-stakes level was by bringing more consistency into my gameplan and better selecting the hands which I raise preflop.
"I suggest to start out with a tight-aggressive approach and choose which pots you want to be involved in.
"Another big shift for me was when I built my crew of friends who all were eager to become great at poker. Talking with others and challenging each other was my key to success. When you sit down to play you should be ready to go all the way. Keeping a high level of focus throughout has always been one of my strong suits and is an important attribute to have if you want to win at poker."
Daniel Negreanu is without question one of the most famous poker players in history, and is regularly seen playing in some of the highest stakes tournaments around. He has three simple pieces of advice for beginner poker players.
In a career spanning over 12 years, Jason Koon has amassed over $34 million dollars in live earnings and a WSOP bracelet. He says that there's no substitute for experience if you're looking to improve your poker game.
"If you want to get good, you first need to develop feel by grinding hours upon hours. After you get some experience, I would seek out a training course online as well as trying to find a few poker friends, preferably more experienced than you, to bounce ideas of off. If you don't have as much to offer them, be the person always volunteering to do the grunt work."
Felipe ‘Mojave’ Ramos
One of Brazil's favorite poker sons, Felipe 'Mojave' Ramos is an experienced poker professional currently sitting second on the all-time money list. He recommends seeking the advice of others, and aiming to improve every day.
"In my opinion, the best poker strategy advice is to pick up a coach you trust and have that person help you out with your game. Sometimes accepting information from a wide range of people or groups, can only make you more confused. Keep learning from many, keep your eyes open, always aim to improve everyday, that is still the motto.
"This might seem to be odd coming from a guy that runs the largest poker community in Brazil, but taking advice from players that have different backgrounds, goals and skill levels can be very problematic most of the time."
Fernando ‘JNandez87’ Habegger
GGPoker OmahaSquad's Fernando 'JNandez87' Habegger takes an introspective look on poker and how your thoughts influence your own study.
"When playing or studying the game of poker, always look for a congruent thought process for why you're making a specific move and keep challenging your own arguments and logic.
"The important phrase is: 'The quality of your questions define the quality of your game.'"
Hristivoje ‘ALLinPav’ Pavlovic
Contrary to what his name suggests, Hristivoje 'ALLinPav' Pavlovic points out how important training sites can be to poker players.
"Some people don't know how to play because they don't know how to study. Whether this be looking at charts or doing hand reviews. Training sites work so well because they start from the ground up, covering the fundamentals and show you how to use different software features.
"If you want to be great, you must do the boring things sometimes."
"This is the boring answer that everyone, deep down, already knows but doesn't want to commit to. That's why Twitch is such a popular option for people. Not only is it interactive and fun but they get to hear the thought process of the streamer and bounce ideas off the community.
"If you want to be great, you must do the boring things sometimes."
Greg Goes All In
A simple approach from GGPoker Content Creator Greg Goes All In whose social media presence is one of the strongest in the poker world.
"Aspiring content creators ask me for advice, and I tell them all the same thing: "Just start." Create that YouTube channel today. Film yourself right now with your phone, and upload it to TikTok. Post that first Instagram photo. It's the most beneficial but difficult step. However, its importance is obvious: to do anything, you have to start.
The things you put out will be garbage at first (see my 5NL poker vlogs), but as long as you enjoy the process and don't ask anything from your art, you will feel fulfilled. If you're not having fun, what's the point of anything?
"Alternatively, it's simple - this is how you win at poker: Get it in good and hold, or get it in bad and suck out. If you never go all-in in a tournament, you win the tournament."
Richard ‘GingePoker’ Sheils
More is better says GGPoker Twitch Squad's Richard ‘GingePoker’ Sheils, whilst also recommending YouTube for early poker content.
"My best poker strategy advice would be to play as much as possible and to try to alway think and apply common sense to all situations.
"My best tip for improving is to watch as much poker content as you can, which can easily be done for free on YouTube. Most lower stakes players lose money because they don’t fold enough on the river, no one at the lower stakes bluffs enough, you should use that to your advantage and start to fold more.
"When you sit down to play poker make sure you are refreshed, focused and ready to
Pamela ‘Pamsi’ Balzano
GGPoker Twitch Squad's Pamela 'Pamsi' Balzano has two pieces of advice - accept you're going to make mistakes and forge your own path.
"You have to accept that you are going to make mistakes, and that's okay! It is a fundamental part of success in anything. When I started playing poker I remember getting very frustrated every time I had a class and I noticed that I had made big mistakes. But my brother always told me: "Don't be afraid or ashamed, this is how you learn".
"Secondly, do not compare yourself with others. We have a natural tendency to look at someone next to us to see if we are doing well or not. This is useless because in the end no two paths are the same. We all have different processes. Be patient and enjoy it!"
Patrick ‘Egption’ Tardif
Another massive Twitch streamer on GGPoker's books is Patrik 'Egption' Tardif whose biggest piece of advice is patience and taking your time when faced with a poker decision.
"A major mistake I see amateurs and professionals alike make is simply not taking their time with important decisions. When in critical or complicated situations, players tend to snap act which can often lead to mistakes, which if they even just took 10-15 seconds to evaluate, wouldn’t happen.
Related: Are Tankers Sinking Poker's Ship?
"I’m not advocating everyone take’s 40 seconds before they open raise preflop. Simple situations you see on a regular basis aren’t what I’m talking about. It’s the often complicated or unique turn and river decisions. The final table ICM situations. The unique preflop situations that happen once every couple thousand hands. I see a lot of players snap acting on final tables, where all the money is made and the mistakes are the costliest.
"Don’t be afraid to take a moment to collect all the information in front of you. Use some timebank if you need it.
Michael ‘Easterdamnz’ Van Elsacker
Michael 'Easterdamnz' van Elsacker looks internally at what it truly means to be a good poker player and being able to recognize different situations and how to act appropriately depending on the situation you are in.
"In the game of poker you can find yourself in almost infinite different situations. Every hand will in some way be non-identical to an other hand. This can be because of many reasons:
- The bet size
- The highest card on the board
- Whether there are 1, 2 or 3 of the same suit on the board
- Stack depth
"All these different ''inputs'' will result in different ''outputs''. For example, ICM considerations will sometimes lead to wider opening, and other times to less defending. A situation where holding will sometimes result in betting bigger on the flopdepending on the highest card on the board.
"Recognizing these situations and the corresponding outputs will result in better play during certain hands. ''Becoming a better poker player'' could then be defined as ''recognizing a wider variety of different situations (and inputs) in poker and knowing the correct outputs''."
Lukas ‘RobinPoker’ Robinson
Want the best and cheapest way to get into poker? Lukas 'RobinPoker' Robinson has some advice for you that helped him move from the micro-stakes to being part of GGPoker's Twitch Team.
"Given I was playing micro-stakes recreationally around two years ago, and I am now playing midstakes full-time as a professional poker player, I can simply share what things worked for me, in taking my game to the next level and making a decent profit from poker.
"The best free way to get better at poker IMO is to join a Discord channel where there will be similar players to you, playing similar stakes, where you can share hands with them and get advice.
"Create a group with a bunch of other poker players, whether they're on the same level as you, slightly worse, or slightly better. Then share hands every day with with them and talk poker. This will be no doubt be the best and easiest way to improve at poker in my opinion."
888poker Ambassador Vivian Saliba is one of the brightest poker minds, and is no stranger to imparting her wisdom onto PokerNews readers
Canadian Kara Scott is perhaps best known as a WSOP presenter and broadcaster, but she's no stranger to poker strategy having previously explained what you DEFINITELY shouldn't do at the poker table.
The best place for 888poker strategy advice is their official YouTube channel or the 888poker 'Made to Learn' section of their website. With step by step guides on how to play poker and their own basic poker strategy guide.
He's loud and charismatic, but with almost $5 million in career earnings, Sam Grafton's earned the right to be. Now a PokerStars ambassador, Grafton advises for patience and a clear thought process around ever hand in order to reach your intended goal.
"Take your time in game. Take your hand off the mouse and try and picture exactly what you’re trying to achieve with your bet. What specific hands are you trying to get called by when you bet for value and what hands do you want to get folds from when you bluff."
Spanish player Ramon Colillas says that bankroll management should be the number one rule for every poker player. The inaugural PSPC champion also says that studying from the best can help you achieve your goals.
"Control your bankroll and you can be the best poker player in the world. Without discipline and control of your bankroll, you are destined to fail. In order to improve and get better at poker, it helps if you study and learn from the best.
"A good preflop strategy solves many post flop problems"
"There are many ways but a very valuable one is to observe what the best players do (Twitch, YouTube, blogs...). Play fewer hands and in position, select the cards you are going to play based on your position and that of your rivals. A good preflop strategy solves many post flop problems."
One of the latest PokerStars Ambassadors is Brazil's Rafael Moraes. Like many people, he recommends players pay attention to Progressive KO events, and focusinng on adapting your play in order to crush these games.
"Progressive KO events are growing a lot recently, and they have a very different early game from regular tournaments, with a more aggressive play and lots of all-ins. Don't think it's strange if an experienced player makes less conventional plays at the beginning of this type of event, you need to know how to adapt to this more aggressive game because winning a bounty at the beginning can represent a good discount on your buy-in."
Brazilian poker royalty comes in the form of Andre Akkari. Only the second-ever player to win a WSOP bracelet, Akkari says that looking at the bigger picture can be beneficial for players when starting out.
"Macro thinking beats micro. Think ranges, not hole cards. When we are playing poker, it is tempting to focus on the hole cards we have or the cards our opponent may be holding, but this is not the best way to look at it.
"In order to make the best decision, think about every holding you and your opponent could have when getting to the point of your decision at every time and analysing the whole situation from a bigger picture.”
"If you genuinely want to improve, you need to make it your sole focus, when you’re focusing on it. If you watch training videos whilst browsing Twitter or have the TV on, you won’t improve. Put your phone away. Close your internet tabs. Try and zone in and begin to understand why different things happen.
"This can be while you’re watching a Twitch stream or a training video or looking at sims. Concentrate on the why and not if you’re “right or wrong” and you’ll get better. 1 hour spent locked in like this will yield better results than a half -hearted 4/5 hours where you check out hands and see if “I played them right”."
A passionate member of the Twitch Poker community, Arlie Shaban famously completed the 12 Labors of Arlie in order to win a PSPC Platinum Pass. He recomends players focus on bankroll management and game selection in order to improve.
"Learning about and applying bankroll management and game selection really helped structure my mental game in a way where I could accept the downswings. In the past I would go on a downswing and then punt off in higher stakes chasing my losses. This would always end with me down way more then I should have been, it would often cause me to be really upset.
"But after implementing proper bankroll management and game selection I drastically decreased my downswings, which greatly helped my mental game moving forward."
One of PokerStars' newest additions, Sebastian Huber triumphed in the Dare2Stream competition to join the roster of Twitch Poker ambassadors. His passion for poker comes through in his advice, recommending players focus on playing one specific format.
"Short-handed poker in tournaments gets underestimated. It is important knowing how to adjust your ranges if there are less players on the table. A good tip to sharpen your skill is traiing in different formats, like heads-up sit and go's or even heads-up cash games. On PokerStars, there are also some heads-up tournaments. All those formats are great to sharpen your short-handed poker skills."
The former member of PokerStars Team Online, Andre Coimbra rejoined PokerStars in April 2021. His advice is to try and play as many hands on the button in order to take advantage of over-folding amateurs.
"A big mistake that most amateur players make is to fold too much when they are on big blind and the button! Try to play as many hands as possible on the button on unraised pots and defend the BB especially against small bets and late position raises.
"At first it will be uncomfortable to be playing more hands, but as you get better at this, your win rate should increase!"
Unsurprisingly, Mason Pye recommends players pick up mixed games in order to have a competitive edge over other players at the table.
"When people think poker, they think No Limit Texas Hold'em. However, there is more to poker than just this one game - mixed games. Picking up mixed games will help you become a better overall poker player. If you want to start learning some new variants, I suggest slowly transitioning one game at a time.
"Initially start with Omaha and Omaha 8. Once you are comfortable, you can start incorporating the stud games, and finally the draw games into your poker arsenal. Poker is meant to be fun and enjoyable, and by introducing new games, it will help you keep motivated in developing your overall game and keep things fresh on the tables."
The advice from Steve Enriquez is to keep an eye on stack-sizes around the table in order to make the most in Progressive Knockout Tournaments
"Online, PKO tournaments are becoming very popular. My advice is to pay attention to those spots where short stacks have less than three big blinds. If you raise that hand and they shove, you might not be able to re-raise, and everybody will be calling for the bounty. BE CAREFUL!”
Better known as 'GJReggie', Georgina James says that preparation is the key to success at the poker tables. There are plenty of things poker players can do away from the tables to improve their game.
"Make sure you've had food, got plenty of water and maybe some snacks. Poker can sometimes be a long grind, so it helps to have this sorted beforehand to keep you sustained for the session. Make the most of the breaks, do some stretches, refill the water, run to the bathroom, forget about that bad decision or run out.
"Also, don't play more tables than you can handle. You'll end up making subpar decisions and losing focus. Start with one or two and practice till you work your way up."
A member of PokerStars Team Online since 2013, former math student and Magic: The Gathering player Felix Schneiders says that position is important, but advice from others is vital to progress.
"You don't get to decide on your position. But you get to decide if you can have initiative! A successful bluff wins you the pot. A successful value bet wins you the pot plus the bet. Now tell me which one is the most important skill in poker? As long as you haven't found a good response to a tough spot, create a tough spot for your opponent instead by choosing the aggressive over the passive play.
"Look out for successful or knowledgeable content creators and communities like we have on Twitch"
"In order to become better at poker, you have to connect with other people, discuss hands with them and get their perspective. Look out for successful or knowledgeable content creators and communities like we have on Twitch. This is the golden era of being able to network and connect with almost everyone you would love to learn from! Do not only take advice from more experienced players, also give advice to players with less experience than you. This will help you cement and train important fundamentals."
Focus on the long-term, says Thomas Hayward, as well as limiting the distractions while you play.
"There is no need to get caught up in bad short-term results, because poker is a 'win over time' type of game. Stay positive, control the things you can control in the present (managing your bankroll, getting better at the game, staying hydrated, limiting distractions while playing etc) and see how you go over the long term."
Notes, notes, notes! That's what Keith Becker recommends. Make sure you keep them updated and use them while playing at the tables.
"Take notes, and label player types. Even in larger fields, you'll match up with the same players often. Use that information to deviate slightly from your standard strategy - but don't forget to re-evaluate your note or label (or even erase them) when presented with new information! Be a poker scientist in that way."
Three simple pieces of advice from PokerStars Ambassador Mark Foresta.
“Play within your means, enjoy yourself, and always be open to learning more about the game. I find that my success always comes when these three come together. GL GL”
The new PokerStars Learn website is full of important information for any aspiring poker player. Powered by Raise Your Edge, there are classes on bankroll management, poker mindset and poker theory and concepts.
"Concentrate on the most common mundane unsexy spots that come up time and time again rather than the occasional unusual ones. In my experience most players waste way too much time on spots that are so unusual they never faced them before and so rare they might never come up again in a lifetime. They find them tough because they’re so unusual so they’re very keen to find the “right answer”.
"The exact same spot will rarely if ever occur in future"
"In my experience even if you can figure out the right answer:
- A. it might not even be right as it’ll depend on your assumptions which may be very off given your sample size one
- B. even if it is right, it’ll often be a very close spot so it doesn’t make too much difference to your bottom line what you actually do
- C. even then, so what?
"The exact same spot will rarely if ever occur in future. It’s far more important to study what boards you should cbet and what size you should use button versus big blind at different stack depths
With over $2.5 million in lifetime earnings, Patrick Leonard is one of the most revered British online poker players of all-time with four WCOOP and five SCOOP titles on his resume. The former world online number one recommends improving your ability to play several tables at the same time to increase your ROI over time.
"When I say playing several tables, I don't mean recklessly going from two tables to 10 and playing like a maniac, but in poker, you make x$ for every tournament you play. If you can play six tables instead of two, then over time that will add up to hundreds, thousands and tens of thousands of games. If you get to a level where you make $10 a game, which is a modest ROI for players buying in at $100 or more, then that’s a difference worth potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars.
"If you can play six tables instead of two, then over time that will add up to hundreds, thousands and tens of thousands of games"
"A lot of people are impressed at the best players in the world playing two tables super slowly and working out the exact GTO line in every spot to get to their 20% ROI. Well the player playing 10 tables and with an ROI of ‘only’ 5%, who they laugh at with their bad sizings or less-than-perfect ranges, is actually making more money than them.
"Competitive poker is about who makes the most money. First, you have to become a winning poker player, but once you're winning, it’s all about maximising that winning strategy; slowly evolving from a two-table player to a four-table player, to a six-table player etc.
"I wouldn’t say my biggest accomplishment in poker has been winning titles in online championships or trophies in Vegas; it’s that I can play 25-30 tables and feel like I'm executing a profitable strategy.
One of the most recognizable faces in online poker, Jaime Staples can be credited with helping put Twitch poker on the map. He says that patience is the most important aspect of long-term success in poker.
"It's not just about patience in hands, although that may help some of you. What I mean is that poker is a long-term game. All poker operators are interested in getting you to play their event right now. This creates a sense of urgency, as if everything is an unmissable event.
"Well, sorry poker operators, you can miss them. It's not that big a deal. I have been playing for 11 years now, and a lot of my fellow pros have been playing a lot longer than I have. Being patient with my bankroll and having the end goal of long-term success has allowed me to sustain the swings.
"I haven’t gone for broke, and I am relatively happy and healthy after 11 years, while still being on an upward trajectory. Play the long game and achieve sustainable growth.
Younger brother of Jaime, Matt Staples has emerged as just as much of a force at the online tables as his brother with countless cashes in major online tournaments. A keen advocate for goal-setting, he says that mini goals can keep you motivated and driving you forwards as a player.
"My advice would be to create mini games out of the grind you are on. Keep track of different stats, such as which days of the week you might be winning on and how much you are winning on those days.
"I would also set goals that aren't related to money. I started doing this a few years in because I found it helped me remain motivated for achieving the mini goals, even during periods where I wasn't having great results and was losing some motivation to play."
The latest partypoker Ambassador, Yuri Dzivielevski is a fearsome poker player who joined partypoker in September 2021 after excelling at both the live and online tables. The two-time WSOP bracelet winner says that keeping your bet sizings consistent can simplify things and breed consistency in your play.
"You can be the best poker player in your field using just one bet-sizing strategy per street. Don't complicate things; you don't need complex strategies to win.
"Good theoretical knowledge, simple strategy, intuition and a lot of bluffs will make you a very good poker player."
Check out these 18 basic poker tips for beginners from partypoker! They also have strategy advice on poker positions as well as the ability to improve your poker skills for FREE with the MyGameWhiz helper.