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Tip #1. Relearn your preflop game

That's right. And I know what you're thinking. When I heard other people telling me that you have to start at preflop I was like - "No, I already know my charts, it's only preflop. There's no money in the pot who really cares!" Then I went back and reviewed some of my biggest losing pots and I realized that small preflop mistakes early on, actually added up to be very big mistakes later on.

An example of this is when we've got a weak ace and we hit our top pair. Then all of a sudden villain starts betting really big and we kind of don't really want to fold because we have a top pair, but we also have a really weak kicker. I think the best advice I can actually give is to put yourselves into positions to make easier decisions and by improving your preflop game, that is one of the ways that we can do this.

Now, let me say you don't have to be a perfect GTO robot to have a good preflop game, but it does help to build out a few mental shortcuts, which can really help your pregame. These are called heuristics. Now, some examples of heuristics or mental shortcuts are things like:

  • We wanna play less offsuit hands because they have less equity;
  • We want to raise more aggressively out of position with marginal hands so that we don't get to the flop;
  • When we're deep stacked, we wanna play hands that have more nut making ability like suited Ace type hands.

And there's obviously a lot more than just the ones that I've mentioned, but this just gives you an idea of the kind of things you can be thinking about.

So how do you relearn your pre flop game? The good news is that it's 2023 and we don't have to print out 30 pages, kill a bunch of trees and stick them all over our walls like we used to do back in the day. It's actually way easier now. There's a lot of tools and resources that I'm gonna share with you to help with this.

GTO Wizard

Many of you would be aware of GTO Wizard, which actually has some really great free preflop charts. They've also got to pay version, but you can get the preflop charts completely for free. But the great thing about GTO Wizard is that it also allows you to choose your stake. So you can have preflop charts that are more appropriate for your level, whether you're paying NL50 or NL500.


The secret tool that I use that probably many of you haven't heard of is Freebetrange. This is a preflop Viewer, Editor and Tester, which you can get for completely free. The great thing about Freebetrange is it's got a little shop (Library) section which you can actually get a bunch of free predefined ranges.

Preflop ranges free library
Free Preflop Ranges Library

Then all you have to do is add that range, go to the Editor and you can adjust the colors, the frequencies and completely customize it exactly the way that you like it.

Poker Charts Editor and Viewer
Freebetrange Poker Charts Editor and Viewer

Then in order to really hone your skills, you can go into the Trainer mode and you can actually select which range you'd like to use and then how you'd like to train. You can either train hand by hand practicing real preflop scenarios or you can practice inputing specific ranges for a specific spot.

Freebetrange poker preflop trainer
Preflop Trainer

Now on to our next tip and I've got a feeling that this one is gonna trigger people a little bit.

Tip #2. Stop folding so much

Now, not everyone's gonna be the same here, but in general, people at the lower stakes are folding way too much. Firstly, let's take a look at GTO wizard and how often we should actually be defending versus a Flop C bet when we're out of position in a single raised pot. This is a fairly common spot.

So you can see here, we're actually supposed to be calling over 50% of the time, which for some of you might be shocking. But what we should do is actually look through our database and find out if we're defending enough. So if you've got a tracking software like Poker Tracker, Holdem Manager or Hand2Note, then we can actually go through our database and look at a filter.

How do we actually learn to defend properly? Well, you guessed it, we're gonna use that thing we talked about before called Heuristics, where we try to create mental shortcuts about which types of hands we should call. Now for this specific example, when facing a Continuation bet we could defend all pairs, all backdoors and all draws. This would get us to around 80% of the different frequency that we actually need. Now, if we continue to study the spot, we'll actually learn more about the spots that we need to defend. But this will go a long way into helping lower that fold to Cbet number, which is where we need to get to.

It may sound really, really obvious, but I bet you if you go through your database and you look at some of these hands, you'll find spots where you are over folding. Those little spots over thousands of hands really make a big difference to your winrate. And the last thing I'll say about this tip about making sure that we're not folding too much is that when we don't fold, we also actually give ourselves the opportunity to bluff on later streets. And I think this is something that you see, especially at the low stakes where people will automatically Cbet for one third of the pot and then they'll just give up if they don't have anything. So keep this in mind and when we're in position, especially, we have opportunities to bluff and takeaway the pot, which increases our red line and ultimately will increase our win rate.

Ok, we are on to our third and final tip which gonna help you improve your win rate today.

Tip #3. Recognize your B-game earlier

Now, I specifically used the word "earlier" because I think we all catch ourselves eventually not playing our A game. And we realize that we're not playing that great, but sometimes it's a little bit too late and we've already given away our money. And if you wanna know what this looks like, I suggest you watch the video which is me tilting my head off in a session and I just had no idea that I was so deep into the tilt and I couldn't control it. Obviously, this one is a little bit harder to quantify. But every time I go back and check my biggest losing sessions, often that when I've been too tired or not really wanting to play, but kind of force myself to play. And these are the sessions that we really want to avoid altogether.

Now, the secret resource for this tip is a book that I read or rather I actually listened to, it's called The Mental Game of Poker. It's by a guy called Jared Taler and it is an older book. It's like 10 years old now, but it is absolutely awesome. I can't recommend this one enough. Get yourself the audio book, listen to it while you run, while you do some exercise. This book is really all about reaching the zone, getting in the zone every single time you play and building rituals around how you can actually get into the zone. And it's poker specific. This guy's a performance coach, but he is talking specifically about poker. So I find it a really, really, really useful resource.

But if you can't be bothered to listen to the whole book, I thought I'd give you a couple of the key things that you can look out for to recognize when you might not be playing your A game.

These may be things like being really distracted, doing other things while you playing poker, whether it's watching videos or listening to music with lyrics. Some people can handle that while they play it, other people completely cannot. The problem with being distracted and one of the other signs that you might not be playing your A game is that you actually can't remember what has happened on previous streets. This can also happen to people who multi table who are playing too many tables and they're not used to it. Basically you get to the river and all of a sudden you face this donk jam and you're like, wait, what, what did he do on the turn or what happened on the flop or, or what happened preflop? Was it a 4bet pot? Was it a 3bet pot? And all of a sudden your idea of what villain's range looks like it's completely muddled. So it's very difficult to make these kind of focused calls or, or big laydowns in the moment. So be really aware of that.

The other sign is that you look for reasons to call. You talk out loud or in your head and you convince yourself that you should be making this call. Obviously, you need to analyze the hand. But if you find yourself convincing yourself to call big bets, then you may be not on your A-game.

Start implementing these three tips today and start crushing!

Simon Stax
Professional player and streamer