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4 unobvious tips to improve at poker and move up stakes

4 unobvious tips to improve at poker and move up stakes

We know exactly what popped into your head when you read that headline.

You thought “BBZ Poker is a training site, so they’re obviously going to tell me to study, study, and study some more.”

That’s pretty good advice, but not what we’re going to suggest today. (Do study, though. A lot. It’s pretty important).

Today we’re going to provide some less obvious tips to help you improve at poker and move up in stakes in the second half of 2023.

These tips come from Spades, one of the newest additions to the BBZ Poker coaching team – you can learn more about him here.

But now let’s get down to business.

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Spades’ first piece of advice is to prepare yourself better before each session.

“An athlete warms up for competition, a poker player should too,” he says.

“Going grocery shopping, cooking, doing other real-life events, then immediately sitting down to grind – this is not an optimal approach.

“Warm up, and when you are ready to play, sit down, open poker charts, look at a few spots, watch a quick coaching video, and write down a few key things you want to focus on. Basically, warm up your brain and get it ready to think poker.

“That way you will be in poker mode from the very first hand dealt.”

For more on this subject, read our blog:

Poker warm-up and cool down: How to build a routine around your sessions

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The next tip from Spades is all about your grind station.

“Have a proper setup, I can’t stress how important that is,” he says. “It’s mind-boggling to me when I see the setups of other people.

“Tables on screen are overlapping, there is constant stress moving stuff around, constant searching in lobbies for tournaments to play. All this stuff is a distraction. You need to be focused on decision-making, not on which tournament to play, or where your table is that requires your action.

“Have a properly sized monitor, and use table management software. Basically, eliminate as much stress and decision-making as possible. Your whole focus needs to be on how to play your hands not on other things.

“It seems so common sense to me yet I don’t hear anyone talking about it. Then I get a first-time student, have a look at his setup and I’m blown away by how little attention is paid to this.

“Play distraction-free. That means no YouTube, no Netflix, no Twitch (sorry poker streamers!).

“If you treat poker like a job, you should focus on it. You don’t see a heart surgeon watching a movie while performing surgery. Why should you?

“Every little distraction lowers your edge. If your edge is huge you still might be a winner, but certainly nobody wins as much as they could by being distracted.”

Need some poker station inspiration?

Read our article:

The ultimate grind station: Check out the BBZ community’s online poker set-ups

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Next up, take a cold, hard look at the stakes you’re playing. Chances are you’re playing too high, according to Spades.

“Play lower stakes than you think,” he says. “There is plenty of money in low stakes. Unless you are a player who has profited $100K-$200K, you have no business playing high stakes. You’re just asking for trouble. The highs are high, yes, but the lows are horrible.

“Being profitable at poker means grinding a lot. You can’t grind a lot if you hate what you do or if you’re constantly in doubt. Any prolonged downswing will make you question everything, it’s so much harder to sit down and grind again when on a downswing.

“So play stakes that allow you to win more consistently. We have proven that time and time again with our Turbokings model [now part of BBZ Poker]. Brian is the best example of that. Our CFP students consistently win. We have students who haven’t had a losing month in years. Think about that!”


Finally, if you’re not enjoying playing poker, why are you playing?

“Make poker enjoyable,” says Spades. “Whatever your goals are in poker – be it for poker to pay the bills, or for poker to pay for the fun stuff, the vacations, the toys etc. – it is possible, but have a clear path on how to achieve it.

“Also be a part of a community, like the BBZ Poker community Discord. You can’t make it on your own. Well, maybe you can, but you’ll be making things infinitely harder!”

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