New article on tips to become a poker professional.

Having a strong mental game is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to “preconditions” to become a professional poker player. There are many more tangible things that we need to master (such as managing our money, skill in the game, etc.). Therefore, the purpose of the chapter is to give more details about these points or prerequisites.

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1. The starting point

The starting point to which all poker players who aspire to improve their game – amateur or professional – is to get a sufficient amount of money to achieve this goal. We refer to the money they will use to play poker, also called bankroll. Usually, they start with a small bankroll (one reserved specifically for poker), or even no bankroll and they must start from scratch, trying to get the first euros through online freerolls.

Having a small bankroll to start with (100 euros for example) is a great way to play at low levels, learn the game, hone our skills, and accumulate bankroll so that when our game improves we can raise levels, ie go to tables More expensive. Or play more expensive tournaments and with better prizes.

I said, if you prefer to play online without making a deposit, there are the “freeroll” tournaments (tournaments where players enter for free, but there are real gains for the best). A real example of this happened in 2007 when Chris Ferguson created (and ended successfully) a challenge that was to go from $ 0 to $ 10,000 in about 18 months. He did it mostly to prove that any poker player has the ability to create a bank from scratch.

Regardless of how you initially build your funds, however, it is very important to keep that money separate from the money we use for other things. In this way, you can have a steady growth of the money we use for poker. That said, let’s take a look at what the typical requirements on bankroll and other financial advice you’ll need to know if you get to jump to the professional level.

2. About the bankroll.

First of all we show you below a basic list on bankroll management (BRM):

  • 30 buy-ins for cash games
  • 30 buy-ins for Sit-N-Go (SNG)
  • 100 buy-ins for multi-table tournaments (MTT)

To understand this, we must know that the buyin is the highest money in which you can play at a certain level. For example, let’s say that our bankroll for poker is 6,000 euros. This would mean that we should play a maximum of 200NL (with blinds of € 1 / € 2 and a table buy-in of € 200). This equals 30 buy. If we play tournaments, the most expensive should be € 60 registration

It is important to keep in mind that the figures described above are the minimum requirements for proper bankroll management. But there are certain poker players and more conservative and they are based on the rules described below:

  • 100 buy-ins for cash games
  • 100 buy-ins for SNG
  • 500 buy-ins for MTT

These two examples of rules are very basic guidelines for bankroll management. Keep in mind that these can and should change depending on the level of the rivals or the type of game. For example if we play Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO) the limits should be higher since the variance is much higher.

To make sure that these rules are not broken (especially when you try for the first time), it is recommended that we have a friend or poker partner who manages these issues and is in charge of making sure that we are fulfilling this golden rule .

3. The numbers send.

For an amateur to even consider the possibility of becoming a professional, the first thing should be if he is a winning player. And we’ll know that by analyzing our statistics on a large enough sample. It is not worth having earned money the first two months of play. We need hundreds of thousands of manops and a lot of experience to be sure that we are really winners and we are not going through a good run.

In general, we have positive statistics of 100,000 to 250,000 hands of sample, we will have valid data that will eliminate much of the influence that the variance has had on the general results. These types of numbers will later prove that you are the player who wins in a sustained manner in the long term.

4. Earnings calculation.

To calculate the possible monthly and annual income, we have to familiarize ourselves with a common calculation that many players use to determine their monthly accounting, especially for cash games. We talk about the ratio between BB / 100 (or the average number of big blinds won every 100 hands).

The use of this statistical variable is interesting since we will only win consistently if this ratio is positive. Let’s assume we’re playing 100,000 hands a month. That by the way, there are not many on the internet!

  • 30BB / 100 hands at 2NL would be $ 600 / month ($ 7,200 / year)
  • 17bb / 100 hands at 5NL would be $ 850 / month ($ 10,200 / year)
  • 12bb / 100 hands at 10NL would be $ 1,200 / month ($ 14,400 / year)
  • 8BB / 100 hands at 25NL would be $ 2,000 / month ($ 24,000 / year)
  • 6BB / 100 hands in NL50 would be $ 3,000 / month ($ 36,000 / year)
  • 4BB / 100 hands at 100NL would be $ 4,000 / month ($ 48,000 / year)
  • 3BB / 100 hands at 200NL would be $ 6,000 / month ($ 72,000 / year)

When we know these numbers it is the moment to decide what we want to dedicate ourselves to: playing low levels but doing many hands and playing many tables at the same time and the number of hands that we must play each month to fulfill the objective.

The calculation is done like this: suppose we are playing 100NL tables on the internet, and we have a profit rate of 4bb / 100 at this level. This means we are earning $ 4 on average for every 100 hands we play. Based on this, how many hands should we play to win $ 2,400?

  • Well we have the following formula  $ 4 x $ 2,400
  • Where ‘x’ is the number of hands (100 hands) = ($ 2,400 x 100 hands) / $ 4
  • Then we get that we must play 60,000 hands / month


5. The importance of HUD

A heads-up display (HUD o) is a very common tool used by all online poker players. They are programs that help us create a statistical database that makes for the monitoring of our game as well as that of our opponents.

One of the greatest benefits provided by this software is that it shows the statistics of its opponents (VPIP, PFR, 3B%, etc.) directly on the tables on the screen. With these numbers in view, you can quickly identify the opponents’ game tendencies, allowing you to classify them. This information allows us to play optimal poker against each individual opponent.

The most common HUD software currently available on the market are PokerTracker4 and Hold’em Manager 2. Both are currently available for around € 50.

6. Hand History Analysis

The evaluation is fundamental to the progress of any online player. We will be able to see the game areas in which we stand out and what we can improve. Hand history is the basic tool to review our sessions, which should be a thing to study on a regular basis as it is very beneficial for our game does not stagnate. Because as we have seen before, there is software that indicates our betting guidelines and rivals can easily see how we play. So we must review our game and recycle.

Like any business and industry, poker is a game in constant change. New players come with new styles and new methods so keeping up with game trends is a must.

7. Types of professional players

There are three types of important players in terms of professional dedication:

  • Cash games players
  • Tournament players
  • Cash games and tournament players.

While there are many professionals who mainly play their role in cash games, most players enter the third category because they prefer to play both modalities. In fact many use the cash games to finance tournaments.

We must be careful with professional poker players only play tournaments. Those who do are aware that the variance is huge. A great tournament player can spend a year without winning a tournament and many months without entering money positions, so if you are looking for a monthly salary through poker, no doubt cash games are the way to go.

Whichever roadmap you are thinking of taking, remember this:

  • If you are a good cash player, play cash tables.
  • If you are a good tournament player, play tournaments.

How to play 7 Card Stud. Learn the rules!

Since the mid-nineteenth century, 7 Card Stud was the most played form of poker and continued to be until the 80s when Texas Hold’em became the preferred game. It is thought to have originated in the American Midwest, but it is very different from Texas Hold’em . Before going on to learn how to play Stud of 7 cards, review our section on how to play poker so that you have a general notion.

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What is 7 Card Stud?

For the uninitiated, instead of five community cards, each player receives seven individual cards. This is the reason why there is a maximum of eight players at the 7 Card Stud tables. However, as in Hold’em, the best five-card hand takes the pot. So, although in 7 Card Stud each player receives seven cards in total, only five of those cards can be used to form the play. In addition, the 7 Card Stud is usually played in limited format, where the first two rounds of betting are with the low and high level in the last three rounds. In the case that in the fourth street, the two discovered cards of any player were a pair, anyone can raise the bets at the high level. Now that you know the basics, this is our simple 7 Card Stud guide.

How to play Seven Card Stud

Bring-ins and Before

Seven Card Stud does not have blinds; instead, the players have to put an ante at the start of each hand. Each player receives two cards face down and one face up. There is a mandatory bet called “bring-in” that the player with the worst card uncovered has to put. This bet is mandatory.

First round of bets. Third Street.

First, the players are collected and the first two cards are dealt face down, we can consider them the first and second street. Then a card is dealt face up to each player, the third street. The player with the worst card discovered has to put the “bring-in” or complete up to the low level bet. The rest of the players have the option to fold, pay, complete or raise. Realize that completing is not considered a raise. For example, in a 10/20 game, the bring-in is 5. If the next player completes up to 10, the three allowed increases can still be made.

Second round of betting. Fourth Street.

During the fourth street, another card is dealt face up to each player that continues in the hand. The bets are still those of the low level. Now, the first player to act is the one with the best cards. The action continues with the players having the option to spend, bet, pay, raise or fold, depending on the previous action.

Third round of betting Fifth street

In the fifth street, the minimum bet has risen to the high level. It’s time to make the boat interesting. Another card is dealt face up. Again, the first player to act is the one who at that moment has the best play seen. The action continues with the players having the option to spend, bet, pay, raise or fold, depending on the previous action.

Fourth round of betting Sixth street

When the sixth street has been dealt, each player has four cards face up and two cards capped. The first to act is the one that shows the best hand. The action continues with the players having the option to spend, bet, pay, raise or fold, depending on the previous action. But, if you do not have a hand already, better throw yourself.

Fifth round of betting. Seventh street

During the fifth round of betting, also called the River, players can pass, bet, pay, raise or fold. It’s time for the Showdown, as long as there are two or more players left. At this time, the player with the best five-card hand takes the pot. Note that a hand with more or less than seven cards is dead. There is an exception in which a player may not receive the seventh card and keep the hand alive. Also, if there are more players on the river than cards in the deck, the dealer does not burn a card and hands out one to each player. In the event that he does not have enough to give one to each player, he would put one uncovered in the center of the common table for all the players. In this case, the one with the best move counting the community card is the first to speak.


Although in 7 Card Stud each player has seven cards on the river, in the showdown only five cards of each player are used to form the best play. The ranking of hands is identical to that of Texas Hold’em, with the Royal Flush being the best play and High Card the worst. The clubs are not taken into account in Stud except to decide the bring-in, where the order is Spades, Hearts, Diamonds and Clubs.

Go from being a poker amateur to a professional

Many amateur poker players fantasize about becoming a professional player. But few of them manage to make that dream come true … Becoming a professional poker player requires a lot of time and overall dedication and hard work. In this series of articles we will delve into all aspects and roller coasters that we will find in this process of becoming professional players, as well as analyze the pros and cons of being a professional poker player.

Therefore, if it is your dream or if what you want is to learn about all the sacrifices and also the advantages that come together with this profession, read on.

And we have created a series of articles to help many people who want to pass the difficult process of being an amateur player to become a professional. Not only will we show the poker strategies that professionals use, but we will also reveal several crucial fundamental aspects that you must take into account before making the final decision to be a professional.

We will also outline the pros and cons of playing professionally on the internet or live, either to play cash games (games in a circle with money and / or tournaments).

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Keep in mind that this process of “becoming professional” is not a walk in the park. We can not stress enough that the decision to become a professional player is very important. However, if your desire is simply to become a better player, you can also learn a lot from these articles that contain information on winning strategies and the lifestyle of the winning players.

Finally, we will review what you can expect from a true “poker professional” along with some very important tips on how to be successful as a poker professional.

However, as you progress in reading these articles, you will notice – through this electronic book in the form of articles published on the blog and also through the experience – that the professional lifestyle of Poker is not all fun. For example, the psychological blows that players may encounter through endless losing streaks can often be extremely difficult to manage at an emotional level, and the problem of having to always play with money coming in at the same time from your bankroll of poker and of daily life.

Playing poker can also be very exhausting for your physical and mental health. Poker demands concentration and constant attention through all the moments of days and the long sessions of the players.

That said, when you can find a balance between poker and your personal life, when you can make good money with the game, and have fun at the same time, then everything is ready to face the obstacles that you will encounter on the way.

And it’s important to keep in mind that many “normal” poker players have made this successful journey to become professional, – either by consistently winning tournaments, sweeping cash tables, or both! Ultimately, that is the point where we want you to be able to reach and after reading this guide, you will have all the tools and knowledge necessary to achieve and maintain your life as a professional poker player.

Freezeout or rebuys. Different strategies?

Freezeout: Tournament in which when you run out of chips you are eliminated.

Rebuys: Tournament where you can buy more chips as long as you have less than the initial amount.


All tournaments at some point become freezeout. It is an indispensable condition for them to finish. So even if you play a tournament with rebuys, find out when it will become freezeout to make the necessary adjustments to your game.

Since the tournament becomes freezeout the main objective will be to enter prizes. You will have to plan your strategy to reach the bubble with enough points to take advantage of it and improve the chances of fulfilling the following objective: enter the final table.

It is known that the important prizes of a tournament are in the final table, so after entering the prize area, you have to look at the last table where the prizes are already important.

This road to the final table starts much earlier, just as the road to the prizes begins at the beginning of the tournament (Read more about how to win a poker tournament )

Since the tournament starts, you have to prepare to be with points in the bubble. During the freezeout phase of the same, you will have to calculate the risks so as not to be eliminated. And the closer you are to the prizes, the more serious it is that they eliminate you. Having been playing a tournament for several hours to be eliminated at the door of the awards is the worst that can happen, so if you see that you can not reach the bubble with points, do not risk, hold on to the table and try to enter prizes to at least charge and once in prizes rethink your strategy.

If you manage to reach the bubble with more points than the rivals you have at the table, take advantage of this advantage and try to steal boats without stopping. You will see how your stack rises like foam with not much risk. The shorter rivals will only be aware that rivals will be eliminated to enter prizes.


In tournaments with rebuys you have the possibility to buy additional chips during the tournament. When a player loses all of his chips, he has the option to buy back more and stay in the tournament. This feature means that you have to vary your strategy during the period in which they are allowed. When your rivals can not be eliminated, you lose one of the most important weapons of the tournaments, the fear that a player loses their chips.

This lack of fear of elimination marks the changes you must make in your strategy:

  • Reduce the frequency of lanterns and semifaroles. The possibility that if the chips are lost can be bought more, it makes the players not so afraid of the bets and pay more easily, so the lanterns will not work so often.
  • Make higher value bets with weaker hands. As the rivals are not afraid of being eliminated, they will pay with worse hands worse bets.
  • Locate the rivals who are playing like crazy. Many rivals want to get as many chips as they can, regardless of the number of rebuys they make. If you locate any of these, try to hold it when you face him. Many times you will play all the chips with pretty bad plays, so you will get to win chips easily.

If you make these changes in your game, you will get more chips when the tournament becomes freezeout, and from there continue to go up in conditions to the bubble.

How many rebuys do?

The necessary ones Playing a tournament with rebuys means being willing to make the necessary rebuys to stay in the tournament.

One of the worst mistakes you can make is to play a rebuy tournament in which you do not have the ability to rebuy. You will have a huge disadvantage, since you can not play as loose as your rivals, because losing all your chips would mean elimination while your rivals could buy chips again and continue in the tournament.

You also do not have to play crazy going all in with any hand. Play as you usually do, but take some extra risk since losing the chips does not involve being eliminated from the tournament.


Most rebuy tournaments also give the possibility to make an add-on, buy more chips just when the repurchase period ends. This add-on is so that if a player is left with few chips and can not buy back, do not be left with such a disadvantage over the rivals when the freezeout period begins.

The add-on is a profitable investment in almost all the occasions in which you are playing a tournament with rebuys. Stay tuned so that you do not miss the opportunity to do so, it would be a very important mistake.


If you want to play tournaments with rebuys, adapt to the changes and keep in mind that, on average, you will have to pay three or four times the buy in. Multiply by five the price of the tournament with repurchases that you want to play and check if your bank allows it. At you will find tournaments with and if you rebuy for all the banks.

And if it goes up, what?

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Your rival just happened. You look at your cards and you think you can take one more bet, since the river does not seem to have changed at all. Bets half a pot and, after thinking for a few seconds, the opponent goes allin and has more chips than you.

Suddenly you’re playing the tournament. With how good it would have been if you had passed. You would have seen the result of the hand without suffering, and now you are in a difficult situation. You do not trust your hand very much, but the opponent may be bluffing. The problem is that if you make a mistake, you are eliminated from the tournament.

But the real problem is that before making your bet you have not asked yourself the question that will make your future decisions easier.

And if it goes up, what?

This is the key question you have to ask each time you are making a bet. This movement gives your rivals the opportunity to make a raise. And, the nice situation you were in, with your chips in the middle putting pressure on the opponent, turns and everything turns black. You start to regret having bet. With how calm you would be if you had passed.

This uncomfortable feeling is what will help us not to repeat this error. If you are clear that any opponent can raise your bet and, above all, you know what you are going to do in case it happens; your problems disappear, that feeling does not exist. You have gotten your opponents to lose the power to make you have a hard time.

Every time you make a bet, keep in mind the options that you would have in case the opponent climbed. Think and analyze the situation in which you will find if they respond with a raise.

If you upload me? Great, I have the nuts.

In this case you have never had doubts. You have the best possible hand, or a very strong hand, your only goal is for the opponent to put his chips inside the pot. When you see your bet raise, avoid jumping for joy, and get ready to re-raise.

We all have strange thoughts in our heads, it is the “nice game syndrome”, instead of making the most obvious thing, which is usually what will benefit us the most, we look for creative solutions.

If you think about limiting yourself to paying to make the rival think that your hand is mediocre, you can not forget the main problem that may arise. If you pay when you do not have a position, when the next card comes out, it is normal for you to pass, thus risking the opponent also passing and losing a betting round. This problem does not exist if you have a position, since when the opponent passes, you bet and do not lose an opportunity to enlarge the pot.

Another problem that can appear when you do slowplay is the appearance of a “scary card”. An ace, a card that completes a ladder or a color can make the action of the hand finish, causing you to take a small one instead of taking a giant pot.

I have seen many players take a small boat when they had to take a very large one, even it has happened to me on some occasion when I played slowplay without the proper circumstances.

If I have I do not have anything?

Here, as in the previous case, there are no complications. You throw yourself and wait for the next hand. You have thrown a bluff to try to take the pot but you have caught your opponent with a decent hand, so you give your hand and prepare for the next hand that you will share.

You do not need to flash. You do not have to think if the opponent may be bluffing. You do not need to do anything other than throw away the cards or hit the retreat button.

It is not bad to throw yourself. In order to have a balanced strategy, you have to bluff with some hands, and when you get caught, you throw yourself with peace of mind. If you never fold when they raise you, it means you never bet with a bad hand, so you’re never going to take a big pot when you have a powerful hand because the rivals will not give you action when you see that you only bet with good hands.

This is why you have to bet with bad hands, if you get up you throw and if they pay you, you pose the situation with the next card or if it is on the river, you present your bluff and the opponent takes the chips.

These two cases, both having the best hand and not having anything, are the ones that are not going to present difficulties because they do tend to be prepared. You know if you’re going to shoot before a raise or you’re going to keep attacking.

What if I have a middle hand or a project?

Have you bet with a project trying to take the pot, but the opponent has answered you with a raise that puts you in a complicated situation?

Do you have a middle hand and have you bet waiting for you to pay with a worse hand and, instead, have you received a raise?

These are the cases in which you get into trouble if you have not prepared what you are going to do.

When you see that the opponent answers you with a raise that you did not have planned, the tears appear. And these tears are what make it not easy to make the best decision. The feeling that leaves you the unpleasant surprise of seeing something that you did not expect and that you do not like is not going to put you in the best position to analyze the hand.

The natural response to these situations is to avoid them. So as not to put yourself in an unpleasant situation, you stop betting with the middle hands or with the projects, or, worse, you make exorbitant bets, losing all the value that the hand can have.

How many times have you seen someone go all-in with a project or an average hand?

I give you an example that you have seen many times. Start a sit & go or a tournament and a player goes directly all-in when it is your turn. It has about 100 blinds and everything is played. You’re a little surprised by the bet. But after any of the other players at the table pay, you see that he presents A ♦ J ♦ . The fear of not knowing what to do if they raise him led him to make the decision to avoid that raise by going directly all-in. The amount of chips he loses when making that decision for not playing the hand rationally, compensates him as long as he does not go through the bad experience of having a rival raise him and go blank.

This automatic response is the cause of many players wasting situations in which they can win many chips. As they will go all-in to avoid the rise of the opponent, at other times they prefer to pass and avoid facing the opponent. They just wait for the opponent to pass and, probably, to pay if the opponent bets.

This is a game in which you have to risk to win chips. If you avoid all risk situations, you will never be a winner.

But this does not mean that you bet like crazy in all situations. You have to have a cool head, analyze the situation and when you know what you’re going to do when the opponent comes up, decide whether you should bet or not. There will be times in which you pass, others that you throw away and others that raise the bet of your opponent, but always knowing what to do if it re-rises.

These basic strategies that we present at are essential to create the base that your game needs to improve. Keep going through this poker blog if you want to keep improving your poker.

Making decisions in the sport based on data analysis

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Sports used to be simple. In baseball, the players went out to the field and hit the ball while in soccer the strategy was X and O on a blackboard. Even poker, a game reduced to 52 cards, was just a person and his cards. But things have changed.

The rise of computers has brought a new era to sports and the world of information and data analysis has changed the way it is played.

Here are three examples of these changes:

Billy Bean and the rise of Sabermetrics

If you have seen the movie Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt, then you will have met Billy Beane. According to IMDB, this is the synopsis:

“The success of Oakland A’s CEO Billy Beane in forming a baseball team on a limited budget using computer analysis to sign his players.”

It does not seem very exciting. How do you make a movie interesting about data analysis? But it was a critical and public success.

Beane is an ex-player and manager who succeeded as a player but managing the team has changed the sport using statistical analysis. He used what is known as Sabermetrics, the empirical analysis of the game by measuring statistics during the game.

This includes the analysis of batting, throws and field plays, which reuses statistics such as Value Over the Average Player (VORP), Wins Above Replacement (WAR), and Average of Batting on the Balls in Game (Batting Average On Balls In Play, BABIP).

There is a lot of advanced math and calculus, so if it seems complicated, see the movie we’ve told you or read the book it’s based on, to see how baseball has changed.

As Beane said: “Adapt or die.”

Poker is not just an individual game

In 2008, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) began with the concept of “November Nine”. The game was stopped when the WSOP Main Event reached the final table of nine players, giving the players a hiatus of almost four months. This was done to increase the excitement among fans and the media, but it opened the door for players to change their game.

With a first prize of more than eight million dollars, the players needed to take advantage of any advantage they had. They often hired a coach to improve their game, iron out mistakes and study rivals. With hundreds of poker books, online training sites and tools like the odds calculator at your disposal, there was no time to relax.

It also meant forming a team that will help at the final table. Despite being an individual game, poker changed and players asked for help from their friends. As the November Nine was broadcast live with a delay of fifteen to thirty minutes, the players could ask their friends to watch the broadcast and in the breaks to tell them what was happening at the table and the cards of the rivals.

With so much information in their hands, the VPIP% (percentage of hands in which the player voluntarily puts chips into the pot), PFR% (percentage of times the player raises before the flop) and WTSD% (percentage of times that a player arrives at the showdown after seeing the flop) are just three of the many statistics that have appeared in poker. They only make sense for those players who use the power of data to make their decisions.

NFL teams start hiring analysts

In early 2016, the Cleveland Browns hired expert analyst Paul DePodesta, If you’ve seen Moneyball, you’ll be interested to know that Peter Brand, the character played by Jonah Hill, is based on DePodesta.

He was hired, according to Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, to have a fundamental vision in the board. This is because the team, which had been among the worst in the NFl for years, was trying to apply data analysis.

“My idea is to contribute my experience and perspective to collaborate with the team, with the intention of helping us to make more informed and adequate decisions”, said DePodesta.

It was a fairly unorthodox movement for a football team, but it is clear that they hope that the data analysis can help change the game as much as it did with baseball, especially helping in the development of players and the science of sports.

Unfortunately for the Browns, the results were not immediate and they finished last with 1 win and 15 losses in 2016, this gives them the opportunity to choose the first in the 2017 draft. We will have to wait to see their DePodesta and his team become worth, but what is certain is that they will use data analysis to make their decisions.