3 easy tips to increase your winrate

3 easy tips to increase your winrate

Today we will introduce some strategic tips that beginner online micro and small-stakes cash game players might want to implement in order to increase their winrates.

First, let’s clarify your winrate and how you can measure it. Most poker tracking software allows you to follow up on all kinds of statistics about your game (and everyone else’s at the table). One is ‘winrate’, which is measured by bb/100 in cash games. I.e., the average amount of big blinds you win during 100 hands.

Also, you can sort out your winrate by two factors:

  • bb/100 – the actual amount of big blinds you won on average by every 100 hands you’ve played
  • evbb/100 – the expected value in big blinds/100 hands (how much you should win according to your hand’s winning percentage at the moment of the last betting round).

1. Balance your life more than your ranges

Believe it or not, balancing your ranges on micro/small stakes is less important than in an environment of fully experienced, crafty opponents. In smaller stakes, you should focus on playing solid poker. Well-built-up strategies and theoretically optimal plays will earn money for you. But not as much if you could use your opponents’ weaknesses and turn against them. Are they too passive? Put them into tough spots. Some of them are too aggressive? Trap them more often and try to stay more unpredictable. I don’t advocate coming up with out-of-line plays. Fundamentals are essential, but it’s more important to find how your opponents deviate from the optimal and turn their strategy against them.

Where you should focus your energies on balancing is your daily life routine. Ask any professional poker player. They’d agree that you can do at least as much for your winrate outside the tables.

These tips work outside of the poker world as well. First of all: have a plan. Then break it into little chunks as you convert them into a daily routine. This can be poker-related, including how many hands you want to play in a year/month/day, how much time this will cost you, what else you need to do to develop your game, etc. Always choose your goals wisely. Only plan something that you have control over. The “I want to have 10bb/100 over the next 100.000 hands”, “I want to be a winning player on NL50” and “I want to move up from NL10 to NL200 in three months” are just clearly poor plans. Why? Because you don’t have the power to control such things, these are very vague statements. You might achieve them, but there is variance, certain factors influence the outcome, you probably overestimate your abilities, and so on. If you name goals that are out of your control, you will fail eventually. Try to avoid them. Instead, keep in charge and focus on things that depend on you and can be measured.

Your daily routine contains not only poker-related plans and acts. It’s a good idea to have a system where you sleep and eat well. Do some physical activity, at least an hour per day. Your body will be grateful to wake up each day around the same time and eat healthy and nutritious food whenever you can. Simply you’ll be more relaxed and more in control, which will be reflected at the poker tables as well. In such a monotone and stressed environment what poker offers, being balanced in your daily life is golden.

2. Table select

Have you heard the catchy phrase from the movie’ Rounders’: “If you can’t spot the sucker in your first half hour at the table, then you ARE the sucker.”?

Don’t be that guy. Especially not in online poker, where you might play hundreds of precious hands in half an hour.

Try to find players who are clearly worse than you. Good signs are if someone is not sitting with a full stack at the table or playing way too many hands. If you can sit next to them on their left, even better. Keep in mind; the more hands in position, the less difficult decisions for you.

3. Warm up-cool down

Have you ever experienced the following? You start your session, already opened four tables. Suddenly you are in the middle of the action. On Table 1 you’re already facing a 3bet on the CO against the BB with ATo, but you don’t have time to think through if this hand you want to defend, nor to check stats from the 3bettor, because on Table 2 you are on the turn BvB, after c-betting your entire range on the flop (K72r). So what should you do on the turn which brings the 7 of spades, and you are holding K9o. Suddenly an annoying alarm from table 3. Should you open A9o from the HJ? And so on… Familiar?

Then fear not. Just warm up as you would do before any sport activity. Each player has a different routine, but a 10-30 minutes warm-up cannot hurt. Check out poker-related materials but more importantly, take action and make your brain work. Check out your marked hands from the other day, or think through some spots. What are your options, and how would you respond to certain situations?

Do you feel stressed all day because a poker session went wrong? In general, do you feel frustrated most of the time? You might want to introduce some cool-down to your routine. After your session, take a break, drink some water and get back to your biggest/most challenging hands. What could you do differently? Ask friends or post your questions on forums. I’m sure it will help to ease your mind.

Okay, but what is the conclusion? What is a good winrate?

Frankly, it’s pretty relative. Anything above 0 could be good news since it means you are a winning player. Careful though with the numbers – as always in poker – the bigger your sample, the better. Your results are closer to reality if you have the same winrate on a significant sample, tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of hands. Yeah, variance is a *itch, but it’s a topic for another day.

  • Thus let’s say you’re a 0-3bb/100 winner on a large sample. It means you are a moderate winning player who could experience some serious swings in the game, but at the end of the day (or better said, at the end of the month), you can cash out some real money.
  • Between 3-7bb/100, you are truly mastering the tables. You control most of the situations you face. At the end of the month, you almost always cash out a considerable amount of winning. Fewer swings, more certainty of winning at the end.
  • Above 7bb/100, there is little to say, you are probably one the best in your limit, and you should consider moving up on stakes. Of course, in addition to maintaining safe and sound bankroll management.

In such a competitive environment, you must do everything possible to add to your winrate. Every little aspect counts. Why wouldn’t you start with something so simple as to be prepared and balanced before even playing your first hand?

I hope you find some things to take with you Good luck at the tables!

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Situations where we may consider bluffing

Situations where we may consider bluffing

It is not so uncommon in poker that a player folds its hand which eventually turns out to be the better one – such thing may happen because of a thing called bluffing. Here you can find some tips how to use it.

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1. Opponent player style

In order your bluff to be successful, you should first find the right opponent to bluff against. Sometimes it can be successful against the whole table of players you are playing with, however, bluffing usually works against a chosen opponent. It is because more player needs to be perceived that you bluff actually represents a strong hand. One example of a player type is ‘tight-passive’ or ‘nit’. That type of player plays really tight having very few hands and only goes for massive pots. Other type of player is the loose aggressive (LAG) one. Such type plays so that it raises or re-raises lots of hands pre-flop and often bets on the vast majority of flops. Therefore it is an extremely dangerous type and quite hard to read.

2. How to play on the flop and turn

There are some tips how to play during the flop. For instance, here is a method of bluff raise in the flop. When you have a hand that has some equity for instance an open-ended straight draw it is a great opportunity for a bluff raise. Another way for bluffing is the 3-bet or 4-bet.

Bluffing with a 3-bet during the flop can get you some money (e.g. if you have a flush draw). You are betting into your opponents (before the flop) and if your opponent raises in the flop you re-raise immediately.

Moreover, there are some tips regarding the turn that can be played. One of these is ‘call the flop bet the turn’ the name of which speaks for itself. You call the flop and in the case your opponents checked on the turn, you should bet. However, it is worth noting that such bluffing is advisable if you have quite good equity. There is also a room for bluff raise not just in the flop but the turn as well. Just like in case of ‘call the flop bet the turn’ you should have a pretty good equity to play such bluff and could come handy if you have ‘double barrelled’ by your opponent (he /she bets the flop and turn).

3. How to play on the river

As you can see, there are plenty of opportunity for bluffing the up until the river. So, it is worth to be aggressive during these stages. But the real deal comes with the river (if the play will reach there), where you will find out whether your bluff had a great value or your bluff went south. In case of the first one there is nothing to explain. However, in case of the latter, probably you should think of folding or, in rare occasions, a big raise might do you the business depending on the card that your opponent may think of you have got a strong hand.

What else can help you to maximize your overall income?

A pro poker player knows the importance of rakeback. Rakeback is when a poker room gives back a certain portion of the rake the poker room previously taken from the poker player. In respect of the rakeback, the amount of the plays you play what really matters – besides the per centage of rakeback what the poker site offers. What you should learn is that the more hand you play the more rakback you can get. And you can get even more rakeback if you partnering up a poker affiliate site like rakerace.com.


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What is determinates your buy-in preferences in poker?

What is determinates your buy-in preferences in poker?

The amount of the buy-in you make is a vital issue to consider when you play poker. The range can differ due to certain factors – some of which you can find below.

1.         Main factors

In poker, buy-in shows you the amount of money you should pay to buy into a poker game. Usually specific rules set out in connection with the poker buy-ins and the amount of money you are entitled to put on the table and play with. Below you can find some of the factors being considered the most important regarding the amount of the buy-in:

a) Bankroll

The amount of your buy-in will strongly depend on the amount of the bankroll that is available to you. In the case, there is a huge bankroll you have, the possibility of a bigger amount of buy-in (above 100 big blinds) is greater. It is really important to set a rule for you that no matter what the amount of money you put into your poker bankroll is not more than 5% of your money. Remember – just as in almost every situation in life, there are ups and downs in poker as well. What you have gain during some hands you can easily loose only in one. The amount of bankroll shall not exceed such amount that you cannot afford to lose.

The size of your bankroll is also depending on your personality. If you are calm and rational then probably a deep stack strategy would be a better fit for you which needs a bigger bankroll. However, if you are a hot head you ought to have a smaller buy-in to play.

b) Skill level compared to others

Once you decided the size of your bankroll, your skill level is another vital factor that determines the amount of the buy-in. If you have a skill level that brings you to the upper end of the poker players at the give table then it is advised to have a bigger buy-in however, if you are at the lower end then you should do the opposite and have a smaller buy-in (below 50 big blinds).

c) Time to play

Time has always importance – everywhere. Also in poker – if you have enough time to learn and train yourself, because nobody born to be a pro poker player, you can have a bigger buy-in from which you can experience and gain knowledge. If you have less time, you are probably aiming to have as much money as you can have in a short period of time and go for a double-up.

2.       Other factors

Moreover, you should also take a look at the rake if you are thinking whether or not to buy-in short or deep. At lots of live cardrooms (also online), there is a very little chance to play in a profitable way if you have a short stack due to the rake that will vanish your profit. Therefore you should carefully examine the given poker room before you sit in.

3.       Conclusion

I do hope that the above factors present you a good guide in order to decide based on the above the amount of buy-in you should have. What you really have to keep in mind is that you should enjoy playing poker and honestly you can do it if the money that you maybe lose is not essential to you.

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How do antes work in poker?

How do antes work in poker?

This article will cover antes in poker: what they are, how they’re collected, their purpose, and ultimately how you can adjust your strategy in their presence.

What Is an Ante?

An ante, similar to the blinds, is a forced bet that is made before any cards are dealt. Where blinds are a forced bet for two players at the table (the blinds), antes tend to be a forced bet for all players at the table, although this is not always the case. Antes are most commonly featured in tournaments, although they can also be found elsewhere. Antes encourage action by inflating the size of the starting pot and thus giving the table more chips to play for. Antes typically represent a fraction of the big blind. For example, in a 5/10 (SB/BB respectively) game, you might expect to pay a 1 chip ante, AKA 1/10th or 10% of the BB.

How Are Antes Collected?

As mentioned above, antes are traditionally collected from the entire table, although there are a couple of other popular mechanisms for posting the ante. In recent years, antes tend to be collected from a single position, typically the Button (BTN) or the Big Blind (BB). In such a game, it is perhaps useful to think of the ante as an additional blind. The benefit of such a system is to save time (in live games), where only one player needs to post the ante, as opposed to all players having to contribute.

There is much debate over whether the BTN or BB ante is the superior option. While proponents of the BB ante argue it’s an even quicker option, with only two forced bets per round, those in favor of the BTN ante insist the cost of an ante atop the BB is excessive, and that it should rather be dispersed (to the BTN).

Why Do Antes Exist?

As alluded to in the introduction, forced bets are a crucial element of any poker game, since their presence results in “dead money” (referring to chips that have been contributed to the pot by an inactive player) which incentivizes players to enter the pot. Thus, forced bets such as antes encourage action. Antes are more prevalent in some games than others and for good reason.

Antes are most common in tournaments. This is largely because tournaments must, by nature, come to an end. Antes add pressure by driving action and forcing players out, which assists in bringing a tournament to its eventual end. Tournaments are structured in a way that provides a fairly consistent runtime; antes are a crucial part of this structure.

While there is no rule against antes in the likes of Hold’em and Omaha cash games, they are less common. The presence of blinds tends to drive a sufficient amount of action, and without the need to bring a cash game to a foreseeable end (unlike MTTs), there is no need to force as much action. That said, antes are sometimes implemented in cash games, having the same action-driving effect as elsewhere. Those who like to play lots of big pots will likely find ante-tables particularly appealing.

Antes: Influence on Strategy

To take an example of how antes influence our strategy, let’s consider the immediate profitability of an open raise from the BTN, with and without the presence of an ante. The blinds are 5/10 with no ante. The BTN opens to 25 (2.5BBs). BTN’s steal needs to work ~63% of the time (25/40 = 0.63 = 63%), meaning that if the blinds collectively fold above this threshold, the open raise is making an immediate profit. Now consider the same table, but with a mandatory ante of 1 chip (adding a total of 6 chips to the pot preflop, assuming a 6-handed table). BTN’s 2.5BB open steal now only needs to work 54% of the time (25/46 = 0.54 = 54%) to generate an immediate profit. That’s a 9% difference! You can see how wider play is incentivized in order to capitalize on the additional chips in the pot.

By entering more pots at an ante table, you will inevitably pay more rake. By signing up with an affiliate, you may be able to offset this handicap through additional rakeback. Taking advantage of affiliate deals like the ones available at rakerace.com is thus highly recommended!


Hopefully, this article has helped to shed some light on antes in poker. In conclusion, an ante is simply a forced bet, not dissimilar to the blinds. Antes, most commonly found in tournaments, ultimately encourage action by giving the table an inflated starting pot to play for.

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How does backing work in Poker?

How does backing work in Poker?

But how does backing work? And what additional services does a backer provide? This guide will answer these questions and more.


In poker, backing refers to an arrangement between an investor (commonly known as a backer) and a poker player (commonly known as a horse) wherein the investor puts up funds on behalf of the player in exchange for a percentage of their profits. Backing is similar to staking, although backing implies a higher degree of involvement from the investor than merely fronting a stake.

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Relevant Terminology

See above for backing, backer and horse.

  • Profit – money made (on stake).
  • Shares – a percentage of the potential profits that is owned by an investor. Otherwise known as action, or selling/buying a piece.
  • Makeup – the amount that a player owes their backer after losing on stake. To take an example, consider a newly backed player that loses $1,000 in their first week. While the backer reloads the funds, the player is now said to be $1,000 in makeup, meaning that they must subsequently repay their losses before any profit is split. If the player goes on to win $2,000 in their second week, they are first obligated to repay the $1,000 makeup before splitting the remaining profits ($1,000/2 = $500 profit each).
  • Markup – an additional fee associated with buying shares from a player. The player decides what markup they feel is appropriate based on their skill and experience. To take an example, consider a strong player that is selling 10% of their action in a $1,000 tournament. The player has sustained a 10% Return On Investment (ROI) over a significant sample in similar tournaments; the player is, therefore, a better investment than the average player, and can charge a premium (markup) for investments. Where the face value of a 10% piece is $100 (10% of $1,000 = $100), the player charges $110 for the same share, since this price better reflects his Expected Value (EV).
  • Stable – a group of players that are staked and often coached by a specific investor. Coaching for profits (CFP) is a common type of stable, wherein a backer or backers stake and coach a group of players over a period of time in return for a cut of their profits.

How Does Backing Work?

Both the backer and horse must negotiate and agree upon the terms and conditions of their arrangement. These terms and conditions should clarify all of the necessary details to each party, such as what the horse can play, volume requirements, coaching requirements (if applicable), what percentage of profits each party is entitled to, etc.

What Is the Difference Between Backing and Staking?

As mentioned earlier, the terms ‘backing’ and ‘staking’ are often incorrectly used interchangeably. While the two are similar, a backer will also render additional non-staking services. These services may include:

  • Coaching.
  • Training materials.
  • Access to a community of like-minded individuals (often known as a CFP team).

Backers may also secure profitable rakeback deals for their players. Take advantage of exclusive rakeback deals without the commitment by signing up with an affiliate like rakerace.com!

Should You Consider Backing?


  • Diminished financial risk. Variance in poker can be severe; by getting staked as part of a backing deal, you can alleviate some of the associated financial pressure by not risking your own money.
  • Coaching and support. Coaching, support, and other benefits that you can expect from a backing agreement can be hugely valuable
  • Opportunities to play in bigger games. Staking is commonplace when it comes to playing high-stakes tournaments and cash games. By getting backed (staked) you give yourself a better chance to play in bigger games.
  • Networking and community. Mostly associated with poker stables, networking and a sense of community can be invaluable in a game as independent and often isolating as poker.


  • Reduced profit share. The main downside to staking as part of backing is, inevitably, that you’re no longer entitled to your profits in their entirety.
  • Contractual obligations. From volume requirements to game and format selection, contractual obligations mean you’ll have someone (your backer) to answer to.
  • Makeup. While your financial exposure is significantly diminished, the idea of makeup (being indebted to your backer) can be daunting to some.

To summarize, backing can provide a much-needed financial safety net, along with a myriad of other benefits such as regular coaching and a sense of community. That said, it’s also important to consider the potential downsides of backing, like a reduced profit share and various contractual obligations. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether backing makes sense as part of your unique poker journey.

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