Poker Tips

Since its inception in 1970, The World Series of Poker has drawn the poker the greats together to try their luck at the game they love for a chance at fame and fortune. There have been many a great names in the WSOP over the years, including Puggy Pearson, Amarillo Slim, Mark Seif, Shawn Rice and Greg Raymer. If you’re new to the game of poker, there’s no better way to discover its ins and outs than to hear tips directly from the top poker players in the world.


“Poker is a game of skill.” -Antonio Esfandiari

Poker great, Antonio Esfandiari explained that poker is often misunderstood as purely a game of luck, rather than skill. And while luck does play a small part in the outcome of a game, skill is what takes you from a mediocre player to a great one. If one player has better cards than his or her opponent, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she is going to win by the end of the game. In the long run, the more skilled poker player will be the one experiencing success.

“The better player will always come out ahead, you can’t just be lucky for 5, 10 years ,” explained Esfandiari.

The bottom line? Don’t depend on luck being on your side every game that you play. Practice makes perfect. If you go into a hand knowing the right strategy and how to play it, you’re going to be a step ahead of your opponent.

10-2-Isabella-Mercier-Orange“I know that you know that I know…” -Isabelle Mercier

Isabelle Mercier is best known from the time she won the World Poker Tour “Ladies Night Out II” Championship. Her tournament winnings total approximately $833,097, proving she knows a thing or two about poker. However, she too started off as a beginner trying to learn the game. After the Canadian pro finishes a game, she heads home and looks back on her hands.

She rethinks all of the actions that played out during the game, seeing if she made the right decision before the flop, after the flop and so on. If you take some time away from the table to really learn the game and develop a strategy, you’re going to be better prepared for the next game you play. She analyzes both her actions and the actions of the other players. One of her most challenging hands she discusses is a poor bluff and what she has learned since, especially against that player. It’s also a good idea to look back on your poker strategy every so often to track your progress and see how you have improved over time. When you take some time to step back, you can more clearly see the decisions that you made and how it affected game play.


“Every hand that your opponents play gives you information about them and how they are likely to play future hands.” -Chris Ferguson

Chris Ferguson is no rookie when it comes to poker. In fact, he has won five World Series of Poker bracelets, including the No-limit Hold ‘em Main event in 2000. He offers his advice to beginners, saying to pay attention at all times, no matter if you’re playing online or live at the casino. Every hand that your opponents play can give you insight as to the type of player that they are. Even in online games, if someone is taking a particularly long time to play their hand, they may be more inexperienced.


“I’m not much of a gambler.” -Greg Raymer

Greg Raymer was the winner of the 2004 World Series of Poker Main Event and was the Heartland Poker Tour 2012 player of the year. With years of experience in this game, he had plenty of advice to offer for those just starting out. He explained that it’s never a good idea to gamble with money that you can’t afford to lose. This is why starting out with online poker is one of the best ways to go if you’re trying to learn the game. You can play for free online and get an idea of what strategies and hands are best, and slowly work your way up to games with actual cash bets.

You can even start out playing for pennies, and learn how to bet, raise and fold like the pros without losing a ton of money.


“Be patient.” -Phil Gordon

World class poker player Phil Gordon first entered the World Series of Poker Main Event in 2001 and finished fourth, winning $400,000. Then in 2002, he made two more WSOP final tables, finishing sixth in the $2,000 Pot Limit hold ‘em event. His advice to aspiring poker players out there is to have patience. Gordon suggested being very selective about the hands that you choose to play. And once you decide to play a certain hand, play it very aggressively. You want to be the person who constantly puts pressure on your opponent. This means you have to have courage to play hands and call bets. The only way to win is to bluff, so you have to have the courage to make plays.