Five Quick Tips — How to Improve Your Poker Skills


With our first Championship—The Eagle Cup—turning five this year, we thought we’d bring you a series of Five Quick Tip articles. In the run up to the Eagle Cup V, we’ve got a bumper crop of tips and advice to help you get the best from your poker experience at the tables, by sharing what to do with different hands. These tips will serve you well if you’re playing live in a casino, or online in a social game at Global Poker.

The first five quick tips apply to anyone looking to improve their poker skills.


Poker is a fun game when you win, but it's also soul-crushing and demoralizing when you fall victim to a bad beat. Unfortunately, bad beats are an unavoidable part of the game, but there are always ways to improve your poker skills. There are no fast answers or quick fixes, but there are a few simple things you can do that will help you improve over time.


It sounds simple, and that's because it is. The best way to improve your poker skills is to practice, practice, then practice some more. The only way to get better is to learn the rules, spend time at the tables and figure out how to play the game effectively. The best players in the world have spent thousands of hours refining their craft. With the rise of online poker rooms, it's now easier than ever to have practice games with no risk.


In the modern, digital age, we have access to millions of hours of poker content. The best professionals in the world regularly duke it out at poker tournaments and ring games, and you can easily watch the action unfold with the push of a button. In high-profile tournaments like the US Poker Open or World Series of Poker, they even offer the benefit of table cameras and running commentary so you can see every moment unfold in real-time. Take advantage of this resource and watch as much poker as you can. It doesn’t matter what activity you are doing; watching the best in the world is an excellent way to improve your skills, get new ideas and figure out some of the game's finer points.


Along with massive amounts of poker media, there are also thousands of poker books and millions of online articles examining every aspect of the game in intimate detail. A good way to improve your poker skills is to read about poker and keep your knowledge up to date. The best players are constantly reading about new techniques, odds and strategies. Not all sources of information are created equal, however, which is why you should be reading from multiple sources, don't just read a whole bunch of books or articles by the same author.


Poker is the perfect environment to see the Dunning–Kruger effect in action. (In a nutshell, the D-K effect is when someone thinks they’re better at something than they really are. And we all fall victim to it in some way, it’s just a question of when and how. If you’d like to read more on it, you can do so here or you can watch a short TED video on it here.)

Coming back to poker; so many players think of themselves as part of the poker elite, when in reality, they are fish playing in a sea of sharks. Don't be a player who overestimates their abilities and gets into a game with people far above their level. Be honest with yourself and play to your experience level; in the long run, it's in your best interest.

You may need to spend years playing in the low stakes and beginners’ games before you are good enough to step up and play high stakes, but that's fine, you won't get rich, but the goal should be to better at the game, not get rich quick in the vein hope of quitting your day job. Poker isn't a game that forgives mistakes; playing above your experience level can be a huge and potentially costly mistake.


Stick with good poker fundamentals regardless of whatever new strategy or fancy techniques you hear about. Don't play every hand; avoid bluffing frequently; remember to vary your betting and play styles to keep opponents guessing. You’ll not become a top-notch poker player overnight; there will be many failures along the way, but grit and dedication will help you along the journey. And if you find yourself struggling, go back a step and work on your game, and come back even stronger. Poker is always there for you. Make sure you follow our Five Quick Tips articles for more knowledge.