I completed Phil Ivey’s Poker Strategy masterclass recently. Notes from the class:

  • Position is super important

  • In UTG play a very tight range

  • Defending A9 etc is very tough because a player with a tight range might have AK and you would lose all your chips because you won’t give up

  • Suited connectors plays better when defending because if there was an A you would fold but you might win a lot when you hit a straight or a flush

  • 52 is more live than K10 KJ because K10 will be easily dominated by AK, KQ etc

  • Over bet if you think it will get the opponent to fold

  • Look at the amounts with which people raise and call

  • Isolate weaker players especially when in position. Do this vs calling stations who raise preflop and then refuse to fold even if they miss their flop. One way to isolate is to 4-bet after they 3-bet and then get all the others to fold, essentially getting you in a heads-up scenario with the weaker player

  • Observe weaker players and see which hands they play with

  • Induce bluffs by checking and then getting the weaker players to bluff

  • Betting when you are not getting called but raised or fold is a mistake

  • Over bet if you are bluffing or have a monster

  • Bet pre flop to find capped range of opponents. If you 4-bet and someone calls then you can assume they have top pairs AA, KK or AK. The most important thing to know is the range of the people in the blinds

  • Small and big blinds defend with a wide range of hands if you bet 2bb. They have already put money on the table. So they are priced in. But if you bet 4bb then the opponent’s calling range becomes far tighter

  • While bluffing know your opponent’s range for which she will fold. There is no point bluffing against a calling station

  • Blocker: The card in your hand which prevents the villain from having the nuts

  • Don’t give a good price to call your bluff. If they are super short stacked then they will call the river if they have called the turn

  • Don’t bluff on a wet board

  • See what opponents are calling you with and what they are raising you with

  • Create mistakes from opponents

  • Slow play vs aggressive opponents who keep raising and bluff big on river too

  • Slow play vs super aggressive pairs till they catch a hand and then raise a lot. Betting too much on the flop might get them to continue

  • Always think a street ahead

  • Think about what cards that are going to come out based on which you will call, raise or fold

  • Look at your opponents and see how much their raise, how often they c-bet, fold

  • Know how much fight your opponents have in them

  • Floating the flop: Just call in flop and then bet the turn or river if the other person folded

  • Flop on a dry board and then take the pot on the turn or river

  • They won’t know if you are floating, if you actually have a big hand

  • In heads-up you can 3-bet smaller suited connectors because the probability of the opponent having a bigger flush draw is very less. In multi way games just think carefully about getting too agressive as someone might have the nut flush draw

  • If you have a very small stack then consider going all in with a flush draw

  • If deep stacked then keep calling and don’t risk all your stack

  • Small stack all in gives you the chance to win 2 ways: hitting your straight/flush and also by getting everyone to fold

  • If you are deep stacked most of the time just keep calling if you are on a flush draw. Raising will only cause major losses

  • If you have just top pair on a wet board just check and see what the other folks behind you do

  • How you play cards like small pocket pairs also depends on how deep stacked you are

  • When you are super deep (100+ bb) you have to think a lot before even rasing small sets as someone could have floped even a bigger set and you could go broke

  • Important to know if you are going to get call or not if you hit your hand. Implied odds matter only if your opponent calls. If they don’t you risk a lot of money but get no upside if you hit your flush or straight on the river

  • Suited connectors play well when you are super deep stacked because the strength of your hand is hidden and you make a lot of money if you hit a straight or a flush. Compare this to Broadway cards which look good on paper but the villain will never bet against them on a wet board if they have weaker hands

  • Smaller straights like A2 offsuite does not play well in deep stacked poker

  • You remember the hands that you lose not the times you got lucky and won vs someone

  • It is not how you play when you are winning but how you play when you are losing that defines a champion

  • Make adjustments to your play based on your opponents

  • If your table image is that of a bluffer or someone who chases straights/flush draws then use that to your advantage by playing super tight and then getting the opponents to call you

  • Gather information for use in the future: What size based do they make when they have a draw vs straight? Do they check raise you as a bluff? Take a note of their betting amounts, time taken to call/fold/reraise

  • If the hand were reversed would the opponent have lost or won the same amount? It is one question you have to keep asking to know if you have an advantage over someone

  • If the bluff did not work would you try it again? Why/ why not? Learn what constitutes a good bluff

  • Play more hands in smaller games to improve post flop game play and implement the parts which worked in bigger games

  • Focus on the moment instead of the stakes. Play the best you can irrespective of what stakes you are playing