7 valuable poker articles

7 Must-Read Articles That Will Help Your Poker Game

I’ve been running the Upswing Poker blog for over four years.

In that time I have commissioned, read, and published nearly 1,000 articles to help you, my dear reader, improve your poker skills.

Today I’ve gathered seven of the most valuable/fundamental Upswing Poker articles ever published. These articles will help you improve your strategy, mental game, and away from the table preparation.

If you don’t have time to read all seven articles now (understandable), consider bookmarking this page so you can come back to it later.

1. Bluffing in Poker Explained (by Doug Polk)

Bluffing is one of the most fundamental aspects of poker. In this article (and the accompanying video), Doug Polk explains the basics of bluffing.

Here’s the bottom line: bluffing is life in poker.

Without bluffs, you can’t win pots unless you have hands. And the tough thing in poker is making hands — most hands miss most flops.

So, you can’t only make decisions based around when you have good hands, or else you’re going to get run over by your opponents.

The question is: how much bluffing should you do?

For Doug’s answer to that question and more, read Bluffing in Poker Explained (by Doug Polk).

2. Fast-Playing vs Slow-Playing Revealed

Should you play your strong hand aggressively, or should you slow down and set the trap?

slow play vs fast play

The answer to this age-old question depends on the specifics of the situation. In this article, Ryan Fee helps you identify the factors that can sway your decision with a strong hand one way or the other.

Read Fast-Playing vs Slow-Playing Revealed.

3. You Probably Aren’t Aggressive Enough in These 4 Common Spots

The overwhelming majority of players are not aggressive enough.

If you want to compete with high level players, or maximize your win-rate against weak ones, you’ll need to ditch the A-B-C approach and add some well-timed aggression to your poker game.

This article covers four common situations in which turning up the aggression will boost your bottom line.

4. Big Blind Defense Strategy 101: Tournaments vs Cash Games

The big blind is arguably the most important position to play well. But it’s also an unforgiving position with many opportunities for mistakes.

big blind defense strategy cash vs tournaments

For example, when facing a raise, under-defending will result in you slowly leaking chips and may encourage your opponents to steal your blinds more often. On the other hand, over-defending will lead to tough spots postflop as you will be out of position with a weak range.

Here is what we* covered in the article:

  • Big Blind Defense 101
  • Tournament Big Blind Defense
    • Tournament-Specific Factors
    • Big Blind vs Button (Tournament Example)
  • Cash Game Big Blind Defense
    • Cash Game-Specific Factors
    • Big Blind vs Button (Cash Game Example)
  • 6 Tips for Big Blind Defense
  • A Quick Word on Multiway Defense

*This article was actually a group effort between myself, our regular writer Dan B., and Ryan Fee.

Read Big Blind Defense Strategy 101: Tournaments vs Cash Games.

5. How to Adjust Your Strategy in Splashy Live Games

My local $1/$2 game is crazy. People call raises with all sorts of garbage hands and they never seem to fold a pair postflop, but I can’t seem to win!

How should I adjust my strategy in this game?

We see questions like this all the time in the Upswing Poker Facebook groups. It seems like many players struggle with winning in what most would consider “soft” games.

This article goes over strategic adjustments you can use to take advantage of splashy live games. Read How to Adjust Your Strategy in Splashy Live Games now to learn those adjustments.

6. How to Analyze Your Poker Hands Effectively in 5 Minutes

Reflecting on the hands you play after the fact is one of the most effective ways to develop your skills. So it’s no wonder why this article has been read a whopping 170,806 times since the first iteration was published back in 2017 (we’ve updated it several times since then).

analyze poker hands

The first section covers a quick and effective method for analyzing your poker hands in six easy steps. The second section covers an advanced method for analyzing your hands from a theory-heavy point of view (by using advanced concepts like minimum defense frequency).

Read How to Analyze Your Poker Hands Effectively in 5 Minutes to add this crucial skill to your repertoire now.

7. The Smart Approach to Losing Poker Sessions (3 Questions to Ask Before Quitting)

It’s tough to know when to walk away from the poker table, but sometimes it’s the most valuable skill you can have.

In this article, Doug Polk walks you through a high stakes cash game session he played at the Bellagio. As you might have guessed from the title, the session was not going well for Doug — he was stuck around $45,000.

losing poker session

As he retells the story of his session, he shows you how to be smart about losing poker sessions. He also shares the three questions he always asks himself before quitting a game, plus other stories from his career that demonstrate what you should and shouldn’t do during a losing session.

Read The Smart Approach to Losing Poker Sessions before you hit the tables again. You’ll be thankful you did.

Honorable Mentions

I want to avoid overwhelming you with articles, but there are a few that are simply too good not to mention before I say goodbye:

But maybe you have a specific topic in mind that you want to read about…

Can I Help You Find Something?

If you’re looking for an article on a specific topic, such as pot odds or check-raising, let me know in the comment section below or by emailing me at [email protected].

I’ll be sure to point you in the right direction. And if you happen to ask about a topic that hasn’t been covered, I’ll note it down as a suggestion for future articles.

Take care, dear reader!

Note: Ready to join 5,000+ players currently upgrading their No Limit Hold’em skills? Crush your competition with the expert strategies you will learn inside the Upswing Lab training course. Learn more now!


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About the Author
Mike Brady

Mike Brady

I used to play a ton of poker. Now, I'm the Vice President of Upswing Poker and only play a decent amount of poker. Read my full bio here.

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