What are you struggling with in Poker?

World Class Poker Professional , Jonathan Little, addresses some of the most common thing Poker Players are struggling with.

Have something you are struggling with, send an email to support@pokercoaching.com and we’ll see if we can help.


Deep Stacked

Hello Jonathan. in one of your First group webinars pokercoaching.com sb limp strategies deep stacked you talk about limp strategies from sb when deep stacked. Limp fold limp Call limp raise.  But what is deep stacked. ? Until which effektive stack size can I use the ranges?

There is no clear definition, but likely something like 50 big blinds or more.


Big Blind Antes

I’d be really interested in your thoughts about the play with Button Ante/BB Ante – how does this change your game and what you’d suggest to adjust?

If there is no video or article yet I’d really love it if you can share your ideas with us about that topic!!

It doesn’t change much of anything besides the amount that is in the pot, just as it changes when there are fewer players at the table. Also, when you are super short, you should be a bit more aggressive, but really, it simply does not matter.

It doesn’t matter who paid the ante. That money is dead. All that matters is how much money is in the pot before the action gets to you.

Cash Games

Appreciate if you can direct me to all relevant materials/products related to cash games?


I have a lot of work on cash games!
Check out my books at JLPoker.com/books. There are three books there specifically on cash games. You can get two of them in audio-book format for free
if you have never signed up for audible at JLPoker.com/free
As for video series, check out these:


Beginner’s Book

I’ve played Texas Hold’em maybe a dozen times over the past decade, so I’m almost a complete novice.

I was looking for a good beginner’s book to learn from and Annie Duke recommended yours.

For a very basic book, I suggest you check out Strategies for Beating Small Stakes Poker Tournaments of Strategies for Beating Small Stakes Poker Cash Games (depending on the game you are looking to play). Both are short, only 100 pages or so, and will go a long way to helping you beat casual, small stakes games.
You can get Tournaments here: https://amzn.to/2BQkyHu
You can get Cash here: https://amzn.to/2odzC8q
If you have never signed up for audible, you can get two of my audiobooks for free using the links on this page: http://jonathanlittlepoker.com/freeaudiobook/
Also, check out:  Poker Tournament Strategy
I hope you enjoy them. Good luck!



How to play when players fold too often

In Vegas I scoped the 2-5, sat down briefly, but found everyone sitting on their chips…raise and all fold.. raise,1 caller, continuation bet, fold
So, I go to the 1-3 and raise $20 getting 3 or 4 callers and that’s where I play. So how/why do I move up if this is typical?

It sounds like you found a much more difficult game than you are used to. If everyone folds too often, you make small amounts of money each time you raise and then they fold. I used to make about $150/hr by playing $10/$20 in a super tight game. I would raise and either pick it up preflop or get one caller, and would then win more than my fair share of the small pots postflop. That is actually great, because there is no variance. No variance is sweet!

3 Way Flops

Navigating 3 way pots post flop

That is a difficult question, but the general answer is that you should approach them as you would approach heads-up situations, but you should be a bit tighter/more straightforward. You should definitely bluff less because it is more likely that someone flopped a strong hand. Also, if you face a bet and a raise, you should tighten up quite a bit. I discuss multi-way pots more in my book Mastering Small Stakes No-Limit Hold’em.

Jonathan Little

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6 Handed Play

My issue now, is that I’m playing on a site which features a lot of 6 person tables. I am having trouble putting my opponents on ranges when there are only 4-6 players. It seems like I’m either folding way too much, bluffing way too much, or making bad calls based off of bad reads.

If I play at a full ring game, I can still do some work, but for some reason, the short-handed games are causing me to break even, slowly leak out money, or drastically go up and down. It’s like I’m shooting in the dark, often times because the UTG position is also the Button… what do I do, or how should I treat that?

I feel like the right play is to tighten up, but there’s so many spots in small stakes that you can capitalize on and exploit, it makes it hard to fold that much.

In general, you will likely find 6-handed games are comprised of players who play better than 9-handed players because you can’t sit there and fold too often.
In general, you should approach 6-handed as you would approach 9-handed, except assume the first three people folded. That is really all you have to do.
If you have any flaws in your game, 6-max will bring them out faster than 9-handed because you play more hands per orbit and also end up playing more pots from the blinds.
So, make sure you are playing at soft tables against weak opponents and constantly strive to improve your skills. Good luck!

Jonathan Little

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Basic Tournament Strategy

What are some basic game strategy you come into for these tournaments?

Also another problem I have is I just don’t believe a lot of peoples hands strength, I get into trouble by betting into them because I don’t wanna give up my position.

I approach tournaments using a fundamentally sound GTO strategy and then adjust to take advantage of the mistakes I see my opponents making.

As for not believing your opponents have reasonable ranges, you should play fundamentally sound until your opponents prove their ranges do not contain enough bluffs, or perhaps you should initially assume that if your player pool does not bluff often enough. Good luck!

Jonathan Little

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I continue to bubble/approx bubble big $ tourneys. Regardless of field size it seems to happen quite often.

A lot of people have told me that means I’m really good, but I see it as the opposite. Any tips on how to avoid that or perhaps you know why it keeps happening ? (Ie. playing too much to finish ITM vs to win?)

You should rarely be bubbling unless you have a decently large stack and are pushing around the other large stacks. It likely means you are playing too tightly, or too manically. You should be happy to approach the bubble with a decent amount of chips or be out most of the time.

That said, if you have a short stack near the bubble, the highest EV play is to ensure you get in the money as opposed to going for the win.

Jonathan Little

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Efforts are not Paying Off

I am playing low stakes and do intense solver study, RIO, and purchased an elite tournament course but I run so horribly bad I just can’t progress at all. Any advice on this? My months of effort into becoming better are not paying off at all.

Really, the only advice is to keep a gigantic bankroll and keep grinding. If you have an edge, it will manifest over time. Keep at it and you will profit. Good luck!

Jonathan Little

Finish Tournaments

I’m struggling to finish tournaments strong I tend to fizzle out towards the end and really would like coaching

This often happens for one of two reasons. The first is you may be playing too tightly, making it difficult for you to get ahold of chips. If you find that you are often one of the short stacks, it is probably for this reason.

Alternatively, you may be playing way too aggressively, resulting in you paying off the tight players or short stacks unnecessarily.

It is also worth noting that it is simply tough to win a tournament. When there are 25 players remaining, you are 1 in 25 if you are break even, and perhaps 1 in 15 if you are world-class. That isn’t too often!

Jonathan Little

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How can I grow my Bankroll?

I have a very small bank roll (under $50) and I want to get to the point were I can make a living playing poker. I have been playing $1 sit and gos on 888 and I have been doing well though ever since I started doing the pokercoaching.com quizzes I have been overthinking everything. I am so much better than my opponents, but I keep tripping myself up to the point now were I am royally confused and don’t know how to win at $1 sit and gos any more.
This is not me complaining about the quizzes, honestly, I love them and have started playing them for hours every day and will continue to till they are ingrained into my head, I just dont know how to adjust to actually build a bank roll to win at $1 sit and gos and its so demoralizing.

All you really need to do to grow a bankroll is to find a game that you can beat and then play as much as you possibly can. If you win $.10 per game, that means you win one buy-in every 10 games you play. I you play 3,000 games per month (as I used to do when I played sngs) you will have a nice $300 bankroll in only one month. From there, you can move to $2 games and repeat the process.

Also, if your opponents make clear mistakes, there is no point in trying to play gto. Just exploit their mistakes. Good luck!

Jonathan Little

Keeping my Chipstack

That is what often happens because it is difficult to win for a while and then continue winning for the rest of the tournament. All you can do is play excellent poker in games where you have an edge and eventually you will run well and end up with all the chips.
That said, you may be playing a different strategy once you build a stack, or you are not accounting for the other stacks at a table. This is a large question that requires me to know more about your specific strategy. I suggest you post hand examples on our forum so you can get help from other players. Good luck!

Jonathan Little

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Mental Game

I’ve struggled with the mental side of the game for a couple of years now. I’ve read 2 books about it and have done everything in my powers from reading literature to seeking out poker friends that seem to have an unflappable mindset for advice.
After I bust from a tournament. I’m polite and sportsmanlike at the time but in my travels home and afterwards I tend to beat myself up over it. It’s not healthy.
Is there anything I can do that I may not have tried to not be so harsh on myself? I love the game so much and am so driven to do well but it’s so frustrating.
That is a difficult question, given we do not know each other.
As you mention, you may be playing too large for your bankroll, which will lead to the results causing emotional swings.
I suggest you simply play smaller (where you have at least 100 buy-ins in your bankroll) for a while. The game won’t be as “exciting” but if you want to make money, you should not be seeking excitement.

Jonathan Little

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No Limit with a Max Bet

My local (Colorado) casinos have a Gov’t imposed maximum bet limit of $100. The casinos host both NL $1-$3 and NL $2-$5 games. The rules are that no bet/raise can be > $100. For example if player A bets $25 then player B can raise to $125 and player C can then re-reaise to $225.
Do you recommend playing in a game with a $100 raise limitation? If yes, what strategies should I study to be positioned to beat this game?

I do not. Spread-limit games are not common at all anymore and therefore I have not studied them. I imagine they mostly play like no-limit except you will often be getting better odds with your draws due to people betting only $100 into a $500 pot. Sorry I can’t be more help!

Jonathan Little

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My biggest problems are dealing with overbets, and playing shorthanded in cash games (like when it’s down to 3 or 4 players towards the end of the night). Thanks for asking!

Dealing with overbets is an interesting topic because it depends on the opponent’s strategy. If the opponent plays perfect GTO poker, you should defend at the minimum defense frequency, which is 1-(their bet/size of the pot after the bet), so if they bet $100 into a $50 pot, it is 1-(100/150) = .33, meaning you should call with 33% of your range.

That said, many players use overbets only for value or only as a bluff. In small stakes games, I imagine most overbets will be for extreme value, allowing you to fold more often than the minimum defense frequency. I personally use overbets way more than I “should” as a bluff because people tend to fold too often, making the bluffs quite profitable.

As for playing short handed, it is the same as playing at a full table. Your cutoff range 4-handed should be essentially the same as when you are playing 9-handed. That said, many players drastically over-compensate because they think they have to “gamble” more short handed, which is simply not true. If you are playing with lunatics, you can be somewhat patient while still giving a bit of action, resulting in most of the big pots being shipped your direction.

Jonathan Little

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What I’m honestly struggling with in poker the most is patience. I’m working daily on the habit of getting better and only playing the right cards in the right position at the right time (my best of knowledge) and have most definitely improved my mental game but this is honestly where I have the biggest issues and taking my biggest losses where I see a large pot and not realizing if I’m out of position or against bigger stacks I’ll commit with a mediocre pair or suited connectors not factoring that I’d be in early position after or against a stack that would leave me empty or other factors I should think through before making a move.

It sounds like you simply must learned to be disciplined. This takes practice and determination. Know that you will fail at pretty much everything if you do not make good decisions. Lacking patience ensures you consistent make bad decisions.

Jonathan Little

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Reading People

Can you offer advice on Reading People

I suggest you check out the work by Zack Elwood. Really though, you need to figure out how your opponents normally look/behave and the correlate deviations to their hand’s strength. Good luck!

Jonathan Little

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Sit N’ Goes

I was wondering what tutorials you have for Sit N Goes? I’m mainly a tournament player (and have a lot of your products) but have recently decided to play some sit n goes to build up a bankroll for those tournaments. From what I understand sit n goes are a little bit different when only the top 3 get paid and the goal is to win but Im assuming shoving spots are different than MTT which I usually play. Are there any videos I can watch or suggestions?

I produced this series a while back: http://sngseries.com/
I imagine the games at the small stakes have not changed too much, making much of the advise still applicable today.
Jonathan Little

Strong Players

I struggle putting strong players on a hand. It seems they bet with anything and it can be quite expensive to feel them out. This forces me to play sub optimally just to avoid them.  It works out fine in low stakes but kills me in the larger events.

It is difficult to “put strong players on a hand” because they play balanced ranges.
They purposefully use a strategy of betting with their premium made hands and draws while checking their marginal made hands and junk. Doing this makes it impossible to know whether or not they are value betting or bluffing when they bet, and if they are calling a bet or folding when they check. So, you can’t put them on a hand, only on a range.
That said, the correct adjustment is to simply learn to play a fundamentally sound game theory optimal strategy, which is what I teach at PokerCoaching.com through the in-depth homework questions.

Jonathan Little

Tilt – when I lose with a Good Hand

The biggest struggle I have is handling and dealing with seeming to not have my hand hold up. For the most part I am an online player, it occurs all to often when I get it in good that I end up losing the hand.
Then tilt occurs and well you know the rest.
t seems like you do not understand/grasp the variance involved in poker. You are supposed to lose with the best hand some portion of the time. Having 80% equity means you will lose 20% of the time. Most people think 20% “never” or “should not” happen, but that simply is not true.
The swings are crazy in Poker and you must accept them.

Jonathan Little

Too Impatient – Push Too Much to Early

Too impatient.  Push too much too early.

Well you certainly need to stop that! You have all the time in the world!

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When to Play Flips

When deep, say final 3 tables and ITM, in micro/small stakes MTTs on US facing sites weather to take the spot or wait for a better one when you are 80/90% sure its a flip. Also does it sway either way which side you have (the overs or the pair)? Or if you are the effective stack or not?

It does not matter if you are “flipping”. What matters is how much equity you have against your opponent’s range and the pot odds. If you are 50% and you need to win 48% of the time to break even, it may make sense to pass on that flip.

However, if you only need to win 40% of the time, folding would be a mistake. I don’t think it matters too much whether or not it is for all your chips, assuming you are getting an excellent price to call.