Professional Poker Player, Micah Raskin, Gives His Top Five Tips for Those Who Want to Learn to Play

Poker's Micah Raskin

June 13, 2021

Professional Poker Player, Micah Raskin, Gives His Top Five Tips for Those Who Want to Learn to Play

Poker is a game of strategy and skill that can be played professionally or recreationally. However you’re hoping to use your newfound poker skills, Micah Raskin has the tips to help you learn the game properly and excel in gameplay. It takes years of practice and dedication to become a pro, but mastering the basics is the first step on your journey to success!

1. Learn the Rules and Hand Rankings Advises Micah Raskin

Obviously, if you want to learn how to be a great poker player, you’re going to have to memorize the rules. You don’t want to lose a big hand because you made a rookie mistake! While learning the rules is relatively easy, says Micah Raskin, he advises that you spend a little extra time upfront studying the poker hand rankings.

Hand rankings are all the possible card combinations from Royal Flush down to No Pair. Understanding where each possible hand ranks can help inform your strategy as you play. You don’t want to get halfway through a hand and realize that your flush is not going to beat their full house after all! That’s a waste of your valuable decision-making time.

The hand rankings are as follows in most standard poker games:

1. Royal Flush – ten, jack, queen, king, and ace of the same suit
2. Straight Flush – five cards in sequence, all from the same suit
3. Four of a Kind – four cards of the same denomination, one in each suit
4. Full House – three cards of one denomination and two cards of another denomination
5. Flush – five cards of the same suit
6. Straight – five cards in a sequence, any suit
7. Three of a Kind – three cards of the same denomination and two unmatched cards
8. Two Pairs – two sets of cards of the same denomination, and an unmatched card
9. One Pair – two cards of the same denomination and three unmatched cards
10. No Pair – all five cards of different rank in a variety of suits

2. Play in Position as Much as Possible Says Micah Raskin

Once you have the rules and the hand rankings down, you can start to consider position. In poker, table position is very important. Generally speaking, the best position to be in is being able to act last on a hand. Going last lets you gather information on what the other players are doing and infer what kind of hands they may have.

Playing in position can quickly turn a losing hand into a winning one. There are several factors that contribute to the importance of playing in position.

Firstly, it lets you control the pot size. Since you act last when you’re in position, you get to decide if you’ll add your bet to the pot or not.

Secondly, you have a better chance of winning on a bluff. In pots where no one has been very engaged, the person who bets last can often win with a bluff!

And lastly, playing in position makes it easier to get value from your hand. When you have a strong hand, you want to go last because it guarantees that you put in a bet on every street. When you’re not in position, your opponent can check back and control the pot, limiting your ability to bet.

3. Remember that Bankroll Often Increases Faster Than Skill Warns Micah Raskin
As you become a better poker player, it’s easy to convince yourself that you should be playing higher-stakes games before you’re ready. Try to avoid this trap, warns Micah Raskin. It often leads to players becoming frustrated – a lot of people end up quitting altogether because they moved up too fast and lost too much.

A solid strategy can help beginners fly through the micro-stakes, but we all hit a learning curve at some point and then the stake is not so easily beaten. “I see this happen a lot around 50NL and 100NL,” says Micah Raskin. He says that people forget that poker isn’t a results-oriented game. “They think something is wrong when they’re suddenly losing after winning up till this point – it can make you feel like a failure.”

Raskin says that the way to solve this problem – or avoid it in the first place – is to take things slow. Focus on improving your strategy and people reading skills. Chasing a title or trying to become the next high-stakes hotshot can only end in tears. Slow and steady is the way to work your way up in poker, says Micah.

4. Play Aggressively Advises Micah Raskin

If you want to get better at poker, you need to understand fold equity, says Micah Raskin. Fold equity is basically the amount of money you win through “aggressive” moves like raising and betting. If you never bet or raise when you play poker, you’re missing out on a lot of money.

Anytime you’re considering a move during a game of poker, you should always consider making the aggressive move first, says Micah Raskin. Just make sure you’re reading the table right. If the aggressive move isn’t profitable, consider calling or checking instead. But if it is profitable, aggressive is almost always the right play.

5. Learn to Game Select Says Micah Raskin

Once you’ve mastered the basics of poker, if you’re trying to get a higher win-rate you have to learn how to game select, says Micah Raskin. The key to making money playing poker is to surround yourself with less-skilled players. It sounds predatory, but it’s part of the strategy of the game, says Raskin.

Often, table selection is the biggest factor in your success as a poker player. If you’re always playing people more skilled than you are, you’ll lose all your money, get discouraged, and quit. Remember, says Micah Raskin, the highest earners in any given level of gameplay are not always the best players. Often, the winners are those who choose the seats most conducive to profit.

Micah Raskin is a professional poker who’s highest national GPI ranking was 9th in the world. In his first years as a player, Raskin cashed 25 times, made 16 final tables, won 4 events, cashed at the WSOP 12 times, and earned over $2 million.