Poker Tips: Johns Hopkins Poker Class

13 Jun 2020 ⏱️ 6 min
Poker Tips: Johns Hopkins Poker Class

Few months back I took Johns Hopkins Poker Course to learn some core concepts and build some skills to get better at winning games. Poker is incredibly addictive and a smart game. It is a mixed bag of calculations, luck and human psychology. The course focuses on core concepts in Texas Hold`em, with an emphasis on cash games. Sharing some of my notes from this class, I hope this helps you win some of those large pots :)


  • Figure out what other people are.
    • Whale - Lots of money
    • Shark - Be cautious of these
    • Fish - Keep calling
    • Donkey - Well idiots
  • Find an edge. If players are good, just walk away. Find donkeys or whale or both!
  • Check what’s best possible hand? 2nd best?
  • Double belly buster ( disguised) . Eg. 6-7 and cards on board are 3, 5 , 9 (both 4 and 8 will give your straight)
  • Idiot end (lower end of straight)
  • You can’t have straight without 5 or 10.
  • You are going to get a pair 1/17 times.
  • Its rare you get beaten when you have full house unless there is 3 of kind on board. If a pair on board then its very strong.
  • In chess, best player wins almost always. In poker, best player win more often.
  • Poker is about skill and getting your edges.
  • Cash games - 1:1 mapping
  • Flop is a major hand
    • how many players remain
    • who raised?
    • pot size and remaining stacks
    • How is connection between pre-flop and flop. Keep the pre flop action in mind
    • If board is dry, you can check as well
    • Opponent type


  • Expected Value: win_win % - lose_lose%**
    • if < 0 then run from table.
    • else enjoy
  • Pot odd - total in pot/ bet
  • Whenever odds against hitting > pot odd -> don’t call else call
  • Find the right amount to overturn the ratio in previous point.
  • if you have more than 14 outs, its definetely a good bet.
  • Implied odds (Current + Future bets)
  • Play with deep stacks.
  • 10% - 15% times don’t play poker by rules ( like the principles, calculations - basically trick opponents, bluff them)
  • It’s okay to fold. Don’t worry about BB! You pay only 2/orbit

Strategies when entering a pot

  • Person who makes first bet - opens a pot. When opening come up with around 3 BB raise. (But, look for what other are doing on table). In tournaments, reduce raise at end. Mix it, don’t always do 3x. Don’t get predictable.

  • Limping is not a good strategy

  • When betting after flop - bid half the pot.

  • When raising - 3x bet is good.

  • Big pair

    • try to raise and eliminate weak cards.
  • Medium pairs

    • Opening position
      • Open with 3x raise
      • 50% time call or fold.
      • If 4x bet then fold
    • Medium
      • 80% time raise
    • Late
      • Always call 1 raise
    • When multiple player in hand, then see if you can make a set (risk but high earnings possible)
    • If Re-raised -> fold
    • JJ is a bad hand to have rather unlucky (unless you get jack in flop)
  • Small pairs

    • Don’t play in shallow stacks
    • Play 1 raise when with weak players.
    • You might miss set/quads but its ok. You played poker right way. (Again judgement based on opponents)
  • Big Slick - AK

    • Short stack - nice hand, Deep stack - drawing hand.
    • Dominates other hands. If both miss, dominating one wins.
    • Don’t scare other people with 3x-4x raise
    • Against a pair, < 50% wins
    • Danger - AA, KK
    • Avoid big pots always with AK (If you are short stacked, go all-in)
  • Little Slick - AQ

    • Serious action -> fold
    • generally a good hand - normally play it.
    • AK >> AQ
  • A2 - AJ

    • Weak ace. AK AQ are largely dominating
    • Fold pre flop most times. (>90%)
    • Suited ace are still good to bet.
    • At low stakes table you can play this often.
  • Trouble hands

    • KQ, QJ, KJ, KT, QT
    • dominated by AK -> AT
    • Avoid raises with such hands
    • Early pos - KQ can be played
    • If someone 3x bet - just fold
  • Suited Connectors

    • 8-9 , 5-6 same set
    • Good in deep stash
    • Early pos - fold most times, Middle - raise often, Late - raise
    • One raiser, lot of callers.

Starting hand selection

Opening type

  • Limp
  • Raise
  • 3,4 bet

Selection criteria

  • Position
  • Stack size
  • Opened/ unopen pot
  • Strength of cards - premium, solid
  • Opponents - Aggresive, passive
  • What is your table image

Pro tip: Nobody cares what you folded

Bet Types

  • Value Bet
  • Semi-bluff
  • Bluff
  • Probe bet
    • When you don’t know where you stand
    • Goal is to gain information
  • Continuation bet
    • if you bet pre-flop, no matter what the flop is , put a C-bet. (70% times)
    • if multiple oppponents then avoid this.
  • Donk Bet
    • out of position , opponent raised pre flop and raised, you bet.
    • If you have a strong hand, do a check
    • Weak hand - exit
  • Blind bet
  • Check
    • small value hand, you have some chances
    • pot is small
    • Trapping - you got full house, but you check to lure more plays. Do this, when you are super strong
  • Check - Raise
    • First check with intention that someone will raise
    • Then you raise
    • Do keep in mind the strength of cards you have


  • Level Zero
    • Make decisions based on your own cards
  • Level One
    • Own + Opponents card
  • Level two
    • What others are thinking, table image, stack sizes etc
  • Try to figure at what level your opponents are at.


I hope you learned something new. Feel free to suggest improvements ✔️

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