ABC poker strategy

ABC poker

ABC-game is a term for describing a simple strategy that focuses on a solid tight game. In days of a poker boom this strategy could make a profit even at high limits and at micro-limits ABC game is profitable up till now.

For beginners who just start learning the poker strategy it is recommended to play solely in a simple ABC poker.

Not only beginners use this basic strategy, but also advanced players if they don’t have necessary information about their opponents at the table.

Let's talk about some of the standard lines of ABC poker strategy:

  • Tight chart of starting hands for early/middle positions.
  • Only 3-bet with QQ+ and AK hands on a preflop.
  • Always make a continuation bet if you have been an aggressor on the preflop but don’t bluff in multi-pots.
  • Don’t bluff on the turn and river and bet only on the value.
  • Always bet a half of the pot or more on a postflop.

These basic concepts are fundamental and basic starting points of your poker career. The main idea is that your range should consist only of strong hands, so that you can more often bet on value and can rarely be forced to bluff.

When to apply ABC strategy:

ABC strategy

  • If you are the newbie in poker;
  • If you play at the new table;
  • If situation dictates applying this strategy.

ABC strategy is a good idea against the unknown opponents

This strategy works if you don’t have the necessary reads on your opponents but as soon as you collect information about one or all players at the table, you have to stray from ABC and start using a more effective strategy in order to maximize the profit in every hand.

Ways to improve your ABC game

Be aware of your preflop range but know how to surprise the opponents

When you play against the unknown opponents, then the preflop range is your loyal friend in making a profit.

But if you have already collected specific information about opponents, then don’t neglect to use it against them.

For instance, you noticed that an opponent who sits in the big blind position is very tight and passive. Why don’t you try to steal his big blind with some marginal hand?

Remember that starting hand charts are useful on the preflop but they are often completely useless on the postflop.

Experiment with a bet sizing

ABC poker offers to always bet a half of the pot or more on the postflop. Why not to try playing with sizing yourself? When choosing a postflop sizing, you have to proceed from a board structure, strength of your hand on this board and from your opponent’s type.

For example, you were an aggressor on the button with a pocket pair and you hit a top-set on a dry flop. You are opposed by an aggressive player who called your raise in the small blind. You have already noticed that he constantly raises other players’ contbets. Don’t make a standard size contbet of 50%, but make the cbet of 35-40%. Allow the enemy to show his aggression and collect three streets of value against him.

Alter the frequency of the contbets

The basic strategy indicates that if you were an aggressor on the preflop, then you should contbet almost in 100% of cases. After reading this item, many players turn into robots and make continuation bets in situations that are absolutely inappropriate for this. Don’t be predictable!

For example, you raise with AKo from a late position, all players up to big blind fold, a player on BB calls and the flop is 9 8 7 rainbow. Should you make the contbet? It makes completely no sense, thus the big blind range will include much more medium and small pocket pairs and also connectors that will not be mucked on such flop for sure. It is more profitable for you to check the flop and if the opponent checks the turn, you can make a delayed contbet. If the big blind bets on the turn himself, then you can easily fold the cards and meanwhile not to lose a lot.

Let's watch the video by Nathan "BlackRain79" Williams that shows an example and analysis of ABC strategy:

Pros and cons of ABC strategy

Before applying ABC poker, you should get acquainted with its advantages and disadvantages. Examine the following information in to obtain a clear picture and make the correct decisions.

ABC strategy


  1. ABC is easy to learn. Compared to other poker strategies, ABC is relatively easy to learn. It requires to remember the tables of starting holdings and to learn the play algorithms against the main types of rivals. Certainly, you will spend some time for this process, but there is no need to dive deeply into the game mechanics.
  2. ABC is a barrier against tilt. The players, who adhere to ABC strategy, usually avoid the tilt, as they can check the correctness of decisions on the Internet. If the players have to bid farewell to their stacks, this won’t be so painful because such players know that they have acted within basic strategy.
  3. ABC instills discipline. The game algorithm of ABC poker is clearly defined and straightforward. The adherence to given algorithm can be a guarantee for successful career. The generated discipline will save your money and prevent from the injudicious actions.
  4. ABC suited to low stakes. Most players start playing at NL2-NL5 limits and they are not able to move ahead. Sometimes this occurs due to the variance and wrong bankroll management. However, in practice, the wrong choice of strategy becomes the reason of impossibility to move ahead. ABC strategy has all the necessary tools and techniques that will help to cope with play at micro stakes.
  5. ABC lays the groundwork both for BSS, MTT and SnG strategy. Transition to the different game model won’t cause any significant contradictions. You will only need to expand the decision range and learn how to adjust to your rivals’ leaks.


  1. Play "on autopilot". It doesn’t require a lot of thinking and analyzing when adhering to ABC strategy. The player only follow the algorithm and his play turns into a continuous stream of the same actions. At high limits, you will face the problem due to the impossibility to think deeply in hand. Anyway, you will have to readjust.
  2. Opportunity to exploit your opponents is limited. ABC means a universal strategy for almost all players. For example, the professional player will monitor statistical data in order to find his rivals' leaks and exploit them, while ABC player will simply press one of three buttons depending on the hand and board’s cards.
  3. Easy adjustment. ABC is considered a very vulnerable strategy, because it aims to fair play with strong holdings. For an experienced regular, it is easier to fight against ABC opponent, rather than against fish. The range of ABC rivals is clearly visible, and in most cases, such opponent will be eliminated from the game.
  4. The absence of creativity is boring. The regular player spends a lot of time at the poker tables, and it is very boring to act on autopilot. Poker is interesting game that gives an opportunity for creative actions.

Finishing the material, it should be noted that the basic ABC strategy is still profitable at micro-limits and a beginner needs to learn it in order to start earning money. And if you complement it with several advanced tricks, then you can win much more.

To consolidate the material, we suggest that you watch the video in order to once again understand what an ABS strategy is and how to apply it:

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I’ve been working in the Cardmates team since 2018. Started playing poker the same way most people usually do – socially, with friends and fellow students. I adored those exciting poker nights but never thought my life would be connected with this game, even tangentially.
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