Luca ‘Italian Stallion’ Pagano

Luca Pagano has made over a million online and he’s ready to share his secrets


I like to put opponents on tilt and take advantage of it

How you play (and behave in a live game) is very important. I like to project confldence and certainty, and to take my time. If someone bets into me I like to make them feel that this time they can have it but next time it won’t be so easy. Also, I like to be friendly to other players so they are less aggressive towards me and want to play with me again.


From the moment I arrive at a table I’ll start talking with the players to understand if they’re playing for fun and if they qualifled online if it’s a tournament, or if they are serious players making a living out of the game. On the Internet it’s very important to keep notes as there are a lot of players online and every day there are new players joining. I keep long notes, detailing facts such as whether players are tight, passive, etc, but online tells like timing and using auto-raise buttons are also vital.


I like to play heads-up or shorthanded limit Hold’em as this is where the skill comes out faster and I believe it is the game for the true professional. Everyone is very aggressive in these games and I like to put opponents on tilt and take advantage of it. Even the best players have some weaknesses and if you know what they are you can isolate them and take advantage to win big very quickly.


I always play online early in the morning when it’s still late in the USA and I can flnd players who are drunk, tired, or losing and trying to chase their money. I play only one game at a time, for two or three hours at most, because it is much better to pay attention and win consistently. If I lose because of some bad luck then I go out with my friends and wait until the next day to recover. Online you can play whenever you want so there is no need to play long sessions or overexert yourself, which is the quickest way to lose badly.


It’s very important to play games you can afford, especially if you play heads-up or short-handed where you will have big swings. But even in normal games the best players still have big swings and with a big bankroll you won’t feel the pressure as much. For example, if you’re playing $5-$10 limit Hold’em I would say you need at least $10,000. You probably would never even lose half of this, but if you had less and lost a big amount it might prevent you from playing your best.


Moving up in limits is a tough process and you must do it slowly as there are big differences at each stage, and it’s essential you learn these to avoid being in situations you don’t expect. For example, a player who jumped from $15-$30 to $100-$200 would be at a huge disadvantage and would almost certainly be crushed. I have made over $1,000,000 online but I have been playing many years and had to move up gradually, increasing my skill level and adjusting to each new limit.


In tournaments it’s vitally important to change your style of play as the game progresses. I like to play a solid and tight game early on so that in future hands I can pick up more pots and make some moves later to steal the blinds, changing from a very tight style to a much more aggressive one without being noticed immediately. If this strategy works successfully and I accumulate a very big stack then I will continue moving up the gears as the money approaches to build chips for the all-important flnal table.

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