How playing Fortnite can improve your poker game

Part of loving the game of poker is thinking about it when you’re away from the felt as well as when you’re facing opponents across the poker table. To that end, a lot of other activities help you with your poker game.


The study of mathematics has an obvious benefit to understanding probability and exploiting others’ lack of nous on that subject. Physical exercise is a great way of building stamina to deal with the rigours of long hours playing the game. Finally, playing Fortnite is a great way of improving your strategy at the poker table… wait, what?

Yes, that’s right, if you don’t play Fortnite already and consider the game one for children only then you couldn’t be more wrong. Particularly when it comes to tournament poker, the game has a huge number of ways it can improve your strategic thinking.

Let’s start with a poker player who plays the game of Fortnite very well. Matt Glantz, who currently sits in 162nd place on the all-time money list, with over $7.1 million in live tournament winnings alone. He can also shoot a player in the head while they’re flying a plane above him in Fortnite.

Glantz has poker pedigree, but his whole family has Fortnite running through their veins if his son’s ‘behind the back’ victory is anything to go by! So why is Fortnite so popular with poker players and how can it help you?

For start, there’s the game structure. Picture a 10-table, 10-man multi-table tournament on PokerStars, partypoker or 888poker, for example. Actually, with the fun element, it might be better on Unibet, but we’re splitting hairs. To win, you have to outlast 99 other players, right? Well, that’s the case in Fortnite too.

How to Play the Game

The aim of Fortnite is to be the last man standing, and it takes place in a ‘Battle Royale’ format. We’ll discount the Squads and Duos options here and presume that you’re playing the much more poker-like and therefore appealing Solos mode, where just one player from 100 wins and it’s every player for themselves.  

You begin aboard a Battle Bus, from which you must drop and parachute down to an island upon which 99 souls will perish and one will remain victorious at the end of the game. Over the course of the game, there is a storm closing in on a large circle which appears on the map, and over time, a new, smaller circle appears within this circle until virtually none of the map is free from the storm.

The storm will kill you if you stand inside it, so conflict is therefore forced between players as they all race towards the newest circle and, ultimately, each other. You eliminate players in a variety of ways, but the most common is to shoot them, with one of dozens of available guns of different type and strength. For example, you could take minimal damage off an enemy with a grey submachine gun, but one blast of a legendary shotgun and an enemy could be blown away with a single hit.  

You start the game will 100 health, which can be topped up in a number of ways, such as crouching near a campfire or using a Med Kit to bandage your wounds, but your health cannot go above 100. If you take shield potions or consumer some fish, you can boost your shield to 100, too, however. So the maximum strength you can be at is 100 shield and 100 health, thus 200 overall. Even with your strength at a maximum, a faraway sniper shot to the head will end your game. Just like in no limit hold’em tournaments, if you’re all-in and at risk, there’s a chance your participation is over right there and then.

How to Win at Fortnite and Poker

Just like in tournament poker, while the aim of the game is to survive, merely surviving alone will not win you the game. If you keep folding your starting cards because they’re rubbish in poker, then you’re eventually going to be blinded out of the competition.

To an extent this ‘fold ‘em to hold’em’ strategy is just as costly in Fortnite.

You can land somewhere no-one else does, on the edge of the map for example. But you’ll have either weak weapons or no weapons and sooner or later, the storm will force you move. Just like staying above 20-30 big blinds, you don’t want to be caught in the storm with useless weapons; you’re highly likely to be eliminated by the nearest opponent who has worked for better weapons, just as if you’re short-stacked at poker, a big stack can afford to call you off a few times and get lucky.

They earned those chips… but how?

‘Earning your chips’ in Fortnite is very difficult at first, as combat is necessary to get better weapons. This is because whoever is killed loses all their weapons, ammo and materials, such as wood, brick or – toughest to blow down by the metaphorical wolves chasing your down – metal. You need to get used to combat by fighting and losing lots in the beginning, and if you win one of the first 100 games you play, we’ll be very impressed.

Each time you kill someone, therefore, you get the pick of their loot. This can boost your health back up with the aid of shield and meds, improve your armoury – you can only hold five guns or special items as you travel for the most part – or, sometimes, provide something far more valuable and most qualifiable with poker – information.

While there is a necessity to be able to win ‘battles’ in Fortnite, the name given for any combat you find with another player, being able to kill people is very different from being able to win matches of Fortnite. We brought you a study of betting on Fortnite last month and while learning to wager on players, we learned a lot about the art of killing within the game and the more difficult art of winning Victory Royales, the equivalent of holding up your hole cards with your hands on the trophy.

Winning solo games of Fortnite on a regular basis is notoriously tricky.

Many players who play on live streams with sportsbetting attached to them, such as on GGBetman which we told you all about last month, go for kills but when it reaches the final 10 players or so, fall down on strategy. While obtaining powerful weapons is beneficial in the game, being spotted in a small circle with less than 10 players left can spell doom. There’s nowhere to go and others have great weapons too. Being picked off with a sniper because you were obvious about your position isn’t that dissimilar to playing every pot as the big stack. It’s not always as clever or powerful as it looks.

Much like when you get to the final table in poker, reaching the final nine or ten in Fortnite is a time for tactics. It’s a stage where all the big results happen, and there’s a huge difference between winning the tournament or coming 2nd or 3rd – in a way, the worst positions to come because of how they make you feel. There will come a time to fight and recognising that moment is key. In Fortnite, it’s all about knowing when you have an advantage then utilizing your combat skills, whether they’re close-up, long distance or somewhere in between.

At a final table in a live poker tournament, you need to pick your battles, realise others’ strengths and weaknesses and use your own edge to make sure you’re on the right side of fortune. In so many ways, the poker tournament is a Battle Royale situation and there is only one winner.

Just like in the game of Fortnite, there’s no better feeling than being the last player standing. We’d recommend it to you hugely if you’re a tournament poker player.