10 Beginner Tips to Develop Better Strategies In Balatro

Written by Harry Ted Sprinks

Balatro Review

Balatro is a unique rogue-lite that uses elements of Poker to offer an easy-to-learn but hard-to-master experience that’s highly accessible. However, despite its remarkable accessibility, Balatro can be a relatively tough game to beat, especially for beginners. These tips should help beginners to develop better strategies and play more consistently, minimizing the amount of luck required to win.

Skip The First Blind

The early Blinds in Balatro are easily beaten, thanks to low target scores. Furthermore, the penalty for failing is negligible since the run has just begun. While it may be frustrating to have to restart so soon into a run, the likelihood of failing the second Blind (after skipping the first) is very small.

Skipping the first Blind will grant a useful Tag; if this Tag isn’t going to be useful in the next shop, then skipping the Blind may not be worth it, but again, it’s likely that it will be. For instance, Tags that provide a guaranteed Negative or Polychrome Joker in the next shop are must-haves.

In order to beat the second Blind consistently, players should fish for Straights and Full Houses, among the other more valuable hands. Furthermore, beating the second Blind as quickly as possible will ensure you have enough cash to purchase a Joker in the next shop.

Balatro Review

Acquire Jokers Early

This may seem obvious at first, but sometimes it can be mighty tempting to grab an early Voucher or a Planet/Tarot card or two. However, without any Jokers, players are unlikely to beat the first Ante.

This means that skipping the first two Blinds in the first Ante is almost always a bad idea, as players will have to beat the Boss with no Jokers. While certainly not impossible, it’s not a consistent strategy. Furthermore, beating Blinds quickly allows players to snag extra cash for leftover hands, which makes it easier to purchase at least two Jokers before the boss. Having two Jokers dramatically improves the player’s odds at beating the boss, especially as a beginner.

Prioritise Negative And Polychrome Jokers

Again, this tip may seem obvious, but the nuance here is that players should almost always take risks when Negative/Polychrome Jokers are available. Having an extra Joker space and/or multiplying the Multiplier by X1.5 is a game-changer, and it’s almost always worth risking a loss to grab a Tag that guarantees either in the shop.

Of course, later in the game, when there’s more at stake, it may not be worth losing just for a particularly powerful Joker. However, in the first one-to-three Antes of the game, and/or if players aren’t doing particularly well, risking it all for a Polychome Joker is often worth it.

Don’t Go All In On One Suit

There are plenty of Jokers and cards that incentivise the player to build toward a specific suit. For example, there are several Jokers that grant additional Multiplier for specific suits, which may lead players to think it best to add as much of that suit to their deck as possible.

However, Balatro features several bosses that completely nullify entire suits. This can be extremely detrimental to the player’s chance of success, and in the worst case scenario it can result in losing a potentially powerful run. Because the player rarely has a way to manipulate what the Boss will be, it’s best to create a diverse build in order to avoid getting countered.

Balatro Review

Don’t Take Too Many Wild Cards

In Balatro, a “Wild” card counts as any suit. While this may sound good on paper, building too many Wild cards can be detrimental. As mentioned in the previous tip, certain bosses nullify entire suits; because Wild cards count as any suit, they are immediately debuffed by any boss that nullifies any suit.

For example, when going up against a boss that debuffs Hearts, not only will all of the player’s Heart cards be debuffed, but their Wild cards will be, too. This makes these fairly common bosses even harder to take down, and increases the chances of drawing a dead hand.

Build Interest Fast

Cash is King in Balatro, as it’s the only control that players have over their run. Without cash, players can’t purchase new Jokers or manipulate their deck, at least not without skipping Blinds.

The best way to raise funds quickly in Balatro is to play efficiently, thus having leftover hands and therefore earning extra cash after each Blind. However, players should also be savvy about their spending; while sometimes it’s worth splashing out for a powerful Joker or two, spending all your cash every single time isn’t always the best idea.

Balatro features an interesting system that allows players to snowball, so building up a small wealth as soon as possible and maintaining it throughout the run can net the player a lot of cash over time. This extra cash can come in handy when players need to pivot their run, but it can also be helpful in consistently purchasing Vouchers.

Don’t Hoard Cash

On the other side of the spectrum, hoarding cash in Balatro is never a good idea. While it may be worth it to save at least $25 for maximum interest, don’t hold out for the perfect cards/Jokers.

Balatro lets you sell Jokers, so as long as you’re at the maximum interest rate, you only lose a couple of dollars when purchasing/selling a Joker. It’s better to spend the money and pivot further down the line, as holding out for a particular build will almost always end in a loss.

While it’s true that there are certain builds in Balatro that require the player to have a lot of cash, again, holding out for such a specific build can be a serious detriment.

Make Use Of The Planet Cards

There are many synergies and ways to manipulate the deck in Balatro. Powerful Jokers, Tarot cards, and Spectral cards can all be great boons. However, the Planet cards are arguably the most consistent way to ensure survival early on.

In Balatro, every Poker hand has a level, and leaving these Poker hands at level one for the entirety of the game would be a sore mistake. While not a predominantly luck-based affair, Balatro is a game that’s full of chance. However, buying plenty of Planet cards early on can dramatically reduce the risk of a dead hand, making even the lower-scoring Poker hands worthwhile.

Purchase Vouchers

There are so many exciting things to purchase in Balatro’s shop that it can be easy to ignore the Vouchers. However, these shiny $10 tickets are some of the most powerful items in the game.

Vouchers range from the Paint Brush, which increases your maximum hand size, to Wasteful, which grants an extra discard per round. However, there are even more powerful Vouchers, such as the Director’s Cut, which allows players to reroll the Boss Blind, or Hone, which doubles the chances of finding Foil/Holographic/Polychrome cards in the shop.

These initial Vouchers always cost $10 and, unlike other cards in the shop, are persistent throughout the entire Ante. However, when the Ante ends, the Voucher will disappear if not purchased. Furthermore, Vouchers don’t refresh in the shop until the Boss Blind is defeated. Vouchers are permanent, so they’re incredibly important for scaling into the late game.

Balatro Gameplay

Don’t Take It Too Seriously!

With all that said, in the end of the day, Balatro is a game about pushing luck and making numbers go up. Balatro strikes a careful balance between luck and strategy, and although players can do much to steer the odds in their favour, total control is impossible.

It would be easy to over-optimize and focus entirely on efficiency in Balatro, but I personally find the game more fun when playing fast and loose. Following the previous tips should certainly help players succeed in lowering difficulties, but I would heartily recommend that players take risks and experiment. That, for me, is where the fun of Balatro lies.


Although there are many ways to play Balatro, and everyone will develop their preferences and style over time, these tips should help most beginners push past the game’s early stages.

Balatro can be a difficult experience, and sometimes players will lose to one unfortunate mistake or simply the luck of the draw, but these tips should help to make each run feel more consistent.

If you’ve got any tips for Balatro that aren’t on this list, be sure to let us know on Discord, Twitter, and our YouTube channel.


Photo of author

Harry Ted Sprinks

With a deep love for strategy games that began when he first played Stronghold as a kid on his parents’ home computer and a passion for linear narrative games like Telltale’s The Walking Dead and old-school shooters like Blood and DOOM, Harry loves video games of all shapes and sizes. His knowledge of games new and old is broad, but Harry’s biggest passion is indie games, which he loves to champion in his writing. Harry’s favorite games include old-school rogue-likes like Caves Of Qud, older RTS titles such as Red Alert 3, modern classics like Halo 3, and survival-horror games like Resident Evil. When he isn’t writing or playing games, Harry can likely be found developing small games of his own or making music. Although Harry enjoys the occasional AAA game, his attention is primarily focused on representing indie games.