It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that there has been a revolution in the way in which many people play poker today and, as with many things, we have the internet to thank for this.
Ever since it entered many people’s lives around 20 years ago, there has been a steady increase in the number of people starting to play poker online.
There are a number of reasons for this, but the main one must be that it has provided the perfect arena in which to perfect skills and increase knowledge without the potential embarrassment of making mistakes in front of other players in a live game.
The fact that most sites also offer the chance to play for free until players find their feet has also been very important. Then, when they feel a little more proficient and knowledgeable, players are ready to start poker betting – and it’s at this point that the ten tips below will start to come into play.
10 Tips for Online Poker Newbies
Ease yourself in with low stakes
It may seem self-evident, but there are many reasons why starting to play in low stakes games is the best idea. The first is that even the most talented novice will not be as good as the experienced players they will find in higher stakes games.
So, just like a soccer team, it’s important that you work your way up the divisions. Plus, the more you play, the more experience you will gain and sticking with low stakes will make the bankroll, and game, last longer.
Get used to the speed of play
Online poker tends to be played at a far faster pace than the live version, and this can take quite a lot of getting used to. The fact that there is also a set time-bank for each player also adds an extra pressure. The more you experience it, the easier quick play will become.
Know when to fold
It was a sentiment perfectly expressed by Kenny Rogers. In most games of online poker you will have hands that are not as strong as other players’ hands. The real skill comes in being able to assess when this is the case and baling out early.
Otherwise, it’s like holding on to a rope underneath a rising hot air balloon when every extra second you wait makes it more dangerous to let go.
Perfect your single table skills
Something that experienced players especially like about online poker is that they can play a number of tables at once. This maximises the potential to make a profit, especially when compared with playing a single, live, game.
But it’s easy to lose focus if you aren’t 100% on top of things – so stick to single games to begin with.
Because playing poker online is so convenient it can be easy to do it in situations where there are many distractions. But, if you’re going to succeed, it’s important to play when you won’t be disturbed and you’re feeling mentally alert and rested.
Making sure the room you’re in is at the right temperature and you’re comfortable is also important for maximum concentration.
Invest in the right hardware
Playing poker on your smartphone or tablet is OK for the occasional game. But players who are serious spend some money on getting the best possible hardware. Maybe most important is a large, clear screen that won’t prove to be a strain on the eyes.
As you gain confidence and do start to play on multiple tables at the same time, this will be even more useful. It also goes without saying that you need a fast and reliable internet connection too.
Keep notes on your opponents
Chances are that by playing on the same few poker sites you’ll come up against the same players again and again. Everyone has a particular style of play and knowing how your opponents behave and react in certain situations can give you a real advantage.
Many sites include the facility to keep notes on playing styles and even let you use the shorthand of colour-coding individuals. Remember to keep a record of what your colour codes mean, though.
Keep your emotions in check
If you don’t want to be marked as a loose or wild player by your opponents, and perhaps being colour-coded accordingly, it’s important to keep your emotions in check. Admittedly, this can be easier said than done, especially when you’re a relative newcomer to poker.
But it will help you to take a calm and dispassionate view of any situation and, hopefully, come out on top.
Bad beats happen
Just like in life, there are situations in poker in which everything seems to be going in your favour when the rug is pulled from under you. In the case of poker it’s when you’re seemingly cruising towards winning a hand but suddenly you find yourself losing.
It’s linked to the point above. Accept that bad stuff happens, and move on.
It can be too easy to get so wrapped up in the game that you forget that you’re playing for pleasure. But you’re more likely to succeed if you are enjoying yourself. So never lose focus on this fact.
Of course, there are hundreds of more tips that need to be taken on board before you become a really good poker player, but first, you need to master these. They’ll certainly give you a firm foundation – and then it’s up to you.