The Cadillac of Poker as Texas Hold Em is known is growing in popularity and people from all around the world play the game on a daily basis.
In 2017 it is highly advertised on TV ads, radio podcasts, online banners, social media platforms, so it won’t be an exaggeration to say that poker is everywhere.
It doesn’t take much to start a game and play against opponents from all around the world. There are absolutely no boundaries when it comes to age (of course you have to be 18 or 21+), gender, nationality, religion, social status, education, and so on. This easy-to-access model makes the game of poker so popular and so many people dig into the online poker world.
As with any game or sport (poker is considered to have elements from both), people prefer winning right? However, with such fierce competition, this is not an easy thing to do. That’s why the team behind Ultimate Poker Coaching would like to share with you 7 powerful tips that will make your first online poker journeys more enjoyable.
As with any new thing, it takes time to get some experience and sharpen your skills in order to crush the competition. Because unlike pure luck games such as roulette and slot machines, poker is a game of skill! Yes, there is luck involved, of course, but in the short term.
However, in a long run the player who is aware of the main principles, the player who knows the odds of winning, and many more factors will stand on top.
So, without further ado here is our top 9 list with poker tips for beginners:
#1 Learn the rules
Kind of obvious right? However, I do know a lot of examples of people ignoring this simple advice and diving straight into the deep water. It would be unforgivable with all the resources available online not to spend a few minutes (yeah, that’s all it takes) to learn the main rules of the game. Here are a few good places you can look to start your initial education:
#2 Start with play money games
Another crucial piece of advice that will save you both disappointments and money. Even if you are a more adventurous type of person, we strongly recommend practicing first at tables where no real money are involved or the so-called play money tables. This is the best way to gain experience, to get used to the poker client, the software, the players, and the other factors that are part of the online poker experience.
There are different options when it comes to playing money games. Here we will list just a few of the most popular ones:
- Party Poker
- Poker Stars
- Replay Poker
- 888 Poker
#3 Practice with Freerolls
Once, you’ve gained some experience on play money tables you can take a step further and try freerolls. That’s the term for poker tournaments where you don’t invest a single penny/cent, but you can actually win some real money that can boost your bankroll. Isn’t this a great bargain? There is no risk involved at all, but you can end up with some real cash on your bankroll.
In reality, a huge percent of today’s best poker players in the world (who earn literally millions from the game) started with freerolls. So, beginning your online poker journey with these tournaments is a must.
Another great thing about freerolls is that almost all of the most popular poker clients allow you to take part in different types of freerolls that run on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Some of the most popular choices are:
#4 Start at Low Stakes
So, you’ve gained some experience with freerolls and feel you are ready to take your game to the next level. Playing with real money is definitely a cool experience that will make the adrenaline in your blood pumping. Especially, the first few times.
However, if you are not well-prepared or you’ve switched your gambling mood on, this could possibly turn into a costly reality.
So, better start with the lowest limits possible, even if you could afford to play higher or don’t mind losing your money. Most poker clients offer as cheap limits as $0,01-$0,02 for cash games and $0,10$ and even lower for tournaments and sng-s.
Gain some practice, see what other players do at this stake. When you feel you are starting to gain an edge versus the competition, you can climb up to the next level. Remember that bankroll management is crucial when it comes to poker (and many other niches such as sports betting, trading and many more) if you want to build a nice bankroll and develop your skills.
There are numerous studies and even whole books about BRM that explain in detail how not to lose your bankroll, when is the best time to climb up the limits, when to go down, and so on.
#5 Incorporate the TAG (Tight-Aggressive) Style into your Game
Maybe you’ve tried different poker strategies while playing with play money or in freerolls, but now it’s time to incorporate the style that will make you a winning player. A huge percentage of the best poker players in the world play precisely this style to crush their opponents.
Basically, this combination of playing tight but aggressive means to limit the starting hands you play (play only strong holdings such as QQ, KK, AA, AK, AQ), but when you play them- to make sure it’s aggressive. By aggressive I mean not to limp or just call raises but to raise and re-raise with them.
Of course, as with any poker rule and tip, there are some exceptions and everything depends on the specific situation, but in general, avoid playing such hands passively.
Here is a simple example– we know that the strongest starting hand in Texas Hold Em poker is AA. There is no doubt about it, but the thing is after the flop, turn and river the situation can dramatically change. The hand is best to be played against one or a maximum of two players.
The more opponents you face after the flop, the more likely is someone will crush your Aces. That’s why when you get this premium holding avoid limping or raising too small, but bet hefty (usually 3-4 times the big blind is fine) to limit the number of opponents you are going to play against. For additional information
on betting, you can check out HTPPI’s wonderful resource about the basics of preflop and post-flop betting.
By limping or just calling a raise there is a high chance that a few more players will stick preflop and after the flop, you can lose from some very weak hands that got lucky. By raising there you increase the chance to get rid of players with pretty weak hands.
Of course, the extreme situation when you bet too much is also to be avoided. In such a case, you risk folding anyone and getting no action from such a strong hand.
For more on how to play aggressive poker check these tips from the How To Play Poker Info website and especially tip #19. Also, bear in mind that all the tips from this guide are very well-structured and useful, so check them all!
#6 Be Aware of Position
Another powerful Texas Hold ’em tip is to understand and play in position. Ask any poker specialist and 100/100 will confirm the importance of position in poker. Some will say that position is crucial for poker like having legs is important for playing football [soccer]. It is like walking through a cave without any lights or directions around.
On the other hand, playing in a position will give you the chance to be the player who sets the pace of the game. This will make it easier to make decisions and know what’s going on in the hand.
Playing in position means that you are the last player to act. The great benefit is that this allows you to see everyone’s actions before it comes to you. This gives you valuable info about how to proceed with your hand.
Let’s take a simple example to make things even simpler:
if we imagine there are three players in the hand and after the flop, the first one to act checks as well the other, and the action comes to you. Now you know your opponents didn’t prefer to bet. The majority of the time, this means they didn’t hit the flop and you could possibly win the hand by betting.
Of course, sometimes the players will check with strong hands to make you fall into their trap, but this will not happen too often.
#7 Don’t Make Quick Decisions
Among the various poker tips you will read about and learn, this is also an important one. I know most players when just starting with a game can’t keep themselves from playing fast in order to see the next card coming or to see whether they win or not.
It’s perfectly understandable to act this way in the beginning but when you start gaining some more experience you’d better invest your time in the decision-making process. This is true, especially when playing for real money and you start facing tougher competition.
There are so many factors that play a role in just a single poker hand. Your time may be limited when you play online (and live), but still, you have enough time to go through some key features of the hand and make the right decision.
For example, when facing a bet on the river, a strong player will consider the board texture (are there any flushes, straights, or full houses possible), the opponent you are playing against (is he aggressive or passive), how strong is your holding ( if you hold KK on KK257 board, your only concern will be how much to raise your opponent) and more.
When you are just starting with the game is tough to think of all these factors, but try to pay attention as much as you can and over time you will get used to it.
#8 Don’t Bluff Too Much
Ah, bluffing! Many players describe bluffing as the essence of poker. The great thing about the game is that even if you hold the weakest card possible you can take the pot. Unlike chess where whoever has the better position on the board wins, in poker, you can pretend to be very strong. It is simply an act of deception– that tries to make your weak holding look stronger.
However, thanks to mostly Hollywood’s dramatic scenes involving bluffing, most people seem to believe that huge bluffs can be executed in every possible situation. In reality, the situation is different. Especially, when it comes to poker at very low levels.
For example, in a play money tournament or in freerolls people come with the only purpose to play as much poker as possible and rarely fold.
If you ask any poker expert how to properly execute a bluff, he will tell you that it’s very important who are you playing against. There is a certain type of player who just doesn’t like folding. No matter what cards hit the board and how big you bet, they will just pay you off. These types of players often will tell you afterward:
“I know you had it, but just had to make sure you not bluffing me!”
“I know you were beating me, but I was curious what you had”
So, reduce bluffing to a minimum especially when starting with the game and you play lower stakes ( free tournaments, $0,01-10$ buy-in tournaments, $0,01-$0,02; $0,05 – $0,10 cash games). It will be much more profitable just to bet your strong hands and get maximum value from them.
#9 Learn to Fold
One of the most common mistakes new players make is that they don’t like folding. No matter what they hold, no matter what is the board they just don’t trust their opponents and want to see their cards. This is one of the most costly mistakes in poker and will ruin any player’s bankroll in the long run.
I know that the temptation to see what the next card on the board will be and what the player you are playing against holds is huge, but it is important to resist it and learn to fold more often.
BONUS TIP: Pay Attention to Your Opponents
While playing online Texas Hold Em most players concentrate entirely on their own hands. It is important to be aware of your holding, there is no doubt about that. However, it is equally important paying attention to the players on your table and especially the ones that get involved in a hand with you.
So, you need to watch them closely- are they passive or active. Do they like to always see the last card, no matter how much you bet? Are they scared to play large pots outside of position? Are they scared to continue after the flop when big cards show up?
Conclusion: Now after reading all these tips you are armed with some powerful insights that will make your first journey to the online poker world more enjoyable and profitable. Learn to follow them and with some experience, you will start to crush the competition with these basic poker strategies.
And remember Texas Hold Em Rules are really easy to learn and understand but mastering the game requires constant learning and educating.
These days there are plenty of resources like Youtube videos, poker coaching websites, forums, articles, and as long you have the time and desire, you can turn into a strong player earning some good money from the game.