As a beginner, you might be swamped with articles regarding the dos and don’ts of playing poker. But you need to figure out what is necessary to learn in order to effectively grasp poker strategy and eventually make a profit from the game.
These tips are guaranteed to save you precious time and money along your poker journey. I have gone from being a total beginner to a professional poker player, and I will now share with you the essential beginner tips that I have picked up along the way. And, once you have mastered these tips, all you need is a big promo at a poker site to maximize your returns and win big!
Know the Rules, Positions, and Poker Hands Ranking
It might be easy to pick up general poker rules, but understanding poker hand ranking may be slightly more challenging. Knowing this well will help you avoid potentially time-wasting moments in the game where you need to decide whether you are beating a straight with your flush or not.
Before you start playing, it is also crucial to familiarize yourself with positions. Having a position on other players means that you are going after them. This allows you to observe how they play before you come to a decision. Knowing if they bet or check, the duration they take to make a decision, and the sizing they are using are a few of the perks of having a position on players. For example, checking quickly could imply that your opponent has a weak hand, and knowing this information may help you to bluff.
It is important to play more hands when you are in position. It is also important to note that the position will impact the hands you can play. The later the position, the more hands you can open, thus placing more pressure on the other players.
Play Low Stakes Games First
Starting with low-stakes games will enable you to hone your poker strategy while minimizing your losses. Here are a few reasons for starting at low stakes:
- You are preventing yourself from losing large amounts of money in the beginning.
- Every time you progress up stakes, you play against more skilled players. Starting with low-stakes games allows you to play against weaker players, who may be more suited for your initial skill level.
- You get to learn more about poker, especially the positions and the hands that can be played. You also get to practice your skills.
You need to feel comfortable playing at a certain level before moving up stakes.
Look for the Best Games
Similar to beginning your poker journey with lower-stakes games, finding the best games for you will improve your strategy and increase your EV.
In order to increase your number of wins, do not play games against much better players. Pick the games where you have smaller swings. This will allow you to move up the stakes more rapidly.
Tips on finding the best games:
- Search for games suited to your format (for example, certain rooms are more suitable for cash games, while others are oriented towards MMTs).
- Play when there is peak traffic and more recreational players.
- Look for options within your country that can guarantee safe playing and money.
Be Tight but Aggressive
As a beginner, you should only play your best hands. This will keep your VPIP poker stat low and prevent difficult decisions post-flop. As such, you play less, but more aggressively.
Understand your opponents– most players in low-stakes games will play random hands. Knowing this will enable you to start ahead of your opponents, and minimize your losses.
Rather than calling and putting pressure on your opponents, raise and bet yourself. This will give your better hands pre-flop and ensure more long-term wins.
The Importance of Position
There is more money to be won from later positions, so more hands should be played there.
With respect to the 6max poker strategy, you should play tight for earlier positions, and widen when you approach Button (BTN). This is the most lucrative position; sitting there will allow you to play more hands than other positions.
Start with One Table
You may play multi-table when you go beyond beginner status, but for now, start with one table. Doing so will enable you to learn poker strategies efficiently without getting distracted.
Play Only When You Are in a Good Mood
Starting games when your mood is low, or when you are tired or drunk can lead to an impairment in decision making and may contribute to higher losses. When you become a better player, you can prepare yourself (both mentally and strategically) before sessions.
Try Thinking About Your Opponent’s Cards
Here are some factors that you may consider:
- Their position and the hands that they could open with.
- Their post-flop actions (e.g. betting or checking) indicate what cards they could have.
- Board texture– dry boards indicate a lower likelihood of having many strong hands, as compared to connected boards.
- The time they take to make a decision and the sizing they use.
Being able to consider these factors during a game takes a lot of practice and struggling, in the beginning, is normal!
Do not make quick decisions without considering the aforementioned factors. This is a major mistake that even the best players may make and inevitably leads to losses.
While it may be overwhelming to take in so much information initially, sticking with one table can reduce your amount of load.
Keep Bluffing to a Minimum
A good rule of thumb is to play when you have a hand and fold when you do not.
This may not be a good option for more advanced players, as many tend to be more aggressive and bluff more in higher-stakes games. However, it is a good strategy for beginners.
Learn to Fold
When opponents who are initially passive start raising, you should start folding. This applies to your stronger hands as well.
It may be difficult to let go of good hands initially, but it will help you as you advance up to higher-stakes games. Since players in the lowest stakes games do not bluff as much anyway, you will benefit by folding one pair of hands to aggression.
However, if your opponent is aggressive and raising throughout the game, you should not fold. You will require different playing styles depending on the type of players you are up against.
Simple tracking software enables you to see stats on your opponents and understand their playing style. Knowing this information will help you change your strategy and decisions accordingly.
These are the most important tips that will help you as you embark on your poker journey, and protect you from making common mistakes. Learn them well and you’ll be a poker pro in no time!