Online Poker Strategies & Tips
Online poker strategies and tips for beginners
To play poker, you need to master some basic rules. However, if you are hoping to turn your love of cards into a full-time career, you will need to go beyond the basics. So first, determine why you are playing. You can then focus on the poker strategies you need to improve your skill and your chances of dominating the table.
Why are you playing the game?
Playing for fun does not always translate into wins and playing for wins does not always translate into fun. The factors driving your decision to play are important to map out your strategies. If you are playing for fun, you might, for example, be content with one or two strategies you can use in a pinch. Players interested in mastering the game will need to spend more time studying and honing their skill.
The considerations for each of these situations are quite different. If you are serious about playing to win, expect to spend quite a bit of time learning. If you are more interested in playing for fun, do not worry about utilizing every single tip you come across.
You won’t win every game
Almost everyone wants to excel in their hobby of choice. This is even more important if the game is more of a career move than a leisure activity. When learning how to play poker, strategy should be a priority. But not every game will be one you win. Sometimes you will play well but not quite as well as other players, and sometimes you might be off your game and not playing as well as you would like. Whatever the reason for poor performance, you must recognize that losing is normal.
Even knowing a range of poker tricks and strategies likely won’t be enough to guarantee a 100%-win rate, and you should not expect them to. Instead of expecting perfection, learn from your losses and bounce back from them as quickly as possible. A head stuck worrying about the last game is a mind not focused on the task at hand. Do not let losses dictate how you perform in future rounds.
Types of poker strategies
Poker strategies for beginners tackle a variety of different game elements. Some poker strategies will explain prominent elements of the game, such as its mathematics, while others might explain how to improve your focus during tense rounds. All these common poker strategies have something to offer players new and old alike, and it’s a good idea to read through all of them when you begin playing the game. This will give you a solid foundation upon which you can draw when the time comes to make smart decisions.
- Aggressive play is a viable strategy
Unlike in other games where aggression will net you criticism rather than wins, poker rewards players who are willing to risk it all. While this does not mean that players should charge into the game and bet everything they have, it does mean that new players should take a few risks.
Playing cautiously might save money at first, but it also seriously limits how much you stand to win. It is acceptable to play aggressively when you have a solid starting hand. You are not guaranteed a win, of course, but your chances of securing a win increase when you start off with a great set of cards.
What does aggressive playing look like? Some of the best poker tricks and strategies center around knowing when to risk it and when to hold back. Aggressive playing means pushing your advantage and forcing players with weaker hands – or nerves – to either fold or bet more to stay in the game. If your hand consists of high pairs or is made up of A-Q or A-K, bet high and play like you know you are going to win it. The confidence that this type of play exudes is the best bet you have of pushing non-serious players out of the game as soon as possible.
- Do not lose your patience
While aggressive play is a smart strategy, it should be applied to hands that are strong. If you know your cards are weak, going all-in on the hope that you might snag a great card is not the best bet. In fact, that is a way to lose your chips quickly. The best poker strategies for cash games revolve around having the patience to wait to push an advantage. Fold on more hands than you play and be picky about the type of hand you play.
That might sound counterintuitive, but it is a clever way to boost your chances of winning before you run out of chips. This strategy requires patience, however, and not everyone can employ it successfully. Remember that most hands will not be winning ones, and that is okay. You won’t win every game.
Instead of fighting a losing battle, fold early and use the time to study how the other players are playing. Casino poker strategies do not only revolve around the way you play the game; many of them depend upon you understanding how your opponents play the game. That means that you should use the downtime to see how they bet, study their tells, and craft a winning strategy when the hand is right.
- Settle in for the long haul
Many players want to know how to learn poker quickly, but that is not a part of any video poker winning strategy. Instead, embrace the wait and accept that sometimes you will lose a lot. The losses are just as educational as the wins, and you can either take the blows as a form of constructive criticism or allow them to ruin your attitude and erode your focus and sense of purpose.
This attitude might be difficult to adopt at first, but it becomes easier when you realize that poker is a long-term game. If you are hoping for a game you can learn immediately, opt for something simpler, like video slots. You might not have a good chance of winning, but you will be in the same boat as everyone else as they spin. Poker requires time and patience to master.
Study the table and develop your skills slowly. Play smart, react to your hand and push your advantage aggressively when you have a set of winning cards. These are poker basics – strategies that are fundamental when it comes to learning the game.
- Learn the rules, positions, and hand rankings
This simple yet essential poker strategy ties in with the above tips. Poker demands time, focus, and patience. Read about different poker strategies and memorize ideal hands and how they rank when compared to each other. What are your odds of winning if you are dealt a royal flush or a full house? You want to find the answers and learn them like the back of your hand.
Positions are something else to study. Your hand is important, but your position can make or break the game depending on how you play it. If you have a position on other players, you have a significant advantage. You get to make your decision about how to proceed after everyone else makes a play, and that is invaluable.
Play more hands than you normally would when you are in position. This is one of the more critical poker strategies Texas Holdem players will need to master.
- Implement tips into practical play
What are the best poker strategies? The answer depends on how you play, but understanding the answer and how it influences your play is important. Even more so, however, is implementing those strategies during the game. Poker rules and strategies are meant to define live play, not remain theoretical study guides that never see the light of day.
Start with low stakes and practice the tips and strategies you learn before you take on more experienced players with steeper wagers. The relatively small losses you stand to sustain by losing a game at this kind of table will often enable players to push out of their comfort zones and try something new. Once you have a handle on the basics, you can consider moving up. Keep in mind that the skill of your opponents is generally correlated to the stakes.
There are always exceptions, but those players that stick to small wagers will be the weakest players, while those willing to bet high stakes are the strongest. As you become more confident with different poker strategies, you will steadily ascend this hierarchy.
- Don’t force yourself to play
If you are in a bad place emotionally, consider skipping the game. Poker is particularly reliant upon clear focus and skill. You are doing yourself a disservice if you play despite your mind being on other matters. Emotions are the enemy at the table. That includes your reaction after you win as much as it does after you lose. Strong feelings will only distract you from the game.
If you know you are not feeling great, do something else. Come back to poker when you have had time to recover and are ready to give the game your full focus once more.
- Do not rush
Poker has some of the highest stakes in the gambling industry at higher skill levels. The pressure to win can be enormous, and that inevitably leads to stress. The worst thing you can do is decide to just ‘get it over with’, because you feel as though the other players are impatient. Remember that this is your money at stake, so take as much time as you need to think things through.
Take time to mull over your options. Instead of falling into autopilot mode, make it a habit to pause before making a play, even if one seems like the clear winner.
- Rein in the bluffing
Poker bluffing strategies often attract the attention of new players who believe bluffing increases your chances of winning. This is not necessarily the case, particularly when you are just starting out. Play the good hands and fold on the bad ones rather than bluffing your way through a game you are almost guaranteed to lose.
As your skill increases, you can start paying attention to poker bluff strategies. But until you can focus on the game and the basics are second nature, trying to achieve an effective bluff is often a mistake. Keep your mind in the game and worry about your cards rather than impressing anyone else with your bluffing prowess.
- Understand the other players
All the tips in this guide are solid, basic poker strategies, but the way you employ them depends upon your opponents. There are four basic play styles to keep in mind:
- The Rock – tight-passive
- The TAG – tight-aggressive
- The Calling Station – loose-passive
- The LAG – loose-aggressive
The Rock is generally very subdued. They rarely raise and bet, and are quick to fold when their hand is not favorable. When these players begin to push, it is a certainty that they have an exceptionally good hand. The Calling Station plays many hands, but rarely raises or bets. This is a common playing style for beginners. When you are with this type of player, only bet good hands and fold weaker hands if they raise.
TAGs only play a few hands and frequently raise or bet despite rarely making calls. If a TAG raises or bets pre-flop, they likely have a good hand. Consider folding if your hand is not great. Finally, LAGs play many hands, raise and bet frequently, but rarely call bets. Raise strong hands before the flop to isolate them when they bet pre-flop.
What is the best poker strategy? The best strategy for your needs depends upon your play style and your strengths and weaknesses. Your best bet is to try a variety of strategies while learning to play and sticking with the ones that make the most sense.