online poker tips

Online Poker Tips for Rookies

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The world of online poker can be a ton of fun to get into. That said, it is also a complex world to navigate, particularly for newcomers. It’s easy enough to want to dive right in and try your hand at a game you may already play casually offline. If you hope to do well in online poker though, it’s best to take a careful approach that will lead you to greater success.

With that in mind, we want to offer a few helpful tips for online poker rookies.

Play for Free First

First and foremost, before you try playing “real” online poker, try a free online site or app. When the FBI famously cracked down on poker websites back in 2011, it largely put a stop to cash gaming online in the U.S. for a while.

This, however, helped to inspire the rise of numerous websites, PC games, and apps that imitate real-money poker without any actual wealth on the line. These platforms give you the best possible practice for the real thing, and will help to prepare you for a successful foray into online poker.

Avoid Gimmicky Platforms

As you explore the seemingly endless selection of online poker platforms, you’ll inevitably come across some fun little gimmicks having to do with characters and settings. There are poker games set in space, poker games revolving around Old West themes, and even some that strive to latch onto the trend of zombie video games. Plenty of these platforms work just fine, and they can even be quite amusing.

Generally though, you’ll find less serious players using these options. It’s not a concrete or universal fact, but most players who want to excel at poker stick to slightly more grounded and realistic platforms. Thus, while you might have un calling bets as a cowboy or pushing your chips all-in as a zombie, you might not be getting the best experience against real players.

Learn the Language

It can seem like an afterthought, but taking the time to learn common poker terms will actually get you a long way in the world of online poker — particularly if you play on platforms with chat options. If you’re looking into online poker already, you’re probably aware of some of the basics.

But other terms like “backdoor draw,” “check-raise,” or “gutshot” — all examples of relatively common phrases — may not be in your vocabulary just yet. You can learn to play without them, of course, but the more literate you are in the game’s language, the more likely you are to fully grasp what’s happening (and what’s being said) in a given game.

Learn the Odds

Learning the odds in online poker basically means two things. First, it means learning the odds of securing any given hand based on the cards you’re initially dealt. Second, it means knowing the odds (or at least a range of odds) that a given bet will work in your favor at a given stage of the game.

This probably all sounds pretty complicated if you’re not an avid player just yet, but rest assured it can all be learned. It takes some work, but in time turning to the odds in your mind can become an intuitive process, and you’ll become a better player for it.

Study Betting Tendencies

This is a less concrete subject than that of odds. But skilled online poker players tend to recognize different types of bets made at different times, and also know what those bets typically signify.

As an example, an aggressive pre-flop bet made by a player who’s just lost a stack of chips may signify that said player is trying to win some money back quickly by forcing others to fold and collecting blinds (or the buy-ins for a given hand). That’s not always going to be the case, but it’s the sort of thing experienced players recognize. Studying some common tendencies and signals of this nature will make you a better online player in a hurry.

Develop a Short Memory

The idea of a “short memory” is something that has been preached constantly in sports. People ranging from New England Patriots standouts Julian Edelman and Tom Brady, to various professional tennis and golf players, to renowned basketball coaches have asserted that being able to move on quickly from recent events can be critical for an athlete’s success.

And while online poker may not be an athletic activity, the same principle applies. Good players learn how to forget about triumphs and disappointments alike almost immediately, so that each hand is played from a purely analytical perspective. It’s also a skill that good business people develop; a sense of balance that allows you to move on from disappointments, but also not get too high after a success.

Above all else, remember to have fun with it! That may be a bit of a cliché to end on, but it’s important nonetheless. It’s wise to take preparation and strategy seriously, as you get into online poker, but remember to hold onto the fun part of playing. That, too, will make you better.