For anyone who is new to playing poker online, this post is for you!
Here are GamblersPro’s 8 basic tips which will help you improve your poker gameplay.
Know the Strength of Your Hand
It sounds obvious but it is absolutely essential you know how strong the hand is you are playing. If you don’t know the hand ranks in poker, check them out here first.
Right, let’s move on …
Imagine you’ve been dealt
And another player on the table has been dealt
At this point – Pre-flop, who has the better hand? by better, we mean who has the highest percentage chance of winning if you were to go heads up against each other.
If your first thought was a pair of nines is stronger, then based on the percentages, you would have lost more times than you won.
A common mistake online poker players tend to make is that they go looking for hands which even if they hit the card they desire – it still isn’t strong enough to win the pot. Therefore, work out the strength of your hand, what cards you would need to make it ‘the nuts’ and worry about your opponent(s)’ hands later.
It is important to be aware of your position at the table in relation to the dealer (a.k.a. the one with the button).
For example, the table below has 10 players. As you can see;
Player No.1 is the dealer, Player No. 2 is the Small Blind (SB), Player No. 3 is the Big Blind (BB), and so on.
Let’s say, for example, you have been dealt 8h and 7h.
If you are in position/seat 4 you have to decide first on the pre-flop round of betting. By knowing the strength of your hand, as mentioned in point 1, we know that pre-flop, this is the 100th strongest possible hand (out of 169 possibilities). Therefore, is it wise to enter this pot, not knowing what the other 9 players are going to do?
Imagine, you ‘call’, player 5 ‘calls’, player 6 ‘raises’, player 7 ‘re-raises’. Are you willing to up your bet to call the re-raise so you can stay in the hand?
Now, if you were the dealer/the button, 7 other players have already made their decision. Perhaps, they all folded, so there are only 3 active players in the hand. Your 8h and 7h seems more reasonable now – so the decision whether to play or not may well be different.
Table position is something which is often overlooked by new online Texas Hold’em poker players and this leads them being drawn into hands which perhaps they should have folded had they been more aware from the get-go.
Leave Emotion Outside
You’ve been dealt pocket aces and you are smiling from ear to ear. You go all in and someone calls. The cards are flipped to show your bullets and your opponent’s 7, 3 off suit.
The flop drops out 5 (hearts), 10 (spades) and 3 (clubs).
The turn adds a king (diamonds)
You can smell the pot and then the river comes out and it’s another 3 (spades).
You let out a string of expletives – emotion is running high.
The next hand (or a couple of hands later) the player you lost to makes another move. You have average hole cards but you want revenge and you want your chips back. You go head to head again. This is not sensible, you are not playing with logic, it’s an emotional call and more often than not, you will lose.
Do not fall in to this trap. Put bad beats out of your head immediately and play each hand on its own merit.
It is very tempting to want to get in on the action but that is not the way to win playing Texas Hold’em poker. You need a lot of patience becuase you will fold a lot more hands than you bet on. Keep things tight, only enter pots when you have a hand which you know is strong enough and thus your chances of winning the hand are better. Remember hand strength varies depending on factors such as table position and number of players in the game so make sure you have an understanding of that aspect of the game as well.
Know the Odds
If I were to say to you, give me $10 and you can win another $10 but the chances of you winning are 4 to 1, would you take me up on my offer? If yes, please leave your contact details in the comments below. The fact is, you wouldn’t and the same rationale should be used when you play poker online.
You need to learn about pot odds and poker hand odds so you don’t bet on hands which over the course of your poker career will end up giving you a net loss.
Be Aggressive (When the Time is Right)
Depending on the amount of chips you’ve got, the strength of your hand, your table position and how many players are in the game. Aggressive plays are part of what makes a great online poker player.
Weigh up the odds and make a calculated decision before attempting anything too aggressive. The easiest example to draw upon is when you are dealt either AA or KK – a big raise to thin the players out is often in order. This is calculated aggression whereas a big raise on 7,8 suited is probably a little silly if the above factors aren’t in your favour.
Mix it Up
Make sure you vary the way you play. There are two mains ways of doing this when playing online poker. The first is using the clock – don’t always bet/check/fold at the same time – you are given 20-30 seconds so use this time to mix things up a bit.
The second is the bet (or raise) you make. If you are playing no limit Texas Hold’em poker it is very easy to click the all-in button when you have a strong hand; however, if someone calls then the other players get to see your cards. This is a little tell for them – ahhh, Jonny goes all-in in a flash with any pair. Sometimes instead of going all-in, make a decent-sized raise which should be enough to scare most from the hand but it keeps those others guessing as to whether or not you have a tasty set in the pocket. Remember – variety is the spice of life (and poker).
Lay Off the Booze
If you want to make a few bucks playing poker online, then you will need a clear head to process all what is going on in the game. Looking at other players for little tells of their habits, working out hand strength, pot odds, etc – this is a lot of computing for the human brain to process. Staying sober is a must if you want to win regularly. On the flip side, poker rooms late on a Friday or Saturday night will be full on half tanked-up players so it’s a great time to play with your sober head – and as mama would say, ‘Make hay while the sun shines’.
Now it’s time to see what you’re learnt. Check out our ‘What would you do?’ poker practice hands post to see if you would make the right decision.
That’s all for this post, See you at the tables … and good luck!