Players can speed up poker’s learning process tenfold and avoid many mistakes if they build the right foundations right from the get-go. As you might suspect, the vast majority of new players jump right into the games after learning Texas Hold’em poker hand rankings and other basic rules. While common, this could potentially be a big mistake.
If you are just discovering poker or starting out learning a new poker variant, there are three crucial poker tips you simply cannot afford to forget. Trust me: your bankroll will thank you!
1. Choose the Right Format
To have good long-term results in poker, you have to identify your strengths and choose the best format where you are most likely to succeed. Until I met my first coach, I was playing all kind of poker games. I used to play sit and gos and cash games at the same time, occasionally launching MTTs as well. This was a recipe for disaster. I was not able to learn very efficiently because I was doing too many things at once. Only after I realized the importance of proper focus and chose one format as my main game, I was able to become really good at it.
I have plenty of examples from my students of how their winnings skyrocketed simply because they finally learned to focus on just one poker format, be it MTTs, cash games or spin & gos, and devote all their time to that. This tip might seem overly simplistic, but the fact of the matter is that in all walks of life it is close to impossible to learn multiple things at once; our brains works best when can concentrate on improving one skill at a time. This holds true with poker as well.
I am not saying that you cannot play or enjoy other formats of poker, but you ought to stick with one as your main game and certainly should not play different formats at the same time. So, if you are playing cash games online, do not open tournaments on the side (and vice versa). But most importantly, as I mentioned before, you should choose the game format that you play based on your strengths.
If you can concentrate for an extended period of time and have the ability to play long sessions without big breaks, then MTTs could be your best game because most important decisions are made in late stages where many people are tired, so you would have an edge. However, if time management and playing when you want for as long as you want is important to you (like it is for me), you should probably stick with cash games or sit and gos.
2. Find the Best Place to Play
Whether you are playing live or online poker, you should choose where you play wisely because it could potentially mean a huge difference in your profits.
For live poker games, you should try to identify the weakest tournament fields and attend events that do not attract too many professionals. For example, if you only have small buy-in tournaments or cash games in your local casino, it makes it very unlikely that professional players will travel to your area from afar, so chances are that it’s a good place for you to play.
On top of that, when you are playing cash games in the casino, you should not be afraid to ask for a seat change or table change so as to maximize your edge against weaker players. In general, when you find good games, stick to them as long as possible.
Choosing online games often tends to be much easier because there is a lot more information available to you in terms of which rooms to play at. As a matter of fact, I even wrote an article dedicated to choosing the best online poker rooms so you can get a detailed list what factors to take into consideration without spending much time on the search.
Obviously, you will always be looking for best bonuses, rake-back programs and weak competition to start. Beyond that, it depends on your goals.
3. Utilize the Best Poker Tools
Most of your online poker opponents are likely using some sort of poker software to gain an additional edge at the tables and improve their game. There’s no reason why you should miss out on such an opportunity. In fact, you’ll likely be at quite a disadvantage if you don’t! Therefore, a critical thing you need to consider before jumping into playing poker online is arming yourself with the necessary tools.
Tracking software (i.e., a HUD) is pretty much a must. There are many options you can opt for online, but whichever one you choose, this is crucial to have stats on your opponents while playing and track your hands to analyze later. A HUD will help you track mistakes in your opponents’ play, exploit them, and improve your game on the go.
The second poker tool that I highly recommend is a free program called Poker Equilab. It lets you save ranges, analyze them on different boards, and learn necessary maths to succeed at high-level poker.
— Red Chip Poker (@RedChipPoker) August 2, 2017
Apart from those, there are many other tools that you can get, each of which can prove beneficial to improving a different aspect of your game so make sure to invest some time into finding right tools, and you will never regret it.
If your goal is to climb the ladder of poker success, the above three steps are ones you’ll eventually have to take at some point, so it’s best to take them as soon as possible. By doing so at the beginning of your poker journey, you will save a lot of money and time in the process.
If you want to learn more about how to build long-term winning strategies, how to improve your game and what steps to take on the way, I talk about how I did it myself in this FREE poker training webinar.
Obviously, these are just the first steps on your road to poker success, but as the title says, you simplay can’t afford not to utilize these tips!