You like poker, even if you’re not the best player. It’s not as if your lack of skill is all that important. You’re only playing for fun.
The idea of playing online poker, though, is scary. You’ve tried it a few times but didn’t feel comfortable.
There’s no need to worry. If you follow the tips below, your game will improve, and you’ll be having fun before you know it.
1. Start Small
Controlling your emotions is an essential part of being a good poker player. If you can’t control your feelings, you will make bad calls.
Learning to master your emotional reactions is far more difficult when you’re laying out large bets. You’ll end up making rash decisions, whether you’re winning or losing.
If you’re winning, greed will push you into being reckless. If you’re losing, desperation to earn your money back will make you even more reckless.
By starting with free or very low-stakes poker games, you eliminate this problem. You’ll improve your game through consistent practice while also learning emotional control, which is critical to becoming a master online poker player.
Once you’re making good decisions 90% of the time and are winning more frequently than you’re losing, you can consider moving up in stakes. Until then, though, stick to free or low-stakes games.
Even better, consider a poker site that offers a signup bonus. “What is a signup bonus?” you ask. Some sites offer you some cash you can use to play just for signing up. Of course, you’ll still have to make a deposit eventually, but it’s a good way to get started.
2. Don’t Play Every Hand
Many beginners feel the need to play every hand they’re dealt. You’re here to play. Folding every hand is not playing. And it’s definitely not fun.
However, starting with a weak hand is a flawed strategy, and you’re practically guaranteed to lose. Choosing the right starting hand is essential, which means learning when to hold and when to fold.
3. Aggression Can Be a Good Thing
In poker, aggression can be a good thing if you know what you’re doing. For example, if you have a great hand, bet aggressively to force other players out.
If you’re up against players who fold quickly at even the slightest sign of aggressive betting, you can employ this strategy even with weaker hands.
However, for beginners, aggressive betting is best when you have the cards to back it up, just in case someone calls you on it.
Once they see you weren’t bluffing, they’ll be more likely to believe you’re holding great cards next time you get aggressive, even if you aren’t.
4. Learn to Bluff
The best players are masters at bluffing. The idea is to pretend to have good cards and force other players to fold.
Bluffing can be easier and more challenging online than in a live setting. It’s easier because the other players can’t see your face, so you don’t have to learn to hide your tells.
However, that’s also the drawback. An outstanding poker player might use tells against the other players, convincing them they have a great hand when the opposite is true.
This is not precisely feasible online unless you’re in a live online game. So, the other players will judge you on how long you take to bet and your playing history.
Of course, you can also use this to your advantage by establishing a “history” of only betting aggressively when you have a great hand, for example.
However, you don’t want to be so aggressive that everyone folds. Instead, you want the other players to see your cards to establish a precedent.
Then, when it’s time to bluff, really pull out all the stops. The more aggressive you get, the more the other players will believe you really have the goods.
5. Focus on the Game
When you’re playing poker live, you’re focused on the game. There’s nothing to distract you, and you’re all in attention-wise.
However, when playing online, distractions can be a problem. You’d be surprised how much your game can suffer if you’re not paying attention. Even if you’ve folded, you should still watch the game to learn more about the tendencies of other players.
So, when you’re playing online, turn off all distractions, including the TV, and keep your mind on the game.
6. Master the Art of Playing Poker
If you want to become a great poker player – or even to just get more enjoyment out of the game – you need to master the art of playing poker. That means taking the time to learn new strategies and to practice.
You can find plenty of resources online for free to help you, or you can check out some of the many books available on this great game.
If you’re serious, you can invest in a poker coaching program that will take you from novice to an advanced player and beyond.
Even if you’re playing for fun, poker is more enjoyable when you’re good at it. After all, who doesn’t like to win? So, it pays to take the time to learn and improve.
Learning the basics of poker will only take you so far. You might have a bit of fun, but you’ll eventually get frustrated.
However, if you follow the tips in this article and work to improve your skills, you can become a far better online poker player. It might take time. But, if you’re committed, you might even become good enough to win the first prize in a poker tournament.