Back in the day, if you wanted to try your luck in the poker world, you had to take your money and get out of the house in search of the first casino or land-based poker room you could find. Of course, nowadays you can play poker online and you never have to leave the comfort of your home. Even if your jurisdiction doesn’t allow you to play for real money, you can still spend time playing online poker for “play money”.
Many longtime poker players who’ve cut their teeth on the live scene – even if it’s just playing in home games from time to time – have actually never played online poker. If you’ve always been hesitant to give online poker a try, we’ve put together a list of six tips that we feel will help you make transition smoothly.
1. Start with Small Stakes
This is a lesson you’ve probably already learned in your gambling life, but it’s especially true when starting to play poker online. If, for example you’re used to playing $1/2 NL Hold’em at your local cardroom, your natural inclination would likely be to deposit $100 into your account and start playing for the same stakes online.
That’s a big error! Much like you can play online slots for penny stakes, online poker sites also offer games at far lower stakes than live poker rooms for good reason: the action is WAY faster at online tables and you play tons more hands. In other words, your money could potentially disappear umpteen times as quickly.
So, if you’re just starting out as an online poker player we advise you to take a seat at the $.01/.02 tables and take things slowly.
2. Get Familiar with the Online Features
Online poker is different from live poker and has its own particular features. For example, beginners can face the new situation of having a set amount of time to make a move, rather than having a few minutes to act in the live poker world. Other differences include different styles of poker room promotions. For example, a live poker room would be more likely to offer some sort of “aces cracked” and “high hand” promotions whereas an online poker room would be most likely to offer you numerous forms of deposit bonuses.
Also, online poker allows you to bet unique decimal amounts of money (e.g., $3.42) and thus be more exact with a mathematical approach to the game. Live poker, as we all know, makes you round up betting amounts to the lowest denomination chip in play.
3. Begin by Playing a Single Table
One of the best advantages online poker has is the possibility of playing more than one table at a time. Even if it can be tempting to jump into multi-tabling immediately, a more prudent choice would be to first get comfortable playing at one table. Of course, once you feel you’ve “mastered” single-table play and are churning out a decent profit, it’s worth expanding to playing at two tables simultaneously, and so on.
4. Prepare for a Long Tournament Grind
You might have played your fair share of lengthy cash game sessions in the casino, but it’s hard to compare even that to a grueling online multi-table tournament. While sit n’ gos finish up relatively quickly – usually within a couple hours, tops – MTTs typically feature hundreds, if not thousands of players. Plus, you’ll only have a couple minutes break time in between levels, so you’ve really got to be focused and prepared to sit in front of your computer for a LONG time if you want to even make it into the money, much less the final table or secure a win.
5. Create a Positive Environment
As just mentioned, especially if you’re a tournament player the online grind can get pretty tough. For that reason you ought to be prepared with a box of snacks, cold drinks, and a good playlist so that you have everything needed to sustain those lengthy sessions.
Needless to say, having “all your stuff with you” will also enable you to stay focused on your game and play optimally.
Finished autobiography “Poker Brat”! My next book is called “#POSITIVITY“: it’s “life lessons” & “How to achieve great things in life” book
— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) February 25, 2017
6. Stay Professional
When you play online, you are free from the constraints of sitting in a casino and facing other people in person. Playing from the comfort of your own home can of course free you from the stresses and intimidation you might feel in a land-based casino, but it can also make you feel TOO relaxed. In fact, many people who gamble online do so while plenty of “other stuff” is going on in the background, such as the TV screen, phone calls, and engaging with friends on social media. As such, it takes your focus off the poker game at hand. Not a wise move if you’re hoping to be profiting regularly.
If you treat your online poker play like a professional; i.e., clearing out all distractions so that you can focus on the task at hand, namely playing you’re A-game, you’ll have a far greater likelihood of success.
Got any other tips that have helped you make the transition to online poker from the live poker arena? We’d love to get your comments, below.