Poker is a great game and online poker is a great way to play whenever you want, so here’s some tips. Disclaimer: I’m not a poker expert by any means, so if you disagree with me or have anything to add, please leave comments!
1/ Be patient
Patience is essential for poker. If you can only concentrate for ten or twenty minutes, take a break, do something else, and come back when you’re more relaxed. Sometimes it’s cool to have something in the background, like a magazine or an onine article, if you have multiscreens on your computer. This will prevent you from over-concentrating which will burn you out quickly.
2/ Be relaxed
Aside from the issue of risking too much money, it’s a good idea to find the right level of stake. You want to risk enough money so that you are interested in the game and you want to win, but not too much that you are stressed and anxious. Being relaxed means that you can bluff a little bit.
3/ Play with a random element
Your personal poker strategy must involve random chance. You can’t play the same hands the same way every time. If you are considering calling a bluff, sometimes you will call, and sometimes you won’t. If you are considering bluffing, sometimes you bluff, sometimes you don’t. If you act the same way every time, your strategy will be obvious to other players.
4/ Learn when to bluff and when not to bluff
Bluffing is an essential part of your game if you want to win money at all. Bluffing should not be your main tactic – if you bluff too often you will get called out quickly. If you bluff and get caught out, you should be cautious for a little while – everyone has you pegged as a bluffer now, so take advantage of that when you do have something very good by betting heavy on your good hands. In general, it’s harder to bluff the more opponents are remaining in the hand.
5/ The Daniel Negrauno smallball is useful
Daniel Negrauno, Canada’s best poker player, insists that instead of bluffing huge amounts, you can bet fairly small amounts and it will make people fold. This has the advantage of reducing your risk. On the flipside, if you have seen the river, there’s an $800 pot and you need to put in $30 to call and see the showdown, it’s worth callin with even a 5% chance (in your judgement) that you will win. If nothing else, you will see your opponents cards.
6/ Be careful with your timing
Online poker gives you very, very little information about your opponents. But you can see how much time they take to make a decision, and they can see the same about you. Utilising this is an art. If you start to be predictable, for example checking immediately whenever you have nothing, then this is a tell. This is why it can be helpful to be slightly distracted when you’re playing – if you take a couple of seconds to make your move because you are reading something, that can confuse other players and add to your unpredictability. In my opinion, it’s absolutely fine to use the “auto-fold” pre-selected fold buttons before the flop.
7/ Learn, it takes time
You really should put lots of hours into poker to become better. Poker is a very random game, but over time you will see the great losses and the great wins as random blips, and that way you can avoid tilt and overconfidence. You will see and learn thousands of nuances, one by one.
8/ Play your own game
By all means, read about poker, and watch poker videos. But you should play the way that you believe is best. If you disagree with what you read, then that’s fine. What’s good for one player can be bad for another, so play your own game and don’t blindly follow other people’s advice unless you understand their reasoning.
9/ Betting often wins the pot
If you’re up against one or two other players with cards on the board, a small bet, perhaps double or triple the minimum, can win the pot straight away. If you have a marginal hand and they call, you can either abort or continue depending on the next card. Small-betting with a marginal hand can win the blinds before the flop. Keeping monster hands quiet can pay off. Betting about 3 or 4 times the minimum can be useful with medium-strong hands such as a second-highest-pair JJ on the flop.
10/ Get under people’s skin sometimes and be meek at other times
You want people to be angry at you at aroundabout the time when you have the nuts. They won’t be able to fold. But in general it’s good to be a meek, generous player who often folds without risking large amounts. You make people angry by playing tricky maneouvres.
Well that’s about it. I might do a follow up someday. Once again, I don’t claim to be a particularly great poker player, but I hope these tips get you excited for the game of poker!