At the start of any new endeavor, it is critical to set the tone right. Poker is no different. If you are a beginner, or even someone just eyeing the game, sitting on the fence really, you must acquaint yourself with some of the best poker tips for beginners.
Starting your poker journey, the right way is highly underrated. Your first few poker games will put you on your path for the future, and more than anything else they will affect your attitude towards the game. The habits that most poker players form in their initial stages of playing become their defined style at the table.
While it is excellent to have your poker strategy and style, most beginners require structure to their play to tide them over until they are more experienced and can tweak their gameplay later with a deeper understanding of the tables.
For all the amateurs out there, this article is just what you need to get started. It will provide you with a strong base that you can then build upon over time. Sadly, the learning curve in poker is quite steep, so experienced players will not find much useful information to take their game to another level. These players should research tips and tricks to improve their poker strategy for specific game formats like Texas Hold'em or 7 Card Stud, etc.
Now, turning back to the newbies, there are some obvious pointers that you should have down before joining a table. Knowing the rules of the game and hand rankings are some of the most basic tips for beginner players. Other tips are less obvious, but we will take you through all of them in this article.
Strap in and get prepared to cram all these beginner poker tips before your next poker game!
1. Learn your basics
Before approaching a poker table, you need to have your basics crystal clear. These include poker hand rankings, poker rules, and poker positions. All of these together set the base of the game. This foundation that you develop early on in your journey as a poker player is extremely essential.
Since the most played poker game is Texas Hold’em, you will naturally want to learn the rules and game stages of that game. To get a good grip on the rules of Texas Hold’em and other poker games, check out our how to play poker page.
Apart from that, understanding hand rankings are useful to play almost all of the poker games. You can check out our hand rankings page to get a solid understanding of the different hands in poker and how they are ranked and valued.
Out of the three basic things that we mentioned here, the poker positions are probably the least understood by beginners. This is also important because as a newbie, you do not want to be in a spot when you are in an early position and not know what your strategy should be.
Position in poker can often be the reason you win or lose in poker.
2. Start small when it comes to poker
When it comes to poker, you should start small before jumping in to swim with the sharks. Poker can be a brutal game if you go straight for the big pots. Many a time, beginners are so excited and think that they have researched so well that they can just dive right in.
This, however, cannot be further from reality. You need to release that as a novice, your goal is to understand and hone your poker strategy and not bleed your money while doing that.
Starting at low stakes serves many purposes.
Firstly, you are more relaxed while playing and can concentrate on the game rather than worry about losing your money if you take one wrong call. You will be risking less and reaping more benefits from low stake games.
Secondly, your skill level will keep increasing as you play more games, and you can keep increasing the stakes in a parallel fashion, thus ensuring minimum losses. It is all about equity in poker after all!
Playing in this gradual manner, working your way up the ladder will not only cut your losses but also build up your confidence to play the games of your dreams eventually.
3. Stick to a playing style
As a novice, you absolutely need to stick to a playing style which is good for you. You should play a tight but aggressive game. It is essential as a poker player to be able to adjust your playing styles according to the dynamics of the table at any given point. But as a beginner, you need to have a defined play to avoid losses and errors.
You should only play your strongest hands; weak and marginal hands are playable when you are more experienced in the game and understand how to read your opponents.
Playing only your strongest hands helps avoid any tough decision-making post-flop. This will make you play fewer hands but more aggressive ones when you do decide to jump into the action. So, starting hand selection is critical as a beginner. You better have your poker hand rankings memorized for this.
Since a lot of your opponents in the lower stake games are going to be playing a wide range of hands having a tight play will keep you ahead of them. this will help you learn poker strategy better. You can be raining and betting yourself instead of just calling.
4. Make use of your position at the table
Leveraging your position at the table is an indispensable skill and the best poker tip for beginners. No matter the game, your position is a huge asset. When you are deciding which hands to play, the position is one of the first things that you will have to consider.
A general rule of thumb that you can follow is that you stand a chance to win more money from later positions. So, you should try to play more hands in a late position. When playing six-max games, you should try to play very tight from early positions. You can then gradually widen the hands you play as you got closer to the button.
5. Start playing on a single table
In the excitement of it all, you may want to try jumping from one table to another. You should, as a novice, keep your metaphorical blinkers on and have one aim and one aim only, to learn poker strategy. To do this, you must leave out the exciting, tempting parts of poker and strap in, one table at a time.
At this point, you should be noting every slight detail, every move, and possible move that you or your opponents can make and keep strategizing.
Once you are good with the basics, you can try to read hand ranges and then see how accurate you were at the showdown. This is a great way to utilize your time at single tables. You should leave the multiple table tournaments and the likes out of it initially. Trust us, there will be enough time for that later.
6. Sit at a table only at your best
Your emotional state can greatly affect your game. Emotions can soon turn into your enemy at the poker table so playing when you are angry is not a good idea. Of course, when playing, it is possible that you may become sad when you lose a game. This is part and parcel of the game, and you will need to learn how to live with it.
Compounding the emotions involved in the game by starting one when you are in a bad frame of mind is definitely not a bright idea. Treating poker like a glass of whiskey at the end of a bad day should not be your approach.
It is basic human nature do silly things when we aren’t level headed. Poker requires a very level headed player to make the most practical and profitable decisions. Starting games only when you are in a good mood can go a long way in making you a better poker player and improving your win rate.
7. Train yourself in calculating poker odds
Poker is as much a game of mathematical precision as of skill and psychology. Understanding the technical aspects of it like, pot odds and hand charts will help you identify your odds of hitting a winning hand. After all you are playing the game to be able to score some pots and win some sweet bucks, right?
8. Play a straight forward game
One of the best beginner poker tips is to play when you have a hand and fold when you don’t. It is really good to keep it simple and not try to bluff much as an amateur. The more experienced players will likely be able to see right through your bluffs and own you in the game.
As you gain more experience and move up the stakes of the game, this straightforward approach will no longer be an option. You will be sitting at bigger tables which will call for a more aggressive play. Bluffing will become indispensable for you to be able to stand up against the aggressive and tight players at those tables.
A straight forward game, however, doesn’t mean that you chat about your folds and raises in the chat boxes available online. Dropping hints like that will only give your opponents an edge over you and enable them to beat you at your own game.
9. Learn to use a poker software
Every beginner poker must make use of a basic poker software to be able to compete against other poker players. Tracking software is of great help because you can use it to see statistics on your opponents and understand how they are playing.
Quick stuff will help you spot the different types of opponents that you will be facing and equip to change your strategy depending on this.
10. Folding is key
Another crucial beginner poker tip is to learn to fold more hands than you play. When your opponents are calling and raising all the time, you should consider folding your hands. Even some of your stronger ones. Mostly, a One Pair hand even a top pair should be folded.
When you are just starting out, you will feel reluctant to let such hands go, but this is the one thing you need to learn if you want to be a successful poker player. You will be starting with the low stakes and players in the lower stake games do not bluff much. Which means that if they are calling and raising like there is no tomorrow, they probably hold some of the strongest and highest-ranking hands and are drawing confidence from them.
When starting out as a poker player, you should keep in mind all the best poker tips for beginners that have been discussed above. There are many things that you will learn through practice and playing your games at the tables. Experience will teach you the most important lessons but to be able to understand them, you should have your basics down.
Go slow and steady when it comes to improving your game, the more you rush, the more it is plausible that you will make errors in your judgement. Even poker professionals learn something new in each game that they play.
Keep playing and mastering the game. Starting from low stakes and freeroll poker, you can work your way up to higher stakes with real money to get a sense of achievement from the game.
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