It’s hard to think of a game that provides such intense thrills and moments of exhilaration as poker. This deceptively simple casino card game has relatively simple rules yet it takes years of practice for a beginner to become a pro. Succeeding in this game requires more than dumb luck, and this is why we’ve created this poker strategy guide. After having read through it, you should be able to understand basic do’s and don’ts that should help your overall performance.
The 10 Most Important Poker Strategies
To keep things simple, we’ve split the poker strategy for beginners into 10 steps. This should make it easier for you to understand the basics and refer back to the right step whenever you’re in doubt. It’s vital that before you try and implement the following strategies you have a good understanding of how to play poker.
1. Use Aggressive Tactics
When you’re playing poker, especially when you’re playing online, you can effectively disguise the value of your hand and keep other players guessing. To do this, you must take an aggressive stance and lead, rather than follow, with raises. Naturally, you should not do this haphazardly, and it’s better to fold immediately on a weak hand than waste your bankroll or reputation on it.
In most cases, you’re not going to know the level of skill and experience of your opponents, and neither will they know yours. Your online poker strategy should be focused on keeping them wondering whether you’re holding a weak or a strong hand. If you’re facing inexperienced players, they will likely fold rather than take the risk.
2. Spend Your Time Wisely
During a typical game of poker, there are times when you should play aggressively and times when you should fold and safeguard your bankroll. Statistically, the majority of hands that you will be dealt are going to be weak and nothing screams ‘newbie’ more than a player that plays every hand.
Most beginners find sitting at the table waiting for a round to end to be boring, but it doesn’t need to be. You should use this time to observe other players and study how they play. Since you’re not focusing or worrying about your cards, you can look at who is raising and who is following by calling all the time.
3. Avoid Limping
Limping is the term used to describe calling the big blind preflop. If you are the first player to enter the pot, limping is a poker strategy that will almost certainly guarantee that other players will stay in the game. This is the moment in the game where you need to decide whether to fold or raise.
If your hole cards are good or very good, raising will give you an opportunity to boost the value of the pot, making a win even more valuable. In addition, it discourages hesitant players, reducing your competition. Limping is only recommended when one or more players have limped before you, but it’s still important to have decent hole cards when doing it.
4. Bluffing Helps
The best poker strategy requires you to be able to bluff effectively. This is easier said than done, and many beginners have exhausted their bankroll quickly due to ineffective bluffing. Picking the right moments when to bluff is imperative, and fortunately, you can let your cards tell you when these moments have arrived.
Bluffing makes sense when your hand has a realistic possibility to turn into high-ranking combinations, such as a Straight or Flush. If there’s little chance of that, then there’s no point to bluff. Moreover, when you decide to bluff, you should stick to your habitual bets as you would otherwise risk highlighting your bluff to other observant opponents.
5. Take Your Time
Playing poker against other players takes time, so if you’re looking for a quick game you should instead look at playing video poker online. As a game progresses, you must be patient as each player plays his or her hand and you should also play your own hand carefully. You should also try and take a lesson from each game that will help you in your next match.
Unfortunately, no poker strategy can help prevent unpredictable moments, such as a Bad Beat. This is when you’ve got a pair of Aces as your hole cards and rightly decide to go all-in. However, an opponent calls and manages to create a Three-of-a-Kind or better with the river. In this case, however, it’s worth knowing that some top poker sites offer a bonus in such cases.
6. Take Advantage of Your Big Blind
If it’s your turn to put up the big blind, you should consider your options carefully when all the other players have played their turn. Unlike in other games when you can decide whether to play or not, at this moment, you’re already well invested in the game. Calling now will not impact the decisions of the other players as their turn is already over.
However, don’t rush to call a raise made by a previous player. You don’t afford to waste your bankroll on a bad hand and it’s always better to cut your losses rather than chase them. Always be more careful with substantial raises and play tighter, or fewer hands, in such cases. It’s generally also a good idea to limit your hands if the raises happened in early positions.
7. Explore More than One Poker Betting Strategy
As we’ve mentioned earlier in this basic poker strategies guide, this game involves both luck and skill. While you can’t do much about luck, you can certainly develop your skills by learning, practicing, and playing. Many of the best Texas Hold’em casinos online provide all the tools you need to accomplish all three.
These sites are a great way to develop your skills as they offer demo games and plenty of video tutorials. You can also join various standalone tables as well as participate in tournaments. While the idea of joining a poker competition might sound daunting, there is no better way to get better at the game. Of course, you should stick to low-stakes tournaments, such as those with $2 – $5 buy-ins.
8. Attack Weak Players
Needless to say, you won’t be making any friends while playing poker for real money. In general, newbies or inexperienced players tend to call with weak hands rather than fold immediately. However, these players will probably fold as soon as another player raises the stakes. Such ineffective bluffing is a great way to identify your less experienced opponents at the table.
Basic poker strategy recommends that you attack players who check regularly on the flop and the turn. To try and get them to fold, you should implement an aggressive bluffing strategy. If there are no other players in the game, you should also consider ignoring your cards and playing the player directly. This means raising to scare the player off the table rather than because you think you’ve got a winning hand.
9. Choose the Right Tables
While you have been busy researching your strategy for online poker, other players have been lazy. If you successfully find these players at the tables, you’re probably going to win more rounds than you’ll lose. The trick, obviously, is identifying these tables and players. The only way to do this is to join a table and stick to mandatory bets until you make your determination.
You’ll know that you’re at the right table if you observe many multiway pots, that is, a pot that involves three or more players. You should also look out for one or more players that limp regularly and the frequency of re-raises. If re-raises are rare and the other two features are present, even partly, then you’re probably sitting at the right table. If not, it might be better to change.
10. Keep Your Emotions in Check
Poker strategies are only as effective as the player implementing them. If you are focused, attentive, well-rested, and calm, you’re likely to implement them properly. However, if you’re tired, distracted, anxious, or overly eager, you’re likely to let your emotions take over. This, usually, results in failure.
Don’t be fooled by players that state that they play according to their gut. No successful endeavor that requires skill and experience ever relies on feelings. It doesn’t matter which basic poker strategies you plan you implement, once you’ve chosen, it’s important to see them through. If you’re not able to, it’s better to leave the game and try again another day.
Sitting Strategy for Online Poker
Your position at the table can influence the outcome of the game for you. While positions rotate in a clockwise fashion and you cannot control that, you can implement different strategies depending on your current position.
Every player’s position on the poker table is determined by the dealer button. Taking a standard nine-player game, these are the positions that each one will have and the mandatory actions that apply to specific positions.
|Player Number||Position Name||Mandatory Actions|
|1||Big Blind||Bets the big blind|
|2||Small Blind||Bets the small blind|
|7||Middle Position||Not applicable|
|8||Under the Gun +1||Not applicable|
|9||Under the Gun||Not applicable|
The main benefit of being on the Button position or very close to it is being able to see how others have played and taking decisions based on their actions.
Tips to Implement a Sound Poker Betting Strategy
Even though there are several steps to remember, you shouldn’t over-stress about them. This guide is designed to help beginners develop their strategy, so winning big or consistently should not be your aim. Instead, you should treat the game as a fun experience, and you can do this by adhering to these five tips below. With that being said, you can also learn ways to improve your chances of winning more often by reading our guide on how to win poker.
- Only bet what you afford to lose – As with any form of gambling, you should only bet money that you can lose.
- Explore different poker games – Texas Hold’em might not be the right game for you, so explore different variations of the game, including 3 card poker online.
- Pace yourself and your bankroll – Try to ignore the temptation to bet big or go all in towards the start of your session as it can quickly backfire.
- Take advantage of casino bonuses – As a new player, look out for welcome bonuses offered by offshore poker sites. These rewards can boost your bankroll instantly.
- Gamble responsibly – Keep poker fun by adhering to responsible gambling best practices, including taking frequent breaks and never chasing losses.
FAQs About Basic Poker Strategy
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