8 Tips to Learn Poker Online
Online poker is atypical when compared to most gambling games since you can increase your skill level to the point of making a consistent profit.
If you're looking to learn how to play poker, check out the following poker tips for on how to systematically learn poker online.
Your bankroll is your key to getting in the games, and you can't play without it. Poker is a game with inherent swings, even for winning players, and using proper bankroll management will help to keep these swings from taking you out of the game.
For beginning players, the following guidelines are sufficient for different game formats:
|NLHE Cash||20 buy-ins||35 buy-ins||50 buy-ins|
|NLHE SNGs||50 buy-ins||75 buy-ins||100 buy-ins|
|LHE Cash||300 big bets||500 big bets||750 big bets|
|PLO Cash||60 buy-ins||80 buy-ins||100 buy-ins|
|MTTs||75 buy-ins||125 buy-ins||200 buy-ins|
You'll want to move up or down stakes according to how many buy-ins you have for the level above or below the stakes you are currently playing.
All of the major online poker rooms like PokerStars offer text-based hand histories that tell you everything that happened in every hand of poker you've ever played. You can compile these hand histories into database tracking programs to analyze your own play and that of your opponents. There are a few big advantages of using these databases:
- It forces you to be honest about your wins and losses at a given level.
- It allows you to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your opponents.
- It helps you to identify your own leaks so that you can improve your win-rate.
They have very similar features, and there is no distinct advantage of one over the other. These programs allow you to have the access on multiple computers and usually offer free upgrades once you've purchased. They also come with a free trial.
Both tracking programs are compatible with PartyPoker.
One of the easiest ways to get better at poker for a beginning player is to have stronger players evaluate your play. The main poker discussion forums are TwoPlusTwo and FlopTurnRiver, and they both offer great opportunities for you to post difficult hands that better players can analyze.
This often amounts to what's effectively free poker coaching from people who make a lot of money at the game, and that is an extremely valuable resource.
Something that a lot of beginning players have trouble understanding is that a bluff is only effective if better hands are folding.
For example, if you hold 8♥ 8♠ on a flop of A♣ 9♦ 3♥, betting is never going to work as a bluff unless you believe you are getting hands like a pair of nines to fold. The key to successful bluffing is knowing which hands you are trying to get to fold.
On the same flop of A♣ 9♦ 3♥, bluffing with the hand 8♦ 7♦ would be much better because you can get plenty of better hands to fold. Even if king-high folds, you have gained a lot in the grand scheme of things.
This ties into tip four a great deal, but you have to know which worse hands you are wanting to call when you make a value bet. A common situation that beginning players botch regularly is over-playing a mediocre made hand.
Suppose you hold J♥ J♠ before the flop, and a very tight player raises in early position. If you make a re-raise after it folds to you, then you are putting yourself in a bad situation because it's very unlikely that you will get calls from anything that you beat. Instead, you're going to make all of the worse hands fold, which doesn't earn you anything in the long run, and you're going to lose a ton of money when you run into stronger pairs.
If there are cards left to come in any poker hand, then each player left in the hand will have a certain percentage of equity that represents what part of the pot will be won on average. For example, A♣ K♦ has about 45 percent equity against 5♠ 5♦ in hold'em before the flop. The following shows the advantages and disadvantages of three of the most popular options:
|Name||Key Advantage||Key Disadvantage|
|TwoDimes||Easy to use||Clunky interface|
|ProPokerTools||Supports several games||Difficult, atypical syntax|
|Equilab||Exceptionally powerful||Download required|
Generally speaking, Equilab is the best option for players who want to do in-depth analysis of hands. On the other hand, TwoDimes and the ProPokerTools simulator are good for simple equity calculations. All three of these options are free.
Tournament poker is interesting in the sense that the chips are not all worth the same value like they are in a cash game. To learn to compensate for this, you have to learn about the independent chip model, which is also known as ICM for short. A failure to learn ICM will absolutely destroy your results in poker tournaments.
As a general rule, you will need more equity in tournament play to be profitable than you would with identical cash game play.
There are both free and paid resources for learning ICM. A simple search for "Nash ICM calculator" will take you several of them, although most of them have identical functionality. The paid options like SNG Wizard and SNG Planet work more like training grounds with guided practice that might be a better fit for some users.
One of the most difficult things to deal with when you are trying to learn poker online is keeping up with all of the information that you come across. Because of this, we highly recommend that you get a small, one-half inch binder to print off notes, charts and other items so that they are all available in one place.
When you read poker books, keep your own notes and put them in your poker notebook. This is also good for printing off chat logs with better players or for keeping a manual log of your thoughts and ideas for poker.
These eight poker tips for beginners are designed to help give anyone a head start who takes their first step into poker.
While you're not going to become an expert player overnight, a steady approach that applies these eight ideas will have a much higher chance of success than a haphazard approach that ignores these tips.
Also choose a site with reliable, prompt cashouts for US based players such as Black Chip Poker.