One aspect to poker that really draws people in is that it’s
an easy game for new players to enjoy. You can have a great deal
of fun with just a little background knowledge and even as a
beginner you have the opportunity to win some extra cash. There
are plenty of other inexperienced players to compete against
that you may be able to beat and when the element of luck comes
into play, you may even be able to beat players that are better
and more experienced than you from time to time.
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An enjoyable experience is the only thing that some people
are looking to achieve through poker. They aren’t really
concerned if they lose money overall; they just want to enjoy
themselves and know that they at least have the chance to win
every now and then. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this
either, as even though it’s possible to win money consistently
with the right approach, it’s still perfectly fine to just play
recreationally if that’s what you prefer to do.
You may prefer to take the game more seriously, which is
equally fine. There’s a lot of information about the game that
you need to know if you want to become a regular winner, but the
rewards are definitely worth it as long as you are prepared to
put in the required time and effort.
Whatever your ultimate goal is in poker, whether it be to
simply have fun, to be a professional player, or somewhere in
between, there are several things that we believe you should do
when you first start playing. We have these listed below and
they form what we consider to be the most important tips for
beginner poker players to follow.
These tips are all very simple, pretty easy to understand,
and certainly something you can follow. They won’t magically
turn you into a winning player, but they’ll certainly help start
you on the right track if that’s your long term goal. They’ll
even be of assistance to you if you just want to play poker for
fun, so please take the time to read through them all, as we
believe everyone will benefit from doing so.
1. Learn The Rules
Before you sit down and start playing poker for real money,
it’s very important that you make sure that you know all the
rules. This tip might seem extremely obvious to many of you, but
it’s nonetheless one that we think needs to be mentioned. It’s
all too easy to make a costly mistake if you don’t fully
understand the rules and it’s hard enough to win money through
paying this game without putting yourself at an unnecessary
There’s no excuse for not knowing all the rules either, as
the rules aren’t particularly difficult to understand. Some
forms of poker are a little more complicated than others, but
the rules are always relatively straightforward and certainly
don’t take a huge amount of time to learn.
2. Set a Budget
It’s very unlikely that you’ll be consistently winning money
at poker as a beginner. You might have an incredible natural
talent that makes you an instant success or you might simply get
very lucky and go on a long winning streak, but the realistic
likelihood is that you’ll lose more often than you’ll win when
you first start playing.
Losing money as a beginner isn’t something to worry about too
much, as many of the best poker players in the world probably
lost when they started playing too. However, it is important
that you don’t spend money you can’t afford to lose. You should
set yourself a budget for how much you are prepared to spend
playing poker and then make sure you stick to it.
3. Study Basic Strategy
Learning how to play poker is relatively easy, but learning
how to play it well is another matter entirely. There’s a huge
amount of strategy involved in the game and understanding it all
requires a great deal of study. It can take years to fully grasp
all the strategies required to be a truly accomplished player
and even then there’s always something new to learn due to the
constant evolution of the game.
The idea of having to study such a complex subject is
probably not very appealing to you if you are new to poker. You
may not even be interested in learning any strategy at all,
particularly if you are playing the game for entertainment
reasons. The truth is that you don’t have to, as it’s perfectly
possible to have plenty of fun without knowing any strategy
whatsoever, but our advice is that you should spend at least a
little time learning the basics.
Even just knowing basic poker strategy will improve your
overall game immensely and help you make more educated
decisions. You don’t have to spend hours upon hours studying,
but you’ll almost certainly benefit from any time you do put
4. Play Low Stakes
If you follow our previous tip and set a budget that you are
willing to stick to and that’s based on what you can afford to
lose, then to some extent it doesn’t matter what stakes you play
at. There’s a strong argument that you should stick to the low
stakes as a beginner though and that’s certainly what we
The simple fact of the matter is that you’ll generally face a
higher standard of opposition at higher stakes and we don’t see
the point in making things harder than they need to be when you
first start playing and are still learning the game. There’s
still no guarantee that you’ll win even at the lower stakes of
course, but it’s fair to say that you’ll have a much better
chance. At the very least you should be able to make your money
last longer by following this tip.
5. Start Online
We believe that beginner poker players would benefit greatly
by choosing to start out by playing online rather than live.
Even though the game is fundamentally the same either way,
things are far simpler online. You can play whenever you want
without having to go anywhere, and there are fewer distractions.
You don’t have to worry about handling the chips and cards or
trying to keep a “poker face.”
On the other hand, playing in a live environment can be
rather intimidating as a new player. It’s quite possible that
you’ll feel nervous about looking silly or making a mistake and
this can easily have a negative effect on both how you play and
your overall experience.
6. Stick to One Table
One of the many advantages to playing online poker is that
you can play at multiple tables at once. This can be very
beneficial for players once they reach a certain standard, as it
enables them to increase their win rate by playing in multiple
games simultaneously. However, it’s not really a great idea for
Playing at multiple tables dilutes your focus and this won’t
help you develop your skills or properly learn how to play the
game. Skilled players are able to make many of their decisions
almost on autopilot, but this is something that comes with
experience. As a beginner you should be thinking through
virtually every single decision you make and also paying close
attention to what your opponents are doing. You’ll have a much
better chance of doing so if you to stick to playing at just one
7. Experiment with Different Formats
Poker can be played in a variety of different formats. When
you first start playing, we advise that you experiment with a
wide range of these. You should certainly
try a few cash games
along with a few different types of tournaments and you should
probably try both limit and no limit games. You may choose to
specialize in a particular format once you’ve been playing for a
while, but as a beginner we feel you should experiment with your
different options. This will help you discover what styles you
enjoy playing the most, plus you may also find that you are
better at playing certain formats over others.
8. Always Pay Attention to the Table
When playing poker you’ll regularly find yourself wondering
how an opponent will react to your next move. For example, if
you are considering making a bluff, then you’ll probably be
trying to decide if your opponents will fold or you might be
trying to get maximum value out of a very strong hand while
trying to decide if they’ll make a bet when you check.
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You’ll also frequently be trying to work out why an opponent
has acted in a particular way. Why did they just make that big
raise having only called on the previous betting round? Why did
they just check the flop when they raised pre-flop?
There isn’t a poker player on the planet that can predict how
their opponents will react with 100% accuracy or know for sure
why they have made any given move, but there are many very
skilled players in that regard and they are making very informed
judgments. This partially comes with experience and a solid
understanding of strategy, but it also comes down to paying
close attention to the table.
A lot of beginners focus primarily on their own cards and the
bets they are making. While this is entirely understandable, it
certainly would be considered a mistake. It’s important to watch
what’s going on around you, as this can give you some valuable
insight into how and why your opponents tend to act. You can
then use this insight to make your own informed judgments when
faced with tough decisions.
9. Take Your Time
As you gain experience as a poker player, you’ll find that a
lot of decisions will start to come natural to you. As a
beginner, however, your instincts are unlikely to be enough. You
need to go through a thought process for almost every single
decision you make and that’s not something you should rush. You
don’t win anything in poker for making quick decisions, so you
should always take your time and try to make the best decisions
10. Watch the Pros
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Our final tip is one of the easiest to follow. It doesn’t
require a lot of effort and it can actually be very enjoyable.
There’s lots of televised poker these days and a wide variety of
poker videos online, which means there’s plenty of opportunities
for you to watch how the top players play. This can be very
useful for developing your own game and it’s something that we
highly recommend doing.