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5 Essential Tips for Online Poker Beginners

12 May 2008, By:
What do you need to know to be successful at online poker? That largely depends on how you define online poker success. Online poker players come in all shapes and sizes. Some players are in it for entertainment, some because they relish the challenge of competition. Others want to make a little money and others want the game to be their primary source of income. Whatever your goals, it's possible to achieve them as long as you understand some of the basics.


Quite possibly the most important skill a successful poker player can possess is discipline. People log on to a poker site to play, not to fold, so it's tough to fold hand after hand while waiting for a good one. Action junkies can overcome this problem by playing multiple tables at once or playing heads up games where you play almost every hand.

Different Games Require Different Strategies

When you start out playing online poker games, you'll probably play Texas hold'em. The basics of hold'em are fairly simple, and if playing limit hold'em, the most important thing you will learn is to play strong starting hands in position. If playing no limit, things become more complicated, as the potential upside for playing unusual hands in unusual situations is greater. Once you become accustomed to hold'em, you may be interested in trying other games. Remember that you will need to learn new strategies for different games. For example, bluffing is less effective in Omaha hi/lo than in hold'em, because opponents are more likely to have strong hands.

Bankroll Management

It's tempting to play as high stakes games as you can possibly stand. The higher the stakes, the more you can win, right? The problem with this is that even if you are a skilled player, poker has a luck/chance element that can be your downfall. If you are not properly bankrolled for a game, the variance can wipe out your stack before you even get a chance to put your skills into play.

Game Selection

In a live poker game situation, you don't always have much choice where you sit, but online, there are often a wide variety of tables to choose from. Take the time to choose a table that suits your particular style. If you like to see a lot of flops, sit at a table where there isn't much pre-flop raising. If you're a very tight player, you may want to sit at a table full of loose maniacs who you can trap. If you're very aggressive, you may want a relatively tight table that you can run over. Choose your opponents wisely and you improve your winning chances.

Online Tells

Some players feel that a disadvantage to playing online poker games is that you cannot read physical tells. However, there are tells that you can pick up in online games too. These tells relate to bet speed and bet pattern. Some players may bet more or less depending upon the strength of their hand. They may also bet faster or slower depending on how much they like their hands.

Taking Advantage of Online Technology

If you do notice what you think is a tell, you should add it to that player's online notes. The more of these notes you can keep, the more of an edge you will have when you play. You may not always remember who your opponents were and what they did, but the software always will. In addition, there are software programs like PokerTracker that can keep detailed statistics on your play and the play of your opponents. Studying this data can give you a huge edge against your opposition. Remember that poker is a game of information, and the more information you have, the bigger an edge you can have against your opponents. Using the data that online poker enables you to gather can go a long way towards helping you with this aspect of your poker game online.


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