As a beginner in poker, you are often very aloof to the basics of the game, and your research on winning tactics will lead you to many misguided tips that do more harm than good in the long run. Every expert poker player was a beginner at some point, and starting with the right strategy is the best platform to becoming a pro. The main element that sets this game apart from other card games is the presence of competition. You are pitted against fellow gamers, and you have more than just one opponent, so it takes guts to start playing poker. A good strategy is essential before delving in, and we at FanDuel bring you only the best expert proven advice to gear up your game from the get-go.
Know the Rules of Engagement
To actively participate in a round of poker, you need to know the rules first. Without a good understanding of the basics, a simple game can become very complicated, not to mention you will become an easy target for your opponents. Gather general knowledge about the game, including table positions and poker hand rankings. Learn the meanings of game terminologies like Royal Flush, Straight Flush, Four of a Kind, Full House, and others. This information helps you understand the game's concept and makes it easier for you to apply any complex strategies later on.
You should never put your whole bankroll on the table as a beginner. Look out for tables with lower limits because higher limit tables tend to have the more experienced players. And frankly, you won't stand a chance against them, at least not yet. Smaller bets also stretch out your bankroll, thereby enabling you to get enough practice on how to implement strategies. Besides, you will be more comfortable in your game when you aren't risking a lot of money.
Avoid the 1st Limp
Limping is the term used to describe when players call out big blind pre-flop. You should avoid being the first player to limp and hence the first player to enter the pot. First, limping reduces your chances of winning the pot. Second, you give other players better odds, which is generally unfavorable for you. Over-limping is the best option, so wait until one or more players limp before joining in. It allows you to have great odds to stir up more action and hopefully hit something good on the flop.
Play Fast and Aggressive
A common mistake among first-time players is slow-play. These players are afraid to chase the rivals out of the pot, even though they have better odds. The general recommendation for beginners is to raise multiple times the blind to build the pot and protect your domain, so keep at the back of your mind that you need to play fast and aggressively. This doesn't mean you should always raise your strong hands. Check your strong hands if you are sure not to be outdrawn, or when your opponent's range is massed towards hands with no strong value. Moreover, if you are uncertain, feel free to bet or check-raise. It is disappointing when your opponents fold up, but even more so when you lose potential value.
Know When to Fold
Fold when you are unsure of your opponent's move. The difference between a good player and a bad one is the ability to lay down a good hand in the face of imminent loss. It may seem easy, but it's not that simple in practice. Naturally, everyone wants to win, and by folding, we surrender our chances of winning the pot. Don't be too quick to call and don't call too often. Anytime you are not sure whether to call or fold versus raising or betting, just fold up.
Play Fewer Hands
You are most likely to blow away your chip stack when you try playing too many hands. Even though you can succeed with any hand, some hands help you win more money. So be selective with the hands you play and keep it relatively tight. Developing a solid pre-flop strategy is the quickest way to increase your bottom line.
Be Wary Of the Bluff
Bluffing works like a two-edged sword — you can slice up your opponents or get sliced with it. You should focus more on playing your cards well than on bluffing. Naturally, as you become more advanced, you acquire a mastery of the art of bluffing. But bear in mind that you shouldn't bluff too much, and it is not compulsory to do so to win. Always allow your cards to determine whether you must bluff or not. Bluffing with weaker hands on the river is not advisable.
Defend Your Blind
The big blind is a unique poker position because one big blind is already invested in the pot. You have better pot enticing odds whenever you are faced with a raise as you sit in the big blind. Here are some factors to guide you on how wide to defend your big blind.
Stack sizes: Play fewer hands and prioritize high card strength when short stacked.
Raise size: The larger your bet sizing, the tighter you must play and vice versa.
Position: Play tighter against the early positions and looser against the late positions.
The number of players: Whenever one of the players calls for raise, play even tighter and only call with hands that do very well in the multi-way pots.
Whenever your opponent shows any sign of weakness, attack without holding back. Don't worry about being mean, that's the fun of the game. Players often bluff with nothing - this happens when they check hands that call multiple bets. Players also don't usually check, so when they do, it is a sign of weakness. When your opponents check on the flop and the turn, it is safe to assume they possess a weak hand. Take advantage of this with a bluffing strategy and bet with not only a semi-bluff but with a full-bluff.
Look Out for Weaker Players
Before joining a table, be a spectator for a couple of rounds to determine the strength of the players seated at the table. Your best bet at taking home the pot is to play against weaker opponents. Otherwise, you will be the weak one and get intimidated out of the game. If you wish to hone your skills by rolling with the pros, we suggest you don't play for real money.
When placing real-money poker bets, endeavor to put yourself in a position where you have a higher probability of winning. This means that you have to be better than at least half of the members around the table. This strategy is more applicable in a land-based lobby than on the online casino.
Only Play When in a Good Mood
You can consider this more an expert tip than a strategy. Players who have ever underestimated the power of the mind, are those with very little to show for their casino gaming escapades. Poker, just like all other games on the casino, is fun, and you can't have fun when in a sour mood. It is not advisable to play when frustrated, demoralized, or distressed. You need your head in the game to successfully implement winning strategies and crush your opponents. When you're energized, and in high spirits, that's a good signal to start playing.
Play Solid Poker
If you are a poker enthusiast, you probably have your eyes peeled on a few tournaments to take part in. The World Series of Poker, commonly called WSOP, is the major worldwide poker tournament held in Las Vegas every year. When joining such a grand competition, you don't need to worry about survival. The trick is to play solid poker in the early stages of the tournament.
One of the most complicated aspects of poker games is the timing for stack preservation. Avoid playing a defensive game, rather play solid and aggressive poker early to build up a stack for a cool deep run. You must double or triple your starter pack and deploy more survival tactics when you find out you are short-stacked and near the pay jump or money bubble.
Poker is one of the earliest and most popular casino games. Millions of players widely play it both in the online domain and the brick and mortar setting. Poker cannot be played alone like Blackjack, Roulette, or Slots. You always have to battle it out with different gamers who may be more or less experienced than you. The only way to come out as unscathed as possible is through strategy. But, remember that it's all a game, and your entertainment is the topmost priority. So head to the casino, pick any of our top online poker titles, and start playing the king's game!
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