We believe that there is always room to improve your poker skills. Whether you’re brand new to the game or have been playing for a while, poker’s complexity means that you can never have too much good advice.
In this article, we are rounding out the top ten poker tips we feel can help players get the most out of their poker games.
1. Be selective on the hands you play
Knowing when not to play is just as important as knowing when to play. It’s understandable that new players keen on getting as much practice as possible will be eager to play less-than-great hands. In truth, a new player should be folding about 80% of the time – that’s roughly how often a player can expect to see a poor hand.
Playing a weak hand, sets you up to lose, right from the get-go. The best course of action is to play fewer hands by focusing on hand value but to then play aggressively when a good hand does present itself.
2. Pay attention to the cards on the table
It can be easy to focus entirely on your hole cards and become preoccupied with your betting strategy based on them but don’t forget – there are other cards to contend with too!
The community cards impact not just your game but that of your opponents as well. Pay close attention to the cards drawn and watch how your opponents react. They might give away useful hints as to what they might be holding. It will be very useful to learn the poker rules and improve your knowledge.
3. Know how and when to bluff
We’ll come right out and say it – bluffing is not for beginners. It takes an intimate knowledge of poker strategy to pull off a successful bluff and inexperienced players will likely see their bluff called extremely quickly.
Once you feel you are confident enough to pull off a bluff, think about when you put your new superpower into action. A decent bluff with poor timing can easily turn into a poor bluff. Keep your seating position and your opponents’ previous actions in mind when setting up your bluff.
4. Observe other players
This might seem obvious but as we said before, it is easy to become so absorbed in your cards and strategy. Watch what other players are doing – betting, raising, calling – as well as how they are doing it. Does a player seem confident or hesitant in their action? Do they look more or less calm after the flop?
All these clues are not just useful to your current game but are also educational. Observe how successful players behave, what they do and do not project to other players, to help you improve your own performance at the table.
5. Pick the right game for your skill level
New players will lose often. That’s just the nature of learning something new. Even experienced players can find themselves at the nasty end of a losing streak. Mitigate the financial impact of those events by choosing tables that are suited to your level of play.
Going up against players who are much better than you will be both expensive and discouraging. Competing against players who are less experienced than you are may result in easy wins but will not pose a challenge, which can be a little boring.
Choose tables where the players are roughly at your same level, which lets you put all you have learned into practice without the risk of losing your entire bankroll in a few rounds.
6. Don’t be the first player to limp
To limp in poker is to bet the absolute minimum needed to remain in play. The term is also used to describe the scenario when the small blind calls the big blind instead of raising. New players are more likely to limp than experienced players, who prefer to raise with a hand they wish to play.
Limping is considered to be a passive approach that signifies weak play, though it does have its place in some scenarios. For the most part, though, being the first player to limp tells the table that you are not confident in your hand and are perhaps holding a hand that is not strong enough to be in play.
7. Play your strong hands fast to build the pot
There is certainly a time for slow playing a strong hand and it can achieve certain goals very effectively. But at the start of the game, when the pot is still being built, you should be playing fast and aggressive strong hands to put more money on the table.
8. Fold when you’re unsure
In many cases, it is safer (and less costly) to fold on an uncertain hand than it is to plod on and hope for the best. Especially if you are still new to the game, it’s important to keep in mind that folding is a strategy in itself, preventing you from losing too much and limiting your capacity to play on.
9. Don’t pay too much for draws
A draw is a hand that requires an additional card or cards to complete or improve. Many new players make the mistake of calling when they should fold, in the hopes that the next card might make a big difference to the value of their hand.
If you have a hand that is relying on that one final river card, your hand is not strong enough to have been in play in the first place. Folding would be less financially painful than continuing.
10. Only play when you feel like it
Even players who are fully focused, alert and sober sometimes make fatal mistakes in poker. Just imagine what happens to players who are not at the top of their game.
Never gamble on anything – poker, slots, baccarat, anything – when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Do not gamble when you are tired, upset or angry because these emotions can cloud your judgement and lead to frustrating results.
Poker is something that should be enjoyed for its own sake. Approaching the game with any other attitude is a recipe for disaster.
Good poker casinos to play
The online casino UK where you play is just as important as how you play. Choose a reputable online poker casino to ensure that you get a safe and fair experience every time you play.
The following are our favourite poker casino brands and our top recommendations for poker players looking for quality casino online games.