There is so much advice out there for new poker players, it can be hard to keep up! Here are JohnSlots, we want you to get the best possible experience every time you play so we have narrowed down the volumes of information into one easy-to-read and beginner-friendly article.
Here you will find the seven most important things to keep in mind before you start playing poker as well as tips to remember while in play.
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1. Learn the poker hands rankings and the rules
The very first thing you should do is learn what combinations of cards are worth playing and which ones aren’t. Hands range in value from the rare Royal Flush to the High Card, and being able to recognise the value of cards quickly will make it easier to place smart bets.
A thorough understanding of hand values and the basic rules of the game are crucial to avoid making bets that have a poor chance of success.
2. Play with low stakes first
Armed with your in-depth knowledge of the rules, it can be tempting to jump in and start betting big. After all, you know how to play poker! We’re here to tell you to hold your horses. Start off small. Players who throw themselves into a highly competitive high-stakes game right off the bat don’t get very far.
Start off in low stakes games to ensure that even if you lose repeatedly, you will not decimate your bankroll to the point where you cannot play any more. As a new player, expect to lose fairly often but the value of these games isn’t monetary, it is in gaining experience and knowledge.
3. Choose the table carefully
As you start playing poker regularly, you will begin to recognise other players. This allows you to choose your table carefully. Avoid players who are much more experienced than you are (and consistently beat you) until you are confident you can match their level. Look for tables with players who are of a similar level to you or ones you know you can beat.
4. Fold if your hand is weak
Many newbies do not realise that knowing when to fold is a valuable skill and is as much a part of the game as betting and bluffing. There is no point in continuing a round if you know that your hand is very likely to be beaten.
It might seem counterintuitive, after all, you are playing to gain experience and folding puts you out of action. But playing with a weak hand is essentially like throwing money away, money that could be put to better use when playing with stronger hands.
5. Play aggressively with the hands you choose to play
If you do have a strong hand that you are happy to play with, don’t be timid about betting. The way you bet gives your opponents clues as to what you might be holding and an aggressive strategy might induce others to fold.
6. Don’t bluff too much
The movies tend to romanticise bluffing in poker games but don’t be too eager to bluff before you are confident enough to pull it off. You are better off learning how to read your opponents’ bluff first instead of giving it a go without fully understanding the scope behind a bluff.
7. Use position to your advantage
Every player should understand the role of seating position in the game of poker. Late position players are generally at an advantage over early position players because they have more opportunities to figure out what their opponents might be up to.
Adapt your play depending on your position during the round. When it’s your turn to play later, take the opportunity to practice aggressive betting.