You don’t have to be Daniel Negreanu to enjoy a poker game. One of the keys to the success of the cards lies precisely in how easy it is to understand the rules and start playing.
Every professional began his journey in poker like any other beginner. The passage of time, perseverance, study and many, many poker games, allowed him to become a real shark.
In today’s post, we give you the keys to start your own way with cards. Don’t miss these tips and advice to learn how to play poker and lay the foundations for what could be a promising future as a poker professional.
Tips to learn to play poker well
Learning poker is within anyone’s reach. But there is a big difference between doing it the right way or staying on the surface of this fascinating game. If you prefer the first option, you’re in the right place. Here are the best tips on how to learn to play poker.
Understand the game
The first and foremost thing to learn how to play poker is to understand its rules and dynamics. As you know, poker has multiple variants, different from each other. We recommend you to start with the most popular one: Texas Hold’em.
Learning to play Texas Hold’em poker is as simple as this: each player will receive two hole cards, hidden from the rest. Based on those two cards, a first round of betting takes place, known as preflop.
The small blind is the first to speak, followed by the big blind and then the rest of the players, betting, finally, the player in the “button” position, a position that, like the bets and to make the game fair, rotates in turns, clockwise, so that all players have mandatory bets – small blind and big blind – and all play in the last position, that of the button, which represents the “dealer”.
Once the bets are matched, the three community cards are dealt in the center of the table. We are in the round known as the flop, which opens a second round of betting. Players can check, raise or call, or simply fold.
The fourth card, known as the turn, is dealt. Again, players place their bets. There is only one card left for the showdown. The fifth card, known as the river, ends the hand.
The players who have stayed in the game, after a final round of betting, show their cards and the highest hand between the two hole cards and three of the community cards wins.
Learn to observe and analyze
In your first poker games, observing your opponents and analyzing their behavior will be very enriching.
If they play many hands or are selective, if they bet heavily or always tend to call the chips, if they make gestures that betray nervousness or doubt or if, on the contrary, they maintain an unchanged expression throughout the game.
Identifying your opponents will be crucial in your poker games, since it will allow you to anticipate their moves and know what to do on each occasion.
Knowing how to manage your bankroll is key
Bankroll is the amount of money you have available to play with. Playing responsibly is one of the first rules to enjoy poker. Therefore, never exceed your budget and always play within the economic limits you have set for yourself.
The best poker players never bet more than what they have, but, from the first moment, they take into account their bankroll, a determining factor in their poker games.
The last tip is closely linked to this advice. Selecting the hands you play very well will bring you much more profit than choosing to play all the possible hands.
To do this, you will have to know very well the value of each hand in poker and know which ones are worth betting on preflop. In the same way, in streets you should never lose sight of and take into account not only your possible play or hand project, but also that of your opponents.
For example: Imagine that, on the table there are 2-5-7-7, of different suits. In your hand, you have Ace-4. The river could give you a straight in case of a 3, a not inconsiderable hand. However, you have an opponent at the table who, after the 7 appeared on the table, has increased his bet. His hand could hide a 5-7, which would give him a full house on the turn.
What to do in such cases? Your knowledge of your opponents, acquired by paying attention to how they usually play, what cards they usually go with, when they usually fold, etc., together with your position at the table, will help you decide what would be the best move to make.
Learn to control your emotions
In addition to familiarizing yourself with the rules and hands of poker, you have to keep in mind that there is a powerful enemy that is always present at a poker table: the tilt.
This dreaded situation, which leads players to make wrong decisions and wreaks havoc on their bankroll, is especially frequent in beginner players. Tilt is a state of frustration and anger in which a player enters after suffering, for example, a bad beat (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EoI9cUPpm5Q) or having fallen into a “draw dead” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xZObpbdzNI).
It usually occurs in those hands in which a player was a clear winner.
But, when the cards are revealed, an opponent has beaten him and taken his chips. This triggers a set of negative emotions that clouds the player’s judgment and makes him bet compulsively and disproportionately on the next hands he plays.
How to avoid tilt? By learning to control your emotions and above all by understanding that losing is part of the game.
Free poker or real money poker to start with?
It will all depend on how comfortable you see yourself in the game. Free poker is an excellent option for anyone who doesn’t yet feel confident about betting money.
If you are just starting out in poker, free poker is your best option because you can concentrate on learning poker without worrying about the money you lose. You only have to take into account that you are not going to obtain any economic benefit, just learning (which is already a lot).
You also have to value the fact that, in free poker, there are “unrealistic” situations at a poker table with real money. For example, in free poker, all players “pay” to see the flop. This is not the case in cash poker.
Moreover, since it is played with play money, the stakes are, in many cases, unconscionable. In this sense, bluffing is the order of the day.
And many people have an aggressive attitude at the table, since they are not playing with real money and do not intend to learn how to play for real.
After a few games, you might consider moving up a level and jumping into playing poker for real money. In this context, learning will be much more effective and nourishing for you, since the stakes are much more reasonable and you will have to evaluate very well what to do at each moment.
Always with responsibility and knowing which risks to take and which not to take, in order to better enjoy the experience of increasing the level of our poker game, which will be reflected in our capabilities at the tables.