Have you decided that it is finally time to try out online poker for the first time? Maybe you’ve watched a tournament, seen the pros in action, and thought “Hey, I could do that.”
The World Poker Tour estimates that there are over 100 million poker players around the world. You certainly won’t struggle to find a game, and you’ll find there to be plenty of poker blogs, YouTube channels, and more information to get stuck into. Well, before you start playing with your hard-earned money there are some things you should always do to prepare yourself.
Understand the Rules
It is amazing how many people start out playing poker without a full understanding of the rules. It is fine if you are playing a free poker game but not if you might lose your money due to a lack of understanding.
As well as knowing the terms, such as “big blind” and “small blind” it is also crucial to understand the poker winning hands, and how they rank in comparison with one another. Ultimately, this will decide who wins the hand. There are some great resources out there explaining poker and the strategies that people use. For now, you might want to stick to some very basics.
Remember that there are also different variations of poker. The most popular type in the US is Texas Hold ’em, but there are other games out there that are classed as poker but have slightly different rules.
It is best (and easiest on your brain) if you start with one variety. Once you understand the rules to this you can always try out another.
Set Up Your Computer or Other Device
Have you got the right sort of setup for playing online poker? You will probably want a PC setup where you can see and hear everything that is going on. If you struggle to read messages on your phone, you’ve got little chance of being able to see all the cards and understand what is happening on a mobile device.
Some people go all out and use gaming chairs, high-fidelity soundbars, and even multiple monitors, without forgetting to take care of eyesight, of course. You might consider some of this overkill. The main thing is that you are comfortable and can see the cards and hear any alerts that you might get while playing.
If you’re going to be playing online, a stable internet connection is also an absolute must. If you have patchy Wi-Fi, then it is a good idea to connect via the more stable Ethernet cable.
Decide on Your Bank
How much are you going to play with? Poker games start from very small sums of money, and the buy-in does not have to be expensive at all. When you’re just getting started, be sure to start small. While no two people are the same when it comes to taking risks, there’s no point in playing with big sums when you’re not confident with what you are doing.
Your bank should be a fund to get you started so that it won’t matter if you lose. Fortunately, you don’t have to go straight in with the high rollers.
Watch Others Play
This ties in with another of our preparation methods, understanding the rules. The best way to wrap your head around how a poker game works is to watch it unfold. There are millions of people who like to watch poker games. The World Series of Poker finale event sometimes gets over one million people watching on sports television networks.
The benefits of watching others play are that you can learn from them and see how poker games develop. If you watch long enough, you’ll see excellent strategy, bluffing, and sometimes even just plain luck.
When you watch poker on television you can normally see the hands that the players have and evaluate their strategies. What would you do in this situation?
You can also see just how drastically a game can change when the dealer pulls out the shared or community cards. Sometimes a strong hand can suddenly be weaker.
Like most sports or games, you should watch first to develop your understanding of how things work. This is true whether you play online poker, or you plan to play in person first. You want to know the conventions of the game and avoid making bad decisions.
Develop Your Strategy
When you’ve watched a bit of poker and worked out the basics, it is time to develop your strategy. Will you be a conservative player and only gamble when you feel like you have great cards? Will you almost always wait to see the shared cards get dealt?
Strategies vary greatly and that is one of the things that keeps poker interesting. In the early days, it is a good chance to experiment and try out different methods to see what works for you. When you go into your first online poker session, make sure you have a strategy lined up to play with, you’ll usually get better results.
Plenty of people playing online poker have been doing so for many years and know all the techniques. If you’re going to take them on, it is worth spending some time learning the ins and outs of poker and preparing yourself for the game. These five tips will get you on the right path.