If you’ve just decided to try your hand at poker, you chose a great time to do so. There are so many resources available for players, and there are more players and more options than ever before. Poker can be a great game if you have the discipline and skill, and yes, it’s possible to turn it into a career. But to get there, you need to have the basics down first. Let’s take a look at how you can get your start in poker.
Learn the Basic Rules
The very first thing you have to do is learn the basic rules of poker. The most popular and most accessible variant is 2-card Hold’em, so this is the type you should try to become familiar with when getting started. The easiest way to learn is to check videos. Poker is a highly visual game, and video is the perfect format for you to quickly understand the rules and dynamics of a poker table.
Start Looking at Games
Once you know the basics, we suggest you start looking at tournaments. Again, YouTube is a treasure trove of information for players who want to learn and improve their game. Not only can you watch tournaments, but you can also look at some of the most iconic games and hands in history.
Another great thing about watching the pros play is that you’ll notice things that they never do. For instance, you might see them fold a hand that you would’ve played 100% of the time, or plays you would never dare make. You will start identifying patterns and tighten up your game as a result.
It’s also good to follow players you feel affinities with. Learn their style of play. Watch some of their games/plays online. Check interviews where they talk about strategies, games, or hands they played. All of this could give you some valuable information. Masterclass is another great resource and has players like multiple time WSOP winners like Daniel Negreanu giving lessons, so that could be very valuable if you want to instantly elevate your game.
Start Playing Online
Playing online is probably the single best way to learn poker. You can choose to play with play money if you want, but we suggest you find a poker room that has plenty of freerolls instead. People don’t play with money they don’t care about in the same way that they do with real money. While freerolls might not have the same significance as a money game or a tournament, they still have prizes worth winning, and people will play more realistically.
The most important thing here is to find the right place to play. For this, we suggest you check out onlinecasinos.co.uk. Not only can onlinecasinos.co.uk point you towards casinos with great bonuses, but they will make sure that the place you play at is safe and reputable. This is very important as some online poker rooms have gone bust before. So, you must do your research first on a site like this so you can at least be sure that you won’t get scammed out of your money.
Also, don’t expect online poker to be any easier than real-life poker. It’s also very different in many ways, but it does have the advantage that you’ll be alone and be able to concentrate better.
With online poker, you will learn how to read betting patterns, which is very important. This is also a good time to start working on things like pot odds, for instance. Also, you will start really integrating the rules of the game and the dynamics at the table.
In addition to joining a few freeroll tournaments, we also suggest you start with a small balance and try some of the lower stake tables. Penny tables are another great way to learn and you’ll get a chance to earn a little bit of money at the same time.
Play Games with Friends
While online poker is a great way to get some practice in, a lot of the game of poker is about knowing how to read your opponents, and you will have to get some practice playing live poker if you ever want to play live tournaments.
Not only do you have to learn how to read opponents, but you also need to learn how to control your whole body language. This is not something you have to worry about when playing online, and it requires a lot of practice. Many players have never been able to make the transition from online to offline play for that reason. So, you have to find a circle of friends you can play with.
Make sure that they are people you’re comfortable with and who will be willing to teach you the game. This will be very important as you’re bound to make some crucial mistakes, and you want people who’ll be patient with you.
Playing live will also get you familiar with small things like watching the order in which you should be betting, or how to count and handle chips. For instance, when you play online, you don’t have to count how much is in the pot. But when playing live, you may have to calculate this on the fly, so this is very important when making bets so you know what percentage of the pot you’re putting in.
Go to a Live Casino
The next step is trying your skills live. But before you do, you need to have a solid bankroll management strategy. The biggest mistake is betting money you can’t lose. This will push you to play with “scared money”, and you will make important mistakes or be too afraid to make bold moves. One good rule is that if you can’t pay ten times the bankroll you’re coming in with, you can’t afford it.
The next step is finding the right tables to play and the best times as well. Money games are a great option for beginners as they allow you to get in and out when you want. If you’re going to go, we suggest you avoid times when there are a lot of professionals there, like during the day for instance. Saturdays and Friday nights are great times to go as there will be more casual players. This will be a great time to get a sense of what it feels to bet real money, and the real pressure that comes with it.
So, if you want to get into poker, this is everything you need to know. The rest all boils down to practice and how much you’re willing to learn about the game.