by Liv Boeree
1. As a beginner, the most important thing is to start very small. Too many new players either start playing too high stakes or move up levels too quickly and as such find themselves losing their online money and constantly having to re-load. If you deposit $50, then play either free money or the microstakes ($0.01/$0.02) until you become comfortable with the rules, the Poker software and discover how to profit from the game.
2. Be patient! We all hear stories of players who deposited once and moved up to $1000/$2000 NLH in the space of three months. Most of those stories aren’t true or require exceptional circumstances. Give yourself plenty of time to become comfortable with the game, and only play with the spare time you have when you are relaxed and feeling good. Winning poker comes through practice and patience, but cannot be rushed so don’t force yourself to play too much.
3. Tighten up your starting hand selection. Many new players (myself included!) find themselves tempted to play too many hands pre-flop. Chances are, if you are playing the micro-stakes as you should be, the standard of your opponents will be very low and they will be playing too loose. The best way for you to combat this is to tighten up and only play the top 10-15% of starting hands. This way you are giving yourself the biggest advantage at the start of a situation where you are getting money into the pot.
4. Be observant. When learning the game you should devote all of your attention to the table you’re playing at. Look for who is playing loose, who is playing tight, who likes to bluff, who tends to fold too easily and so on. You’ll be surprised how much information you can get from your opponents in a relatively short amount of time online. If it helps, keep a note of each thing a player does at a table. Absolute Poker allows you to do this by right-clicking on the player and selecting “note”.
5. Study the game! If you are serious about becoming a winning poker player, you need to read as much as possible about game strategies. These will accelerate your learning process massively as they will suggest new ideas about the game that may not have occurred to you otherwise. In particular look for articles on understanding pot odds, starting hand selections and bankroll management. Many poker magazines offer these along with the better known poker books so they could be a good investment to a beginner.
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