Poker is an interesting game. A game of strategy, probability, psychology, and few opportunities. Online poker strips the game into importance and, besides the luck factor, brings the game down to just about the players. About you.
Every hand you play is about what you do and your reasons for doing it. Will you check, call, increase, or fold. Do you improve because you are your opponent’s 7meter to call, or do you want them to fold. Maybe you hope to re-raise because they are trying to bluff, or you have to slowplay hands to keep others in hand. But most of the time you have to simply fold.
Each hand is different and you need a large bag of tricks to handle many unique and sometimes difficult situations. Where did the big bag of tricks come form? Experience.
Experience requires a lot of time at the table. Learning curves take time and can be expensive. New online poker players must pace themselves and play without losing too much money. Start small and slowly, slowly, work your way up to bigger game bets.
Ideally, new online poker players should start out on free tables. This is the best arena for learning the basics and seeing a lot of hands. But it is important to realize that free poker is a far different game from poker with real money. With playing money, players are far more willing to play their hands have to fold. This applies to you and your opponents.
After some time playing free poker, new online poker players will begin to understand the type of hand that wins more often. They will also start playing them in such a way as to maximize profits from winning hands. They will also realize that to stay ahead you have to fold a lot of hands. Thin hands simply don’t win often enough to cover the frequent losses of these types of hands.
At this stage the poker player must also realize that he plays against other beginners who often throw them away playing free money around like that, well, playing money. It is important to develop strategies to overcome players who will call bets or raise wild because they play for fun. Developing these skills will be profitable later when playing for real money.
Now that new online poker players have some experience and some tricks on their arms, it is time to venture into the real money table. Hoping to be losing money at first. The transition is difficult because the game has changed drastically with real money on the table. Start at the lowest available betting table and hope to stay them longer than you think.
The aim is to patiently learn to hone your poker skills until you have become a consistent winner. By consistent, we mean consistent. One big win in one game is not a reason to jump into bigger game bets with your suddenly large bank roll.
Once your money has reached a point where it continues to grow, and you can be sure you will make a profit, you can begin to venture into bigger games. Every step up the stairs for larger bets of poker tables will create a new learning curve. Here, you learn about yourself and learn to master your own psychology. More money on the table changes the way you make decisions and you must learn to control your emotions to make the right decision.
Going up to the next level will often require that you fall back down to fill your bank roll at a table you know you can win at. This is where the skills that were first developed in free tables come into play. Like free cash players, your opponents at lower stakes are inexperienced and error-prone tables. Sit patiently and wait to take advantage of their blunder. And don’t feel bad about taking their money. You only teach them the hard lessons you have learned before.
Poker can be a life of a long learning experience. One that can affect your life outside of poker. Knowing when to show your card, or information obstacles, or even bluffing is a part of life and interacting with people personally or in business. Just remember to be patient and play your cards right when opportunities arise. The learning curve never ends.