Poker strategy for beginners
Texas Hold'em is one of the easiest games for learning but it takes years to master this game completely. In this article, we will talk about basic poker concepts that novice players should learn, in other words, poker strategy for beginners or poker basic strategy. First of all, we recommend you familiarize yourself in detail with poker rules if you have just joined the poker world.
If you have already familiarized yourself with the rules thoroughly, then let's move to a poker strategy. Globally, poker tactics can be divided into a strategy for cash games and a strategy for tournaments. We will give you several tips that will help you with any discipline.
Basic strategy tips for poker newbies
Let’s now discuss some terrific tips that will help you learn poker strategy in a short period of time, as well as prevent you from making common mistakes most newbies do at the start of their poker journey. Take the information given below seriously if you want to achieve great results in poker.
1. Learn game rules and poker hand ranking
The first thing you need to do as a novice player is to learn game rules. A lot of players think they will be winning thousands of dollars right after briefly considering the poker game rules, but it doesn’t work like that. First, you should spend some time examining the nature of game you are going to play and its specificities, hand ranking, strength of a certain poker hand, and it’s definitely not the thing, which can be done in one night.
Different poker variations have different hand rankings. For example, in traditional Hold’em, a full house beats a flush, while in 6+ Holdem, a flush ranks over a full house. Besides, you should quickly make your decisions, as no one likes those who spend much much time thinking about whether or not they have a straight or a flush. This is why it’s very important to understand the order of poker hands and their values.
2. Understand the value of positions in poker
When it comes to basic texas holdem strategy, a vital step to take is to familiarize yourself with positions you can take at the poker table. Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of your position is crucial in poker. When you are playing in position, you have the opportunity to see what your opponents do (check, call, or raise) and make your decision based on their acting.
For instance, if your opponent checks, then it might indicate they have a weak hand so that you can put pressure and force them to fold their cards. However, checking can also refer to slow playing therefore stay cautious at the same time as not to get trapped. You should play more hands and show more aggressive play when having a position on your opponents.
Playing out of position isn’t that beneficial since you will now give information to your rivals. However, understanding the cons of each seat at the table can help you save your money.
3. Determine your opponents' play style
There are two main types of opponents: loose and tight. Loose players often enter a game, there are both premium hands and marginal hands in their range. Tight opponents use a chart of starting hands and play solely on it that shifts their range towards very strong pocket cards. According to the manner of their play, they can be aggressive or passive. Aggressive players enter the game only with a raise and 3-bet while passive players prefer to limp and to call.
4. Start playing at micro and low stakes
For some people, playing micro-stakes may seem boring, but it’s better to learn poker strategy risking little money instead of losing an entire bankroll in one game session at medium or high limits.
Newbies usually lose money in the beginning, but if you play at low limits, it won’t hurt you that much. Learn to play against weak players like you, then, smoothly move to the next level. This will give you a better understanding of the poker game.
Try more expensive tables only when you feel comfortable playing a particular limit, but don’t jump to high. Don’t ever play games that are beyond your bankroll, otherwise, you’ll quickly go bankrupt and hence face the worst poker player's enemy – tilt.
5. Play tight
Novice players usually enter the game with a wide range of hands, which is a huge mistake. At the beginning, you should only act with the strongest hands so that you won’t be put on tough decisions, especially after you have invested much money in the pot.
Thus, you will learn poker strategy much faster and without losing funds. When having a strong holding, you can confidently jump into the action. In such spots, try playing more aggressively, that is consider betting and raising rather than passive calling.
A tight ABC game will help you to start earning at micro-limits. But, to move up the limits, this basic tactic will not be enough. Starting from medium limits, your opponents will easily read you, and they won’t let you win. Therefore, you should constantly improve your game to become a strong winning player in the long run.
6. Get acquainted with poker odds
Basic holdem strategy is about understanding the odds of making a winning hand from your hole cards. All decisions you make at the poker table should be logical and reasonable, this is why it’s important to know poker mathematics. To start out, you need to learn poker odds. You will hit certain hands more frequently than others, and so will your opponents. Understanding how often you will be able to improve your weak hand or hit a drawing hand is one of the key aspects in poker.
In addition to calculating outs, you also should calculate your pot odds in order to know whether or not it’s worth taking a particular action. This gives you a chance to make the right decision.
7. Be disciplined and act according to a plan
For every action at the poker table, you must have a clear plan and justification: why do you make a raise, what do you call for and how do you plan to make value. Take your time in making decisions, it's better to think for 10 seconds more and to play as correctly as possible than to press an unnecessary button rashly.
Poker is a game of skill and mathematics plays one of the key roles here. In a tournament as well as in a cash-game you need to correlate a risk and an implied profit. Pay attention to the size of bets and stacks of your opponents. Calculate outs on improving your hand and correlate them with the pot odds. You cannot count on luck in poker. You have to constantly improve yourself in order to be competitive in modern online-poker.
Most common mistakes of novice players
- Exposure to tilt
Psychological stability is a thing that distinguishes a poker professional from an amateur. The professional perceives even the most expensive moves and bad-beats only as a negative turn of dispersion, while the beginner is ready to destroy the surrounding objects after losing a 10$ coinflip. In order to succeed, you need to develop your own resilience to tilt. This quality comes with experience and a long played poker distance.
- Non-observance of a bankroll management
If you plan to make money on poker, then you need to be serious about your bankroll management. Poker game is your business project and poker bankroll is your starting capital. In order to reach the top, you need to move up smoothly to avoid the risk of poker bankruptcy.
- Rushing about the disciplines
You have to decide quickly enough what poker format you prefer and develop exactly in it systematically. The modern realities of poker are such that only players with big experience can show outstanding results in all disciplines. Without proper experience and a big bankroll, you cannot play qualitatively in all disciplines.
If you have chosen a cash-game, then play limits of NL2-NL5 with a bankroll from $100 up to $200; if you want to play MTT with the same bankroll, then start practicing in MTSNG (multi-table SNG-tournaments) with buy-ins from $0.25 up to $1.
- Imitation of professionals
A lot of beginners come to poker after watching television broadcasts. They try to play like the best players and apply the same actions as on a screen.
The main mistake is that poker professionals know clearly the justification and reason for one or another certain non-standard action. Beginners, in their turn, play by professionals’ patterns and don’t give value to the correctness of their actions in a particular hand. This leads to the fact that players make completely illogical actions and lose their money.
- Showing emotions at the table
Having a great hand, novice players often "let" their opponents know it, showing their emotions and making specific gestures at the table. This applies to live poker, of course. If you are lucky to get a strong starter or hit a winning hand later in the betting, you can make smaller bets to appear weak and thus mislead your opponents.
Psychology plays a big part in poker. This is an essential skill to learn in terms of texas holdem strategy for beginners.
Best poker rooms for beginners
Online poker may seem tough for those players who just start their poker careers. There are a lot of different sites offering a wide variety of poker games. Therefore, it’s very important to choose a room that will suit your needs.
If you're a novice poker player, then check out our list of poker rooms that are good for newbies. These are websites with excellent welcome bonuses, fast customer support, and games for play money:
- BestPoker. It attracts poker beginners with a first deposit bonus of up to €2 000. Besides, this is a reliable poker room that provides safe and fast payments, a large number of tournaments with affordable buy-ins, competent support service, etc.
- 888poker. This poker site attracts recreational players, which means that poker games at 888 are much easier than in other poker rooms. There are a lot of freerolls giving you the chance to build your bankroll from scratch, as well as cheap tournaments and cash games. In addition, 888poker offers a generous welcome bonus.
- PartyPoker. It can boast of high-quality graphics and excellent software, which is regularly updated. There you will find a wide variety of low stakes cash games available in different poker formats (NLH, Fixed-Limit Holdem, Pot-limit Holdem, PLO, 7 Cards Stud).
- PokerStars. This room provides poker games on play money, meaning that you can practice strategy tips and improve your game without risking your money. Real money games and tournaments can be also found here.
Today, we've told you about the key elements of poker tactics for beginners and pointed out the main mistakes that are peculiar to them. We hope that this material is useful to you, and you will not make these mistakes and become a strong winning player.