Countless nights have I sat across a table from someone and watched them get plastered silly and throw away their entire stack of chips. I’ve been that person too – and there are nights where you’re just playing with friends for low stakes and it’s more about the fun than the poker – but if you’re in a casino, watch the alcohol. The truth is, while you may be more relaxed after 2 drinks, it may lead to you playing looser and less sharply, even if you’re not ‘drunk’.
Probably the number one mistake beginning poker players make is that they play far too many hands. But playing more doesn’t mean winning more, it usually means losing more. Try sticking to premium hands first.
When you play poker, you shouldn’t do it to escape from being depressed or having a really bad day. You start out on tilt — playing emotionally, not rationally — and you won’t play your best. Likewise, if during a poker game, you lose a big hand or get sucked out on and feel yourself going on tilt, stand up and take a break until you feel calm later on. Fellow players will sense your mood and take advantage of it.
One of the reasons you shouldn’t jump into a $5/10 game after winning a huge bunch of money at $2/4 is because as the stakes rise, so does the average skill level of the players sitting there. You want to be one of the best at the table, not the fish who sits down with sharks. If you’re making stacks of money at a lower level game, why move? You’re winning stacks of money. The swings up and down at higher limits are much bigger, and one big night’s win won’t last long at a high-stakes game.
There are many reasons people move up to a higher limit game than they usually play. Good reasons, like they’ve been winning consistently at a lower lever and are ready to move up, and bad reasons, like the line is shorter for higher limits or you want to impress someone. Don’t play at stakes that make you think about the actual money in terms of day-to-day life or with money you can’t lose. Even if you had one super-good night at $2/4, resist the urge to play $5/10. The next tip explains more why.
As you play, one of the single best things you can do is observe your opponents, even when you’re not in a hand. If you know that one player always raises in a certain position and another has a poker tell when he bluffs and a 3rd folds to every re-raise, you can use that information to help you decide how to play against them. Once you know that player 3 always folds to a re-raise on a river, that’s when you can bluff and steal a pot.
When you first start playing, it’s enough just to remember how to play and pay attention to your own hand. But once you’ve got that down, it’s incredibly important to look at what’s going on at the table. In Texas Hold’em, figure out what the best possible hand would be to fit the flop. Make sure you notice flush and straight possibilities. In 7-card stud, pay attention to what’s showing and what people have folded when you consider calling opponents.
This one follows the last tip. I see a lot of players look at another player’s final bet, look at the hand, and say ‘I know you’ve got me, but I have to keep you honest,’ as they throw in a final call. It may be worth it to see if a player really has the hand if you’re not sure and you’re gaining information that will help you later on, but if you really feel a player has the hand he’s representing and you’re beat, why give him another pile of your money? Those bets will add up over an evening.
Another common mistake beginners make is to think; ‘Well, I’ve already put that much in the pot, I have to stay in now.’ Nope. You can’t win a pot just by throwing money at it. There may be cases when pot odds warrant a call, but if you’re sure you’re beaten, and there’s no way your hand can improve to be the best hand, you should fold right away. The money you’ve already put in the pot isn’t yours anymore, and you can’t get it back just by playing a hand all the way to the end.
A lot of beginners understand that bluffing is a part of poker, but not exactly how. There’s is NO rule that one must bluff a certain amount or at all during a poker game, but many players don’t feel like they’ve won unless they’ve tried a poker bluff. Bluffs only work in certain situations and against certain people, and if you know a player always calls up to the showdown, it is literally impossible to bluff that player. It’s better never to bluff than to bluff ‘just to bluff’.
Would you like to play poker but don’t know how or where to start. Then you have come to the right place. This section is entirely dedicated to provide you with any information related to playing poker. There are many forms of playing poker, of which not all include spending money and unlocking bonuses. There are a lot of ways to play and practice poker for free. On PokerStars you can even host private games and play against friends you have invited in an online environment.
If you are still new to playing online poker, we suggest taking a look at the FAQ category on this page. There you will find the answers to a lot of frequently asked questions people have when they start to play poker. Also, you shouldn’t miss out on the poker tips we have gathered over the years. There are some small reminders on what to do and what not to do when playing poker. This takes a lot less time than having to read entire strategy articles and is often a lot easier to remember.
For the people that already know how to play poker and are looking to improve their game we also offer reviews of very useful poker software you can use. One of the most common used poker tools is PokerStove; it’s a very comprehensive poker odds calculator that can instantly tell you if you made the right or wrong mathematical decision when playing poker.
It can be quite a task to manage and keep track of your entire hand history, let alone make any statistical sense out of a large sample of hands. That’s why poker tracking software and tools were created so online players can easily analyze previous poker sessions.
Are aim is to give you the best experience when playing poker and making sure you get the same pleasure out of the game as millions of other people do around the world. Poker is a game that can be played by any one on any level, be it a hobbyist playing for fun money, serious pro’s making a living, bankers looking for a thrill, celebrities and sport legends doing charity and many other types of people in all kind of shapes and form.
So what are you waiting for? Explore PokerHarder and start having fun playing poker today!