The game of Poker has exploded in popularity over the last decade, largely thanks to the proliferation of opportunities for beginners to try the game online through sites like Skypoker.com. Texas Hold ‘em is undeniably the most popular variant of Poker in the world right now, and the version of the game that new players are most likely to encounter with a quick search online. However, the fact remains that whichever variant of Poker you choose to play, be it Texas Hold ‘em or an old school classic like Five Card Stud, there are certain basics that apply to all games of Poker. Here are a few tips that every beginner should be aware before committing any cash to a game of Poker.
When you have just started playing Poker, it can be all too tempting to play nearly every hand that you are dealt. After all, the point is to get involved in the game, and not sit out hands as an observer, right? Well, the fact is that many beginners would avoid needlessly losing money if they learned to take the hit, lose the initial stake required at the beginning of a hand, and fold when dealt bad hands – before the hand progresses and the stakes are raised. While bluffing on a bad hand is indeed a legitimate tactic in Poker, effective bluffing requires skilful assessment of the other players in the game, and should not be attempted on an inexperienced whim.
This brings us on neatly to the next point, which is not to stay in a hand merely because you have already put into the pot during several rounds of betting. If another player is raising confidently and aggressively, and your hand has turned out to be mediocre, simply staying in for the sake of the money you’ve already put in the pot can be a quick way to blow your stack of chips. Once in the pot, the money no longer yours, and playing a weak hand to the conclusion of the round will not increase your chances of recovering money already staked – it will very likely just cost you more.
As a beginner in the game of Poker, it can be enough to try and remember the rules of the game and the relative values of different hands. However, Poker is always played and won against other opponents, and their behaviour is as important to your chances of winning as the cards you are dealt. ‘Tells’ in online Poker can be quite subtle, although there are signals there to be learnt. Physical games in a casino or your local pub can be an easier way to start learning how to read other players. Look for patterns of behaviour, and any idiosyncrasies of movement or speech that seem to accompany certain betting patterns. A necessary precursor to learning the vital skills of the tactic of bluffing, you should try and pay as much attention to the other players in the game as you do to the cards on the table.