TOP 10 TIPS FOR POKER ONLINE
We hope we have given you some invaluable advice on these pages on finding the best online poker sites for American players like you. Now let us give you our top 10 tips for US poker online players to help your game run even more smoothly.
1. GET A GREAT WELCOME BONUS
Many poker websites attract new customers to their rooms by using generous welcome bonuses. But it pays to shop around first. Make sure you're getting a good deal and that there aren't any hidden catches or slow cashouts. That 100% welcome bonus up to $200 sounds great, but it's no good if you end up playing for a lot longer than it would take at another site to claim your cash.
2. LEARN TO LET GO OF YOUR HAND
Playing hands is what poker is all about, right? Well, to a point, but folding is a lot more important. Successful online grinders will play a fraction of their hands. Poker moves so fast online, there's always another hand just a few seconds away, particularly if you're multitabling. Don't get attached to a risky draw - just let go of your hand and move on with your game. We all love having a gamble then and now, crossing our fingers and seeing if our 3-2 offsuit will get there on the river, but long-term it is a path to bankroll ruin!
3. FREEROLLS ARE YOUR FRIENDS
If you are new to online poker and want to get a feel for the game, as well as minimize the risk of losing money, consider starting out playing freerolls. These, as the name suggests, are free to enter, and often there are cash prizes attached courtesy of the poker site. As well as getting you used to a particular room, they get you used to playing against some very loose players. Once you make the jump to real money games you'll notice the players generally becoming much tighter. Freerolls are the perfect preparation.
4. DON'T JUMP TOO HIGH TOO QUICK
Many players start off their online poker experience playing freerolls or the micro-stakes tables. They are all well and good, but 1c/2c cash games can get a little dull after a while. That's when players make a mistake - bored, they empty their bankroll and load up a higher stakes table. They soon find the level of player much tougher and the swings tougher. Before they know it their hard-earned bankroll has vanished.
Sensible bankroll management is key to online poker - without it you'll be finished. A general rule of thumb is to have enough to cover your buy-ins: for cash games that means 20 buy-ins available (so, at a 5c/10c table, and with a buy-in costing 100 big blinds, you should have $200 available). For tournament players playing $5 tournaments, you should have around 100 buy-ins set back, or $500. Master bankroll management successfully and you won't go bust!
5. ONLINE POKER ISN'T ALL ABOUT TEXAS HOLD'EM
If you enjoy online poker, chances are you got into the game by playing Texas Hold'em. After all, Hold'em is the world's most popular variant of the game, the simplest to learn, the 'Cadillac of Poker' as Doyle Brunson puts it.
But hunt a little further and you will find many other variants, all just as exciting as Texas Hold'em. Not only that, try out some of the rarer forms of the game and you may encounter many more inexperienced players. Pot Limit Omaha or 7-Card Stud, for example, attract fewer players than the classic Texas Hold'em but also players who don't really know what they're doing. Learn the new variants and exploit their inexperience.
6. TURN OFF YOUR WEB BROWSER!
OK, if you are playing a no download version of a poker client this may be hard, but when playing online poker, the fewer distractions you have, the better you will play. It's as simple as that. If you are out of a hand, don't load up YouTube until it's your turn to play the next hand - spend the down time studying your opponents and taking notes. If your mind is on the game you'll do better in the long run.
7. LEARN TO MULTITABLE
So, there you are on a quiet Friday night, you've just taken down a $20 Sit & Go, and you're feeling pretty good about your win. But wait - how long did it take you to play that game? Half an hour? An hour, perhaps? That win isn't looking so good now, is it?
If you're going to be serious about making money regularly and long-term, you'll need to increase the number of games you can play, and that means mastering the art of multi-tabling. Many of the world's top players are comfortable playing 9, 16, even 24 games simultaneously, especially when they are cash players getting the volume in and trying to earn as much rakeback as possible.
Start off trying out two tables at a time - this shouldn't be a problem on a popular site with enough traffic to make that possible. If you can concentrate on two tables, move up gradually to three, then four. Make sure your site allows adjustable table sizes so you can fit all your games on one screen, and while you're at it, invest in a big monitor (as big as your budget will allow). Soon you will be multitabling like the pros, your player points will increase exponentially, and earning that deposit bonus looks a much more likely prospect.
8. OUTCLASSED? MOVE DOWN FAST!
Many online poker players don't realise they're being outclassed until it's too late. Suddenly their bankroll is gone, they're left fighting for scraps on the freerolls wondering where it all went wrong.
Oftentimes it's gone wrong because players played way above their skill level. If you find yourself in a $0.25/$0.50 cash game, and players aren't folding to your continuation bets, or showing audacious bluffs on the river with garbage, you're probably in the wrong game. Drop down a level or two where you can pick off the easier players. Improve your game then move back up again. Soon you will realise where the better players start playing. For example, online Sit & Gos players are of a fairly similar standard until you reach the $50 buy-in mark. Find you comfort level and stick with it.
9. DON'T DRINK AND PLAY!
We talked about distractions, right? Well, drinking at the computer is just the same as drinking in a casino - it loosens you up, takes away those inhibitions, and make you more inclined to gamble on that two-outer you wouldn't have dreamed of betting with were you sober. Treat online poker like anything else, and keep the beers on ice till you stop playing.
10. TAKE A BREAK
Even the most experienced pros get table-weary. Whether it's from playing too much and burning out, or just experiencing one crushing bad beat too many, playing poker can be exhausting. If you find yourself losing concentration or feeling tilt setting in, turn off the laptop and take a break. Go for a walk, watch TV, do anything that resets your brain and prepares you for another stint at the tables. You'll be a happier player for it.
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