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Tips for Newbies

Online poker is rapidly becoming one of the most popular forms of gambling in the modern age.  With hit TV programs as High Stakes Poker, Late Night Poker and Poker after Dark gaining millions of viewers, the game is only going to get bigger throughout 2011 and beyond.

The rise of new games such as “PokerStars Home Games” and Full Tilt Poker’s “Rush Poker” have also helped to increase traffic and media exposure of casinos and online poker rooms. As recently as 2009, PokerStars broke the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest ever multi-table tournament online with just under 150,000 entrants.

Before you get started making a deposit online and playing in the micro-stakes games, here are a number of tips in order to improve your odds of building a bankroll in the game.

  1. Starting Hands: Whether you use Slansky’s, Harrington’s or Hellmuth’s starting hands in texas holdem isn’t really important.  But getting your pre-flop starting hand selection right is one of the most important factors to becoming a winning player in texas holdem.
  2. Bankroll Management: Bankroll management involves limiting how much of your bankroll that you expose at any single time.  Playing at the correct table stakes (risking no more than 5% of your bankroll at a table) and buying in with the right amount of chips (100 big blinds) will give you the best chance of maintaining or growing your existing bankroll.
  3. Bet-Sizing: Making the correct size of “bets” on board textures and against different styles of opponents is crucial to maximising your win-rate.  If you’re betting too much than you’re needlessly risking too many chips whilst forcing action out of the game, and if you bet too little than you’ll be giving favourable odds for drawing opponents to call you.
  4. Aggression/Bluffing: The best poker players in online poker tend to utilise a loose aggressive strategy that enables them to play a higher frequency of hands and bluff more pots.  For example, aggressive players will have a VPIP of 30% as opposed to tight/new players with a VPIP of just 12%.  As your experience in online poker increases, you should aim to play more hands aggressively, take initiative in the hands and control more of the pots.  Aggression is particularly more important in Heads Up matches.
  5. Think About Your Table Position: Most new poker players don’t give table position enough credit in poker but it is something that should directly affect which hands are playable or not.  Essentially, you should be far more willing to play marginal hands or bluff pots when you have position on an opponent (i.e. you are last to act in each round).
  6. Don’t Become a Calling Station: A lot of new poker players make the mistake of trying to outdraw their opponents regardless of the cost of the call.  In order to play +EV poker however, you should only make calls where the pot-odds or implied odds are in your favour.  You can use poker tools such as hand calculators and Poker Stove in order to help you make quick decisions on the spot.
  7. Do Take Advantage of Deposit Bonuses and Re-load Bonuses: All of the best online poker sites offer massive deposit bonuses andre-load bonuses for new players. Whenever possible, you should always take advantage of bonuses, promotions and exclusive freerolls which help you to build a bankroll and move up the stakes faster.