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Tips for Winning at Online Poker

Players that are new to the online game face a greater number of risks for the simple reason that they don’t yet know the pitfalls. This article will look at the top poker tips to keep you winning at online poker (or start you winning!). These tips are focused on the game of Hold’em and have been put together for players that are just starting out (not advanced players). The fact that you have done the research (well you found this article) means you are on the right track. Information is power and the more you learn, the better the player and more profitable you will be, and that's a fact.

 

Playing too many hands

This is probably the most common mistake for new players. There is no question that you can win a pot with any two starting cards, however you are more likely to do so with some cards, than others. Unfortunately, every time you play a hand, it costs you money. Furthermore, you will miss most flops, so playing every hand will ultimately mean you are paying out more than you are winning. Poker is about winning money, so this strategy is not one that is going to see you succeed. Online, you can spot a weak player - they usually don't do much to disguise the fact that they can't play. Poker is about maximizing your winnings and minimizing loses. Playing too many hands against good players only maximizes your loses.

 

Table Position

Table position is an important concept. It’s important as again, it helps minimize your risk. Ultimately, the more players to play after you, the more chance you have that one of them will have a better hand than you. For this reason, playing from late position is more risk adverse than playing from middle or early positions. New players to the game will tend to play a hand the same way whether in early or late position, which ultimately adds risk to every hand played in early position.

 

Reading the Board

Being able to quickly access the potential and dangers on the flop is crucial, particularly online, as the play is far quicker than in brick and mortar games. It is not only important to be able to recognize what hands can be made, but also what can’t be made. For instance, if there is a pair on the board, a full house, three of a kind and four of a kind is possible. If there are three cards in sequence, a straight is possible. When three cards of the same spade are on the board, a flush is possible.


It is important to recognize scare cards. These are cards that potentially give your opponents a winning hand against you. Often new player will continue to bet regardless. Let’s look at a live example. Player A is dealt A-4, under the gun. He gets one called by Player B and the flop comes 9-10-J rainbow. Player A bets and is called by his opponent. The turn is an 8. Player A bets the turn and Player B pushes all-in. Player A calls and loses the hand. This type of play is so common, especially with low limit and inexperienced players (usually one and the same thing) - a classic example of not reading the board.


On the flop there were already straight possibilities, which should have slowed Player A down. On the Turn, the all in should have forced him off the hand as any 7 or Q had him in drawing dead. Of course there are always times when a player identifies the scare cards but can’t fold as they get married to their hand (this is covered in a separate article). Reading the board accurately in terms of your hand will help you minimize your loses.

 

Using Information on Offer

While this seems like something that would be more prominent in live play, there are still many tells playing poker online. Here are a few online tells which should be considered:

 

- Speed of play – of course this is by no means 100% as there can be connection issues or a player may simply have gone to make a coffee, answered the phone or door bell – there are many factors that could affect the speed of their play. Typically however, a quick bet is a sign of weakness and a slow bet, a sign of strength. The reason for this is a player is perceived to be taking time to decide how to play their monster hand. Monitoring the speed of player’s bets together with information you see at showdown, will help you pick up tells on the players hand strength.

 

- Using the auto-play buttons – every online room has auto check buttons, such as ‘Fold’, ‘Call’, ‘Call Any’ or ‘Raise Any’. Use of the buttons gives away information on the strength of a player’s hand. You can tell when a player has these boxes checked as the action they take, whether calling or raising is instant, when the play gets to them. Should a player instantly raise, he likely has the ‘Raise any’ checked and likely has a strong hand. If a player calls instantly, he is likely to have a weak hand (or he would have raised). Again, it’s not 100% but there will be times when you can pick up information on the strength of a player’s hand.

 

- Using the chat box – seems an obvious one however there is plenty you can pick up from a players chat. You will at times be able to identify players on tilt or being abusive. These players are unlikely to be playing their best poker, given their state of mind. Similarly, players who do a lot of talking tend to go quiet when they are on a big hand. Perhaps sensible to turn this feature off, to ensure you give away nothing.

 

- The delayed check – most players who take a longer than usual time to check usually aren’t looking for a call.

 

- Check on the flop and bet on the turn – where a player checks the flop and then bets the turn, particularly when draws are possible on the turn, are often semi bluffing a drawing hand. This is usually worth a raise or bluff to get them off the hand.

 

- Waiting for the blinds when new to a table – this is a great tell and not one that many players consider. When you join a cash table, you have the chance to wait for the big blind. Players who don’t wait for the big blind could be perceived to be impatient, which likely means they will be a loose player (play too many hands). On the flip side, a player who has the patience to wait for the big blind is likely going to be more patient in waiting for a hand. Alternatively he could be tight ( in the sense he doesn’t like to spend unnecessarily). This would still mean he is likely going to have a tighter starting hand range.

 

Playing Poker when Distracted

We all have our moments, some good and some bad. Try to stay away from the tables when you are in a bad mood, upset, annoyed, frustrated or anything which will mean you are not on you’re A game. This will not be conducive to playing good poker and losing money is only going to get head in a worse state. See these tips for more.

 

Gambling

Many new players take their money to the tables and simply gamble. They take their whole bank roll and throw it in on the first big draw or pair that they get. Firstly, this takes no skill and is likely to end your bankroll. We all want to win money fast, however we need to protect our bankroll to keep us in the game. We can't control the cards that fall so you are going to lose plenty of hands that you really shouldn't - that's the game. Aim to take no more than 10%-20% of your bankroll to the table. That way, if you get unlucky, you are not out of the game.

 

Whilst we all want to double up, we need to pick the right spots to get it in. We don't want to be gambling. We want to get our money in when we have the perceived best hand - not before. If you're opponent lucks out, you still have a good chunk of your bankroll.

 

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