The following are some solid tips and guidelines aimed at helping the beginner poker player succeed at the table.
IP #1 – Patience
Often, patience is the name of the game in poker. A good player is thoughtful and observant. One of the biggest mistakes that a new player can make is playing too many hands; playing more hands doesn’t equal winning more hands. Another way to think about this concept is to consider it as discipline. A disciplined player will play only 2 out of every 10 hands dealt.
IP #2 – Aggression
However, being patient or disciplined doesn’t mean being passive. A new player needs to make smart decisions regarding his hand, and knowing when to be patient with a hand and when to make an aggressive play is a key element of the game.
Tip #3 – Playing Tight
Being aggressive and being patient are not mutually exclusive. Playing “tight” (using the example of Texas Hold ‘Em) means considering your hand before the flop. Do you have a monster starting hand, e.g., AA, or KK, or QQ? Excellent, play that hand. When you become more comfortable with the games, then consider playing with speculative hands, like a 10-7 suited.
Tip #3 – Learn the table
Every poker table is different. It’s essential that you immediately get a sense for who you’re playing with. Focusing all of your attention on playing your game and ignoring your opponents will lead to costly mistakes.
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Tip #4 – Vary your attacks
As a new player, don’t focus your game on one other person at the table. This distracts you from the larger game and creates animosity, tension, and mistakes on your part.
Tip #5 – Position
Consider your place at the table. Being “on the button” is the ideal position in any community poker game. This is why some poker games rotate – in order to give everyone the same advantage.
Tip #6 – To Bluff or Not to Bluff
Many new players may feel that it’s necessary to bluff. Bluffing is part of poker; however, as a new player it is better not to bluff. Until you are more comfortable with your game, bluffing is a needless complication. You can still legitimately win and consider yourself a poker player without bluffing.
Tip #7 – State of Mind
Poker is a game of more than just numbers, strategy and luck. Anytime you play poker and your mind isn’t 100% in the game, it’s a recipe for disaster. To put it simply: don’t play mad; don’t play drunk; and don’t play out of desperation. Play to have fun and play to win and leave your baggage at home.
Hopefully these simple tips and guidelines will improve your poker experience.