7 Essential tips when playing live Poker
Poker is a phenomenally popular table game and can be as exciting and thrilling to play when things go well as it can be disheartening and depressing if you get things badly wrong. With several different online variants of poker to choose from you should first do some research into all of them to see which one or ones would suit you the best.
There's no rule to say you should play Seven-Card Stud as opposed to Texas Hold 'Em, or Omaha Hi-Lo against Razz. Find out as much as you can before testing out some different games.
With any table game that requires a mixture of good fortune, skill and good judgement, poker can be immensely satisfying and also tremendously disappointing during the time you're at the table playing live with real people. Whether it's practice games with very small stakes as you learn or a table where you and everyone else are using real money, there are a number of tips that apply to all poker games that may help you to learn and enjoy winning ways.
1. Learn the games
There is no substitute for learning how a poker game works before you start playing live online poker. After all, you wouldn't try for a job as a barista in a coffee shop without being trained! So, take your time and learn how things work. That's not just knowing what hand beats another hand but what the betting process is, as it can be different depending on what poker variant you are playing.
- If, for example, you don't know that three-of-a-kind (trips) beats two-pair, or that a flush (a hand with all cards the same suit in any order) beats a straight (a sequence such as 4,5,6,7,8 of any suit) then you're effectively playing blind and are more likely to lose money than win. Similarly, if you don't know that your final hand is made up of five cards, whatever the variant, you are likely to make serious mistakes.
- It doesn't have to be a laborious process and you can easily keep a crib sheet on the hierarchy of winning hands and the odds of them happening until they are ingrained in your memory. Learn, understand and go into your games well prepared.
2. Practice makes perfect
If you enjoy watching or participating in sports activities, you'll know how much practice and work goes into them. Professionals, naturally, have to work incredibly hard, and whether it's football, rugby, Sumo, tennis or any other kind of sport, it can be a tough ask. Amateur players also need to train hard and work at their game to play to the best of their ability.
- Poker is no different except that it's nowhere near as physically strenuous. What you do need is mental strength and acuity, and depending on how long your playing sessions are, the ability to keep concentrating. This is where practice comes in because once you have learned the basics of playing you can join a live table and start to put some of your learned skills to work.
- Maybe practice doesn't always make perfect because things won't always go your way – that's the nature of the beast – but it will help you to hone your skills, learn from mistakes and successes and, importantly, watch how other people play. You won't necessarily know if they are experienced or just starting out, so take some time to look at how others bet and play to develop your knowledge and experience.
3. Start by using low stakes
There can be a great temptation, once you are comfortable with knowing your way around a poker table, to play for high stakes, not because you are greedy but maybe because you figure you're in control and would like to rake in larger amounts of money. Try to remember that you're not really in control. Even the best, most experienced players can lose depending on the turn of a card or cards, so it's probably best to ease your way in by starting with low stakes for your betting.
- Let's say you have $100 to start with. You are prepared to lose that amount but naturally want to use it to win. Then let's say you're impatient and reckon you've got some great hole cards that will give you a really good chance of winning. So down goes the whole $100. And you lose it in one play because someone gets a better hand. So, you put down another $100, lose it and... you get the picture.
- That is where players can get into financial problems gambling, so you need to be sensible about your playing strategies when it comes to betting. With small stakes you won't be wiped out in one go. You will have the option to play many hands, gaining more experience as you watch what other players are doing; that will allow you to build up a bankroll larger than what you started with. You could still lose that $100 but that's what you decided you could afford, and you could have spent a long time on the table enjoying the different plays.
- You can still move on up with your stakes as you become more comfortable with reading your cards and how others are playing, especially if you have been winning a number of hands and have increased your winnings. But the advice is not to go for broke at the beginning.
4. Think about the range of hands available
One of the dangers of playing poker is to over-think what you calculate an opponent might be holding. You need to bear in mind that just because a player is showing an ace it doesn't mean that the player has another ace, concealed, to make a pair. It means your thought process can become distracted and you could make a poor decision, such as folding when you had a pair of kings, only to find your opponent didn't have that ace or a hand that could beat your pair.
- There are so many possibilities with poker that you need to consider the range of hands that the player could have and play against all those possibilities. Of course, you could be wrong but it's better to play from a position of strength as you see it rather than give up and lose money by doing so.
5. Plan your playing time
When you have a job, maybe a family and a hundred other things to do in your day-to-day life it means you need to plan your time for playing poker. If you're serious about wanting to play, then set aside an agreed time for you to do so. It means you'll look forward to it and have the time to both relax into the playing and be able to give it your full concentration.
- One key point is never to play when you're tired. If you've had a tough day at work or been out in the evening for relaxation and a drink or two, you'd be best off skipping a session of poker. Tiredness clouds judgement (as does alcohol) so it's better to be sensible than to start playing and to make poor decisions that could lose you a lot of money.
6. Concentrate all the time
When at the table, you really need to keep your attention on what's going on around you, and that's another reason why you shouldn't play when you're tired. Don't have any distractions such as alerts for email or social media. If you want to be as successful as you can at live dealer games, you have to keep your focus.
- It's easy to let the mind wander for a few moments when you are playing intensively and thus easy to miss some plays that either affect you immediately or could further down the line. You may fail to spot a pattern in someone's play that could be useful information for your own future play, or not bother too much with watching every bet. The reason you should watch every bet is that it gives you the chance to think about what each player is doing and why they are doing it. That can help you consider how you play your own hands in future rounds and maybe give you more of an edge against your opponents.
- Remember, each time you join a table you'll be playing with different players so equip yourself with as much knowledge as you can as hands progress.
7. Stick to one table to start with
- Playing multiple tables when you're starting out is a quick way to lose money because there's too much going on as you're learning.
- Play one table only to begin with to develop those skill levels and only head for multiples when you're confident you can handle the pressure.
There are now bitcoin gambling sites that accept the cryptocurrency so do some research into what is best suited to how you want to pay for your gambling.
Why not check out the variety of games available at a Japanese online casino and decide on your favourites. You can then decide how you are going to fund your bankroll, either by traditional methods or by using a cryptocurrency.