Poker is one of the most captivating and challenging games you can get yourself into. Unlike most online casino games, it revolves mainly around skill, and you need to improve as a player to win constantly. But, of course, luck is also an integral part of the game most professional players hate, which makes it so interesting.
In practice, each player can get on top, not much because of their poker skills but somewhat luck. However, in the long run, the more knowledgeable and skilled players will always be more profitable and crush their opponents. But how do you become a player like that? This is what we are going to uncover in this article. In the following lines, you will learn all the essential skills you need to play poker and win.
- Poker Game Theory Explained
- Learning The Basics of Poker
- What Are the Different Poker Formats You Can Play?
- The 11 Best Tips to Turn You Into a Winning Poker Player Quick
- How to Play Poker and Win in the Long Run?
- Where to Play?
Poker Game Theory Explained
Poker game theory revolves around the concept of the game and the approach you will take to consistently make profits from the game. The beauty of poker is that you don’t need to win every hand to make money. Furthermore, you don’t even need to win every tournament you participate in. Instead, you can use a particular strategy and profit repeatedly from recurring patterns and situations.
When you know that a particular play, in a specific situation, is profitable in the long run, you can make the same decision every time to ensure that after a thousand of those hands, you will be winning.
Credit: PokerTracker 4 Tool
Taking a theoretically balanced approach, most of your hands at the tables will generate a profit in the long run, and you will be a winning player. However, that’s not as easy as it sounds. First, you need the experience and knowledge to play like the pros, and you must develop a bulletproof mindset that can deal with bad beats and losing streaks, ensuring you continue to play your A-game at the tables. But before diving deeper into that, let’s begin building the foundation of your poker knowledge.
Learning The Basics of Poker
Most players don’t even understand how crucial the basics of the game are. But, as you learned, generating profit from poker is the result of making the same correct decisions repeatedly. And what is at the core of those decisions: poker basics.
Before learning any actionable tips and strategies, you must perfectly understand the dynamics of poker and the different opportunities you can utilize to get an edge over your opponents at the right moment.
Betting is the action that will generate most of your winnings at poker. When you make a bet, you do two main things:
- Force your opponent to call and stay in the hand.
- Force him to fold and forfeit all his chips in the hand.
Both of these can work in your favor. In the first scenario, you can bet big with strong hands, forcing your opponent to call with weaker holdings. Or you can bluff with a bet without holding any combination, scaring away the other player to make him fold.
Credit: 888 Poker
When facing a bet, you will find yourself at the other end of the spectrum. Of course, you already know how you can toy with your opponent with bets, but the news is they can do the same with you when they have the opportunity!
The general approach when you face a bet is to call only with hands that have some value. In other words, you need to know that in some cases, your hand can turn out strong enough in later streets so that you can take down the pot.
Credit: PokerTracker 4 Tool
Once you learn more about poker, you will find out that raising is another tool you will use quite frequently to pressure your opponents and generate profits. Raising can be done from two different positions:
- You can be in the small blind (SB) position, which means after raising, you will have the opportunity to bet first later. This can put your opponents into a very tough situation.
- You can be in the big blind (BB) position, meaning you can increase the chips in the hand to put pressure on your opponent. But you must be careful because you initiate investing more money in the pot, so you must do it only with solid hands.
Credit: 888 Poker
The pot refers to the amount of chips all players have invested into a particular hand. This amount is always shown live, whether it’s the flop, turn, or river. Generally, paying attention to the pot amount is essential because you have to tailor your betting and raising sizings accordingly. For example:
- Betting the same amount as the pot always demonstrates strength, but you can use that assumption to make your opponents fold when you don’t have a good hand.
- With a strong hand, you can bet a tiny 30-40% from the pot, inviting your opponent to pay you with weaker holdings, all hoping to make a better combination on later streets.
- With an already-made strong hand, or the opportunity to make one, you can raise significantly after facing a tiny bet, realizing the theoretical potential of the cards you hold.
Credit: 888 Poker
After players go through some of the actions we described above, it’s time for the flop. This is when the dealer will uncover three cards, allowing players to make a combination.
Then, the action will begin with the player in the positional advantage, who can bet or check. Here, it’s essential to take the initiative when you can and be rather passive when you don’t have a strong hand or out of position.
After the flop, another action of betting, calling, and raising is up on the turn. This time, the dealer will unveil only one card, giving players another chance to improve their holdings.
The turn is an exciting street because you can put more pressure on your opponent by betting again or confuse him by checking with strong hands.
However, you must know that checking on the turn might show weakness, and your opponent can take the initiative by betting himself.
Credit: 888 Poker
On the river, there will be one final unveiled card, which will conclude the combinations both players can make. But this might not even be that important. That’s because the river is where you can win even without a strong hand by confusing your opponent. Some of the options include:
- Bet big with weak holdings to scare your opponent and make him fold a better hand.
- Check with a powerful hand to give your opponent the initiative and make him invest more money in the pot.
- Bet unreasonably big with a very strong hand to the point where your opponent might think you are bluffing.
Can you see how exciting this can be? The opportunities are limitless, and you can always win a poker hand, even without a made combination!
Credit: 888 Poker
We actually touched briefly upon the dealer. This person will be responsible for drawing, shuffling, and dealing cards. That’s relevant only for land-based casinos. In online gaming, this is done by the computer.
The button is one of the crucial poker positions you can have at the tables. Although we will cover table positions shortly, the button is so significant that we must include it in the basic knowledge of the game.
When you are at the button position, you will be the last to act in the hand. This means you can carefully analyze what the other players are doing and use this knowledge when deciding how to exploit your opponents and win the hand. But remember that the button is one of the most vital positions at the table, so you should play some free poker before implementing your knowledge with real funds.
Credit: 888 Poker
We also already talked a bit about the blinds. These are basically forced bets that two of the players on the table make in every hand. There are two blinds in poker:
- Small Blind
- Big Blind
When the small blind reaches you, depending on the poker format, you will place a bet of one blind. For instance, the big blind player will usually be forced to bet double that. This is essential because, aside from these bets, the blinds dictate your position in a particular hand.
When you are from the SB, you will have the initiative, and you can easily bet on specific scenarios, but you will be the first to act, so the other players can guess what you hold easier. On the other hand, you should be more passive from the BB because other players are watching you, and they will have the opportunity to act after you. So, you must be careful not to put yourself in challenging situations.
Credit: 888 Poker
As we discussed the actions you can make on the poker table, it became inevitable that the positions you have during a particular hand also impact the decisions and approach you can take. Depending on the specific poker format you play, there will be different positions at the table. However, they are divided into four types:
- Blinds – As you already know, these are the positions from which players start a particular hand.
- Early Positions – These positions are called under the gun and usually include three players.
- Middle Positions – After the early ones, these positions include three players.
- Late Positions – Usually, there are two late positions, the Cut-off (CO), which is the player before the button, and the button, which is the last player to act.
What Are the Different Poker Formats You Can Play?
As we discussed in the previous heading, you can play different poker formats. They include a different number of players and slight rule variations. Although this might seem like a little, successfully playing the same across a few poker formats is impossible. The rule variations and the different number of players mean you must treat each game as a different one, implementing a strategy suitable for it. Let’s check out the three most popular poker formats you will encounter in poker sites almost everywhere.
Texas Hold’em is the most famous poker format of all time. Almost all games, even professional poker tournaments, are based on this format. So basically, even the information in this article until now is based mainly on Texas Hold’em.
The only difference in this format is the number of players. The minimum number of players for a game like this is two, while the maximum is ten. However, most online casinos keep this number to six or eight per game, guaranteeing the best possible gaming experience.
Credit: 888 Poker
The poker formats with rules that significantly differ from the standard game aren’t usually very popular because of the increasingly high chances that luck is involved and players can’t impact their results too much.
The only popular poker format with significantly altered rules is Omaha. Just like in the traditional poker game, there are players with positional advantages, and there are blinds. On top of that, the betting actions are the same, as well as the streets in flop, turn, and river.
The only difference in the Omaha poker format is that each player is dealt four cards instead of two hole cards. Also, the only way for them to make a combination is by using their hole cards and three cards from the middle of the table, no more or less.
Credit: 888 Poker
Spin & Go
If the previous poker format wasn’t all that dynamic, in your opinion, wait until you learn about Spin & Go. This format is very different from everything out there and how traditional poker players enjoy the game. In spins, there are only three players, in the positions of button, small blind, and big blind.
Each of those players is given 500 chips, and the winner takes it all. But that’s why spins have become one of the most popular poker formats, even for beginners. The Spin & Go tables are divided into different price ranges, and players must buy a ticket to participate.
This ticket costs between $0.25 to $1,000, and it determines the general reward players battle for. Most spins have an award of 2x or 3x the entry fee, but in some rare cases, this can go up to a million dollars! Once you enter a Spin & Go game, you will spin the slot machine to uncover the award you will battle for! Aside from the only three players in the game, the blinds also increase every three minutes, which makes the format incredibly dynamic and exciting.
The 11 Best Tips to Turn You Into a Winning Poker Player Quick
Developing the mindset and skills of a winning player takes a lot of time and effort. The poker game is also evolving, and it becomes trickier to win on the tables constantly. If you are still not ready to devote yourself to mastering the exciting poker game, you should start with another approach.
You can apply universal tips to your game and reap the rewards immediately. So, it’s time for us to go through the 11 best poker tips that will turn you into a winning player in the blink of an eye.Fewer Hands, More Aggression
The first mistake recreational players always make is to play almost every hand. That’s because these players have made a powerful combination with a weak starting hand, and they believe investing chips every round is worth it because of this tiny chance. But how frequently will your weak hand become something substantial?
You have to be extremely lucky on a particular occasion. So, when you consider all the chips you had invested before a moment like this, you will quickly realize this is not the way to go. Instead, it’s much better to learn about the “fold” button and give up on some weak hands before investing too much so that you can’t let go of them. And when you have a stronger hand, you should be aggressive with it and bet as much as possible.Limp Rarely
When you have the first action of the hand, you rarely want to limp. Of course, you can do this with extremely strong hands like pocket pairs, but for the general part, the other players will think of that as a sign of weakness.
With that information, you can easily be exploited on the flop, turn, and river. So it’s a much better option to take the initiative and raise. Then, you can find the way out of a particular hand by bluffing, for example. So, all in all, especially from the button, you should rarely aim to limp.Take Maximum Value From Your Draws
Players will often find themselves in the situation of having draws on the flop. But what do most of them do? They check or call if they face a bet. And that’s a costly mistake in the long run. When you give the initiative to your opponents, you wait for your draw to come to make the best combination and win the hand.
So, when you have strong draws, like a flush draw, or an open-ended straight draw, it’s much better to bet on the flop or even raise your opponent if you face a bet. This will open the door for you to bluff on the latter streets and snatch away the chips even if your draws miss.Build the Pot With Strong Hands
It’s widely known that many players tend to fold their hands too much in online poker. That’s why beginners tend to bet tiny or even check with their strongest hands. However, there are two main problems with this approach:
- You are taking too few chips from your opponent, even if you know you will win the hand.
- You allow your opponent to draw additional cards that may improve his own hand to the point where you lose
If you are scared that your opponent will fold, you have to think you won’t get more chips from him, even if you check. So, instead of doing the things we mentioned, it’s much better to bet bravely with your strong hands, taking the maximum possible chips from the other players. Then, make them pay for seeing other cards!Solid Defense From the Big Blind
We just mentioned the folding problem of many players in online poker nowadays. That’s why it becomes even more vital to maintain a solid defense when you find yourself in the position of the big blind. You must always call if you face a minimal raise and have a decent hand.
Don’t let the player who has the initiative bully you. When playing from the big blind, you should hope to improve your hand on the flop; if that doesn’t happen in any way, it’s time to give up, finally.Sometimes It's Better to Fold
Many players don’t think about this, but giving up in particular situations are the decisions that will make you a significant portion of your money.
For example, if you play versus an opponent that hasn’t been aggressive in the game, but suddenly he raises before the flop, then bets on the flop, turn, and river, you likely face a very strong hand.
It might be better to fold even if you have a pair of Aces or something like this. But, even out of frustration, most players will call in a situation like this, which, ultimately, costs them in the long run.Always Attack Weakness
If you have experience with poker, it might be easier to know when a player shows weakness, and you can attack. The easiest way to learn this is to look out when a player checks when he can bet.
That’s one of the signs that the hand of the player might not be powerful, and you can attack it and make him fold, even if you don’t have a combination.Play in the Best State of Mind
Poker is one of those games that are highly demanding regarding your mental toughness. Because it’s a game of skill, the best players are expected to win most of the time, right? Well, that’s not quite the case. Sometimes, even the best players begin to lose game after game, hand after hand, entering an extensive losing streak.
These streaks can be so nasty that they can continue for weeks. And keep in mind this is even if the individual continues to play a perfect game. So, how will you react if the same happens to you? You would lose your cool and lose much more than you have been supposed to. We recommend playing when you are in the best state of mind to avoid this. This should increase your results drastically.Avoid Tough Spots
As you should understand, winning in poker comes from constantly putting yourself in spots you know how to execute correctly. And the same comes for losing. Unfortunately, most players constantly lose money by putting them in challenging situations they aren’t sure how to handle.
For example, if you face an enormous re-raise and have a hand like QT, that’s a tough spot you might not know how to play. And if you call this raise from your opponent, you will immediately be playing a very significant pot, increasing the hand’s importance even more. So, if you need help with how to play a particular spot, it’s best to avoid it by folding.Find the Right Poker Format for You
There are many poker formats you can choose from online. But some players are naturally good at particular formats while terrible at others. The best thing you can do as a new player is to try out all the poker games you can find and search for the one you feel most comfortable in. That’s usually the specific format where you can eventually implement the most advanced strategies and play your best.Adjust to Your Opponents
From what you have learned so far, it might seem that by following a strategy in particular spots, you will almost always come on top. However, that’s only sometimes the case. It would be best to remember that you battle other players trying to think of the best way to defeat you.
As a result, you will come across good poker players who get used to your game and immediately develop a unique strategy to counter you on the spot. Of course, that’s more advanced stuff, but you should try and do the same while staying within the foundation of your strategy. Still, please don’t overdo it! Adjusting to all your opponents would hurt you in the long run, so you should be careful.
How to Play Poker and Win in the Long Run?
The tips we mentioned above will build an excellent foundation for your poker game. However, to ensure you will have the best possible results in the long run, you should begin working intensely on your game.
Many players want to do that from the start but aren’t sure where to begin from. That’s why we will give you some of the essentials that make every poker player successful at the tables.
Become an Expert in a Specific Poker Format
By generally understanding the poker game, you will hardly win consistently in the long run. Therefore, professional players always dedicate all their efforts to learning the ins and outs of a particular poker format and why things are happening in a specific way there.
As you should understand now, each poker format is played differently, and there are various strategies and approaches you can implement in each. So, if you want to drastically increase your winning chances of crushing the competition in poker, you must focus on only one format and learn everything you can about it.
Work on Controlling Your Emotions
Even if you implement a perfect poker strategy, that doesn’t guarantee good results immediately. Not only that, you might even have terrible results in a period and lose a significant part of your bankroll. Obviously, this is a temporary swing, and your results will look nothing like this after a few thousand hands.
However, that’s only if you manage to keep calm and execute flawlessly on your plan. The truth is that when you go through a losing period like this, different negative thoughts flood your brain, and your brain begins to play games with you. When this happens, it’s tough to play at the best level you can. That’s why many players claim that by putting their emotions under control, they have already won half the battle in poker.
Learn to Adapt in Tough Situations
We already talked about how you want to be careful and not put yourself in challenging situations you aren’t sure how to play. However, the best poker players can do even that. So, if you want to become a success with poker, you must follow their example.
There is no right or wrong way to play a more complicated spot, so we recommend keeping notes on your opponents, so you know when they are acting out of line. And the other essential thing that will help you make the correct decisions in spots like these will always be your experience. So, play as much as possible and pay attention to every detail you can spot. That’s how you will learn to adapt to the toughest of situations.
Bankroll Management is Vital
If you ask the best players the #1 essential component to win at poker, most will say bankroll management. And this revolves around poker and every other type of gambling, like sports betting, video poker, live casino games, and much more.
To stop exposing yourself to unnecessary things, there are a few things you must ensure you are doing when playing online poker:
- Ensure you play the same buy-in tournaments until you can move to the ones with higher entry fees.
- If your bankroll falls by 50% or more, it’s best to move down and play lower buy-in tournaments until you recover it.
- Have a bankroll dozens of buy-ins deep so that you can live through the extensive losing streaks.
Network is Your Net Worth
Poker constantly evolves, so there is always something new and exciting to learn. That’s why simply playing the game alone might not be the most brilliant idea. Instead, if you want to play poker and win, the best way to do this is by joining a community or making a few friends with the same goal.
When you have someone with whom you can discuss different hands and tough spots, your both force yourself to think outside the box, which will make you understand poker theory better, up to the point where you will grow tremendously. The famous quote “Your Network is Your Net Worth” is relevant here, so you must do whatever you can to connect with like-minded poker players.
Where to Play?
Even though everyone knows poker, this is far from the standard gambling game where you can kick back your feet and depend on luck. Instead, poker is a game of skill you can learn and where you can get better every day. And that makes it one of the most competitive and exciting games you can try in online casinos worldwide.
So, if you want to play poker and win consistently, you can join one of our recommended casinos, go through this guide a few times, and, most importantly, practice as much as possible. The results come to those who want them the most.
What are the basic rules of poker?
Before the beginning of each round, each player gets two hole cards (depending on the poker format), and the first to act is the player in the SB position. After five more cards are dealt at the center of the table, the goal is to either get the best hand, or make other players give up their hands.
How do I determine the winner of a hand in poker?
You can win a hand in poker by having the better combination or forcing your opponent to fold his own.
How do I read and understand poker hand rankings?
They may seem confusing, but poker hand rankings are easy to grasp. In total, there are ten different combinations you can make at the poker table, starting from the “High Card” and ending at the famous “Royal Flush.”
Is poker all luck?
Of all the games you can play on online gambling sites, poker is more based on skill than luck.
How do I manage my chips effectively at a poker table?
To effectively manage your chips at the poker table, you must play stronger hands and fold when you are at a clear disadvantage.
How do I determine the best starting hand in poker?
The best-starting hands in poker are the pocket pairs, where you receive two of the same cards, the high connected cards like KQ, or the high cards of the same pattern, like QJ of hearts.
How much time do I need to learn how to win at poker?
If you play consistently, you can learn how to win at poker in around a month. But to become a genuinely feared poker player, you must consistently practice hard.
How can I improve my poker strategy?
You can improve your poker strategy by engaging more with poker theory and reviewing your hands. Some of the tools that will help you do that are PokerTracker 4 and HM3.
What are some common mistakes new poker players make?
Some of the most common mistakes beginner players make are playing with every hand, folding too much, and not defending from the BB frequently enough.
Which are the best sites for playing poker online?
There are many gambling sites with great poker rooms. We have reviewed the best ones on our platform, so you can check them out and join now!