With our thanks to NoPayPOKER member 1949Boomer who submitted this article as part of the write a poker tips article for FreeD offer. We post it here unchanged apart from a bit of formatting for ease of reading.
I can not imagine that I am able to write something about poker that hasn’t been written by those who are much more experienced and knowledgeable than I. However, as a beginner in poker myself, I might be able to elaborate on some concepts of the game in a way which might be more understandable to those who are also just starting to play poker.
I, in fact, just started playing poker in December of 2011 and since that time I am $105 ahead of the game. There are, in my opinion, a few important areas of the game that a beginner should study quite a bit before seriously playing poker.
The first area of importance is what I would title Read and Study.
- > There are innumerable sites on the web which have very good articles allowing the beginner to study the game before starting to play for real money.
- > Choosing the correct place to start reading is very important in as much as many of the articles include terminology that is technically specific to poker.
- > Without a working knowledge of these terms, the articles are almost meaningless. I would recommend starting a study of poker with those articles that deal with terminology and those that include examples of each term.
- > Just knowing the meaning of the term doesn’t necessarily mean that the beginner will understand how the term applies.
- > There are also numerous articles aimed at the beginner to help understand rules, play, position, starting hands, betting and so forth. (Editor – see our free online poker lessons directory)
But once again, start with an understanding of the terms of poker.
The second area of importance to me for a beginning poker player is that of Bluffing.
- > This means that you bet an amount but don’t necessarily have the cards to back up the bet. You bluff, you have a very good chance of loosing your bet.
- > Just remember, the more people there are at a table, the more chances there are that one of those players is going to have a good hand and they will most definitely call your bluff.
- > I’m not sure that real poker players would agree with this, but when you are just starting out, stay away from bluffing. If you feel that you need the exhilarating feeling of bluffing then at least bluff from a position of power.
- > What I mean is that if you bluff do it later in the game and make sure that you have more chips or money in your bank than the player(s) that you are trying to bluff.
- > If necessary, bet an amount that forces the other player(s) to commit to betting all of their money.
- > Many players are very wary of betting everything they have unless they have a very good hand or unless they are just poor players.
The third area of concern for the beginning player is All-In.
- > This term means that you bet all of the money that you have at the table. As a beginner, you should never go all-in unless you know, absolutely and for sure, that you have the best hand.
- > This can be determined by knowing the hierarchy of hands.
- > Just remember that if you feel you just have to go all in, don’t do it until the last card appears on the table.
- > There have been so many times that the last card completely upsets my apple cart and I wind up losing everything.
An example would be having hole cards, the cards that are dealt to you at the beginning of the hand, which are an Ace and a Queen. On the table you have two Aces, a Queen and a Nine.
- > You go All-In because you are sure that your full hose of aces and queens is a winner. Unfortunately, the last card to turn up, called “on the river” is a King.
- > What does your opponent have? He has an Ace and ?… a King. You lose due to that last card. You wind up with Aces and Queens and now your opponent has Aces and Kings.
- > Always remember that the cards on the table are SHARED and although it’s not likely that all four Aces would be in play, it certainly is not impossible.
The truth of it is that you would probably go all-in with a hand as good as aces and queens BUT you need to consider ALL of the cards on the table AND how your opponent bets.
- > If we had waited to go all-in and if the opponent were to bet before us, we might have been able to make a better decision as to whether or not to proceed with such a hefty bet.
- > Odds are that we would have been betting pretty heavy prior to that last card appearing and your opponent might have folded (although I doubt it in that situation).
- > Just remember, win and you are in good shape. Lose and your gone for good from the game.
If it comes down to calling a player who has gone all-in, take all the time you can to consider the consequences.
The fourth area I feel is important to the beginning player is Practice.
I am a professional musician and the idea of practice makes perfect is very over looked in our society. It seems to me that there are few people who commit to anything with an appropriate amount of practice.
There are so many free online poker sites available that there really is no excuse for NOT practising.
- > Play every day, hundreds of games, over and over.
- > Play at different sites, with different people from all over the world.
The more you play, the more prepared you will be when once you decide to play for real money.
- > Would you get in a boat and pay the entry fee to participate in a bass tournament without ever having fished before? I would hope that you answer this with an enthusiastic NO!
- > Would you pay to play in a golf tournament without ever having played golf? I wouldn’t think so.
Then why would anyone consider sitting down at a table of poker players, put money down in front of themselves and start playing poker, never having played for money before? Probably because they have too much money and time and they don’t care if they waste both or the person is just ignorant.
Finally, if you have stayed with me to this point in the article, I will give you what I consider to be the most important point for a beginner: Patience.
I am not referring to the patience to make it through the volumes of information that you can read and study on the game of poker, nor am I referring to patience in listening to all of the advice you will get from people once they find out you intend to play, especially for money.
No, I refer to patience during the game itself.
- > Many sites have charts which show the player what hole cards (the two cards dealt to you at the beginning of the hand) are worthy of a bet and in what position (where you are compared to where the dealer is located) these cards are of value.
- > It takes a great deal of patience as these combinations of cards do not appear in your hand after every deal.
- > In fact, these combinations of cards are seldom dealt to you. In a very good game you will see these cards quite a bit, but more than not you will have all sorts of combinations of cards which include good cards but aren’t quite what you find on the charts.
It is hard to resist betting on these poorer combinations and truthfully we all bet on them a lot more than we should because we hate to just sit and watch the other players rake in the money.
But patience will pay off in the end if you can master the concept. Poker can be a very boring game when you sit and wait and the cards just do not appear during the entire game.
Then again, there will be games in which you can do nothing wrong.
- > The cards seem to be connected to your thoughts and requests for certain cards are there for you.
- > Those games more than make up for the times you lose.
- > You just have to be Patient.
Enjoy the game, it is fun. Enjoy meeting people, they too are fun. Enjoy the act of learning something new.
This game will make you exercise your brain while you get a certain thrill during the “battle” of the game. I could give you a list of free poker sites but all you have to do is Google “free poker sites” and there will literally be page after page of sites.
Be careful in your selection, some sites are not “free” as they advertise. Truthfully, the site I have found that I enjoy the most (and the judges of this article will think this is an attempt to sway their thinking, which is probably is) is NoPayPoker. There are more games at this site than at any other at which I have played. In addition, even though you do not pay any real money, you are to some extent playing for real money. Go to the site, read the documentation and you will understand more. Once again, have fun.
For a huge selection of free online poker training see the NoPayPOKER training directory page here. Free online poker lessons for beginners to masters.