You can search around the web for poker tips for beginners, hoping to improve your poker game, but I promise you the 5 tips I’m about to provide will be more valuable than any others you will read. I’ve been playing poker for 11 years. I’ve had my ups and downs. I took my lumps early on in my poker career, losing quite a bit of money.
The reason I lost so much in my early playing days is because I never received much advice from experienced poker players. I had to learn as I went. Therefore, it took time for me to start winning on a consistent basis. Fortunately, you have an advantage I didn’t. These 5 poker tips for beginners will instantly improve your game.
Tip #1: Play premium hands UTG and expand hand selection in late position
Playing too many hands is the worst thing an inexperienced poker player can do. Therefore, stick with premium hands such as AA,KK,QQ,AK in early position and under-the-gun (UTG). You’ll put yourself in fewer difficult decisions on the flop, turn, and river if you do. When you’re in late position – especially on the button – you can expand your pre-flop selection to hands such as suited connectors and other pocket pairs so long as there is no raise in front of you.
Tip #2: Have the “I don’t care if I win” mentality
Successful poker players never get too high when they win or too low if they lose. A losing session wears on certain players mentally. Focus on playing your best each time. Sometimes that won’t be good enough to win. But that’s okay because over the long haul, your solid play will be rewarded.
Tip #3: Find the soft games
Inexperienced poker players shouldn’t jump into games filled with pros. That’s a recipe for disaster. Look for poker rooms – online and offline – where most of the players aren’t pros. Often times, a beginner poker player struggles to win simply because they are sitting down with Sharks.
Tip #4: Pay close attention to your opponents
I know it’s difficult to focus solely on the game especially when you’re card dead, but it’s crucial that you pay attention to your opponents betting patterns and try to pick up on certain physical tells. Ignore the sporting events on TV’s in front of you or the hot cocktail waitress that’s walking around strutting her booty. Focus on your opponents. You’d be surprised how much important information you’ve been missing when you aren’t paying close attention to your opponents habits.
Tip #5: Play your big hands aggressively
Poker is an easy game when you’re hitting big hands over and over. However, many players don’t make enough on their big hands. Don’t bet $30 into a $150 pot when you have the nuts. Bet closer to the size of the pot. Maximize your hand’s value. If your opponent called you on the flop and called you on the turn, if you’re holding the nuts, fire out a big bet on the river. Don’t bet small hoping for a call. Sometimes your big bet will get your opponent to fold but, more often than not, you’ll get a call.
Jon Sofen is an avid poker player residing in Sin City. He’ll show you tips on improving your game, deciding where to play poker in Las Vegas, and give you inside information about the top poker events in the greatest tourist destination on earth.