For the uninitiated, it can be daunting to have to face experienced players who can pick up your tells straight away. For those who’ve yet to play a round of poker – be it Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hi, Razz, 5-card stud, 7 card stud, there are plenty of skills you need to hone before you play alongside those who’ve been playing for years. Luckily, there are plenty of tips and tricks you can employ before those first cards are dealt to help you fake it till you make it and develop a trusted strategy of your own.
Play at low stake tables
If you start off playing high stakes before you’re ready, you’ll have no confidence in your playing style and will just be giving more experienced players chip donations as opposed to any kind of competition. Rather, start off playing at low stake tables in order to build your playing style, confidence and abilities.
A mistake that new players often make is not folding when they’ve got a bad hand, choosing instead to keep going. As a new player, if you haven’t got a strong hand, you should be folding at every opportunity to keep your chips as safe as possible, until you get a hand you feel gives you an advantage. In other words, play it as tight as possible, where you play only a few hands without taking too many risks.
Bluff when it makes sense
Bluffs are useful when you’ve got a strong hand, but detrimental if you’ve got a weak hand and are called on that. If you’ve got a mid-range hand then it’s worthwhile to bluff and test the waters, as if you bluff well, the bluff could very well could win you a pot you might otherwise have lost. However, before you bluff, always ask yourself if the way you’ve played up until this point will be consistent with making a bluff now – or if you should wait for the next hand to bluff so the ‘story’ you tell makes sense, and cause your opponents to fold.
If you’re the one at the table who is constantly doing card checks, it can lead to the other players assuming you’ve got a weak hand and will likely result in them bluffing more often – or even taking the pot. Don’t be the first to call, rather call when you feel that it is unlikely you will be outdrawn, or if you feel your opponents have hands which aren’t as well weighted as yours.
Most people equate new poker players as playing their first few hands timidly, and badly, since they’re indecisive and usually play with poor cards as they don’t know better. If you follow the rule above of folding when you’ve been dealt a bad hand, then the hands you do decide to play, you should choose to play aggressively and well.
Now that you have some idea of how to increase your odds, take time to play at casinos – online and in person – in order to up your game, learn different styles from other players and create a strategy that’s all your own.