Poker Articles!

Poker player immersed in the learning process

In the previous article, we tried a different tactic for bringing online poker to the widest possible audience.  Poker bonuses are great and certainly have their place in attracting poker players to Intertops Poker.  We found that getting down to the barest beginnings is another excellent way to reach new players.

How Quickly Can I Learn All the Moves in Poker?

The first article in this series touched upon confidence building and other non-technical aspects of playing poker.  We will continue in this vein in this article.  Our goal is to show you that even though poker has a very scientific and math-based side to it, confidence and intangible elements play a huge part in your overall success at poker.

Don’t Rush the Learning Process

There are two excellent reasons for taking learning the many nuances if poker slowly.  First, no one can learn faster than they can learn.  In science, that is called a tautology: a restatement of the obvious.

Poker appears to be a simple game especially to extremely new players.  Only with experience does a poker player realize the volumes of information missing from him or her getting a complete picture of the hand when as few as two cards are hidden!

While you’re learning poker’s many subtleties, you should play online as often as you can.  You have such easy and convenient access to poker games with players from everywhere in the world when you play online.  You can play many more hands online and you can more easily choose your betting level.  Money management is a lot easier in online poker than in land-based poker.

Try to Make Good Decisions

This looks like anther tautology!  But making good decisions is a lot harder to do than it would seem.  Sometimes, you have to fold a hand that you thought was a sure winner.  Sometimes, you’ll fold the best hand in the game but it was still the correct decision based on all the other factors that go into such decisions.

Making correct decisions is a big part of the learning curve and should be a major confidence builder perhaps especially in those emotionally difficult cases where you think your hand is the better one but folding still looms as the best decision.

Always remember that you are learning and that every hand has to be part of that long learning curve.

Record Every Hand

In order to make every hand a learning experience, you should record every hand.  This is a lot easier to do in online poker.  You fold before the flop about 70% or more of the time so by recording every hand, you’ll be paying attention to hands where you no longer have a financial stake.

You do however have a stake in how your opponents play different card combinations.  You have to learn something, however small it might be, from every hand.

Ignore Short Term Results

This is another aspect of the long learning curve.  It doesn’t matter if you have great luck in the early gong of a session or if you have bad luck on the first ten hands or so.  These are short term results and have absolutely n bearing on your overall poker improvement.

Good luck is just good luck and bad luck is just bad luck.  Luck is fleeting but every single morsel of poker nuance that you learn is forever embedded in your brain.  What you learn is never fleeting!

Poker is a Game of Skill

As much as luck is an important aspect of poker, there is an undeniable skill factor.  This part of poker is 100% within your control.  The luck element in poker is also in your control to some extent.  By that we mean that as a player gets better, he or she can make their own luck.  It is skill that brings a player to the point of making their own luck.

Beyond that point, the luck element in poker is entirely out of our control.

Understand Your Hand

Don’t overestimate the value of your hand and don’t underestimate your hand.  You might have a very strong hand in one game and the same hand might be a hopeless loser in another hand.  The ability to properly evaluate your own hand is a learned skill and takes a lot of time and practice.

This leads us back to the admonition to play online to get the most experience at the lowest cost and to pay attention to every hand.

Understand Your Opponents’ Hands

As important as it is to understand your own hand, it is equally important to understand your opponents’ hands.  This is the first truly technical side of beginning to learn poker: you need to learn how to determine hand ranges.

Hand ranges include every possible hand you and your opponent might have.  Many of those hands will beat you outright but you will beat many other possible hands with your cards.  It is only after you have learned the skill of determining hand ranges can you take the next step and put a mathematical value on each possible hand.

Games of skill are all about making good decisions and correctly identifying hand ranges and making decisions based on that evaluation is one of the most basic elements that make poker a game of skill.

Aphorisms for Beginning Poker Players

Aphorisms are clever statements that pack a lot of wisdom, knowledge, and smarts into a few well-chosen words.  Here are a few aphorisms that can help ne poker players develop the mindset they’ll need to become top notch poker players.

  • Don’t think about the money; think about the decisions.
  • Develop strategy based on what you see.
  • Stay focused.  The corollary to this point is that when you lose your focus, it is time to leave the game.
  • Stay positive. The corollary to this point is that when you become negative it is time to leave the game.
  • Listen to the quiet opponents.  Even an opponent who says little or nothing at all will tell you a lot about themselves if you “look” and “listen”.
  • Adapt to stay afloat.  No textbook on poker can teach you how to adapt in every possible situation.
  • Trust your feelings.  This is not the same as trust your emotions.  Emotions lead to tilt, the greatest bugaboo of poker players.  Feelings lead to good decisions and winning more pots.

Feelings versus Emotions

This aspect of poker is so important that we will devote the next article to it.