Online poker is a game of skill in which the outcome is largely determined by your ability to read your opponent, recognize their weaknesses, and adapt your strategy accordingly. But unlike more traditional card games such as poker or blackjack, poker also requires you to react quickly to changing circumstances and make split-second decisions based on limited information.
And while there’s no way to guarantee success at any legal online poker game, there are certain principles that can sharpen your instincts and increase your chances of winning against even the most skilled opponents. These are the most effective tips in playing online poker that will serve as an invaluable resource for anyone who wants to become a better player.
Always Be Vigilant
Although online poker is a game of skill, it’s also a game of chance — like blackjack or roulette, there are no certainties and the outcome is largely dictated by luck. However, there is a significant skill gap between a winning player and a losing player at any level of poker, and one of the most important skills is vigilance.
Vigilance is the ability to keep your eyes open and notice everything that’s happening around you, from the way other players are betting to the number of people at the legal online poker table. This can be difficult when you’re in the middle of a hand and trying to read your opponent, but it’s essential if you want to increase your chances of winning. Vigilance is the most important skill when it comes to online poker.
Don’t Just Check and Call
One of the biggest mistakes beginners make at the legal online poker table is calling and checking too much, especially when they’ve got a mediocre hand. A huge percentage of online hands are won by the player who bets and/or raises, so it’s important to be both aggressive and unpredictable when you’re at the table.
You want to be as unpredictable as possible, so you don’t fall into a predictable pattern and become easy to read. Once you’re seated at a poker table, you should be constantly on the lookout for opportunities to bet big, raise big, or go all-in.
Find Your Aces Early and Often
Ace-king is one of the most powerful hands in poker, and it’s especially useful in online poker where you can’t see your opponents and have no idea if they’ve got a great hand or a terrible hand.
Finding your ace-king early in a hand is especially important at lower stakes when there are a high number of amateurs at the table. Once you’ve found your ace-king, you want to bet aggressively and get other players to commit as much money to the table as possible.
Don’t Play at High Limits Until You Master the Game
Lastly, playing legal online poker at low stakes allows you to make mistakes without losing a significant amount of money. There’s a good chance you’ll win some of those small pots, too, which will help improve your bankroll without putting too much of a dent in your wallet. Once you’ve become comfortable with the game, you should slowly make your way to higher stakes.