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StrategyPoker Basics

Thirty Beginners Tips (1)

Introduction

In this article
  • Why you should stick to the SHC and be patient
  • The external factors you need to keep an eye on
  • Have fun playing poker and don't be afraid to make mistakes

What information do beginners need? Or those that may have a bit of experience but can't really get started?

Thirty tips, thirty rules of thumb. If you follow them, you can't go far wrong.

These tips are in no particular order.

1. Tight is right

Tight is right. The fewer difficult hands you play, the easier your postflop decisions will be. You can loosen up as your career progresses but you don't have to play like this right from the start.

Follow the Starting Hands Chart and only deviate from it as an exception.

Even when you do start to advance, add more hands to it slowly and gather experience.

2. Don't overestimate yourself

Thirty Beginners Tips (1) The poker world is big and even if it sounds harsh, you don't know yet if you're just what it's been waiting for.

There are other players at the tables with similar goals and they know the common poker rules as well. Even seemingly weak players have their own strategy, they can hit flops or a draw on the river too.

Don't think that just because you're motivated and got off to a good start that the pots will just come to you. Respect every opponent and accept defeats as you will have to take a few.

Even if you should be the best player at the table, you don't automatically have the right to to leave it with the biggest winnings.

3. Theory

Theory is less fun, as in most areas of life.

But as in school, university or daily work life, here nothing is a given. What worked yesterday may not be ideal anymore tomorrow. You change the limits, the platforms, the game variant: it's about being up to date.

There are a host of options at PokerStrategy.com, so in the end it's down to you to work on yourself every day.

4. Think

Even if you should use the Starting Hands Chart to begin with, it shouldn't stop you thinking for yourself.

You should consider every spot anew, especially postflop. There are no standards, each spot is different, the combinations of starting hands, boards and opponents are just too big.

Don't fall into the the same lines again and again, rather try to justify for yourself why you should continue with a line and check if you're unsure.

There are strategy forums and hand evaluation forums for this.

5. Be aggressive

Try to embrace the concept of a TAG (tight aggressive player). Tip 1 covered that you can't go wrong with a tight game. However, don't miss opportunities to play aggressively and put your opponent under pressure, preferably once too often rather than too little.

Keep your foot on the gas.

6. Don't tilt

Tilt is one of the biggest problems for most poker players. They allow themselves to be influenced too much by the results, bemoan their state, their game and of course, the almighty poker god.

Next comes the loss of your A-game and you lose control. Don't lose track of your game.

You can find a couple of tips here:


Strategy: Psychology & Didactics

7. Patience

"Patience is a virtue!"

Rome wasn't built in a day. Set yourself realistic goals, jumping up a limit every month and going heads-up with Phil Ivey by the end of the year are not realistic goals.

The higher you aim, the deeper you'll fall. So play patiently and take developments as they come, because provided you're already playing well, there's nothing you can do to change the situation anyway.

8. Downswing?

If your curve is going down steeply, it may be due to a downswing. But that's just one possibility.

Many players who live out the lifetime downswing are simply not playing well.

Look for leaks, work on your game and examine your game. You can't always blame bad luck, although it can, of course, play a role.

9. Variance

Here's a tough topic: variance.

  • You lose ten flips in a row? It happens!
  • 50 stacks down? It happens!
  • Does it work the other way too? It happens!

Variance has many faces, you'll just have to get familiar with them. Make your enemy your friend, because there's no escaping variance.

10. The sample size

Winning two flips in a 500 hand session doesn't make you a good poker player. What matters is what you achieve in the long-term.

"It's one big session"… stick to this motto. What works well today might not tomorrow. You need to try and see the bigger picture and proving to yourself that your game is good takes more than a few thousand hands.

11. Table selection

Be careful who you play against. If you play against opponents who are as good as you, you can't break even as you'll have to pay rake. You'll end up in the red in the long-run.

Your aim needs to be to at least beat the rake. For that, you need good tables and suitable players, who don't examine things as carefully as you do.

Don't just pay attention to the table, consider the positions too. Try to have position on weak players and don't be afraid to leave the table if it isn't working for you.

12. Nobody is perfect

Even a disciplined player can't play well all the time. Dropping off your A-game is something hardly any player will seriously claim has never happened to them.

As every good poker player will tell you, there's no such thing as a "perfect game". Something can always be done better. So don't aim for perfection, this can also be a deep trap.

Accept your weaknesses, no matter what they are. If you have leaks, work on them. If you tilt, research the topic and try to stop it.

The most important step in all this is admitting your mistakes. If you can do this, you're on the right path.

13. Have fun

It sounds strange but having fun makes life a lot easier. If you're in a dark mood and can't be bothered with poker, just stop and do something else. It's very unlikely that your mood will improve at the tables.

You won't be able to play poker long term if you don't enjoy it. If someone sucks you out on the river, just laugh about it, because you can't change it.

As long as you have fun playing poker and enjoy going to the tables, even bad beats can't phase you. At the same time, this attitude will stop you from tilting.

Look at it as a hobby, which might still allow you to win a few dollars. When you really start picking up steam, you'll just start having fun.

That's a nice prospect.

14. Don't worry about mistakes

You'll make mistakes. Probably a lot. This can't be changed.

It can't be your aim to avoid mistakes from the outset, rather to learn from them. Don't be afraid to post even your worst played hands in the forum. Ultimately, you'll learn from them, which is precisely your goal.

Be resolute. Decide in any given situation on a possible way out and follow it. You can always check later if it was the right way.

15. Concentration

Always concentrate. You can't play poker while you're doing something else. If you're watching television, writing e-mails, surfing the internet, you're distracting yourself from the actual goal: playing your A-game at the tables.

Think about the previous points. Nobody will give you the money, you have to earn your edge. Don't think that 90% is good enough. Always give 100% and don't let anything distract you.

Conclusion

That's tips 1 to 15, the next 15 will follow shortly.

But don't just read them through, compare them with your own opinions. You're bound to find something you can work on.

 

Comments (14)

#1 w34z3l, 12 Jul 11 09:03

Great....thanks.....but why do they links lead to articles in German? =/

#2 Sinnology, 12 Jul 11 09:45

Good article, thx.<br /> Btw, nice to see you alive weasel.

#3 David, 14 Jul 11 15:38

@1: Thank you, the links are correct now :)

#4 indigotiger, 07 Aug 11 20:08

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#5 David, 08 Aug 11 08:18

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#6 FruitNinja, 16 Aug 11 09:52

What grabs me most as a beginner is the phrase (#14): You'll make mistakes. Probably a lot. This can't be changed. <br /> <br /> Just realized that as a beginner this is part of the learning. I was starting to think that maybe Poker is not for me for the mistakes I was making. Now realize that in order to be better you'll need to pass thru this stage and learn from it. Appreciate the tips! Thanks!

#7 genia2q, 18 Jul 13 17:54

Great! Thank you I needed to know this. There were a lot of way I was doing wrong. Reading your article made me more alerts to concentrate on the game 100% and no distractions, thanks.

#8 biggood, 07 Sep 14 18:53

really good job, good articel

#9 toske1, 13 Mar 15 18:34

nice

#10 mirth, 27 Mar 15 21:20

very important tips, i must say. especially the part about tight-aggressiveness. i agree that works where my previous methods did not.

#11 LyToLV, 10 Jun 15 17:28

its very nice to hawe a articls like this becose u can lorn a lot from them. :)

#12 bubamarasr, 22 Jan 16 20:17

Read it. Thank you.

#13 hassux, 25 Jan 16 21:30

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#14 CroZoZo, 26 Apr 16 13:23

kk