I often forget that despite the rise in popularity for poker online, there are still a lot of people who have never even played a single hand. Maybe you are one of them. Or maybe, you’ve tried to play a few times but need a better strategy. So if you’re a newbie, we have three solid tips for poker beginners.

Poker is a game largely based on skill not luck. That means you really need to know what you are doing to be good at it. It’s easy to get carried away in the beginning. Holding out hope that your opponent is bluffing or that the flop will come good for you. And yes, there will be times when this is true – that’s the luck bit! More often than not, you will need more than a couple of good hole cards to win the pot. You need a strategy.

Start Small

If you are new to poker, then you have to start small. If you are playing online, you have no idea how experienced your opponents are. More seasoned players will spot you a mile away and take your stack in the blink of an eye. So pick a low-stakes table or one with a very small buy-in. These tend to attract players like you, those you are just the hang of the game. If you are all playing at a relatively same level, you have a better chance of winning.

If you plan to play Texas Hold’em, the most popular version of poker, start with Limit tables. It’s simply too easy to get carried away with no-limit poker and is a fast way to losing your money. In limit Hold’em, bet sizes are set and raises can only be made in increments set by whatever the limit is on that table. You can only bet up to the size of the pot at any given point. This will help you manage your stack.

Keep A Guide handy

A big mistake made by new poker players is forgetting which hands rank higher than others. Yes, we are probably all aware of a Royal Flush but there are plenty of hands that rank below it. So print out a poker hand guide and keep it next to you when playing online. When you know what you hold you can also quickly figure out the other hands that can possibly beat you.

Can your opponents make better hands than yours with the cards on the table? Is anybody betting like they are unbeatable? And if so, can they actually beat you? Games online tend to move a lot quicker than the ones we see in high stakes poker. This is particularly true of games largely played by beginners. Most are relying on instinct or the notion that they have a winning hand so their decisions tend to made faster. The pressure to play fast will lead to mistakes so take your time and read your hand rankings.

Learn The Game

This may seem self-explanatory but poker is a rich and diverse game and you can’t possibly know it all when you start to play. Yes, you can learn as you go, but at least give yourself a fighting chance and learn the basics properly first. What are the best-ranked hole cards and what are the worst?

Are there ways to spot tells online? How does the big and small blind affect your betting? Who are the tight and loose players? How important is your position at the table in betting terms? You should know the answers to these and more before you delve into the world of online poker. Every additional piece of information you can absorb will help you win. And if you are better at reading the game you will definitely have an edge over the other players.

So start small, pace yourself and learn lessons from every play you make. Take notes when you win big hands and more importantly, take notes when you lose. Think about where it went wrong and then next time the same situation occurs you won’t fall into the trap so easily. Like any game, the more you know and the more you play the better you will get. Poker is a marathon, not a sprint. So relax, take your time and enjoy the game.