If you are new to poker, or to online poker, there are a few basic tips that, if kept in mind, will drastically improve your chances of success:
Keep It Simple Initially: Chances are, you will play lower limit games initially. In order to beat poor players here, you need to outplay poor opponents. This is far simpler than beating good players at higher limits. Unlike the good player, the poor player won’t pay attention to your cards. If you play a straightforward game (play tight, no fancy bluffs, bet aggressively when you probably have the best hand, and utilize pot odds for your drawing decisions), your chances of winning are good. Also remember that a starter level poor player is not thinking too deeply, so there is no point in attempting fancy plays.
Think and Evaluate: Unlike blackjack, there is no optimal strategy in every situation for poker. So remember that your online poker strategy will have to be situational, and not preplanned. Situational judgment skills come with practice and learning from your ‘trial and error’ efforts. Review your game after the event, see what you could have done differently, analyze why you erred, and internalize the lessons.
Learn from experience: One way to learn from experience is to check your opponents’ online poker hand histories that are displayed in some poker rooms. Since you can sometimes lose with the right moves and win with the wrong moves in poker, do not base your postmortem on your winning status. Rather, when you evaluate your plays at the poker table, focus on whether the move in question will be effective in the long run. This is because the luck evens out eventually, and good strategy will give you the most chips in the long run.
Remember that simply because you do well at one type of poker, it does not mean that will do well at other forms of poker. It is possible that a great ring game player is a bad tournament player. Keeping track of your poker statistics will let you analyze which form of poker you are best at.
Avoid Beginner Mistakes: Avoid beginner mistakes such as playing too many hands, playing above your bankroll, becoming very emotional, not using pot odds, using a two-color deck (instead of the better four), imitating other players, being superstitious, and overvaluing suited hands.
Tips about Tells: Pay attention to the in-turn buttons, as they provide important clues about your opponent. For instance, if the blinking light representing a player acts immediately, it is possible this player has clicked the box of an in-turn action.
Suppose your bet appears, but instantly the player next to you raises. What does this tell you about this player? It shows that the player is not keeping track of what you or the first player did – a sign of a poor player. How slow a player commonly acts on their hand also tells you a lot about the player. A consistently super-slow player is probably not paying attention to the game.
Multiple Games: Avoid playing multiple games simultaneously, because then you “miss” out on a lot of tells, and also cannot pay attention to details that can help you play a better game. Observe betting patterns – they reveal a lot about your opponent. For instance, people playing multiple games make huge amounts of bets, and this leads to repetitive behavior that forms a pattern. You can then have concrete clues about their holdings.
The ends of the curve: The normal distribution laws also apply to online poker tournaments. While most people are somewhere in the middle of the curve, there are the particularly bad, and the particularly good players, who fit into the ends of the curve. Make a mental note of these players; and also include your observation in the “Notes” feature, for easy future reference.