Top 10 Online Poker Tips
If you thought being successful at online poker was a matter of firing up the laptop, loading up a few NLHE cash tables, closing your eyes and blindly hitting the “RAISE” button, think again (although, admittedly, it’s worked out fine for some professionals over time).
Successful online poker takes dedication, hard work, a lot of mindless grinding (but a lot of fun, too) and, of course, a few dollars in your bankroll.
Online poker needn’t be a total grind, so here are 10 top tips to get you started.
1 - Get A Good Welcome Bonus
Have you seen a US poker site being promoted in a poker magazine or a banner on one of your favorite poker forums advertising an incredible bonus for first-time depositors? Are your eyes dazzled by the huge dollar signs that come screaming out of the page?
Before you whip out the credit card and start entering that bonus code, stop and think: is that welcome bonus of 100 percent up to $500 really worth gunning for?
Many US legal poker sites offer promos to entice new American players to their rooms online, and you can have the chance of earning hundreds of dollars in free cash if you “play through” enough hands of poker.
But not all bonuses are created equal. It really pays to shop around, as the playing requirements needed to trigger the bonus can vary wildly from room to room; that’s why checking out our superb bonus page at LegalPoker.com will point you in the right direction. Our dedicated team tracks down and tests out the best legit real-money bonuses for US players.
2 - Find A Trustworthy Poker Site
Have you heard the one about the American poker pro, the shady online poker site and the missing millions?
Sadly, it’s no joke that in the very recent past, thousands of American Internet players have seen their hard-earned funds go buh-bye at the whim of criminals bent on spying on your hole cards, not paying out winnings, and embezzling players’ accounts to pay back pros.
However, since the dark days of Black Friday (and that seems a VERY long time ago now), legal Internet poker sites in the US have upped their game, and - long withdrawal times aside - it’s arguably much safer to play online now in America. And, of course, if you happen to live in one of the newly regulated states like Nevada, New Jersey or Delaware, you’ll be able to enjoy access to a whole raft of established, reliable poker rooms online.
If hunting out the most dependable poker rooms on the web sounds like a pain, let us at LegalPoker.com do the hard work for you. We find - and recommend - only the most trustworthy US legal poker rooms in 2017, so you won’t get stung.
3 - Can't Afford It? Don't Gamble With It
Whether you’re totally new to playing for cash at legal US poker sites, or you’re Phil Ivey considering a pitch at the nosebleed stakes online, you’ll need to employ sensible bankroll management if you don’t want to go broke.
So, whatever stakes you’re playing at, if you’re a cash game player, ensure you have enough for the maximum buy-in (and yes, multi-tablers, that’s on EACH table you play) and for tourney players, consider having 10-20x your regular tourney buy-in in reserve in case you go on a downswing.
Don’t think downswings can happen to you? Think again - they happen to all online poker players at some point, so be prepared.
And while we’re on the subject of money, it’s vital you don’t overstretch yourself - stick to limits you can comfortably and regularly crush, and only then consider moving up.
4 - Learn Good Hand Selection
One of the first things you will learn playing online Texas Hold’em is that pocket aces should be played strongly in all positions. The next thing you will learn, is that you need to disguise the strong hands like pocket rockets by slow-playing them.
Finally, once you have got your head round that strategy, you will then learn to play them aggressively again as part of a double-bluff.
Learning good hand selection is key to a fruitful poker existence, so it’s worth understanding what are considered good hands to play, and in what positions: high pairs like A-A and K-K should be played strongly in late position, while weaker hands like A-Q and A-J can also be played strongly in late position depending on the action that’s gone before. When you’re first to act, however, those decisions change.
No one ever went broke playing a solid, tight game with a narrow range of hands, but they certainly went broke playing too many hands – and in all the bad positions. You can easily make a steady income playing a simple, tight game, so brush up on your hand selection and start grinding!
5 - Invest In A Widescreen Monitor, And Learn To Use It
A good-quality widescreen monitor rocks most of the time - after all, you can surf in one half and do work/play poker/watch the baseball on the other half, but if you are serious about the poker part, you really have no excuse.
Widescreen monitors mean you can cram in many more tables on your screen at once, and even if multi-tabling isn’t on your radar right now, it should be eventually. Start by trying out two tables at once (remembering to find a great legal poker site for Americans that can actually get two tables filled up at once), then slowly add more tables. Improving players should be grinding 3-4 tables comfortably - it means your volume will increase dramatically, your profits will improve, and your win rate will go up; it’s all good.
And one widescreen monitor not cutting it, or you find yourself surfing and playing a lot? Consider buying two monitors - one purely for poker, the other for browsing the Internet.
6 - It's Time to Get the Spreadsheets Out
Everyone plays real-money poker to make a profit, but how much are you making really? If you don’t know, you’ll need to get organized.
As well as separating your life/poker bank accounts, consider starting some spreadsheets on your computer to keep records on what’s coming in vs. what's going out. Of course, you can ask your legal US poker site for an account history, but if you’re playing on multiple sites this can be time-consuming and messy.
Keeping your own spreadsheets will let you see what kind of volume you’re keeping up, your profits over time, and even the total fees you're paying. Some websites like www.sharkscope.com will even do the tracking for you, and for a fee, supply you with Profit/Loss graphs, so you can see how your budding career is progressing.
7 - Keep Tabs On Your Opponents
And while we’re talking note-taking, get into the habit of taking notes on your opponents. If you’re playing at the same legal US sites time and time again, chances are you’ll be gambling with a lot of the same regulars, and you will notice they often play in the same way. That’s when you need to take notes - most good legal US poker rooms online will carry an area on the main game screen where you can take notes - just click on the player and type away.
A lot of online players in America will be multi-tabling and therefore making a lot of standard moves. Is that guy in late position at your table folding an awful lot of hands pretty quickly? It could be he has the ‘auto-fold’ box checked and is therefore multi-tabling. That means he’s not paying attention to what’s going on and you could capitalize on his lack of attention.
As you improve, simple notes aren’t enough, and it may be time to invest in some proper tracking software. HUDs (Heads-Up Displays) are online programs that “sit” on top of your tables and display stats on all your opponents. While some major sites have banned their use, if you are allowed to use HUDs, they can be invaluable for getting a handle on what the players at your table are going to do in a certain situation.
8 - Let's Go Fishing
Taking notes is all well and good, but at some legit poker rooms in the USA, you won’t even need any tracking software to make bucks. In fact, the players will be so bad, you can just sit down, play a solid, ABC game, and end a session well in profit.
While some rooms online boast plenty of very good players and a lot of tough games, others are full of terrible players ripe for a feeding frenzy. In essence, finding the fishiest poker sites - rooms full of players who over-bet marginal hands and get attached to their unlikely one-outers - is essential to prolonging a profitable poker life.
Luckily, at LegalPoker.com, we hunt out the easiest poker sites just for players like you. Check out our recommended list of the easiest poker rooms on the net and get winning easy cash straight away.
9 - Leave the Beer in The Fridge
Online poker affords you all kinds of privileges live players don’t have - you can play in your pyjamas, on your laptop or tablet in front of the TV, or play on the train to work.
However, if you have a 6-pack of beer dying to get out of the fridge, online poker also makes it very easy for you to play with a cold one by your side.
Here’s a tip - leave the beer in the fridge, or any alcohol at all, for that matter. While playing poker on the Internet is recreational, you need to have all your senses in order to think clearly and make sound poker plays; alcohol just makes you feel invincible.
It’s funny how that two-outer seems so much more tempting after a beer or three. Don’t fall into the trap - stay sober and watch your ROI improve as a result.
10 - Take A Break
Everyone needs a break from the grind. That goes for anything in life - work, family, commuting – but especially so with online poker.
Grinding for hours on end - often with no profit to show for it - can be sapping for the mind and body, and whatever your stakes, you need to avoid the demon that is tilt.
Even if you are on a winning stretch, it’s important to take a break from poker, and even more important if you are on a losing run. So, get out of the house, go for a walk, take a few deep breaths, then come back and assess what went wrong, and figure out if it was your fault, or some idiot sucking out on you.
Ready for the next challenge? Put this knowledge to good use and go out and find a top legal US poker site today. Sign up to one of our recommended rooms online from LegalPoker.com that is 100 percent legal for American players like you.