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min read

Best 15 Poker Tips for Beginners

Pokercode

Poker is a complex game that requires a good understanding of math, ranges, strategy, and other skills to succeed. 

While there is no way to sum all that knowledge into a single guide, I can give you some great poker tips that will help you improve your game instantly if you apply them. 

These poker strategy tips and tricks cover all the basic elements of the game, including hand selection, position, odds, and much more. 

If you want to succeed at poker, you should always keep these in mind and expand on them further to master the game. 

  1. Start with the Basics

After watching poker masterminds like Fedor Holz play poker on TV, many novice players fall in love with nosebleeds and immediately want to play poker at the highest level. 

However, this is not possible, as it takes years to master the game to the level you see players playing in many televised events. 

Instead, you should start with the most basic concepts. 

Learn the poker rules inside and out, and ensure you understand hand rankings perfectly before you even start playing. 

You may think you already know all there is to know about the game and that you can read souls and know what everyone is holding, but this is simply not true. 

Leave pride at the door if you want to become a great poker player, and understand that the task in front of you is huge if you want to reach these levels. 

After you have played millions of hands of poker, you may ascend to the ranks of the best poker players in the world, but for now, make sure to stay humble and take it one step at a time. 

Best 15 Poker Tips for Beginners
Fedor Holz at the 2021 World Series of Poker (WSOP)
  1. Tight is Right For Beginners

The saying “tight is right” used to go around a lot back in the early days of online poker, and it still holds true for most players. 

While poker has greatly evolved and many advanced players have learned various strategies that allow them to play more hands, one of the best poker tips I can give you when starting is to keep it tight. 

Playing a tight style of poker may not make you the world’s next Daniel Negreanu, but it will allow you to gradually advance your game without demolishing your bankroll. 

Playing too many hands without knowing what to do with them will only confuse you and make poker seem like absolute chaos, simply because you won’t understand what is going on. 

Instead, play a tight style and fold any marginal hands you are dealt. Get rid of all your off-suit cards and weak suited holdings in early positions, and only expand your range a bit on the button. 

By reducing the number of hands you play, you will reduce the number of decisions you must make and leave yourself with more clear-cut decisions that will build up your confidence and allow you to trust your game and keep advancing. 

  1. Start at the Low Stakes

I cannot overstate the importance of starting your poker career at the low stakes. Even if you have spare money and can afford to play higher, I highly recommend starting at the lowest levels. 

Online poker allows you to play for just cents of a few dollars at a time, so you won’t be concerned with any potential losses you may incur. 

In fact, there is a high chance you will be losing in the early days, so make sure you are playing for stakes that don’t matter while you are learning. 

What’s even more, you don’t want to start off playing against players who are at a much higher level in terms of strategy than you are, so play low and build your way up. 

Finding low-stakes live poker games can be challenging, but if you want to play live poker, I recommend trying to get into some low-stakes private games or an occasional daily tournament at your local casino. 

  1. Play Your Hands Aggressively

I suggested earlier that you should play tight, but this does not mean you should play passively by any means. 

In fact, the tighter you are, the more aggressive you can be without worrying about being exploited. If you are only playing good hands, you can always aggressively attack everyone else at the table. 

Aggressive play is one of the best poker tricks anyone can teach you, as it enables you to win pots without actually going to showdown. 

Since you won't always be able to make the best hand once all the community cards are dealt out, winning some pots without a showdown is key. 

Because you are playing tight, other players will mostly believe you and perceive you as having a big hand, which will allow you to bluff even when you are holding draws or overcards. 

Try to be passive as rarely as possible and be the one making the bets and raises, and you will see your opponents' hands hitting the muck, and your chip stack will grow rapidly. 

  1. Learn the Power of Position

Position is power in Texas Hold’em and most other poker games, and you need to learn how to capitalize on this power and use it against your opponents. 

What I mean by position is having a positional advantage over the other players in the hand, which is guaranteed if you are playing most hands from the button or other late positions. 

Playing last on every betting street after the flop is dealt will allow you to control the size of the pot and dictate the course of the hand, allowing you to over-realize your equity. 

This means that you will likely win more than your fair share of pots since you have the advantage of seeing everyone else act before you and can use that additional information. 

I recommend expanding your range as you move closer to the button and opening more hands from the button than in any other position. 

Fold most of your cards in early positions, not only because of all the players left to act behind you but also because you will be left playing out of position and at an additional disadvantage. 

Best 15 Poker Tips for Beginners
Positions at the poker table are important
  1. Don't Worry About Short-Term Results

One of the biggest flaws of new poker players is that they focus too much on the results of particular hands. 

In the poker community, we call this being results-oriented, and it’s something that every professional player will tell you should be avoided. 

The results of every particular hand of poker will be greatly impacted by luck. If you go all-in with AA against 22 before the flop, you will still lose about 18% of the time. 

If you bust out of a tournament in such a way, you should not blame yourself or doubt if you played the hand correctly. 

All you can do in poker is make the right decisions that maximize your equity, and over the long run, the equity will even out, and you will win what you deserve. The best you can do is make optimal decisions in every hand you play, and don’t think about anything else. 

Some game types, such as big-field tournaments, are subject to a ton of variance, so you must detach yourself from the results and make sure you are making the right decisions regardless of the outcome. 

To do that, you must follow the next poker tip, which is essential for long-term success.

  1. Be Mindful of Your Bankroll

As your poker game advances, you will want to start playing higher-stakes games where you can win more money. 

However, it is very important to keep proper bankroll management, or all the poker skills in the world will not help you. 

Whether you like it or not, poker is a highly volatile game where even the best players experience significant downswings. You want to ensure you have enough money to cover the downswings at all times. 

The size of the bankroll you need will depend on the game type you are playing in, but I recommend keeping at least 50 buyins for cash games and as many as 200 average buyins for tournaments. 

You may get away with having fewer buyins in very soft games, such as live cash games, but even there, I would not recommend going in without 20 buyins. 

Once you are very comfortable with your skill level, you may want to experiment and take some shots at the higher stakes, but remember to drop down if your shot doesn’t go too well. 

  1. Learn About Poker Odds

Poker is a game of odds, and you need to understand how odds work in the game to be a successful player. 

To start, you will need to learn about outs, equity, pot odds, implied odds, and reverse implied odds, which are only a few of the basic concepts you need to know. 

All the poker tips in the world won’t help you if you don’t understand how likely you are to win in certain situations and how to size up your bets accordingly.

The math of poker is complex, and you will need to dedicate quite a few hours to learning the concepts and understanding the formulas behind them. 

There are some ways to make calculating odds simpler in poker, but knowing where it all comes from is necessary if you want to play the game with understanding.

There is really no way around learning about the odds, and if you try to take shortcuts with this, you will never become a great poker player. 

  1. Don’t Be Afraid of Betting for Value

Probably the most important thing in poker, especially at the lower stakes, is to get paid big when you have a big poker hand. 

Since you will be playing tight to start off, you will often find yourself in situations where you have very big hands, such as three-of-a-kind, flushes, or full houses. 

Whenever you do have such a big hand, you will want to bet, and you will want to bet big. Don’t worry about your opponent folding his cards prematurely or not paying you off. 

There are only so many betting streets where you can put the money in, and you want to try to get it all when you have a big hand. 

Also, don't be afraid of monsters in the closets, such as four of a kind, when you have a full house, which is a newbie mistake that many amateur players make. 

This is very unlikely to happen, and even if it does, it is known as a poker cooler, meaning it was just meant to be, and the next time you will be holding the better hand. 

  1. Don’t Overbluff

While some players are worried about running into the nuts and losing a big pot, many others go the exact opposite way and fire on all cylinders. 

One of the best poker tricks to apply in your game is to try and achieve some balance, which means bluffing occasionally, but not too much. 

At the lower stakes, players will often not think too much about what you have and will be happy to pay off your bets with just one pair or worse. 

Because of this, bluffing too much can be a real disaster, especially if you don’t know your opponent and aren’t sure he is capable of making a big laydown. 

For starters, try to limit your bluffs to single continuation bets on the flop on favorable boards and occasional double barrels when you have a lot of equity, such as when you are holding a strong flush draw. 

As you learn more about the game, you will find out that firing random bets when you haven’t connected with the board in any way is usually a losing play, and you will learn to recognize profitable bluffing spots.

  1. Think in Terms of Ranges

Ranges are a relatively new and somewhat obscure concept in poker, but one that I recommend you get comfortable with early if you want to win in today’s games. 

A hand range is a collection of multiple hands that you or your opponent can hold in certain situations. 

By thinking about your own and your opponent’s range instead of trying to put them on an exact hand, you will be able to play more sound poker and avoid bias.

I am not saying that there isn't something to be said about reading your opponent's actions and demeanor at the table, but you will want to focus on the math, and the way ranges interact with boards much more than on live tells. 

Of course, there are still a few players in the modern game, such as Phil Hellmuth, who swear by the live reads, but such players are in the minority, and their playing style is far from the standard. 

Best 15 Poker Tips for Beginners
An example of what a poker range looks like
  1. Learn to Control Your Emotions

Emotions are a big part of poker, and we can see that even the best players in the world are not completely immune to an occasional emotional outburst. 

Yet, that does not mean that you should be raging at the tables when losing or gloating when you are winning or that this kind of behavior is normal.

In fact, you can only be a good poker player if you can keep a level head in almost all situations and walk away when you feel the emotions getting the best of you. 

It can be difficult to walk away from a good game, especially when you are losing, but knowing when to quit is a big part of what makes a successful poker player. 

Being emotionally stable at the tables will allow you to gain an additional advantage over your opponents, who go on full tilt every time they lose a hand, and you can exploit this for additional profit. 

Just remember that emotional control does not come automatically. No matter what you may think now, you will learn that everyone tilts and that it takes time and effort to control your emotions and keep a level head in the midst of adversity. 

  1. Don’t Force Yourself to Play

One of the big challenges that professional poker players face is that they have to play fairly regularly, even if they don’t feel like doing it. 

Poker is a game that requires a lot of emotional control and restraint, and this is hard to have if your head is not in the right place and you are not focused on the game. 

Since you are not a pro yet, make sure you are only playing when you really feel like it. 

If you play poker out of boredom or while watching a movie, don’t expect your results to be too good, or you will be able to learn something new.

Only play the game when you can completely commit to it, and you will notice that your results will be the best when you do so. 

  1. Find Good Poker Games

It may not be too relevant when you are playing for ultra-low stakes, but as you move up and start playing for more money, you will want to make sure you are playing in games that can be beaten. 

There are many great poker players, and playing exclusively against them will cost you money and not leave you feeling too satisfied. 

If you want to make any money in the game, the best poker tips I can give you are to find good games and play against opponents who are worse at poker than you. 

While I am not a big supporter of "bum hunting" and only playing against the absolute fish, I do recommend trying to get into games where players are willing to gamble and not always make the right decisions. 

After all, there is little point in being good at poker if you will always play against people who are better, as that means you will never be the favorite to win. 

  1. Keep on Learning

The poker tips I have compiled here are just the most basic things you need to know about poker, and I have condensed even those basics to just a few sentences on each. 

The truth is that every concept I have mentioned here, such as position, odds, and bankroll management, can be expanded on much more. 

If you truly want to master the game of poker, you will need to spend some time learning about each of these concepts before even playing a single meaningful hand of poker. 

This may sound intimidating or exaggerated, but poker is truly a game that you will never stop learning. 

Some of the best poker pros in the world still spend a lot of time studying the game and learning new things, which is exactly why they are the best. 

Luckily you are in the right place at Pokercode, where we help players to get better.

Best 15 Poker Tips for Beginners
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