If you are just starting to play poker and you have no first hand experience it can be intimidating at first there is just so much to know and learn.
So what is the best way to go about learning poker? There are plenty of ways that players at all levels can improve their poker game. Read into the subheadings to learn more.
Growing up you all must have heard a teacher or a coach one time tell you, “practice makes perfect.” Well, poker is no exception, and if you want to be successful at poker, you need to practice a lot. Just because you have the bankroll to jump right into a $2/$4 NL Hold’em game online does not mean that you should. Odds are you will get eaten alive by the sharks at the table. It is therefore very important to first practice and hone your skills at the micro-stakes tables.
Live poker games can be very profitable and a great way to practice poker, but if you are looking to see many more hands, there are plenty of online poker sites that allow you to play both practice money and real money poker games. Keep in mind, however, the play at the play money tables is completely different than what you can expect at the real money tables because they have nothing to lose. So don’t expect to learn a lot at the practice money tables.
That aside, there are plenty of micro-stakes action for beginners at online poker rooms starting at the $0.01/$0.02 stakes level. Take the time to effectively learn the game by getting first hand experience playing real money online poker games on a desktop/laptop or using poker apps while away from the computer. Nothing can teach you poker better than routinely practicing and playing as many hands as you can.
Studying The Game
If you want to learn or get better at something, one of the easiest things to do is to read up on the topic. Poker is no different. Take advantage of everything that is available to you by sitting down and actually studying poker away from the table. You will find that there are many books, magazines and blogs written by many of the top poker players.
Browse around the internet for advice on poker that you would like to learn about. For example, if you want to learn about poker tells in online poker, search for “online poker tells” on Google. Or if you’re new to Omaha and want to learn about starting hand selection in PLO, search for “starting hands in pot limit omaha”. It is really simple to find in-depth articles on Google written on the topic you want to learn.
Many of the older and even some of the newer generation of young deep-thinking poker players were very good about conveying their thoughts into books. Maybe one of your favorite players has already written a book, you would be surprised to see just how many poker players have books out that you could definitely learn from.
Recommended Reading List: Some of the better poker books are The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky, Harrington on Hold’em by Dan Harrington and Bill Robertie, and Small Stakes Hold’em by Ed Miller, David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth. Anything by Sklansky, Harrington, Miller and Malmuth takes a very math-based approach, but will provide a good technical foundation upon which to build your poker education.
Another thing that a lot of popular poker players are doing is writing articles and blogs for poker magazines. Keep up-to-date in the poker world with what is going on as it will benefit you to do so. Two of the most popular poker magazines are Bluff Magazine and Card Player. More and more players have also started their own blogs, one of the largest collections of poker blogs is found at PokerSchoolOnline.com, and you can sometimes find nuggets of gold amongst fellow player’s personal blog updates.
Poker Training Sites
With the huge jump in the number of people playing poker seriously to create an income for themselves, the skill level across the board has increased. You often hear poker players saying that “online games have gotten tougher.” One of the newest opportunities that poker players now have is the access to online poker training sites, which is great news for those who learn better from videos.
Rather than paying hundreds or thousands of dollars per hour getting one-on-one coaching with a well-known pro, you can pay around $15-$30 per month and get coached by 10-100 poker pros. Most poker training websites are definitely a good investment for any level of poker player, and you can learn quite a bit watching these videos.
You must, however, do research into the sites you are thinking about joining to determine the site’s focus, because you need to find a website that caters to your needs. For example, if you are a NLHE cash game player, you should consider Red Chip Poker, CardRunners or DeucesCracked. If you are a mid or high stakes player, you should consider a premium training site like RunItOnce for $100 per month. Most poker video training websites offer you trial subscriptions that are commitment free without any strings attached.
Watching Poker Online
If you want to learn how to play poker, it also helps to watch a lot of poker. Since 2003 when Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker Main Event, the poker world has grown by leaps and bounds. With this rapid growth in poker, ESPN has put significant airtime for the World Series of Poker. Also, there have been lots of poker television programs such as High Stakes Poker, Poker After Dark and Poker Night in America, just to name a few.
If you are looking to improve your poker game, what better way to do that than by learning from the pros? Shows such as these allow the viewer to see the hole cards of every player at the table and you can often gain some insight into what players are thinking, why they are using certain tactics and strategies, practice picking up on tells, etc.
You should watch as much poker as possible. Not only is there rarely a time where you cannot find some sort of poker on television, but even if there is literally nothing on, Youtube has a huge assortment of videos from shows just like these. Simply go to YouTube and search for videos using keywords like “Poker After Dark”, “High Stakes Poker”, etc.