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The one major difference between online poker and land based poker is that when you play online, you can’t see your opponents directly.  You can see them only by inference and indirection.  Here are a few tips for online poker players that players of all skill levels can use.

Forget the Rake Calculator

One thing we find is that new poker players are often obsessed with the rake calculator to the point that they try to work the rake rather than work the table!  So, our first tip to new poker players is: forget the rake and concentrate on poker.

If you are in a good position to win a pot, you should do the most to maximize the size of the pot.  At Juicy Stakes Poker, the rake has a built in maximum in any case so you won’t be forfeiting more to the rake by getting the pot higher!  Leave the rake aside and play poker!

Make Sure You’re Ready Emotionally and Physically

Poker is a game that, on the surface, requires little expenditure of energy.  This is one of the biggest mistakes new poker players make.  The same misunderstanding of the requirements of the game occur when most people talk about chess.

Chess at high levels of competition is an exhausting game!  Poker will be exhausting, too, so you need to be in very good emotional and physical “shape” to play poker well.  Let’s look at both the emotional side and the physical side separately.

Emotions Can Rule You or You Can Rule Your Emotions

The common term for a poker player who allows his or her emotions to rule the roost is tilt.  On highways or in airplanes we use the term rage.  In poker, tilt is a sign of pent up anger.  Rage is the same.

In order to be able to concentrate fully and accurately on the next hand, which is coming fast as soon as the previous hand ends, we need to be able to rid ourselves of all manifestations of tilt or rage.

Poker has many wide swings of luck.  You can do everything right and lose and you can make analytical mistakes and win!  Phil Helmuth is famous for insulting lucky new poker players whose analysis of a hand was wildly off the mark but who won anyway because luck has a large part to say in the outcome of most poker hands.

We need to accept the bad luck in the same calm manner that we accept the lucky turns of events!

Being in complete control of our poker emotions is a lot easier said than done.  We have to practice staying calm in the face of a difficult stretch.

Always Stay within Your Financial and Emotional Means

A poker player should never bet more money than he or she can afford to lose.  This is almost a cliché but a lot of emotional hand wringing occurs when a player gets into a game at higher stakes than they can reasonably afford and loses.

Many players in such a situation actually lose more because they have lost at the outset and then play very poor poker the rest of the session as a reaction to their early losses.  It’s a good idea to play at low stakes as a way of practicing the practical side of poker and also as a good way to learn how to react to bad luck or analytical mistakes with equanimity.

Get into Poker Shape to Win

Poker is a game for the long haul.  One of the problems we have with YouTube and televised poker is that the edited clips leave out a lot of the backbreaking and boring stuff that poker players have to deal with.

Poker takes a massive physical toll on players.  In this matter, it is the same whether you are a seasoned pro playing for relatively high stakes or a new player playing in low stakes games.

Never underestimate the value and importance of getting a lot of good exercise every day, eating correctly, and getting enough good sleep.  This is really the difference between winning and losing for many players.

One of the things we can “see” when we play online poker is when an opponent seems to be playing on even though he or she is noticeably tired.  A tired player is prime to give away some money!  On the other hand, you should never play when you are too tired to make good decisions!

If you can only play for twenty minutes at a time at the beginning of your online poker “career” then so be it.  Don’t play a single minute longer than you can from the physical point of view and work as hard getting into long poker session shape as you spend studying the tactics and strategies of poker.

In fact, one of the most important strategies in poker is to be 100% alert at all times and the best tactic for achieving that lofty goal is to train yourself physically. 

Learn the Basics First

There is a lot to learn.  Poker math may not be the newest way to analyze a hand but it is a very valuable way to do so.  However, you can’t master poker math in a single session!  You need to take it quite slowly.  After all, if you are playing for low stakes, which is where all new players should start even if you are a millionaire, all of the other players are probably doing their best to use the level of poker math they know to analyze the same hand that you are trying to figure out!

The one mathematical element that is easiest to learn at first is value betting.  Every new player should work on this concept before going on to the more rarified air of advanced poker math.

There is a clock on decisions in online poker and you need to make quick decisions.  Value betting is the easiest to learn well enough to be able to use it in making your next decision.

Every Bet is a Value Bet

We will explore this idea at length in a future article, but for now, we should point out a fact that many gamblers and poker players overlook: every bet is a value bet in some way.

Value betting is the term we use to describe the level of the bet we feel safe making so that our opponent will fold in a winning situation or will call or raise in a losing situation.  When we bet in early position, it is a value bet designed to get later players to fold in the face of a strong bet from an early betting player!  We might be bluffing from the get go but the value of a bet in early position is that it looks like a bet from strength!

Join Juicy Stakes Poker

We offer poker with players from all over the world.  Our online poker room is designed to give players the maximum poker pleasure.  We offer poker at stakes from low to high and in many variations of poker.

While most games are in the ubiquitous Texas Holdem, we offer games in many versions of poker.  If you prefer Omaha or High-Low poker, Juicy Stakes is the place to play!


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