In 2018, Justin Bonomo won $1 million at the World Series Poker event in Las Vegas. That win bumped his lifetime winnings to $43 million, making him the highest-earning poker player in history. If you want to win big like Bonomo, or at least have more favorable outcomes in poker, you’re going to need the skillset to back you up. So, if you’re new to the poker scene, here are five tips to remember as a beginner poker player:
1. Learn the Basics
First and foremost, you need to know how to play without struggling to remember the rules and poker hand rankings. Knowing the rules will make you feel more confident on the table, and less of a vulnerable target to your opponents. Take the time to read through rulebooks and guides, watch the pros play on YouTube, and practice in small stakes games online or in person. Doing all these can help you get a better grasp of the game, learn from the best, and hone your skillset one hand at a time.
2. Understand the Lingo
Knowing poker lingo by heart also helps you track exactly what the other players are up to. There’s a whole slew of poker terms that will help you get familiar with the game. For instance, knowing who and what the big and small blinds are, as well as the position of the button, will allow you to better track each round and bet accordingly. Just like knowing the rules, having a good understanding of the lingo will give you extra confidence at the table.
3. Observe Your Opponents
There’s a lot you can learn simply by studying your opponents. Take it from Maria Konnikova, a professional poker player with a Ph.D. in psychology. In her book, The Biggest Bluff, Konnikova talks about how the faces of your opponents aren’t reliable indicators of their thoughts. Players should, instead, study their hands because these more often give away whether a player is holding strong or weak cards. And you can use these insights to improve your strategy. For instance, you can call their bluff or fold when they’re trying to underplay their good hand.
4. Know When to Be Aggressive and When to Be Patient
That said, you can also be the one who out-bets their opponents. Aggression pays in poker, but not if done recklessly. You need to be able to read others and play aggressively if you feel they are unsure of their hands and you can bluff them. On the other hand, wait for other players to act before raising aggressively on a good hand. You might give away your winning cards if you go all-in and force everyone else to fold. Though you did win that round, you could end up with a much smaller pot. That said, betting is a tough game and an effective strategy is something you develop over time. For now, don’t be afraid to experiment with different plays and adjust according to who you’re up against.
5. Keep Your Emotions in Check
Finally, keep a cool head and don’t let your emotions get the best of you. It’s called poker face for a reason. Don’t let your opponents read you, at least not accurately. So if you get a 2-7 off suit, which is one of the worst starting hands in poker, don’t make it obvious that you have a bad hand. In the same way, don’t give it away that you have pocket aces. Always control your emotions and play it cool. If you struggle with this consider slapping on a pair of sunglasses – a trick many top poker players follow.
Keep these tips in mind the next time you think of playing poker. And remember: It takes a lot of skill and practice to win big. If you’re looking for more card games, check out this article on the best card games you can play on the PC. It features famous releases from Blizzard Entertainment, Hearthstone — and plenty more.