While there are many professionals who make poker seem easy, there are those of us who are not always made aware of their starting struggle. If you’re going to start playing, remember the following:
It is always worth knowing your own limits and how you react under the influence. While poker is a social game which always lends itself well to a few beers, know your own limits. It’s pretty natural for people to become a bit too brave or not consider consequences while under the influence. It should be obvious that excessive alcohol will hurt your performance.
Start at low stakes
While the end goal may be to win money, this isn’t always going to happen on your first few attempts at playing. Focus on learning as much as you can while losing as little as possible. Every newcomer will make mistakes, rather have the mistakes be worth less for a valuable lesson learnt.
Keep emotions in check.
Emotions will always plague us at the poker table. Making an unnecessary mistake while tired, angry or sad is all too common. Learning how to deal with your emotions – or tilt – at a poker table and stick to your strategy will be crucial in any success you may have. A great way to help keep your emotions in check is to only start playing when you feel good. The mental game is a large part of the skill in poker, as soon as you fall off your mental game, other players may notice and be able to take advantage of the situation.
Take your time in making decisions.
Making decisions automatically while advantageous in some games, can be a downfall in poker. Take your time to consider not only your own options, but potential hands and actions of other players as well. It will be overwhelming trying to make decisions especially with a lot of players around you, don’t be afraid to take a little extra time to be sure with your decisions. Little can ruin your mental game like regretting a split-second decision when you realise what would have been the correct decision a few seconds later.
We live in an extremely fortunate time where we don’t need to dive headfirst into a table without knowing what is going on. Both offline and online poker games are a great way to practice different strategies and decide which works best for you. This will alleviate a lot of the pressure received from other players allowing you to focus more on your own game and getting to know your own strategies. Reading other players should come as a secondary to knowing what you are doing yourself.
Know when to fold.
Keep in mind how many players are at the table, this will help you distinguish what the odds are of you having the best hand at the table. Try to be realistic as to how many hands you actually have a chance of winning. Remember, poker is also not only about maximizing profits but also minimizing losses.
Don’t forget who you are playing against.
A lot of new players when receiving a great hand will forget about the players, being sure that have the best hand at the table. Try to work on situational awareness, it is never just about what cards you have.