Online Poker Tips to Improve Your Game
Online poker is played over the internet. It is an excellent way to work on your game. You can play any time you want from anywhere, explore every poker variation, play lower-stakes games, and play as many hands per hour as you desire. The analytical tools that some online casinos offer can help track your performance and identify areas for improvement.
If you want to improve your game, here are 8 key tips for playing online poker to get you started.
You must understand the poker rules and variations to improve your game, but that doesn’t mean being an expert in every variant. Knowledge of the rules and dynamics of the popular poker variants can enrich your overall poker experience and make you a better poker player.
Popular poker variants fall under 3 categories:
- Draw poker: Poker variants in which players are dealt all 5 cards face-down, then try to improve their hands by replacing them. They include 5-card draw and 2-7 triple draw.
- Stud poker: Poker variants in which players receive a combination of face-up and face-down cards one by one, then try to make the best hand using the information learned from the face-up cards. They include 7-card stud and 5-card stud.
- Community card poker: Poker variants in which players start with less than 5 face-down cards, then the face-up community cards are shared among players to use in combination with the face-down cards to make the best hand. They include Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hold’em, and Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo.
Poker variants have different rules, gameplays, and objectives, so we won’t discuss them all in detail in this guide. Research more about them to find one that suits your preferences and practise it until you become a guru.
If you are new to poker, you need to first learn the basic strategies before attempting the advanced strategies. Here are some basic poker strategy tips to help you develop your game.
1. Develop a Playing Style
Poker has several playing styles, which can affect your basic poker strategy. They include tight, loose, aggressive, passive, and slow playing. It is up to you to decide which style to use, but a good approach is to learn all of them to be flexible and switch styles depending on the situation.
2. Understand Hand Rankings
Hand rankings determine who wins the pot in a showdown. For example, a player with a full house beats a player with 3 of a kind poker hand. Understanding hand rankings is critical to forming a good basic poker strategy.
3. Learn How Table Positions Affect Decisions
Your table position informs the range of hands you will raise and call and determines how aggressive your game will be preflop and postflop. It also affects the strength of your hand. For example, you can play more aggressively if you are in a later spot because you have studied your opponents’ actions.
4. Learn to Fold
You must learn the situations that call for folding, whether you have a strong or weak hand. It is not simple because humans naturally want to win, and folding surrenders that chance. But online poker moves very fast, so you will get another chance in a few minutes.
5. Manage your Money
You can choose between low-stake and high-stake online poker games, allowing you to play games that align with your bankroll. A good bankroll management strategy is to spend 5%-10% of your deposited funds for a single entry. For example, if you have only NZ$100, you can start with NZ$0.05/NZ$0.10 games.
Advanced poker strategies build on the foundation set by the basic strategies. After mastering the fundamentals of poker strategies and gaining some online poker experience, progress to the following advanced poker strategies.
1. Study your Opponents
Studying your poker opponents allows you to gain insights into their likely action, building a strategic advantage. When playing online poker, because you can’t see your opponents, you can study their:
- Betting patterns
- Bet sizing
You can use tracking software to make it easier to identify patterns.
2. Master the Art of Bluffing
You can’t always rely on having the best cards to win. Bluffing can make your hand look stronger than it is to force opponents to fold with strong or call with weak hands. Learn about the best situations for bluffs or semi-bluffs to execute them effectively.
3. Know the Good Starting Hands
Generally, high cards, high suited connectors, and pairs are good starting hands. Low pairs, lower-ranking cards, and connectors of different suits are not very strong, but also not weak enough to fold immediately. This knowledge can help you decide when to play or fold.
4. Understand Poker Odds
Poker odds are the probabilities of events occuring during the game. Common poker odds to learn to calculate include pre-flop, post-flop, pot, and implied odds. You can use poker tools to avoid mistakes or miscalculations that lead to inaccurate decisions.
5. Think in Terms of Ranges
Knowing your opponent’s hand allows you to anticipate moves and exploit their weaknesses. But you can’t know their exact cards, so you must think in terms of ranges.
A range is a group of card combinations a player can have in a certain situation. You can assess your opponent’s hand range through their style of play, stack, skill level, table position, and several other factors.
Reading Opponents and Bluffing
Bluffing in online poker is completely different from bluffing in live poker. When playing live, you can see, speak to, and study your opponent. Tell-tale signs like nervous talking, frequent glances, and nail-biting can tell you a lot about your opponents’ games.
You can’t physically study your opponent in online poker, but you can read them through:
- Speed of decisions and actions
- Betting patterns and bet sizing
- The content sent to the chatbot or inbox
These tells can help you make informed decisions, such as when to attack. For example, an opponent checking or making small bets can indicate a weakness you can capitalise on with an aggressive bluff.
Reading your opponents can give you insight into their poker strategy. Their betting pattern betting style can help you figure out their mindset and anticipate their moves.
Pot Odds and Hand Equity Calculations
Calculating pot odds and hand equity in a game gives you the information you need to make statistically correct decisions.
Pot odds is the ratio of the total size of the pots to the size of the bet you must call to stay in the game. For example, if there is NZ$100 in the pot and your opponent bets NZ$50, your pot odds are 3:1 or 33% (50 divided by 100 + 50 then multiplied by 100%).
Pot odds on their own don’t provide all the information you need to make a decision. You must calculate hand equity, which is your chance of winning the pot based on your current hand and community cards on the table.
To calculate equity, divide the number of ways you can win the hand with the total number of possible outcomes. For example, if there are 10 possible outcomes and you can win in 5, your equity is 50% (5/10).
Some of the ways you can use these calculations include:
- Calling when the pot odds are higher than the hand equity and folding when they are lower.
- Comparing the strengths of different starting hands using hand equity.
- Becoming more aggressive if your hand equity improves.
- Evaluating the cost of drawing to complete a hand.
You don’t have to calculate pot odds and hand equity manually when playing online. There are poker equity calculators that can simplify it for you.
Managing Your Emotions and Tilt Control
Poker players can experience a variety of emotions as they play the game, including excitement, frustration, anxiety, and anger.
These emotions can affect your gameplay and lead to poor decision-making. For example, frustration and anger can lead to hasty decisions that deviate from the strategy and excitement can lead to overconfidence.
This is called tilt: a state in which a poker player’s emotions leads to irrational decisions. Most players, even professionals, experience tilt every once in a while. Here are some tips on how to minimise its effect on your poker game.
- Embrace losses by learning from them
- Practise mindful meditation
- Avoid chasing losses
You can also exploit tilt in your opponents. When you know an opponent is tilted, you can take advantage of it, such as by betting bigger with made draws or premium hands.
Playing online poker can help you learn and improve your game, but which tools and resources can you use? Here are some of the most important:
1. Tracking Software
A poker tracker or poker software with tracking features allow you to track your results and your opponents’. If you want to improve your game, it can help you identify areas in your game to work on and provide insights into your opponents’ playing style so you can know how to beat them.
2. Heads-up Displays (HUDs)
HUDs are tools that provide real-time stats on your opponents during the game. They overlay information on the table, such as how often your opponents call or fold and their aggression level, which can help you make better decisions.
3. Training Site
Poker training sites offer a range of resources, such as strategy articles, instructional videos, and forums where you can share with other poker players.
Solvers are computer programs that can recommend the best plays for different situations. You only need to input variables like your opponent’s range of hands and size of the pot, then it calculates the optimal play.
5. Hand History Review Software
Hand history review software allows you to analyse your past plays and identify areas for improvements.
You must gamble responsibly when playing online. That means gambling in a way that minimises its potential to harm you or your family.
Many online poker software provide tools and resources to support responsible gambling, such as deposit and betting limits, which can help you reduce the time and money you spend playing poker. Other than the resources and tools provided by poker software, you can ensure responsible gambling by:
- Taking regular breaks, especially after losing
- Avoid chasing losses by increasing your bet sizes
- Learning all the rules of the games you play
- Define a gaming budget
- Not using gambling as a source of income
A responsible gambler is in complete control of their gambling behaviour and takes it as a recreational activity.
You can gain experience and improve your poker game much faster when playing online than by playing live poker games. Online poker puts all variants within reach. You can play any time you want from anywhere and play as many hands per hour as you like. Online poker casinos also have a host of tools you can use to monitor your games, track progress, and identify areas for improvement.
The 8 tips we have discussed can help you improve your game online, whether you’re an expert or a beginner.
The questions that many people looking to get into online poker have include:
Is online poker rigged?
No, it is not, but it depends on the casino you play at. Most reputable platforms are licensed and certified and undergo regular audits to ensure they are fair.
Can I play online poker on my phone?
Yes, you can. Some online poker platforms are available on all devices, so if you want to play on any device, ensure your platform of choice supports it.
Is online poker harder than live?
Online poker is technically harder than live because there are no physical tells, and the ability to play multiple poker tables simultaneously requires a high level of skill.
Does online poker involve skill or is it all luck?
Poker has an element of luck in the short term but in the long run, it is 100% skill. It is evident in the way the same big names win in cash games and tournaments.
How do I handle tilt in online poker?
You can handle tilt by taking breaks, especially after an event like a loss or win.
Dudley Nader is our casino game expert at Betkiwi. A University of Otago graduate in Statistics, he's leveraged his skills in a decade-long gambling industry career, earning recognition as a top casino specialist in New Zealand. In his free time, Dudley enjoys developing new game strategies and playing poker.More Articles From The Author