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Poker is a simple game and therefore is one of the most popular table games at both land-based and online casinos. Whether you don’t want to drive to a land-based casino or just want to play wherever you are, online poker is a great way to play this beloved game.
Like virtually every game at the casino, poker is a game of luck, but that does not mean that strategy is not involved. Utilizing proper poker strategies help players win big and win more consistently.
Below, learn about some of the most popular online poker tips and strategies and see how you can use them to improve your poker game.
How to Calculate Poker Odds
Understanding online poker strategies is important, but before you dive into them, it’s important to know how to calculate poker odds.
In order to calculate poker odds, you first need to figure out the amount of winning cards there are. These are also known as outs. To do this, calculate how many cards from the deck you can’t see. There are 52 cards in a deck, there are 2 in your hand, and three on the table after the flop. That leaves 47 cards left that you cannot see. You don’t include the cards that your opponents are holding. Split the cards you cannot see into winners and losers.
For example, if you have two cards with the same suit and the table shows two cards with the same suit, that leaves nine cards left in the deck. 47-9 equals 38, so there are 38 cards that do not hit your draw. That leaves you with a 38:9 ratio which is roughly 4:1.
Poker Strategy Tips for Beginners
These beginner-friendly poker strategy tips can help anyone become a better online poker player.
Start Off Slow
Poker is an exciting game, but when you first start to play online, it is best to take things slowly. When playing online, you can play at multiple tables, but it is beneficial to start out at one table and master your skills there before taking your game to multiple tables.
Also, consider using lower stakes while getting used to online poker. The pace of play is much faster online so utilizing a poker strategy for small stakes games helps you get comfortable playing online while still utilizing proper bankroll management.
You are not going to win every hand in poker, so wait until you have a strong hand to play. It is okay and more importantly, the right move to fold immediately. This will save you additional chips rather than staying in the game for one more flip. Being selective with which hands you play also gives you the chance to study the online platform as well as the other players. If you wait until the odds are in your favor, you will have more success winning at poker long term.
Don’t Be Afraid to Play Aggressive
Just because you should be patient does not mean you shouldn’t be aggressive when you decide to play a hand. You should use a poker strategy for tight-aggressive playstyle.
This means that if you like your cards after the flop, raise the pot, Raising the pot three times the big blind is a good rule of thumb in online poker. This allows you to control the pot.
Don’t Bluff Often
I get it. There are only a few things that make you feel better in poker than pulling off the perfect bluff, but beginners should avoid trying to bluff too often. Bluffing is also more difficult online since you cannot physically see the other players.
When playing a hand, you should be aggressive with the intent to win. When bluffing, many players simply call the bet instead of raising the pot. If the bluff fails, you are simply throwing away bets when you could have folded right away and saved some of your bankroll for future hands.
Suits are Better for Wearing Than in Poker
A flush is a good hand in poker, which is why players get excited when they are holding two of the same suit. In reality, this actually only improves your hand by 2%.
Flushes are not as common as you would think, and if you are holding out for one, there is a strong chance that it will never come or you will lose to a higher flush. Simply because you have two cards with the same suit does not mean you should automatically raise your bet before the flop.
Don’t Overpay for Just One Card
Along the same lines, one of the most frustrating parts of poker is waiting for that one card. Whether it is a number to complete the straight or a suit to complete the flush, waiting on the one card you need and not getting it can be devastating. In many cases, there is a small percentage chance that you get that card. That is why it is best to not overpay for that one card by betting too much or staying in the hand longer than you need to be.
Advanced Poker Strategies for Experienced Players
After you have played plenty of low stake games and are ready to level up your game, here are some strategies you can use to improve your poker skills even more.
Utilize Poker Strategy for Different Table Positions
Position is power when it comes to online poker. Position references where you are physically (or virtually) located at the poker table. The game flows from left to right, so where you are sitting determines whether you are the first or last player to place your bet. The position rotates after each hand.
This often refers to the first three seats to the left of the dealer. Early position is viewed as the worst position in poker because these players must act first. The small blind and big blind are early positions, and they must pay antes before the hand begins. Under the gun is the player to the left of the big blind, and this player is also in early position.
The players in the middle position have an advantage over players in early position because they can see what they do in their hands, but it is still not the best position. You can learn the tendencies of those players based on if they call or raise, then make an informed decision on what you should do.
Late position refers to the cutoff, hijack, and dealer. These players have the biggest advantage because the board comes to them. If everyone is raising their bets and you don’t like your cards, you fold. If everyone has checked or people have called, you can raise and have the betting power. This puts pressure on the players to your right to call or fold.
Understanding the benefits and downfalls of your table position allows you to be in a stronger spot to play to your advantage.
Poker Strategy for Playing Pocket Pairs
The odds of receiving a pocket pair are roughly 6%. If you have a pair of aces, kings, queens, or jacks, you should raise or re-raise the bet in any position. These are known as premium pocket pairs since the cards themselves are high and hold value on their own.
Medium pocket pairs are anything between a pair of fives and a pair of tens. It is a smart strategy to call when you are in early table position, but raise if you are in late position.
If you have a pair of two, threes, or fours, you have a small pocket pair. It seems exciting to have a pair right off the bat, but since the cards are so low it is very rare you win with that hand. The most profitable strategy is to fold if you are in early position. You should call if you are big blind. If you have a small pocket pair, you are searching for a third two, three, or four to get a three of a kind.
C Betting vs. Value Betting Strategy
Value betting is the opposite of C bets. You place a bet with the hopes that your opponents will call. This is especially effective in lower stakes games. Value bets only work when you win over 50% of the time when the opponent calls. You don’t necessarily have to have the best hand to win when you are value betting.
C bet stands for continuation bets. This is a strategy to use when you were a pre-flop raiser but you missed the flop. C bets are essentially bluffs because you continue betting with the hope that your opponents see your pre-flop strength and fold.
Determining the size of your bet is important to factor into your strategy. Many players like to bet half the pot, but it is a pro move to mix it up and use 33%, 67%, or even 100% of the pot.
How to Adjust Your Strategy for Tournament Play
When playing in a tournament, there are some tips that can give you a better chance of winning. Playing aggressively in the later rounds is a big one. You need to survive in order to advance in tournaments, so it is important to find the balance between playing aggressively and being patient. If you can move on in tournaments, start playing more aggressively to accumulate more chips.
Utilizing pre-flop and post-flop bet sizing strategies could be the difference in having a successful tournament run or not. Pay extra attention to what is happening at the table pre-flop.
If you are playing the hand, you want to raise but do not raise it too much more than the other bets. This will put all the attention on you. After the flop, you need to know what your strategy is now. If you raised the bet before the flop, most of the time you should be betting after the post as well.
Become an Expert at Bluffing
Earlier, we discussed that beginners should limit their bluff attempts. When you are an experienced player, it is beneficial to bluff. Bluffing is not easy to master, but there are some ways to improve your bluffing skills. Pay attention to the player you are playing against. Players who either fold quickly or have aggressive raises are easier to bluff.
Utilizing C bets is another effective bluffing strategy. Lastly, the most effective bluffing strategy online is the semi-bluff. Bluffing is harder in online poker, but it occurs more since you cannot see the other players. Semi-bluffs have the potential to be the best hand once you get to the river.
When you are in late position, you can raise at the river to get rid of players with weaker hands. There is also the chance to get your out in the river and have the best hand and win.
Online Poker Bankroll Management Strategies
In any casino game, utilizing proper bankroll management is the most important strategy to win long term. Poker is a war, not a battle, so maintain a good bankroll even through the hot and cold streaks you see when playing online. Never play outside your bankroll and pick your spots to place bigger bets.
Online Poker Strategy FAQs
What are the basic principles of poker strategy?
The basic principles of a poker strategy are to be patient when selecting your hands and to be aggressive with the hands you do play.
How can I improve my poker skills?
There are many ways to improve your poker skills. Playing low stakes games online and getting comfortable with the rules and setup will help. Understanding the odds, table position, and various strategies will all help improve your poker skills.
What are some common mistakes to avoid in poker strategy?
Playing too many hands is one of the most common mistakes to avoid when playing poker. It is important to be selective in which hands you want to play. Many people also enjoy bluffing when playing poker, but it is strategic to avoid bluffing too often.
What is the best starting hand in Texas Hold'em?
The best starting hand in Texas Hold’Em is pocket aces. When you have two aces, there is no better way to start a round.
How do I bluff effectively in poker?
You bluff effectively in poker when you get your opponents to fold when you have a worse hand. There are multiple strategies such as C bets and using the semi-bluff to help you win the hand.
How can I read my opponents' poker tells?
It is harder to read poker opponents online, but it is still possible. Pay attention to tendencies like when they fold and when they put in aggressive bets. It can also be a tell when a player has been taking their turns quickly and then suddenly, they are taking their time to make a decision.
What strategies should I use for different poker variations?
In order have a strong poker strategy, it is important to know your table position and how to use that to your advantage. Depending on the cards in your hand, you should know the number of outs there are.
How do I manage my bankroll in poker?
Never wager more than you can afford to lose in poker. A good rule of thumb is to never have more than 5% of your poker bankroll in play at one time.
Is there a specific strategy for online poker?
There are multiple strategies to utilize when playing online poker, but playing tight and aggressive is still the most effective poker strategy.