Online poker is more popular than ever. However, with the industry burgeoning due to restrictions on online gambling being loosened in states like Pennsylvania and Michigan, plus the pandemic taking many home games online, there are a lot of inexperienced new players out there. Unfortunately, this means that there are inevitably more than a few rookie mistakes being made. To help correct those mistakes, here’s a quick list of some mistakes you should look to avoid while playing.
1. Don’t Let Tech Let You Down
While there are factors outside your control in poker, you should take control of what you can. In online poker, that starts with solidifying your tech setup. Consider plugging your computer into the router via Ethernet, or at the very least, make sure you’re close enough to a Wi-Fi router to eliminate as much lagging as possible. Additionally, check that there’s enough storage space on your device of choice to run programs and update apps efficiently. Have a charger accessible if you’re playing on a phone or tablet, especially if they’re a little older. You really don’t want to be getting a low battery warning and having to try to find a charging wire when you’re holding four Aces.
2. Keep A Handle On Your Hand
Years of TV coverage of professional Texas Hold’em and the variety’s subsequent spin-off into movie culture have attracted a lot of new players to the game over the years. And memory bias dictates that we visualize the dramatic moments and the biggest hands from these sources of inspiration when we play. That said, it’s important to remember the basics, rather than just wait around for the kind of sensational hand that often wins games in the films. Make sure you know that a (flush any five cards of the same suit) beats a straight. Be able to recognize things like that a pair of twos beats a hand spattered with face cards but devoid of special arrangements or pairs.
3. Pick Your Platform
With the current climate in which restrictions are steadily being lifted on online gaming, it’s important to choose a poker platform wisely. If you’re choosing a site to do the majority of your play on, do a little homework on it. Does it hold a license in your area? Have you seen the provider running commercials on local TV stations? Does the site have a trustworthy track record in other jurisdictions? How does the platform process payments?
With so many legitimate companies in this space, there’s no reason to click on a pop-up ad and start playing from there. You have every chance to take the time and do the research to find a reliable and trustworthy option.
4. Play Steady
It’s only human to want to feel good about yourself and confident in your abilities. Playing with ego is understandable; you’re going to feel good about it in the moment if you win a decent-sized hand. At the same time though, there’s a reason that even the best try to avoid letting those egos run rampant. Indeed, one of the first lessons that those aiming to become pro poker players learn is to “leave [their] ego at the door.” Cards are not human and know nothing of ego, and hands only exist in the way they’re dealt. Don’t get too excited when luck is on your side. It may lead you to play recklessly as you expect further good fortune.
5. Get Comfortable
Feel like you’ve got a lucky hat? Wear it! Particular album you like to plug in and listen to that helps you focus? Do that too! Legendary pro Doyle Brunson famously used to bring a little black stone to the table with him (he called it Casper), and would talk to it at the table. Other players noticed and asked him if perhaps they could take Casper to a table while Doyle was on a break. He agreed –– for a fee of $200 per 30 minutes’ rental! This speaks to the importance of comfort and superstition in poker. Whether it’s having a cozy chair or being within touching distance of a good luck charm, it’s vital that you be comfortable while you play. You’ll get better results for it.
While there’s no surefire way to win at online poker –– we’d all be doing it if there was –– there are some key ways to make sure you’re not losing for silly reasons. Make sure you’re giving yourself the best chance when you’re at the virtual tables, and you may well see more wins as a result.