At hammill.ca, we’ll make you sharp at games, no matter what the game. That’s why we’re equipping you with a range of poker tips for beginners so that you can pick off your friends at the parlour table.
We’ve listed our poker tips for beginners based on the most common mistakes beginners make, so you can avoid them or get rid of them if you’re already making one or more of them.
1) Not keeping track of hand rankings
Okay, we’ll start with the very basics of our poker tips for beginners. Hand Ranking. You’d be surprised how many people sit down in a home game who can’t figure out if three of a kind beats two pairs, and “if a straight is the one with the flushes?” Or maybe it’s not surprising because you’re one of them yourself. But whether or not you play for fun, not understanding the game’s basic rules is a very poor approach.
2) Play too loud
Perhaps the most important of our poker tips for beginners is to play in moderation. This is especially true if you’re playing outside of friendly teams, such as online or at the casino. Here, it doesn’t take many minutes to sit down at the big boys’ table. And often, it doesn’t take many minutes to empty your pockets either, if you’re not careful.
But even with your mates, it’s a good idea not to play for more than you’re comfortable losing. The obvious reason is that it rarely helps you sleep at night. And everyone who has lost more than they originally budgeted for has tried to fit in work afterwards while calculating how many hours you’ll have to work before you’ve made money back.
So for all these reasons: consider how much you’re comfortable playing for.
3) See too many flops
This is perhaps the most common poker mistake among beginners, that curiosity takes over. Not just occasionally, but in every. Most people who are new to the green felt tend to forget to give the opponent’s hand a single thought. Instead, they’re in on every flop because they need to see what such a diamond 2 and spade 8 can drive it to.
It may seem like a cheap way to get some entertainment, but calling too much when you should be throwing your hand in the garbage is steadily but surely wiping out the bankroll. It also makes you easy to exploit because when your opponent is sitting with the aces, there’s no reason not to throw an abnormally large raise into the pot. After all, there’s a real calling station sitting across the street, and it’s going to pay.
4) Vary your betting sizes
Another common mistake among newbies is that the size of their bet (or bets) is often east and west.
If you’re unsure about how much to bet, run with a few ground rules. Before the flop (pre-flop), you usually raise with 2-4 times the big blind. So if you play 1/2, you’ll usually raise to C$5-7. And then you add a little bit the more people you have in hand.
After the flop, when a pot is building, you can use it as a starting point to adjust your bet size. Often, you will bet anything from a third of the pot to the entire value of the pot. So if there are C$500 in the pot after the river, anything from C$150-500 is hardly out of the woods.
5) Bluff too much
Just as it’s more fun to be in every hand than just watch, most of us have dreamed of the adrenaline rush of telling the perfect poker lie, keeping up the facade for several intense minutes, and finally showing your opponent that you bluffed him.
In fact, a question once posed to a WSOP winner by an inexperienced journalist was; did you bluff a lot to get the win? Unfortunately, the reality is that bluffing is a very small part of poker, and if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s guaranteed to be a tool that costs more than it makes.
Bluff rarely and instead make sure you do it under the right circumstances. It’s partly about how you read your opponent. Can he generally be scared away from hands, or is he always with you to the end? Does he seem weak in the current hand?
6) Show your hand too often
And now that we’ve come from that great moment when you show your mate that you’ve totally outplayed him and are turning up the pure rubbish: of course, there has to be room for that, especially in a home game, where the best bluff of the night can be just as wonderful as being the biggest winner of the night. After all, our poker tips for beginners are primarily aimed at those who play cozy home games.
But hold back on the information you share. Too many beginners happily show off their hands because they don’t consider how much information they’re giving away. Every hand you show helps your opponent understand you, so avoid flashing your game plan too often.
Also, if you’re playing with strangers, the advice applies a thousandfold.
We hope our poker tips for beginners have equipped you well to take to the poker tables.