Are you looking to get started playing poker? To rise through the ranks until you finally conquer the fabled final table of The World Series of Poker Main Event? Well, all I can say is easy there. Small steps, my friend. Remember, slow and steady wins the race!
The fact is that it can cost you, the novice poker player, a lot of money if you start playing and learning poker the wrong way. Because, there is such a thing as learning the wrong way. This article will give you some pointers and tips on the best way to get started. A few pitfalls, things to avoid, will also be mentioned. But, first, let us talk a little about patience.
Rome Wasn't Build in a Day
In poker, remaining patient is crucial in numerous ways. In the learning process, as you slowly improve your skills and theoretical knowledge, it is important not to get carried away. When you watch the top professionals, always remember that they didn't get there overnight. They, literally, played millions of hands to get where they are. You will not become a top player overnight. It takes time and effort!
Another point is the swings. You have to stay calm. Some days you will get all the right cards at all the right times, and you will win big. Other days, you won't receive any of the right cards at any of the right times, and you will lose big. For the inexperienced player, this can easily be mistaken for playing great or playing lousy, and not just as the stroke of good fortune/misfortune that it actually is. Always keep it in the back of your head, that one good night does not make you an all pro, just as one bad night does not make you a "donkey". Instead, when you are learning how to play, focus on whether you made the right decisions. In the long run, making the right decisions is what will make you a successful player.
Where to Start When You Want to Learn to Play Poker Well
When you want to learn to play poker well, you need to focus on two aspects. Theoretical knowledge and practice. You need both, as theoretical knowledge can not replace actual experience at the table, and experience at the table won't do you any good, if you do not understand the right and the wrong moves.
Theoretical knowledge can be obtained many places these days. There are poker sites, poker forums, and video tutorials to name some examples. Still, picking up a book by a competent poker writer might be your best bet. Personally, I have always recommended David Sklansky. He has written several books, but, obviously, you should select one aimed at beginners.
After reading, and re-reading, a few beginner's books. Move on to books covering more advanced subjects, and start visiting the various poker sites, forums, and video tutorials. A concept crucial to keep in mind, is that anyone can dole out advice. Anyone can start a poker site or write a book. Do not take any advice you receive to be the end all of the discussion. Always remain critical and ponder if what is being told is logical. You will find a lot of useful and thoughtful advice, but, unfortunately, you will also find plenty of garbage.
Experience and Practice
Now, all the knowledge in the world won't help you, if the minute you face adversity at the table you lose your head. You will be surprised by the extend to which money can influence your state of mind. To become a great player, you will have to spend countless hours practicing. Certain concepts, such as making quick, thoughtful decisions, as well as staying calm, can only be learned through practice.
Taking Advantage of Bonus Offers
When you start out playing and gaining experience, you might not be a winning player. You might be a break even or maybe even losing player. Luckily, there is a way to avoid losing money, while you hone your skills and turn yourself into a winning player. The way to do this is by taking advantage of the generous bonus offers found online. As an example, Full Tilt Poker offers up $600 in bonus on your first deposit. Meaning you could lose $600 playing the first few months and still break even. In fact, the competition at the lowest stakes is so soft, even total beginners can be break even players, meaning you would make a profit of $600.
Poker is a challenging and fun game. It can also be very profitable. It is not a get rich quick scheme, you need to put in the effort to become a good player. If you work hard, however, and you enjoy a challenge, soon you should be playing winning, profitable poker.