The vast majority of newcomers to online real money poker are there because they want to win money, and the only way to win money is to play and win games. What must be remembered is that poker is a game of skill and strategy, so you could end up losing all of your money very quickly if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Patience is required and a little bit of preparation can go such a long way. We’ve had a look at the biggest and most common mistakes that new players can make to help you identify where you might want to put in some extra work.
Knowing where you need to improve or where your knowledge gaps are can give you such a big advantage when you log in to play, so take the time to prepare and you’ll have a much better chance of making that real money in the end.
Don’t overplay or overspend
The term ‘bull in a China shop’ comes to mind when new players log on to real money poker sites. While you are excited to play and maybe the hedonism of a new hobby is alluring, you should consider setting some limits for it.
Playing consistently for hours on end every day during the infancy of your poker career could leave you exhausted because your luck will simply run out and you’ll end up chasing losses. Equally, if lose too much money in your first few hands – take some time to reflect as to when you can afford to lose money again if you want to.
This measured approach might seem boring and restrictive but truly will lead to a healthier and much more enjoyable relationship with online poker.
Not using the whole app to your advantage
Online poker platforms can offer a range of different poker experiences. If used effectively, these can help you win multiple hands. Firstly, is not just monitor your hand but look carefully at the entire board and see what information you can deduce. How quickly do the other players fold or raise? This will indicate how confident they are in their hand (or bluff) or if they take longer, it could be a sign that they’ve had to think long and hard about the suitable action.
Some US-friendly real money poker rooms, like the ones found here on TimesUnion, even allow you to click on the other player icons to reveal information about that user. Details like how many hands they’ve played, their win success, and other performance data will allow you to understand who you’re up against. They can sometimes feature a flag of the country or state their playing from. While it seems irrelevant, if the player is from Tonga, a place with little prior poker popularity, they might be less experience and easier to play against than the user logging on from Las Vegas, Nevada.
Missing key events
Poker sites and apps know that the users tend to play the market. This means that the providers typically incentivize their sites with festival periods or other events which will provide you with advantageous incentives. I.e. reduced buy-ins, or additional chips at a table, the options are limitless as the saturated market players all try to bring you back to their site.
The very best online poker players will have these events all planned out in their calendars, so they know exactly when and how to benefit from such opportunities.
Not studying or practicing the game
Ok, this one only really applies if you’re trying to make decent money out of online poker. If you’re a casual player who simply plays for a few cents while you’re commuting or on your lunch break you needn’t worry about studying the game too much.
The elite poker players didn’t become good overnight. Just the top soccer players didn’t get to World Cup-winning status upon their first kick, while Aaron Rodgers also probably didn’t throw a touchdown on his first foray on the field. The rule about needing 10,000 hours to be an expert may still up up for debate, but practice definitely makes you better, there’s no doubt about that.
While logging on and playing serves as good practice itself, it can be an expensive way to do so, especially if you are a complete poker rookie. There are a multitude of ways to learn poker, as countless books, videos, and training materials are available to help you understand card probabilities and how to react to each situation. Heck, there are hundreds of Instagram pages giving away this information for free! Some even run seminars where they offer coaching on the game. Even the casual procrastinating player would benefit from a little bit of free help, so they could potentially win a dollar from their low-stakes bet.
Not folding enough
While the opposite is also true in not playing enough hands, folding too little is arguably more damaging to your morale and online poker career. The chances are that as a newbie, the other players will know you are a new user. If it’s not the HUD display that says you’ve played at one table in the last six months, the fact you’re taking longer to take your turn, they’ll know.
Also be aware that you need to strategize and think about each hand individually. Learn about the sunk-cost fallacy to help yourself avoid the blindness that can come with chasing losses and trying to earn everything back in one go.
This creates an opportunity for senior players to aggressively place large bets and raises. This is part of the game and overall learning curve to spot aggressive play. Avoid getting suckered into this, while you could still win, it’s only a matter of time until the experienced player rinses you dry on the next hand. Take your time, fold or place a small bet and potentially move tables if another player is being ardently aggressive.