Wed. Jan 19th, 2022

As we’re seemingly spending more time than ever in our homes, and our screen time continues to creep upward, online poker has re-cemented its place as a preferred format for the vast majority of players. In the spring of 2020 in fact, some sites saw as much as a 60% uptick in players as compared to the previous year.

If you’re part of this relatively new surge into online poker, you’ve likely had some fun trying out different apps and/or websites and getting into the game. But chances are you’ve experienced your share of frustration, too. Online poker is a tough nut to crack, but once you truly figure out how to approach it you’ll have all the more fun. To that end, we want to provide a few tips or how to find success in this unique gaming arena.

Create the Right Environment

While it may sound counterintuitive, some players will argue that online poker actually requires greater concentration than the in-person game. This is for two reasons: First, online poker is fast, often involving several more hands dealt than you’d see in a live game. Second, a lot of people play online specifically so that they can be involved in multiple games at once.

When you’re in the middle of games like these, the last thing you want is for your gaming setup to be somehow inadequate or uncomfortable. From a tech perspective, this means investing in the internet speed you need for optimal gaming performance, making sure your mouse and/or keyboard suit you, and possibly even finding some noise-canceling headphones that can boost your focus. And aside from tech, you’ll want to make sure you have a chair you can sit in for hours’ worth of games, as well as a general environment you can control for comfort (say, by dimming lights or precise temperature control).

All of this will help you to build the right environment in which to succeed in online poker.

Take the Time to Learn

Poker is a long-haul game. You can do plenty of winning even as a total novice, with a little luck on your side –– but luck runs out. Rather than relying on good fortune then, it’s best to take the time to truly learn the game.

This first means learning the general rules of popular varieties of poker (Texas Hold’em is most popular, though it can’t hurt to learn games like five-card draw or Omaha). It also means having a fluent grasp on the different card combinations and hand rankings. And beyond these fundamentals it’s also wise to brush up on poker language, as the popular poker terms you’ll encounter at online gaming platforms go well beyond basics like “Texas Hold’em” or “full house.” It sounds like a lot, but really you can grasp all of this quite quickly.

Aside from studying these types of things, you should also strive to learn from experience. Free apps with virtual stakes are great for learning in a risk-free environment. Many poker sites also have social functions like chat rooms or video feeds, which makes it easy to connect with and learn from other players. Try to pick their brains and glean new strategies while you’re learning the ropes. You’ll be a better player for it.

Pick a Platform

Choosing the right platform to play on is important as well. Whether you prefer to play for free or you want some real stakes in the game, you’re likely to play your best if you’re completely comfortable with the games and playing style at hand.

This is mostly a matter of working out what’s important to you in online poker. Is it frequent tournaments or the ability to play a few hands and cash out after 15 minutes? Do you value the social aspect of the game, or do you prefer to keep your head down and focus on the cards? Perhaps most important of all, do you enjoy the graphics and interface, or do you find it dull or distracting? Answering these questions will guide you toward a platform you’re most likely to enjoy and succeed at.

Keep in mind in the end that even perfect preparation won’t yield perfect play. Phil Ivey is considered by many to be the greatest player of all time, and he hasn’t won a bracelet at the World Series of Poker since 2014. Hossein Ensan is one of the breakout players of recent years, but didn’t win the main event at the WSOP until he was 55! Poker is a challenging game even for the best of the best, and there is always some luck involved.

With that said, if you take the right steps to make yourself comfortable playing, you’ll be set up for success in a way lots of players never are.

By Grace