» 10 Recommended Steps to Point You in the Right Direction
Most people learn poker in a live setting, long before they ever play it online. While it may seem like it should be similar online, there are many different dynamics and considerations. We have recommended ten initial considerations to shape your mindset and manage your play so that it has the best possibility of eventual success.
- While watching poker on TV can be entertaining, it is not a good environment to learn to play online poker profitably. TV poker is highly edited to emphasize dramatic and often unrealistic poker situations featuring final tables where there are particularly high blind structures. Before you play online, watch as much online poker as you can (commonly referred to as railbirding). Get used to the typical patterns of play and what hands people show up with in different situations.
- Get used to a poker sites software and procedures by playing in their free play chip section. Realize that when it's free chips most people will play as many hands and situations as possible with little regard for making optimal plays.
- Determine a reasonable sum to deposit online; an amount that won't hurt you financially if you lose it, but won't require you to redeposit again next week. This becomes your online bankroll. If you play within your bankroll, you don't ever have to deposit again. A common rule of thumb is to never sit at a table with more than 5% of your bankroll at risk.
- Select a deposit method; most commonly a credit card, but transfers and other online payment systems are also often convenient.
- Select a playing level, whether it be a tournament, Sit n Go or cash game, where one full buy-in represents less than 1/25th of the money you deposited.
- Set a stop loss, at which point you will quit your session or for the day if things just don't go well (3-4 buy-ins is typical). You never want to lose too much of your bankroll in one session or day.
- Play as long as you feel fresh and alert and you are enjoying the game. The length of play is a very personal choice and varies greatly person to person. Figure out your optimal attention span.
- Determine your goals in poker. It is not a race, but some people people want to move up quickly, while others are satisfied to keep winning at more comfortable levels. There is no one way to win at poker. It is about risk management. Those who are uncomfortable with risking a lot should play a much tighter starting range of hands and play more cautiously without strong hands.
- When you win enough that you have 25 buy-ins for the level above the one you are playing, you can choose to move up a level. If you lose several buy ins and fall below 20 buy-ins move back down to the prior level to recover and keep within your bankroll. With this method you should never go broke or have to redeposit.
- The best players in the world win 52-60% of the time, don't set your expectations too high. Staying ahead of the rake that the poker rooms charge and being profitable at the lower levels is accomplishment enough for many.