In each of my guides to online poker games, I concluded each guide with a series of general “P.O.K.E.R. Tips”. Although fairly basic in nature, the poker tips attracted a lot of interest and I decided to expand on them.
However, rather than burying my top 10 tips for playing NL Texas Hold´em in a guide that may not receive the exposure it deserves, I felt it would be better to dedicate a page specifically to advice for new players taking their first steps in the game.
Not all of these tips will be suitable for every type of player, but if you find something among them that helps improve your game – or prevents you from leaking chips – reading my top 10 tips for playing NL Texas Hold´em will be five minute well invested!
1. Bankroll Management
Bankroll management is a guide that helps you determine what level of stakes you should be playing at when you start playing online poker. It also helps you to determine when you should increase or decrease your stakes as you win or lose. Not everybody has the same motive for playing online poker, so I have dedicated a page to bankroll management for three different types of player.
2. Player – Position – Cards
The three most important considerations that should affect your betting actions are player, position, cards – and in that order! I expand on how you should observe the betting tendencies of your opponents, base your decisions according to your position in the order of betting, and only then consider the strength of your cards in my winning poker strategy page.
3. Know Your Odds
Knowing your outs and understanding your odds of winning a hand is complicated enough. When you add “pot odds” and “implied odds” to the equation, it makes matters worse. Are you getting value by calling a three-bet? What might it ultimately cost you? Read my Guide to Knowing Your Odds to master this element of online poker and bring a new dimension to your game.
4. How to Bluff (and Get Caught Bluffing)
Bluffing – betting when you have little or no chance of making the winning hand – is an integral part of online poker. It is also an ideal strategy to adopt on occasions to prevent your game becoming too predictable to other players. My Art of Bluffing page explains why it may be worthwhile to get caught bluffing and suffer a short-term loss to improve your long-term profitability.
5. Heads-Up, 6-Max or Full Ring?
There are advantages and disadvantages of each type of poker depending on your tendencies and your level of patience. If you play a very tight game, Full Ring cash games may be the ideal option for you. On 6-Max tables, you often do not need a premium hand to take down a pot, and there are more opportunities for bluffing in Heads-Up matches. Find out more pros and cons of each type of cash game in my Getting Your Game Selection Right page.
6. What about Fast-Fold Poker?
Fast-fold poker is a different game entirely. Players tend to play only their premium hands and, although there are still plenty of opportunities for bluffing, the ever-changing player pool makes it a more difficult to get reads on your opponents. Nonetheless, fast-fold poker can be an exceptionally profitable game for some players, and it can accelerate the speed at which player points are earned for online poker bonuses and poker site promotions.
7. Know When to Quit
Knowing when to quit is a tip that could save you a lot of money – and it applies irrespective of whether you have enjoyed a winning or a losing session. If you carry on playing once you start feeling tired or when you have experienced a particularly painful bad beat, the likelihood is that you will not be on top of your game and your bankroll will suffer accordingly.
8. Never Stop Learning
These top 10 tips for playing NL Texas Hold´em are just the start of your learning curve. As you have more profitable poker sessions than losing ones, you may choose to increase the stakes you are playing at. Undoubtedly, as you rise through the stake levels, you will encounter better players with a higher degree of skill. Make sure you never stop learning from these more experienced players so that your game can reach its optimum level.
9. Never Play When You are Unfocused
I am going to conclude my top 10 tips for playing NL Texas Hold´em with two tips about when you should never play online poker. The first of these tips is never play online poker when you are not able to focus clearly on your game. This could be because you have personal or work issues, because you have had too much to drink or because you are feeling unwell. If you cannot bring your A game to the table, it is better that you do not play at all.
10. Never Play with Money you Cannot Afford to Lose
Thinking that you can fire up a game of Texas Hold´em and win enough money to resolve any financial issues you have is a mug´s game. Never play with money that you cannot afford to lose because, if you cannot afford to lose, it will affect your betting decisions and handicap your opportunities. Accept that you will not be able to play real money poker until you are in a financial position to do so, and develop your skills on the play money tables in the meantime.
I hope that my top 10 tips for playing NL Texas Hold´em are of value to you. Many of them apply to other formats of online poker as well, and can be used in poker tournaments and Sit & Go games, or when playing Omaha Poker or Stud Poker.
Because some of the top 10 tips for playing NL Texas Hold´em involve quite complex explanations, I have provided links to pages on pokersite.co where the tips are explained in greater detail. Please feel free to use this information to your advantage to improve your standard of play and your profitability from playing NL Texas Hold´em.