Poker is one of the world’s most popular casino games, and the same goes for online poker. This popularity has led to the development of many different poker variations, some of which have become games in their own right. Unlike some casino games, such as slots, which are based on luck, the secret to poker success is two-fold: you must understand it inside out as well as thinking, and placing your bets, strategically. Of course, your poker face isn’t quite so important when it comes to online games, but there are some poker strategies that could help you make better decisions and land a win.
Understand the game
Poker is a lot more complex, with more specific elements, than other online casino games, which means it’s not as easy to jump straight into. The different variations mean there’s an option for everyone, but it’s important that you take time to properly understand poker before you start placing real money bets. Any other poker strategy is irrelevant if you don’t know the rules and possibilities inside-out. Make sure you’re familiar with the hand categories, as well as their rankings, and specific variation rules before you get started.
Tip: Free demo games are a fantastic way of putting your research into practise, and can provide you with a physical measure of your progress.
Online poker is much quicker than at in-land casinos, so you must always be alert. So much of online poker is automated, allowing players to choose their action before their turn actually begins in the 90 hands that can be played per hour at some sites. This fast pace requires you to be ready to make a decision at any moment, especially if you’re playing live dealer poker, as the game could carry on without you.
Tip: Try to stay one step ahead, taking notice of previous cards and other players’ reactions to think beyond the cards you’re holding at that moment.
The odds of winning poker can vary depending on the variation you’re playing and the number of people you’re playing with, but it’s useful to understand the odds of you landing a winning hand, as this could influence how much money you place on the table.
Let’s take a look at an example to help you understand:
You have four clubs and you’re waiting on a fifth to make a flush and win you the pot. There are 13 clubs in a 52-card deck. Two of your clubs are in your hand, and the other two are on the table, which leaves nine more in the deck. There are 46 cards left to be revealed— taking the two in your hand and four on the table— and nine of these will get you a win. This means the odds of you making the flush are 37/9 , as only nine of the 46 cards will result in a win for you. As a result, the odds of you winning the flush is around 4/1, which is fairly likely, so you might place a slightly higher bet.
Tip: Use a poker odds calculator to help you understand the likelihood of you getting a certain hand in a particular poker variation.
Reading online opponents
Of course, you can’t see your online poker opponents, so won’t be able to read their faces. However, you can use factors, such as their betting style and reaction times, to look for any behaviour changes to gauge the type of hands they’re holding. Some poker sites will even give you access to a players’ previous stats, so you can compare their current behaviour to past tendencies as a way of reading them. This tactic won’t always be accurate, because of bluffing, but can still be useful nonetheless.
Tip: If you want to throw your opponents of the scent, you could try experimenting with different reaction times. However, you should only do this when you feel completely comfortable with your chosen poker game.
In addition to the strategies listed above, there are a number of more general approaches you could take when playing online poker, such as:
A loose player will be open to playing a greater number of hands with a greater willingness to gamble.
The opposite to loose. A tight player will be more cautious, playing fewer hands and taking less risks.
Aggressive players tend to open a lot of pots and make bigger bets more frequently in an attempt to pressure other players into their decisions.
A passive player will do the opposite to their aggressive counterparts. They’ll call more often than they make a bet, letting their opponent dictate how the game unfolds.
There are pros and cons to each of these approaches, and a good poker player will adapt their strategy according to their opponents and the hands they’re dealt. Playing too rigidly will make you more predictable and can allow other players to take advantage of you. The ability to mix up your poker strategy will come with experience, but we’d recommend adopting a tight and aggressive approach while you’re still learning the ropes.
Ready to play online poker?
It’s time to put these poker strategy tips into practise! Stuck for the best poker site to give these tips a go? Use our list of the top online poker providers to compare, pick a favourite and start playing!