If you are already an accomplished offline poker player, you might be tempted to think all of those skills will immediately transition perfectly to the online world. That is simply wishful thinking. Sorry, but you came here to hear the truth and that's exactly what you're going to get. The good news (for you) is that most people come into online poker sites in 2018 thinking they already know what to do. You can capitalize on this, provided you are willing to follow at least some of the top 10 tips for playing US online poker that are listed below.
Poker is a pretty simple game, or at least that seems to be what most people think. After watching a movie or two and maybe reading half of a book, many would-be online pros grab their credit card and head over to the nearest online poker site room. That is not the way to do it. Instead, slow down and read these tips first.
This is perhaps the clearest maxim for poker of any type. This applies whether you are playing online or offline. You simply cannot win overall if you play every hand. You probably shouldn't be playing any more than about 40% of the hands to or past the flop, and even this is a pretty generous percentage.
Sure, the allure of action and actually staying in the hand is strong. But this should be tempered by the thought of actually winning real money. A poker pro will tell you that if they see a table with a seen flop percentage of 50%, they start getting excited, because they know how to exploit such loose and/or unskilled players.
To put this another way, playing in more hands usually means you end up losing more hands. You need to commit right now to upgrading your starting hand standards and then sticking with those higher standards.
If you are new to poker and online poker sites, then don't just jump right into a $10 / $20 game of no limit Hold’em like you were playing a home game. Even if you normally play for higher stakes, you need to understand that you have not worked your way up through the online ranks.
Believe it or not, the online game is actually more difficult than playing offline in American poker rooms. If you start at your current offline level in an internet poker room, chances are pretty high you will end up feeling a bit overwhelmed by the competition.
By starting out with lower limit games, you can more easily focus on your playing skill and just get used to the basics of how to play online. Focus on playing solid poker and see if everything else doesn't fall into place. Don't worry, you'll soon be a world beater again at those higher limits.
The most different and unique aspect of online poker sites when compared to its offline counterpart is its speed. Online poker is actually quite fast. This will take some getting used to, particularly the time bank feature. Having to deal with a set time limit can be quite intimidating and might require a significant adjustment.
You will find other interesting quirks about playing online. For example, the layout and lobby of the site can be a little distracting at first. Betting features must be learned and operated properly and you must become familiar with things like rake back offers and bonuses. Not to mention the large number of hands you are going to see. On a per hour basis, this will be at least double compared to a land based casino.
One of the features that everyone seems to love to talk about regarding online poker sites is the ability to play at multiple tables simultaneously. While this can be a great thing, especially in the hands of a skilled player looking to extract as much real money as possible from a real cash online poker site, it is not a good idea to start out using this feature.
There are a lot of technical aspects to playing at online poker sites. You simply must learn and then master those aspects. It is best to practice and learn with just one table at a time. Only after you really confident, should you think about expanding to two tables and then eventually three, etc... This should be a very gradual and methodical process.
Ultimately, the real secret behind choosing a game and table at online poker sites comes down to the fact that you want to be the best (or at least among the best) player(s) at that table. Generally speaking, as you go up in limits you will find the level of competition becomes stronger. Of course there are exceptions, since you can always find that rich player who thinks he is the next Doyle Brunson throwing around huge stacks of real cash just waiting to be taken to the cleaners.
Focus on games that you really know well and limits where you have already proven yourself. If you win a ton of real money at $2 / $4 Hold’em, this is not a reason to start playing $5 /$10 Omaha. Of course, this is not to say never test yourself at a higher limit game. But stick to your best game and understand going in this is a test. Focus on playing your strategy flawlessly and be ready to expect bigger bankroll fluctuations, both up and down.
You really have to think of playing poker online like a business. Ultimately, when done right, this is a business. That means you should take a businesslike approach to all things poker. Your mindset should be clear. Never play when you are tired, intoxicated, uptight, sad, angry, or generally in a bad mood. Any of these emotions can make it much more likely you'll end up playing emotionally (going on tilt) rather than rationally. Consequently, you won't play at your best.
If you have a bad beat, fine. Move on and don't let it suck you in to a cycle of anger and going on tilt. Instead, maybe stand up, walk around, and even take a break until you can allow the feeling to pass. Playing in online poker rooms is almost as much about controlling your emotions as it is about the cards.
If you are serious about your online poker business, then maybe think hard about creating a dedicated playing area for yourself. Just as a home business person might create a separate office for working, you can create a dedicated are for your online poker site playing.
This way, you can also remove all distractions like the TV and the phone. Having an actual room where you can go and close the door can help tremendously. At the very least this should serve to improve your focus. It also shows your dedication and can help to improve the seriousness with which you approach online poker. It is this dedication that probably spells the biggest difference between a good and a great online player.
Think about what upgrades or new equipment you might need to be even more effective in your online game. This might include a nice large screen and high resolution monitor to help reduce eye strain and make playing at multiple tables much easier. Believe me, any time you can effectively and efficiently handle multiple table play, this will increase your online poker site profits.
You might also want to consider a few more creature comforts. An ergonomic back chair is great, since you will most likely be sitting for long periods of time. A large, comfortable, and accessible desk could be helpful as well. Maybe even having a bathroom close by (although you probably don't want to redecorate the house just for that reason!).
Online poker site software has really come a long way in the last few years, and will continue to progress beyond 2018. There are a number of versions on the market, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Something that has a customizable head's up display feature is really nice, allowing you to track all the hands played between yourself and the current opponent. You can also choose which data to display.
Another aspect of poker software that is very helpful is the hand history re-player. This can allow you to actually replay an entire real cash game session or a tournament. The deeper you get into online poker rooms, the more invaluable you will see this type of analysis that can really only be obtained and utilized with software, becomes.
The actual software used by your poker online site will most likely include a handy little note taking feature. This is incredibly underutilized by most online players today. Whenever you are playing and need to make a mental note of something, you can only you write it down and then it follows that particular player. If you ever play them again, that note will pop up, causing you to remember.
Another cool function of many online poker site's software is the ability to color code players. This way you can know who the fish are (maybe green), who the sharks are (red), and average level players (yellow), all at a glance. It is a great feature for selecting the proper game and table.
So, there you have your top 10 tips for playing online poker. Stick with these and you will go very far during your poker online journey. Of course, it is completely up to you with how dedicated you wish to be and how to work at your online poker business. Treat it as a business, however, and it has the tremendous potential to reward you with ongoing and consistent profits. Treat it as a hobby and you are likely to make hobby money.