The pandemic has led to a clear increase in the number of video game players in the U.S. People bought more consoles, spent more time with mobile games, and perhaps most notably dove into online multiplayer options that gave them a sense of social connection. Alongside these trends though, the most popular card game in the world has also seen substantial growth, with many turning to online poker for the sake of fun and community.
Lots of people have found this to be an ideal pandemic hobby. If it’s one you’re considering though, there are some tips you should follow to ensure you have a good time.
Learn the Basics
Poker is relatively easy to understand. This leads a lot of newcomers to simply dive in, however, when it’s still better to take a little time to nail down the fundamentals of the game. A little fluency, so to speak, goes a long way.
Learning the basics of poker primarily means making sure you understand the sequences of different varieties of the game, the values of different hands, and how betting works (even if you’re not playing for real money). Once you understand these things, you will be able to play more confidently and work on strategies that will help you win more consistently.
Find the Right Poker Variation
At its core, playing poker is about trying to get the best hand possible within a given set of rules. As we just alluded to above however, there are different varieties of the game, and each one has slightly different rules and sequences.
In Texas Hold’em, for example (the most popular type of poker), you are only given two cards to combine with a community pool gradually revealed by the dealer. In other poker variations, you’re dealt a full hand but have the opportunity to exchange cards. In others still, you may play only against the dealer, and not other players (like in blackjack). Learning these varieties will take a little time and practice, but it will ultimately prepare you to enjoy your online poker journey more fully.
Start Without Real Money
At first, you will probably find yourself playing offline or single-player games. As your skills improve, you may feel tempted to test your abilities against human opponents. But even then, you may want to wait a bit before placing bets with real money.
There are plenty of games that allow you to play without real money. Sure, this won’t exactly provide you with the “true” poker experience, as being able to handle risk is what distinguishes the best players from amateurs. But it will allow you to train your ability to read the table, and practice folding at the right time without fear of making expensive mistakes.
Plus, lest we forget, real-money poker may not even be legal to play depending on where you’re located.
Follow the Professionals
Once you have learned the basics and gotten some practice, you’ll be able to dive deeper into more complex strategies. There are many books and videos out there that teach you the secrets to becoming a pro-caliber player –– to the point that some professionals have even noted that it’s never been easier to learn poker than it is now.
At the same time though, following those same professionals can sometimes make for the best training. Lots of the best players in the world have written books, uploaded video tutorials, and run virtual classes, all to help people who want to improve.
Get a Good Laptop
Finally, consider your equipment! Gone are the days when poker games were barebones programs with basic graphics and CPU opponents. Today’s poker games offer extensive avatar customization options, rich background environments, and real-time interaction with other live players.
Investing in a good gaming laptop is a good way to take advantage of these features, as well as a way to ensure you can take your new hobby with you wherever you go. Of course you can play on your phone as well for maximum portability, but there’s just something a little more satisfying about diving in on a bigger screen.
Follow these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to a fun journey in online poker!