13 General poker tips for the First Time Poker Player

The general poker tips below are meant avoid the most common mistakes in poker made by first time poker players. These poker tips make you as a beginning poker player aware of some things you might otherwise easily forget when at the poker table. Most of the tips apply to both online and live poker while some only apply to playing live poker.

  1. Don't accidentally expose your hole cards to other players

    If you hold your cards in your hand the whole time and get caught up in the game then you can easily let some of the other players get a glimpse of your cards. This makes playing against you a piece of cake. Your opponents couldn't wish for a bigger 'tell' on you. It would be better to take one look at your cards, memorize them and lay them face down on the table in front of you. You could put some chips or something else on top of them as a 'card protector'.

  2. Don't act out of turn

    By acting out of turn you give away extra information to the players who should have acted before you. They might benefit from this and other players won't like that very much.

  3. Don't fold if you can check

    No matter how bad your cards are other players could have cards that are even worse. And if not, then you might improve to the best hand if you can see another card for free. Checking is free and keeps you in the hand, so why fold?

  4. Bet an amount that wins you the most

    Betting an amount that wins you the most with a strong hand is very hard. If you bet too little, then your opponent might have called more and you would miss out on some extra chips. If you bet too much, you might scare your opponent off and not win anything at all. Try to think about what hands your opponent is likely to have and how willing your opponent is to call (bigger) bets and adjust your bet sizing based on those factors.

  5. Don't call bets with 'air'

    Don't call bets by your opponent when you completely missed the flop and all you have is a bunch of nothing. Don't fall into the trap of calling off your chips in the hope of hitting a pair or in the hope that your high card is good. At least have a chance of improving to a very strong hand when calling bets with missed cards. This could be a draw to a straight or a flush. Don't be afraid to fold and wait for a stronger hand before really committing a lot of your chips to the pot.

  6. Don't feel obligated to call when you know you're beat

    This one is especially true when you missed your draws on the river and the pot got big. You can't improve anymore and you know you're beat with your unpaired hand or bottom pair. Why give away more chips to your opponent? Don't fall into the kind of thinking that the pot is so big already and it is only a little bit more to see his hand. Just fold and save your bet for when you are ahead.

  7. With fewer people in the hand you have a higher chance of winning

    Even the best starting hands can become almost worthless if you see the flop with five players. Chances are you are beat already at that point and otherwise one of them will most likely improve to a better hand on the turn or the river. Therefore it is generally not smart to slowplay your big starting hands.

  8. Try to identify your opponent's playing style

    Is your opponent playing very few hands and only showing down monsters on the river? Is your opponent involved in every hand and more reckless in his betting and calling pattern? Against the first type of opponent you would want to make sure you have huge hand yourself when this player gives you action. Against the second type of player you probably don't need as strong of a hand to start building the pot and have a good chance to be ahead.

  9. Try to give away as little tells as possible

    For this you have to think about how other players perceive you. Do you always bet strong with your big hands and little with your weak hands? Your opponents might pick up on that. The same goes for body language, the timing of your bets, etc.

  10. Don't bluff often if at all

    Bluffing is fun, exciting and if it works it could make you look like an advanced player. The thing is, against other beginning players it won't work that often as they can't resist the urge to call you down with only marginal holdings. Focus on making money with strong hands instead, although this might require quite some patience.

  11. Don't play too many hands

    If you play too many hands you will end up with a second best hand more often. You can lose a lot of chips if you don't pay enough attention to your starting hand selection. To get a quick idea of which hands you should be looking to play in Texas hold'em or Omaha, you could read the Texas hold'em tips and Omaha tips for beginning players.

  12. Try to be patient and disciplined

    Probably two of the most cliché poker tips out there, but the truth is that patience and discipline are just too important in poker to not mention them in this list of poker tips. A single moment where you make an undisciplined decision out of impatience could turn a good poker session into a losing one. Especially in no-limit games.

  13. Have fun!

    Poker is a fascinating game. And if one of the poker variants happens to bore you, why not try another one?

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