With a temporary pause in live poker across the world, there has been a surge in players giving online poker a shot. In this blog we’ll cover the top 10 tips for winning at online poker.
On the surface, the game looks the same. There are still two hole cards, five community cards, and a mix of skill, luck, fun and frustration. However, you may have noticed that there are several key differences.
Here are ten tips for winning at online poker and avoiding potential pitfalls:
This is a different player pool than you may be used to seeing at casinos. There will still be plenty of recreational players that make numerous mistakes. However, as you increase the stakes, you will find more multi-tabling poker professionals who are using statistical software as they play.
This means that the higher up in stakes you go, the more your opponents are gathering data on you with more than just their own observations. They may use HUDs (“head-up display”), which are programs that can provide data about how often you fold, call, or raise in various situations. For this reason, the $1/$2 NL online games that you see will be much tougher on average than the $1/$2 NL poker game you are used to at your casino.
For example, $1/$2 online games may actually be equivalent to $5/$10 live sessions, or better. Thus, it’s prudent to protect your bankroll by starting out small and working your way up!
The great thing about online poker is that you can find many stakes below $1/$2, and you will get many hands in a shorter amount of time to help you judge if you’re at the right skill level. Pace yourself, work your way up gradually, to find the sweet-spot where you can make the most money and have the most fun.
Manage your bankroll effectively. Of course, you never should be playing with money you can’t afford to lose. In general, you should never have more than 5% of your poker bankroll in play at once.
Do your research before you begin playing on any poker website or app. Make sure you understand their payout process, and check if they are RNG certified (this ensures that the cards are determined by a random number generator and will simulate an actual shuffled deck).
Also, read up about the level of competition on the site. For some apps, the degree of difficulty at certain stakes may vary from that of more established sites.
Commit to blocking out all distractions and play in a quiet location. It’s easy to have the TV on or to browse the internet while in the comfort of your own home. Don’t fall for this trap, and give your session your full attention, even when you’re not playing the hand.
Your bottom line will thank you.
You will possibly be dealt twice as many hands per hour while playing online poker. It may feel as if online poker is like poker on steroids! You’ll need to make quicker decisions as you actually have only 30 seconds to 1.5 minutes to act before your cards are folded.
Thus, be sure to find the time bank as you’ll need to add more time on a regular basis.
Make sure you go into all your hands with a plan and a reason for being in the hand. This will allow you to execute that plan faster and avoid time pressure.
Also, beware that you may run into a few tough losing hands in short succession. It is vital that you keep a level head when disaster strikes.
That’s right, you could be up against KGB, and he’ll be able to get away with his Oreos’ tell and there’s not much you can do about it; however, what you can do is pay attention to bet sizing and timing tells.
For Instance, when your opponent bets half pot, pay attention to what they have at showdown. Do they have more bluffs when they bet the full pot?
In general, the 1/3 – 1/2 pot river bets tend to be made with a wider range of decent hands while pot-sized bets and larger often suggest your opponent either is bluffing or has a very strong hand (they are more polarized at this sizing).
Finally, pay attention to how quickly your opponent bets when they are bluffing or value betting. Sometimes your opponent will make a very quick call which means they did not even consider raising, and they likely have either a draw or a mediocre hand.
Make use of every bit of information you have in the absence of live reads.
In general, online poker players like to 3-bet (or reraise) more than live players. This means that if you open raise a loose range of hands from early position, you will be attacked more often by re-raises, soit’ll be harder to see the flop at a good price.
This is especially true from under the gun and UTG+1 as there are 7-8 players left behind you that could wake up with a good hand.
In a 9-player game, I recommend opening a tight early position range that looks something like this:
Notice that this is less than 10% of all hands. This will allow you to defend your open raises against 3-bets at least half the time or more, so you aren’t forfeiting your initial raise too often.
The reasoning here is similar to tip #6. You don’t want to be calling raises with a wide range of hands when you don’t even know the real price you’ll be paying or if you will get to see the flop.
For example, say you are holding 78 suited in mid-position in an aggressive online game and an average player opens from UTG+2 to 3 big blinds.
You might consider calling with this hand on the button if stacks are deep because you’ll have position in the hand, and you may call in the big blind because you close the action and getting a good price.
In the middle position, however, there’s a very good chance you’ll call and someone behind you will call or raise as well. If they call, you are going to be playing out of position with a mediocre hand. If they raise, you won’t be able to continue profitably most of the time and will have to fold. Why put yourself in this position? Just fold preflop and wait for a better spot.
Even against calling stations, these bluffs still work enough of the time to be profitable.
When the board comes out A-7-2 rainbow or K-5-2 rainbow and you raised preflop, your opponents will put you on high cards. They’ll think you have Ace King way more than you actually do. Moreover, they won’t hit these dry boards very frequently.
Bet between 1/3 and 1/2 the pot and you’ll be amazed that your bluffs work way more than the 1/4 to 1/3 of the time they need to for a profit.
When you are in the Hijack, Cutoff, and Button position, you’re in the prime seats to print money.
When your opponents make the mistake of opening with too many hands, take advantage of it by 3-betting them.
Choose strong hands which play well in heads-up pots, such as AQ, KQ and AJ, and mix in an occasional bluff such as A5s: of course, 3-bet your premium holdings as well, QQ+, and AK.
Here’s a simple 3-step process for how to make money playing online poker: see flops with position, the initiative, and better cards than your opponents.
If they fold to you preflop, great. If they call, even better as you’ll have position throughout the hand. Just make sure that if they start 4-betting you, you adjust by 3-betting less or only re-raising with hands that can call a 4-bet.
When you raise preflop in an average online poker game, bet the flop, and make a strong bet on the turn and then get raised, proceed with extreme caution.
Most low-stakes players simply always have 2 pairs or better in this scenario. Don’t get attached to your top pair or overpair when facing a raise on late streets. Deeply think through the possible hands your opponent can hold, and only continue if there are enough plausible draws that you think they’d actually take an aggressive line with an inferior hand.
In most cases, you’ll find that your beautiful pocket aces are now a bluff catcher, since your opponent does not bluff in this spot, and therefore you should fold.
Good luck on the virtual felt and I hope you crush your online poker game by following these 10 tips!
Which one was your favorite? Let me know with a comment below.