This page will act as your introductory to online poker strategy. Keep reading if you want to swim away from the rest of the poker fishes and join the ranks of the sharks.
Poker is a card game like no other. It’s a game where good players with bad hands will repeatedly beat bad players with good hands. The key to poker success – both online and IRL – is the join the ranks of the good players, and learn how to tell a good hand from a poor one. The best poker strategy is to learn when you are likely in a winning position, and when you’ve no chance of taking the pot.
No matter which version of poker you are playing at your favourite online poker site, the first thing you need to do is learn the value of the hands. This might sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised the number of people who going into poker playing not knowing that a flush beats a straight, and that three of a kind beats two pairs.
Once you’ve got the above nailed, you should be good to go. Next, come the basics in poker strategy – the things fish do that they shouldn’t do. We’ve gone through all four main variants of poker, and picked out three basic poker strategy tips for all four.
You’ve probably been told that poker is a game of bluff. The best players can bluff and win a bad hand, no problem. But a lot of bluffing IRL is based on psychological factors – tells, mind games, maintaining that poker face – how can you do all that online?
Let’s take a look at some online bluffing techniques that can turn a terrible flop into a winning hand.
The key to bluffing is knowing when to bluff and when not to bluff. Never bluff because you’ve been dealt garbage for ten consecutive deals and you just want something to do. If you are dealt decent hole cards but the flop has not improved your hand, then this is a decent time to bluff, especially if you will be the first to bet.
Don’t over-bluff and don’t become predictable. Also, don’t keep bluffing if you’ve been ‘found out’ – just fold … no one cares.
Uh-ho, here come the numbers. Like it or not, poker is a game of mathematics. If your hand has a 66 percent chance of winning, then you’re in a good position if the next best hand has a 16 percent chance of winning. The question is … how do you get those numbers? The answer is you do maths in your head to calculate your odds and outs. Thankfully, there is a shortcut.
The more you play poker, the more you will get accustomed to instinctively know your outs. Below you will find a table outlining the most common hand improvements, and the number of outs needed to complete:
|Your Hand||Your Target||Outs|
|Pocket Pair||Three of a Kind||2|
|Single High Card||High Pair||3|
|Two Pairs||Full House||4|
|Pocket Pair||Two Pair/Three of a Kind||5|
|Two High Cards||High Pair||6|
|Three of a Kind||Full House/Four of a Kind||7|
|Open Ended Straight||Straight||8|
|Inside Straight with Two High Cards||Straight/High Pair||10|
|Inside Straight and Flush||Straight/Flush||12|
|Open Straight and Flush||Straight/Flush||15|
Of course, knowing how many outs you have is not the sole aspect of a hand you need to consider. There is no point getting excited about having six outs to turn garbage into a pair if the flop has three spades, or connectors. Again, balancing your hand against your opponent’s potential hands only comes with experience.
There are plenty of precise ways of turning outs into odds, but here’s a neat trick you can learn that acts as a shortcut.
Okay, so that deserves an explanation. Post-flop, you have an open-ended straight with eight outs. That means you have around a 16.8 percent (actually, 17 percent to be precise, but we’re talking about an easy way to estimate here) of completing your straight on the turn, and around a 33.6 percent chance of competing your straight on the turn and river.
So, now you know the probability of completing your hand, how do you know whether to stay in the deal or not? The answer is by calculating pot odds.
Calculating pot odds, you’ll be pleased to hear, is easier than calculating outs. Say the pot is currently £100, and you need to call £10 to stay in the hand. That would make the pot £110, so we need to pay £10 to potentially win £110. That’s 10/110 = 0.09, or 9 percent (to convert a decimal to a percentage, just multiply it by 100).
So, if you have a 16.8 percent chance of making your winning hand, and it will only cost you 9 percent to remain in the hand, you call. You could, in this situation, raise £10 as a payment of £20 will only rise the pot odds to 20/120 = 16.6 percent.
Of course, if the pot was £100 and you had been raised £50, then your pot odds would now be 50/150 = 33.3 percent, then it’s time to fold.
Poker is a game of unknown information, so the more information you have about a hand, the better. You play best when you have as much information about a hand as possible, and that can depend upon your table position.
In all betting rounds, it is the players who are the last to act that hold the advantage. Depending on what has happened so far – whether the other players have bet, folded or checked – you can decide what you want to do with more information than if you were the first to act.
Therefore, if you are among the last to act, and depending upon what others have done before you, you can afford to be a little looser when in this position, and it’s always a good idea to bluff if it’s only been checks and low raises so far, but not consistently.
There are different types of poker (we are not talking variants here) which means different ways of playing. Here are a few tips for cash/ring games, sit and go’s, heads up and MTTS.
Cash games, or ring games, are where most poker players start. You sit at a table, play and wager depending up the limits with your own money, and you can step away from the table whenever you wish. Here are three top tips that will empower your poker cash game strategy.
It’s the ultimate poker battle – you against one other remaining player. The best poker players win more HUs then they lose, so how do you join the star HU player ranks? Here are three top HU tips.
Sit and go games are instant tournaments where survival is the key. The longer you survive, the more you will win. Here are our top tips for sit & go poker.
MTTs can be the yellow brick road to wealth, but they are also a gruelling battlefield. Getting onto the leaderboard can be tricky, but it can be done with the right skills and attitude. Here are our top MTT poker strategy tips.
You may have noticed that the majority of our poker strategy tips have been for Texas Hold’em. This is because (a) Texas Hold’em is by far the most popular form of online poker and (b) many of the tips for Hold’em can easily be applied to other poker variants.
But what about Omaha? Do we have any specific tips for this variant? Of course we do, and here they are:
Online poker strategy is a complicated beast, but we hope this page has helped you in defining the best poker strategy for you. Basic poker strategy is easy to learn but advanced poker strategy can be as complex as chess. This page serves as an introduction to poker tournament strategy, heads up poker strategy and has poker sit and go strategy, but it’s only an introduction. If you really want to become a poker shark, you’re going to have to dig a little deeper.
Good luck on the tables, and we hope you are soon gobbling up those poker fish!
The best poker preflop strategy is a combination, really. Learn which hole cards you can and cannot play with, and how to bet depending upon your position.
The best 3 card poker strategy is to not play 3 card poker and play something far more interesting, such as Texas Hold’em or Omaha.
If you want to be a really successful online poker player, then there really isn’t one aside from learning how to play pre-flop (which is the easiest part of any poker game). Poker is complicated with outs, odds and bluffing. To be successful, you will need to learn advanced poker strategy.
There’s no guaranteed way to win any poker hand, but to increase your chances of winning a heads up, please refer to ‘heads up poker strategy’ above.
Yes and no. Playing of your hand is practically the same, but betting is different. You will be bluffing more with no-limit poker, but you will need to be a little more cautious as losing a huge bluff can be devastating in no-limit poker.