While learning how to play poker at its most basic level is not that difficult, and most people that try it online usually have played it with their friends before, learning how to be good at it is an entirely different matter.
One of the easiest ways to get started is to simply throw yourself at the game, but not necessarily with real money. The majority of the poker rooms will offer their players the chance to play for fake money against other real people, usually also beginners. A fake money poker room is not something you should focus on for very long, but it does allow you to practice your basic poker strategy and making decisions based on the cards that you have in your hands and the hands that are visible on the table. Once you’ve understood the game, the basic rules and you have your strategy down, move on immediately to the low value poker tables. You don’t risk that much money while playing there and you get a better feel of how players will react.
Play very few hands
As a beginner, don’t try to play hands that you’re not sure about. Try to learn how to be selective, choosing the best hands to go forward with. Not all hands can be winners (not easily anyway) and that’s one lesson you need to learn in order to be able to let go.
Keep bluffing to a minimum
Even though bluffing has a reputation as something that every poker game includes, the truth is that it’s not nearly as common as the TV shows will make it look. As a beginner, bluffing is not something you need to practice. Focus on the basics instead and leave the bluffing for later, when you know what you’re doing.
Figure out what the other guy has
It’s never too early to start thinking about the cards on the table and what the opponents might have in their hand. Even if you have a decent hand, if the cards on the table tell you that the other guy could have something even better, it’s something you need to consider.
Find the other beginners
It’s a good idea to always try and play against other beginners, preferably those that are worse than you are. If you’re at a table where you’re losing constantly you need to get out of there and find an easier one. One way to do that is by moving to a table with lower stakes.
Keep your position in mind
The position at the table can be an important factor in certain poker games, with Texas Hold’em being one example of such a game. If you’re the last to act you know what the others did before you, so you have more information to help you make decisions. Even if you have bad cards, if you’re in the right position you might be able to salvage that hand.
Stay at the low limit tables
Quite similar with the tip about finding the other beginners, staying where the small bets are made will allow you to find mostly players that are still learning the rules and maybe don’t have a strategy in place yet.