Players new to Poker and eager to learn the game often make the mistake of expecting too much too soon. This is a bad way to go about the business of learning any new skill, as it will more often than not only lead to disappointment, discouragement, and giving up.
Instead, accept that learning to become a skilled and successful Poker player isn’t a race, but a process. Mastering the basic Poker concepts before trying to move on to complicated strategies and psychology is therefore crucial for long-term success.
It Starts With Blinds & Antes
Every game of Poker needs money in the pot in order for the action to get started. Often referred to as seed money, this sort of starting coinage is collected via the posting of antes and blinds.
An ante is a portion of a bet – usually small – contributed by every player around the table for the seeding of the pot at the start of every hand. A blind, on the other hand, is a bet only one or two players around the table will be forced to part with.
Antes and blinds are both so-called “forced” bets, with players usually parting with antes in Stud games, and blind bets in Texas Hold’Em and Omaha Hold’Em games. Also helpful so as to not become confused is that blinds and antes both serve a common purpose: that of temping players to add money to the pot.
Be Prepared To Win
Nobody has ever achieved anything great by starting out expecting to fail – or lose. But positive expectation isn’t enough. Being prepared also refers to coming to the table backed by a certain amount of actual preparation. If any two things combined make of a Poker player a great Poker player, it would have to be preparation and experience.
One of the most important steps in the preparation process is adopting a willingness to assume responsibility for whatever it is that’s about to happen to you at the felt. Eliminating bad or poor Poker habits requires honestly and a willingness to put in the work necessary for cultivating good (winning) habits.
Be Selective About Hands
Being selective about the hands you’re willing to play is one of the most important keys to becoming a winning Poker player. It is a crucial concept and one better learnt sooner than later.
Many players – newbies as well as players long in the game – make the mistake of playing too many hands. Players only interested in having a bit of fun around the felt will typically look for reasons to continue playing and raising a hand – reasons to keep every hand in the game.
Players interested in long-term success and turning an actual profit, on the other hand, will instead look for reasons to release hands, or fold out before too much damage has had the opportunity to occur. Good players know the value of avoiding unnecessary risk and danger and are much more willing to let risky or speculative hands go.