Never Start Short Stacked

One of the keys to winning Poker is having enough chips. You need to be able to weather a streak of bad cards and be there when the cards finally turn in your favour.

So what would we suggest for a minimum buy in? If you are playing a $2 - $4 game, start with at least $400 to $800 (roughly 100 times the big bet). The degree of variation accounts for your style of play. A super aggressive player should bring more to the table than a tighter player.

Bigger stacks tend to get bigger respect as well. Especially from new players. So keeping a decent amount of chips in front of you not only improves your chances of winning, it provides an intimidation factor. However, you should always have enough chips available in your bank to jump into a different game. If you keep your whole bankroll in front of you, you can't buy-in to second game without cashing out of the first.

The Awesome Power of Short Playing Sessions

One big difference between the Internet and live bricks and mortar play is that players are constantly moving in and out of games. The accessibility of the Internet allows players to just sit down and play a few hands, a few minutes, or maybe just an hour. In a live game, you generally are playing with the same opponents for at least a few hours and maybe even up to seven or eight hours. This rarely occurs on the Internet. How does this affect strategy?

Your opponents will not have a very long time to evaluate your play. This means that you should play more straightforward and less deceptively than you would in a live game. One of the benefits of playing deceptively or trying a bluff is the advertising value you receive on future hands when your opponents think you are a loose wild player. A loose table image can help you earn more chips later when you hold strong hands that your opponents call because they think you might be bluffing. On the Internet, you may not be sitting with the same opponents long enough to benefit from this image.

Against regular opponents, you still need to mix up your play on the Internet, but overall, you should mix it up less than you would in a live game. Against new opponents, the best strategy is to simply play a straightforward tight game without worrying too much about how your table image might affect future hands.

Some Useful Online Bluffing Tips

On the Internet, you are dealing with names and avatars, not faces. Some of the most powerful cues used in poker are no longer available to us. This psychological part of poker makes for a different type of game on the Internet. For example, there seems to be more bluffing on the Internet compared to live games. Players feel far more anonymous on the Net and are therefore prone to wilder, less cautious moves.

Another reason why players may tend to bluff more online than in a casino is the ease in which you can bluff. Online you just have to click your mouse. In a live game, you have to physically move your chips and stare down your opponents at the table. Chips are popular in casinos because they remove us emotionally from the concept of real money. Studies have shown that players are more reckless with chips than with real cash. Online, we are even more removed from the idea that this is real money (they are virtual chips) so the average bluffs are larger and more common.

"Overall, if you look at the data, players tend to be more deceptive online than in a live game. "

Insider Tip

This impacts online strategies in two ways. First, you can't assume your opponents are bluffing all the time, but you will need to call and raise a little more often against those opponents who are trying to win every pot.

On the other hand, you should probably bluff a little less often since your opponents will tend to call you a little more. They also realize that players online bluff a lot, so they will tend to call more even with weak hands. They will also find it easier to just click the mouse to call compared to physically moving their chips in a live game.

Remember! Early Decisions Matter Most

Early choices in Texas Hold'em usually mean more than later ones because of their impact on subsequent decisions. Whenever you make an incorrect move up front, you run the risk of rendering each subsequent decision incorrect as well. That's why your choice of starting hands is usually much more critical than how you play on future betting rounds.

  • Pre-flop: The person with the best two hole cards is most likely to win at showdown.
  • After the flop: The player currently holding the best five-card hand is most likely to win at showdown.
  • After the turn card is dealt: The player currently holding the best five-card hand is most likely to win at showdown.
  • After the river card is dealt: The player currently holding the best five-card hand has won at showdown.

What have we learned from this? The value of your present cards is always much greater than the expected value. If your opponent has you beat now and you know it, calling heavily for a card to come is not tight play. Evaluating the hands of your opponents will only help your game if it helps you to avoid unreasonable risk.

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