Poker is a game that may be as old as America itself, in one form or another, and is inextricably linked with its history. Largely developed in the saloons and riverboats of the Wild West, over the decades, poker gained an almost mythic stature. From the archetype of the gentleman gambler to the idea of the rambunctious cow hand for whom gambling wasn’t just recreation but a way of life, poker plays a central role in the American mythos and serves as a metaphor for the American character itself, as a nation of risk-takers willing to go where others won’t.
It comes as no surprise, then, that poker is nearly as popular today as it has ever been, at least in historical terms. Even as the online scene has declined in recent years, poker rooms and new casinos offering poker spring up from coast to coast. When dealing with a game of such enduring qualities, it is a good bet that poker will be there tomorrow and for ages to come.
Therefore, it can be argued that now is as good a time as any to begin learning the game. Let’s review some simple tips for those who are completely new to poker and, hopefully, get them on the right track to becoming the great players of tomorrow.
Play online, but don’t make it your home
If you’re new to online poker, you aren’t likely to appreciate just how wide the cosmic gulf between online poker and its brick and mortar counterpart is. If live poker is like running a fruit stand on the side of a summer highway, online poker, for example situs poker online, is like working as a quantitative analyst for a high-frequency trading fund. They’re about as different as two variants of the same game could ever be.
But that’s not to say that online poker doesn’t have serious benefits. If you’re interested in poker, you should absolutely play online at micro or small stakes. You won’t be playing to make any money, leave that to the incorrigible masochists. You’ll be playing for practice and analysis. The online game can be a fantastic place to learn concepts, player tendencies and correct responses to various leaks and opponent types. And the great news is that if you can beat NL10 online you can probably beat any live poker game in the United States. Yeah, it’s actually that bad.
But don’t sell yourself short. Online poker can provide extremely beneficial practice and it can allow you to stay sharp for that juicy NL1000 game at your local casino, the one where you can make $50 an hour.
View poker as a model train set
Remember how exciting it was to get that HO-scale model train at Christmas? Well, poker is almost the same thing. Programs like Hold’em Manager, CardrunnersEV and even Microsoft Excel allow you to build models of opponents and learn the mathematical techniques to beat them. In fact, in building opponent models, you internalize many of the concepts to an extent that you won’t even have to think about them anymore at the tables. Not only can the process of opponent modeling be fun and rewarding in its own right, it can be enormously profitable. After studying the nuts and bolts of poker you start to gain a sixth sense for when someone might be making mistakes, what shape an optimally exploitative strategy would take and how to execute it.