How to Learn Poker in 2024 — study guide for new players

Dennis  «Dennis_Stets» 
03 May 2024
Holdem Poker Basics
03 May 2024

It’s hard to imagine a non-professional surgeon or pilot, but the poker profession is treated way different. Society thinks that it’s enough just to learn the rules of poker, and after that the skill will be quickly achieved in the course of practical play.

However, the ability of a player without knowledge and work on yourself is worthless! So how to study poker right? To become a true pro, a person should pay attention to a few important things highlighted in this article.

Best Way to Study Poker

Just as there is no medic or physicist without long hours of study, there is no good professional poker player. The best option for a beginner is poker schools and personal trainers. 

After the game you should anayze your hands: which ones were played well / with mistakes mistakes (poker leaks). If you can not understand some moments, it's better to visit specialized poker forums and sites for more information. 

There is no shame in asking for help. Thousands of players gather online in the beginner, advanced and professional poker threads and discuss poker hands. Make it a habit to read such forums.

The best and most effective way to learn poker is to get a personal coach.

Attention to Details

If you come across an unfamiliar concept, or you can't understand what people are talking about, just look at the basic things — start with a poker terms, then read articles on the subject. Until there will be 100% understanding, don't quit. 

Imagine that a surgeon discovers something interesting in the patient's body during an operation, but simply sews up the incision without paying attention to the new circumstance.  Do you think the patient would feel better? Saying like: «Later, I'd rather think about it tomorrow!» is of course easy, but unprofessional. Poker pros are not like Scarlett O'Hara — they think about the game almost constantly.

Player's Computer Desk

Until you've made as much money playing poker as the professionals, it's best to take the game seriously and don't mess up your workspace with miscellaneous nonsense.

To avoid getting caught downswings, don't get distracted by social media, don't chat with friends, don't watch TV series during the session and so on. Most importantly, keep your poker table clean.

If you don't agree with this statement, think about the workplace of a miller or a mechanic. They always have everything in its place. And you will not have assistants to hand a scalpel or a working tool.

Poker is not a Zebra

If you read at least one poker book, you already know that it is a game with its’ ups and downs — to say simply it is a game of cards, suits and bad hands. When a player fails, he should not blame it on downswing. In the constant downstreak, the main motivator is the player himself. After losing a hand or two, a poker player gets nervous and makes stupid mistakes.

Some of the big-name poker pros couldn't get rid of the habit of nodding at black streaks. It's easier to say «I’ve got caught in a downstreak!", but isn't it more accurate to say «I couldn’t stop and analyze the game session?».

To prevent this from happening, you need to get rid of the habit of hiding your head in the sand in everyday life as well. Otherwise, there is a high risk of losing big and not realizing what the reason is. Forget about Mrs. Fortune, bad luck, downswing / upswing and other nonsense. 

Do not rush to win back — then most of the downstreaks will miraculously dissolve.

When analyzing the hands you played, you didn't find a mistake, ask for advice from an experienced colleague / poker coach, or discuss the hands on the poker forum. You can see the mistakes from the outside, and hardly anyone will say: «Yes, it's downswing!». There are often more golden grains of poker truth in forum discussions than in huge articles about the nature of downswings. Also look for them at our site — it will help you become a professional poker player.

You don't need to cite a hand where you went all-in with a nut-flush and lost to a full house of 7-2 as an example of a downswing. Such stories happen once every hundred years, but a hundred hands with stupid raises and ill-conceived calls is much more telling! 

You can't always play right, but you should try to make no more than 10-15% mistakes.

Talking about downstreak / upstreak starts when a player who is good at hitting low limits moves to a higher level. So what's the main mistake? He continues playing exactly the same way. It makes sense that he loses at the new field. But, logically, it's not because of going into the tilt.

The poker player just needed to start the game with extreme caution, trying to apply existing or brand new poker strategy. There is no need to frantically search for information that winning regulars can lose up to 200 BB and then sit and wait for Mrs. Fortune to turn to you. Working on yourself should be done on a regular basis, without waiting for success.

Next Step: Cash Games or Tournaments — which one to choose?

A good poker player is successful in everything, but not in all cases. How to choose the best path for yourself is also an equally important part of learning. This is where we recommend you to start.

All successful players are true masters of their craft in only one area / discipline of poker, and in other poker formats they have no special skills.

At the same time, it is not easy for such people to admit their incompetence… and this is their main mistake.

Everything is individualized

Poker pros are well aware that tournaments and cash games are completely different directions. And while in a tournament even a minimal mistake leads to unfortunate consequences, cash games have more loyal requirements and rules. For example, unlike tournaments, there are no bankroll limits. 

Becoming a participant of a tournament, a player should realize that every decision he makes will have a great weight throughout the whole game.

Many players who participate in poker tournaments with great enthusiasm play with a large stack — only then they can feel confident. If such a person does not feel strong enough to play with a medium stack, then they need to keep their positions. With such move they can leave the tournament early and try to maintain a strong stack. 

Naturally, it would be great if such a player learned to hold positions in all odds. However, it is not always possible, so it is necessary to be able to bluff and to make unexpected moves that may seem wrong to the opponent.

This category of players mainly includes groups that win tournaments. But in cash games they are «out of luck», because this poker strategy doesn’t work there anymore. And here, of course, does not mean that they are «lucky» and win tournaments only due to random coincidences.

After all, winning a big stack and outperforming your opponents is not an easy task, which requires a certain set of skills and abilities. But these poker players are often limited and they should be used at the very beginning of the game, so that they don't get material losses.

Poker players who consistently play at a high level in any situation and in different disciplines have a great temperament.

Because of this, tournaments are more suitable for them. More one-sided players more often choose cash games, because here it is not so much skill, but patience. It's obvious that in tournaments they «do not take root» due to the fact that assets here have certain limits. But in cash games you can wait for a favorable moment as long as you want, just due to patience.

In tournaments, sometimes you have to make the most desperate moves, because a long wait will lead to the fact that all the chips will run out.

Some temperamental and impatient players can make it exclusively at tournaments. And not only because they can not do without tilt for a long time, they simply do not even notice the insignificance of their stack and the impossibility to replenish it. In cash games, such individuals will persistently invest more and more money.

Nevertheless, every tilt-unstable player has the opportunity to show self-control in some tournament situations. When the minimum number of players remains, it becomes clear that you can't succeed without patience. But in cash games such situations practically do not arise (they are different).

There are two useful skills for tournament poker — it’s «playing with a big stack» and «moving chips».

Such abilities are the keys to a successful game. Frankly speaking, the success of a poker game depends on a lot of skills and situations. And what can be used successfully in some circumstances can never be used in others — with time and more practice you'll understand this point.

Priority actions after studying poker

Poker is the #1 card game in the world. To start playing online poker, you don't have to invest money from your own pocket. In fact, in addition to welcome bonuses, which are offered by all top poker rooms, you can hit the game for free on play chips. In the continuation of our review you will find relevant information that will help you profitably and successfully start your poker career correctly.

#1: Selecting a poker room

Don’t know where to start? Playing poker for real money is the last thing a beginner should do. In addition to the above factors, entry-level players should pay attention to the following criteria:

  • Positive reputation, i.e. a minimum of complaints from players;
  • Incentives in the current loyalty program;
  • Assortment of available conditional chip games;
  • Large number of online users;
  • Prompt work of the support service;
  • Availability of bonuses for new players;
  • Regular promotions;
  • VIP-programm (high rakeback);
  • High-quality and reliable software;
  • Simple and clear interface.

#2: Earnings without investment (for beginners)

The history of poker counts thousands, if not tens of thousands of cases when a person became richer virtually from scratch.

Remember the same Chris Moneymaker (surname is 100% real), thanks to whom the term «poker boom» appeared.

Back in 2003, the American managed to qualify for the $10,000 World Series of Poker Main Event through cheap online satellites worth $40. It was thanks to them, well, and of course his skill and luck, at the famous WSOP Chris won a fabulous for those times $2.5 million in prize money. Here it is:

Or take, for example, representatives of the Russian-speaking community. Like Moneymaker, native Muscovite Ivan Demidov started with free online poker tournaments. As a result of his successful play, he was able to build up a bankroll and head to the World Series of Poker. Already in 2008, Demidov became a Main Event runner-up, which brought him almost $6 million. 

No deposit bonuses

Every beginning player will first look for a place to play without investment. After all, this is a great opportunity not only to start earning from scratch, but also to get better accustomed to the place to play online poker, learn its advantages and disadvantages, hone your skills and more.

Let’s take 888Poker for example. For many years the room has been offering one of the most generous free bonuses for registration — $88.

To get the prize, you just need to go through the registration procedure, confirming your data via email or mobile phone. The first share of the bonus in the form of $8 (cash + tournament tickets) will come instantly after creating a game account, while the next $80 will come in ten equal installments as the rake is wagered and points earned by the player.

Deposit bonus

The second most popular regular promotion after the no-deposit is the instant poker deposit bonus. This means that if a player wishes to make his first deposit, he will be rewarded with 100%, and sometimes 150% and even 200%. Remember that such promos are valid only for newly arrived players.

Also, a player can get a certain amount of money for a second deposit (it’s called reload bonus), but this is probably more the exception than the rule. In any case, before you transfer money to your account, it's recommended to study the current offers from the online poker rooms.

Rakeback / Loyalty program

Every self-respecting room knows the mechanisms in place to retain their players. Constant and lucrative reward systems more than ever help rooms to motivate their poker players to play online poker actively and for a long time. This is why they develop more profitable conditions for people who play on a regular basis, including for free.

Those who participate in loyalty programs can return to the player's account a percentage of the rake (commission paid by the player for each bet made) from playing poker.

The percentage will depend on the number of points earned through the VIP program. 

To improve the conditions of the game rooms introduce incentive loyalty clubs with special privileges to those who play a lot of time, pass special tasks and advance through the levels of the VIP program. In addition to rakeback it can be bonus money to the account, tournament tickets, free participation in freerolls with larger prize pools, etc.

#3: Study Poker Varieties

Besides the classic No-Limit Texas Hold'em, which covers 90% of player traffic, there are other interesting types of poker. Below we list the popular choices:

  1. Omaha;
  2. Pineapple;
  3. Draw;
  4. H.O.R.S.E;
  5. Badugi.

Going through each of the disciplines in the list, you will get the necessary information: rules, combinations, strategies, specifics and subtleties — all these materials are available on Getcoach platform.

It may be that over time you simply get tired of Hold'em — this will be a signal that you should try your hand at other card games. On the plus side, there is usually low traffic and a weak field. Accordingly, your chances of winning money without investment will increase, as the competition will be lower. 

Hope this study guide gave answers to your questions. With this article we’re finishing the first part of our topics. Next one is on the way — you’ll definitely enjoy it and gain more knowledge! =)

Poker Study FAQs

Should I use software when teaching poker?

Sure! Even the pros use solvers and calculators to evaluate their hands and identify mistakes (leaks).

How many bets should I start with?

The minimum. It's like in a computer game — the bigger the bet size, the harder opponents are.

Do the rooms have a game for play chips?

Yes, but not in all of them. Usually there are several tables dedicated to this.

What are freerolls?

These are tournaments that do not require payment for participation and offer a prize pool in real money. Not a bad way to practice for a start and get some money.

Can I play for free in tournaments?

Almost every poker room provides such an option. In addition to regular cash games, every poker room runs free tournaments with guaranteed prize pools of $50, $100, $200, $500, and sometimes even $1,000. To take part in them, you just need to monitor the upcoming free tournaments in the lobby of your chosen room from time to time, register in time and participate in them. There are thousands of cases in the community where successful players have built their bankroll from scratch starting from freerolls.

How to play for money without downloading the client?

If you don't want to waste time downloading and installing a poker app, and play online poker for free via PC or mobile device, there is an alternative. Right now, browser-based versions of the game for macOS, Windows and Linux have the same feature set as the fixed client program. However, not all rooms support browser-based play. Choose which is best for you!

Do I pay attention to system requirements?

The developers of poker clients do not like to «complicate» the life of their players, and for a full-fledged game of online poker will be enough to have even the simplest PC / laptop. To make sure of this, we recommend you to familiarize yourself with the system requirements:

  • Operating System: Windows: 10 7 / XP / Vista. Linux, iOs, MacOS;
  • Processor: 1 GHz and higher;
  • Video Card: 256 Mb RAM;
  • RAM: 512 Mb RAM;
  • Free space: 200-300 MB;
  • Resolution: 1024x768.

From what age can I play online poker?

You can only play online poker if you are over 18 years old. This rule applies to most countries. It is forbidden to cheat online poker rooms — if you do not meet the age requirement for verification, you will not be able to withdraw your winnings, as the system will ask you to confirm your identity at the first cashout.

Which payment system to choose?

Among the most popular payment systems that you will find in any reliable room, let's highlight the following: Visa, MasterCard, Skrill, Neteller and Qiwi. Choose the one that suits you best.

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