4 Tips to Get Started in Texas Hold’em

The most popular poker format of all is Texas Hold’em. It is the poker variant that generates the most traffic, the best prizes and the greatest prestige, so much so that the World Series of Poker main event is contested over Hold’em. As such, new players are coming to the card game every year. We realize that for some people, getting started in poker can be a challenging task. You are already disadvantaged as you can be playing against much more experienced players. However, don’t fret as we have some practical tips to help you begin your Texas Hold’em journey.

1] Download how to guides
The first thing you must do is ensure you properly understand the rules. This means familiarizing yourself with the basic gameplay and how it operates. One way to do this is to watch poker online or on YouTube, but we find a better method of learning is to use downloadable guides. Many reputable poker sources will give enthusiasts a guide for free. These are usually in the form of cheat sheets. Narciso Baldo of Texas Hold’em Questions says “they’re not actually cheat sheets, just another word for guides or tips”. They have a Texas Holdem cheat sheet that breaks down the basic and offers quick win suggestions too.

2] Start low
Our 2nd tip is to remember to start low. Some people make the mistake of starting too high, losing money then quitting. Instead, you should play the micro-stakes games where a buy in is $2 or $5 maximum. Even if you can afford bigger stakes, avoid the temptation to playing higher. You should initially aim to gain experience playing poker. There are so many aspects to cover that it is best to learn and make errors when the buy in is very low.

3] Remove distractions when playing
Another key thing to note when starting your Texas Hold’em journey is to remove noise and distractions. Poker is a mentally taxing activity that requires full concentration. You can’t focus properly if you are listening to music, chatting to friends or watching a movie. This is especially true when you begin poker as you will need to observe gameplay. You’ll want to absorb everything like a sponge. This is practically impossible if you have lots of things going on and are easily distracted. You’ll want a distraction free computer or laptop. Therefore, we recommend playing quietly on your own without any background activities diverting your attention away from the poker playing.

4] Set a stop loss
Lastly, this tip is centred around bankroll management and responsible gambling. A stop loss is an effective way of ensuring you don’t lose lots in a given session. The way it works is you say “if I lose X amount”, I will quit the session for the day. This is a tried and tested technique to safeguard you from chasing losses and gambling addiction. Poker, like all other forms of gambling carry this component that is potentially dangerous. Remember, there will always be games running so there is no need to sit for longer than necessary. We suggest a 3 buy in limit i.e if you lose 3 buy-ins you quit. This ensures you are not tilting off more money to your opponents too.

“Poker hand and Chips” by Images_of_Money is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Author: Ida Soto