A Good Poker Face
Hello. If you are reading this guide, you probably just started playing poker, and are wondering wtf is going on. Poker is an exciting game, but it can be a little overwhelming if you are a noob, so I have written this guide in order to take you from noob to pro. So follow along and I'll have you stacking donks in no time. Even though this guide is aimed at total beginners, it would probably be appropriate for many different types of poker players, even those with some experience under their belt.
Step #1 : Deposit online and grind out 20,000 hands.
So you are going to need to get some experience playing for real money. The great thing is, they have poker now on the internet! And you can play for almost no money. I recommend that you start at the $0.01/$0.02 table. That 1 cent and 2 cent that I've listed describes the blinds. Alternatively, we can refer to this game as $2 NL, talking about the max buy-in. Typically in online games, the max buyin is 100 big blinds. So right now your priority is to gain some experience, and you will do that by playing 20,000 hands of $2 poker. This is a lot of experience. If you were to play at a casino, that is 700 hours of play. You can do it a lot faster online, especially if you play multiple tables at the same time, or zoom. In fact, an experienced multi-tabler can grind out 20,000 hands in a week. It will probably take you a lot longer. Try not to worry too much about if you are winning or losing. You don't need to deposit too much, $50 should be sufficient bankroll, and you can redeposit another $50 if you are running out. This is called paying your dues. But the great thing is, you are playing for almost no money, but you are developing key skills that will be of great value down the line.
Now aside from playing, you also want to learn as much as you can. There are many resources for studying, from training sites, to youtube videos, to books, to coaching, to forums. At the appendix (end) of this article I will list as many links to free resources as I can think of it. By studying you can learn new ideas that you incorporate in your game. Feel free to play around a bit and try different things. Learn what works and what doesn't. Put in as much volume as you can, and also spend time away from the table reviewing hands that you played and studying. You might want to invest in a HUD also. A HUD, or heads up display, shows statistics on how your opponents are playing as an overlay on the screen. So it will tell you who is loose, who is tight, who is aggressive, and who is passive. You can then use this information to make better decisions at the poker table.
Another good idea is to start a poker journal. In this journal you will review sesions that you played and make a note for any mistakes you made, weaknesses that showed up, things you did well and things you did poorly. Keeping a journal is very good for your game, because it provides an opportunity to reflect on choices you made and that is an important part of improving.
Step #2 : Getting Serious
Once you have a 20,000 hand sample on you, you have some experience. Hopefully you have been studying and reviewing hands you played, posting on forums, reading articles and watching videos. At this point you might want to invest in a subscription to a training site. At $25 a month, you can get access to a bunch of videos that will probably help your game. You don't even have to subscribe every month, just check it out and see if it helps. This will introduce you to new ideas and new concepts. You are going to want to continue grinding online. You might want to move up in limits and check out the NL $5 games, if you have the bankroll. The important thing is to continue putting in volume, to continue to study, work on your game away from the table, review hands that you played, post. You might want to invest in GTO+ at this point, which is a solver that you can use to tell you the right way to play hands. Most important is to keep grinding, keep studying, keep writing in your journal. At this point you may need to start working on your mental game. The mental game of poker is a very good book and can teach you to work on motivational issues, tilt, and all other aspects of the mental game. Highly recomended. You can use your solver to review hands and see how a GTO bot would play. Then you can use that information to observe your opponents for weaknesses and non gto play and come up with plans to exploit them.
Step #3 : Try Out Live Poker
If you have followed the above steps carefully, and put in the weeks of grinding online at micro stakes and studying and using solvers and watching videos then you should have a pretty good idea about core concepts relating to poker. Pot odds, implied odds, ranges, RFI standards by position, three betting and defending vs a three bet, bet sizing, multitabling, adapting to different player types, donking, etc. At tyhis point, if you have the bankroll for it, you might want to check out some live poker. Now live poker is a lot different from online poker, because it is filled with donks. Instead of playing against nit regs from Romanian and the Ukraine grinding out a living an NLHE $5 games, you will be playing against local donks. So the games will be very loose and sometimes wild and will take a lot of getting used to. Luckily, with your skill set from grinding online, you should be able to adapt to the live environment. Just play very tight and nitty and stick to value betting. You will have to go quite some time between playing hands, so spend that time watching your opponents and trying to profile them. You should be able to crush them easily just by playing tight and sticking to value betting. But the dynamics of live poker can be quite a lot different from what you are used to online. You might want to stick with a short stack nit approach at the start while you acclimatize. Just don't try to bluff the whales at live poker they never fold.
Hopefully this guide helped you out. Investing the time and effort to get good at poker is quite worthwhile. The best thing for a total noob is to just grind online until you start getting good at the game. The great thing about poker is, you are not matched against players of an equal skill level. So your goal is to improve your skill level, and then play against noobs, who you can crush and take their money. Because you play a lot more hands per hour online, especially if you are multitabling, it is a great way to level up and improve at poker, especially if you putting in the time to study and read forums and articles and books as well. Poker is a game with a high skill cap, and you should spend a lot of time reflecting on your experiences and mistakes that you make so you can continue to grow and develop as a player. Then, once you are a winning player, you can use your poker profits to move up in limits and play for higher stakes and more money. But also make sure you are continuing to learn and study and develop. Work with solvers, read books, read forums, and most importantly reflect on hands that you played and decisions that you made.