Getting Started

Diving into poker can be incredibly daunting. For a true beginner, it may be a little intimidating at first: the rules, the language, the complex strategy, and the wide variety of different games to choose from are all major concerns and cause for confusion. Where should you play poker? Is it better to play in a casino or online? What should you play? How should you learn how to play? How can you avoid letting everyone at the table know you are a novice? These are all common questions for beginners to ask, and they are completely normal and warranted. Getting started with poker can be a scary endeavor, but if you utilize this site correctly, you will be hitting the felt with confidence in no time.

  • Learn the Hand Rankings

This should be the very first step in getting started with poker. The importance of learning how poker hands are ranked cannot be stressed enough. This is an essential first step and without a very good understanding of hand rankings, you will be unable to continue your poker education. It should be noted that you should not be merely familiarizing yourself with these rankings; you need to memorize them very well. The last thing you want to do is forget if a straight beats a flush in the middle of a hand!

  • Familiarize Yourself with the Vocabulary

Once you have learned how poker hands are ranked, take a look at our poker dictionary. This is a comprehensive list of the most commonly used poker terms, and can be used as a reference from this point forward in your poker education. Without a basic understanding of poker jargon, it will be extremely challenging to continue reading and learning about the game. In addition, understanding how poker players talk will help you when playing poker and discussing the game with others, and will bring you even more confidence at the tables.

  • Learn the Rules

Now that you’ve built a solid foundation by learning the very basics, it’s time to start understanding how poker is played. As you can see on this site, there are many variations to learn. However, it is best to start simple with either Texas Hold’em or Five Card Draw. While Five Card Draw used to be the first game most players learned (due to its simplicity), Hold’em is now the most popular game in the world. Both games are very easy to learn and you should understand the basics within a matter of minutes. Because Hold’em is so much more widely spread at both casinos and in online card rooms, that might be the best place to start.

  • Read Strategy

After you learn how a specific game is played, go ahead and venture into the Strategy section for some tips on how you can become a profitable player. Learning the game is the easy part, but mastering it can prove to be quite a challenge that will likely take years (and even a lifetime). While simple games like Texas Hold’em and Five Card Draw may seem intuitive, they can actually be quite complex and so learning some basic strategy is highly recommended if you would like to see positive results at the tables.

  • Practice

There’s an expression in poker that says “there’s no substitute for experience.” Truer words have never been spoken, but novice players are often naïve to this fact. While it is true that being a studious player will make your game much stronger, having real life experience is something that cannot be learned in a book. However, modern poker players are in luck; the hours of tedious hands in a live casino can be accomplished in minutes on the internet, as the hands are dealt much quicker and you can play more than one table at a time. The amount of experience an online player can gain in a few weeks could take years for a live player, which makes starting out online a perfect fit for poker novices. In addition, most online card rooms offer games at incredibly low stakes so that players can learn and practice without much risk.

  • Continue to Learn

Most savvy players understand that their poker education will never end and that continuing to learn and evolve goes along with being a winning player. In order to become a profitable player, you will need to read quite a bit of strategy, frequent the popular poker forums, and discuss the game with other players on a regular basis. If you follow the tips listed here and continue your poker education on a regular basis, you should be counting your winnings in no time.