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Playing poker online can be a lot of fun, and it can be very profitable, if you understand what you’re doing. We have a guide on how to play online poker for beginners, but, here, we’ll delve a little deeper into the nuances of online poker, which is much different than playing in a table game live at the casino.
You don’t need a poker face!
You’ll play in a ring game online, with a set group of players. Games can be played head-to-head or in groups, usually consisting of three, five or nine different players.
You’ll post an avatar and screen name, but the good news is this isn’t Skype or Zoom and players will not be able to ‘read’ your face, or look for tells. Sure, advanced players, over time, will be able to examine your betting behavior and whether or not you show your winning cards or ‘muck’ them, etc., getting valuable intel on your playing style. Most beginner and intermediate players aren’t that savvy.
Don’t get carried away bluffing
Everyone loves a good lie in poker, but some beginners and intermediate players try to do it too much. For whatever reason, even though playing online for cash is similar to a table game in terms of ‘real-ness’, people tend to play a lot more hands online. So, bluffing, or basically being deceiving and representing to the rest of the table that your hand is stronger than it really is, can be fatal at times. If you bet consistently and continue the ruse to the end, it might pay off, but any wavering in your play and an expert playing in your game will recognize it and hammer you, similar to playing in the real world.
Pick and choose your spots, and do a little reconnaissance yourself, examining the players around you. If you trust that you’re at a table with several ‘calling stations’, or people who will see everything, it might not be a good idea. If you’re playing against a lot of tight players who only bet if they have to, go for it!
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Top 10 Hands
In my personal experience, at least in the beginning, I’ll play Top 10 hands or hole cards. Statistically, these hole card pairings have the largest percentage chance of hitting a set, three of a kind on the flop, a straight, a flush, etc.
If I am playing at a table with a lot of loose early action, I’ll simply fold unless I get the following hands until the rookies have cannibalized themselves:
A-A (pair of aces, or American Airlines, pocket bullets, pocket bulls, etc.)
A-K (Big Slick, a bullet and a cowboy, etc.)
K-K (pair of kings, pocket kings, pocket cowboys, pair of cowboys, etc.)
Q-Q (pair of queens, pair of ladies, pocket queens, pair of ladies, etc.)
A-Q (ace and a queen, bullet and a lady, etc.)
J-J (pair of jacks, pair of jakes, pair of hooks, etc.)
10-10 (pair of 10s)
9-9 (pair of 9s)
8-8 (pair of 8s)
7-7 (pair of 7s)
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Suited connectors are basically two cards of the same suit in succession. They give you a good chance of hitting a flush (five cards of the same suit) or a straight (five cards in numerical order) when involving the community cards in Texas holdem. It’s especially pleasing when you get suited connectors AND they’re a Top 10 hand, such as a Big Slick of the same suit. Having the ace is beautiful, as this gives you the best card against anyone else’s potential flush.
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