During the pandemic, every activity that allowed people to entertain themselves from the safety of their homes increased in popularity. As a result, sales of board games exploded, and people started spending a lot more time watching Netflix and downloading mobile games.
Poker was no exception. Soon people discovered how fun this game could be, and the variety of apps available to play it. However, inexperienced players may have found themselves losing a bit of money, or feeling like the game wasn’t treating them fairly. So, if you are considering online poker as a new hobby, there are a couple of things you should know.
Train Before You Spend Any Money
The basic rules of poker are not that complicated. You receive a couple of cards, make a bet based on your chances to have the best hand, and adjust your bets as more common cards are revealed. But winning at poker requires developing a strategy. There are plenty of apps that allow you to practice poker without spending a cent, like Zynga Poker and WSOP. They are excellent tools to test your skills and learn from your mistakes.
Learn the Underlying Odds and Math
In poker, the objective is to come up with the best set of cards possible. It’s not enough then to understand that a three of a kind beats a pair. Players need to familiarize themselves with the underlying odds and math of poker, like what are the probabilities of obtaining the highest possible hand, a Royal Flush (which is 0.00015%). Now memorizing the odds of every hand may seem like a daunting task, but it’s gets easier with practice, to the point that professional players can do it almost intuitively.
Make Sure You are Not Playing Against Professionals
In almost every type of competition, fans dream of becoming so good that they can challenge the big ones. This may be great if we are talking about chess or football, but not in the case of poker. If we find ourselves playing against people more experienced than us, we are going to lose a lot of money. This is why it’s so important to assess the skill level of the players at the table. Another important tip is to play games that offer sit-and-go game modes, where the player can start playing at another table as soon as they fold.
Poker is Not a Financial Venture
The need to stay at home allowed a lot of people to discover different ways to make money from their computers. Sadly, this led some players to confuse playing poker with a side gig. Let’s make this clear, poker is not a job or a strategic investment. Sure, professional poker players can make a profit in the long term. But they dedicate almost every minute of their lives to improving their skill set, and can easily lose tens of thousands of dollars without this affecting their finances in a significant manner.
This may sound a bit obvious but poker is a game that demands a lot of study and practice. Don’t get us wrong, it can be a rewarding experience, but a couple of bad game sessions can make the most optimistic of players a bit bitter. Instead of calculating how much we need to make in order to recover our losses, this is a good moment to take a break and maybe go back to playing with friends or launching an app that doesn’t require money to play. In other words, it’s a great chance to discover whether we indeed like playing poker, whether we are betting money or not.
Poker can become an extremely rewarding hobby. It challenges and develops your cognitive skills, and every so often will provide substantial financial rewards. But in order to truly enjoy playing this game, we need to practice, learn the respective probabilities, and make sure we only spend money we are ready to lose.