If you’re new to the game of poker, you may feel a bit overwhelmed when playing against better players. While it’s true that skill and experience do give better players an edge, there are still plenty of ways for newbies to survive and even win against more experienced opponents. Here are some tips:
1. Study up
If you want to be able to compete against better players, you need to put in the work and study the game. Read books, watch videos, and learn as much as you can about strategy and poker theory. The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to make intelligent decisions at the table.
One good way to brush up on your poker lessons is by watching past poker tournament videos. Not only will you get to see how the pros play, but you’ll also be able to learn from their mistakes.
2. Play a few low-stakes games
If it’s not an upcoming poker session, you don’t have to take on the big boys immediately. Instead, take the time to practice by playing at a lower-stakes poker table, where the competition is more manageable. As you build your skills and confidence, you can slowly move up in stakes.
On the other hand, if you have a day or more before the big game, you might as well use it for practice either way. While you won’t have the luxury of time to learn, at least you’ll know what to expect when it’s finally time to play.
If you’re looking for a good online poker site to practice in, sign up at GGPoker, the world’s largest poker room, so you won’t have trouble finding online poker competition that matches your desired skill level.
3. Don’t be nerve-wracked
One of the reasons why better players tend to win more often is that they don’t get as nervous or anxious as their opponents. They’ve been in plenty of challenging situations before and know how to keep their cool under pressure.
As a new player, it’s only natural to feel nervous when playing against better players. But if you let those nerves get the best of you, it’ll only worsen matters. Take a few deep breaths, relax, and try to focus on the poker games at hand.
4. Keep your emotions in check
Poker is a game of skill, but it’s also a game of mental fortitude. To be successful, you need to be able to keep your emotions in check and not let them get the best of you.
If you make a mistake, don’t beat yourself up over it. Instead, learn from it and move on. And if you happen to win a big pot, don’t get too cocky or show off. The better players will quickly take you down a peg or two if you let your emotions affect you.
5. Play your own game
One of the biggest mistakes new players make is trying to copy the playing style of better players. But the thing is, each player has a unique playing style that works for them. Trying to mimic someone else’s style is a surefire way to lose.
Instead, focus on honing your playing style and sticking to it. If you’re a tight player, don’t try to be loose just because that’s how the other players play. And if you’re a risk-taker, don’t try to play it safe just because the other players are being cautious.
6. Know when to fold
It is probably the most critical advice for new players. It’s especially true when they’re up against someone beyond their league. Having a good hand doesn’t mean you should always stay in the pot. If the cards on the table don’t favor you, it’s usually best to cut your losses and fold.
Of course, this isn’t always easy to do. Folding can be tough when you’ve invested a lot of chips into the pot or hung up on winning. But to survive playing against better players, you need to know when to fold.
7. Know when to bluff
While you should know when to fold, you must also know when to bluff. A key part of poker can help you take down big pots, even when you’re not holding the best hand.
Of course, there’s a fine line between playing your cards close to your chest and being too obvious with your bluffs. If you’re new to the game, it’s usually best to err on the side of caution. But as you get more experience, you’ll be better at gauging when another player is bluffing and when they’re holding a good hand.
8. Pay attention to the other players
One of the best ways to keep up with better players is to pay attention to the others. See how they’re betting, what kind of poker hands they’re playing, and how they react to different situations.
Over time, you’ll get a feel for their playing styles and tells. And once you have a better understanding of how they play, you can start to adjust your strategy accordingly.
9. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
If you’re having trouble keeping up with the better players, don’t be afraid to ask for help from someone who knows the game better than you. This could be a friend, family member, or a professional poker coach.
The important thing is that you’re not afraid to admit when you need help. There’s no shame in admitting that you’re new to the game and need some guidance. The sooner you ask for help, the sooner you’ll be able to start playing at their level.
10. Just enjoy the game
Poker should be about having fun. So even if you’re not winning every hand or taking down big pots, try to enjoy the experience.
Sure, it’s frustrating to lose. But what’s the point of playing if you’re not enjoying yourself? So relax, have fun, and don’t take things too seriously. After all, it’s just a game.
Go toe-to-toe with the pros
Now that you know how to play poker against better players, it’s time to put your skills to the test. Get out there and start playing against some of the best players in the world. And with a little practice, you can become one of them. But for now, you’ll have to play against them, and we know you’ll do great.