Casinos around the world had to close due to the pandemic, which led to more people playing casino games online. This led to record-breaking revenues for online casinos, especially in states where it’s legal, such as in New Jersey where earnings increased by 118% between April 2019 and April 2020. Meanwhile, Google searches for online poker reached a five-year peak, with the increase beginning in March 2020. This surge in searches shows that aside from regular and pro players shifting to the online scene, many amateurs also started showing an interest in playing poker. And with the faster speeds of 5G technology, this has made playing poker much more accessible while on the move.
If you’re one of those interested in entering the poker world, you might be looking for ways to learn and practice poker. One option is to find a poker coach. However, low-stakes coaches can set you back around $50 an hour. Mid-stakes coaches can go up to $200 an hour, and a lesson from a pro poker player can cost at least $500 an hour. Fortunately, there are cheaper ways for you to learn poker on your own. Below are a few of them:
Read poker books
Poker is a game of strategy, character, and intuition, and there are a lot of things to familiarize yourself with in order to be a good player — from terms like pot odds and implied odds to strategies like positional advantages. Thankfully, there are many poker books available that cover every aspect of the game. For instance, Alton Hardin’s Essential Poker Math provides a comprehensive guide on how to use math to pull off strategy principles for hand reading, pot odds, and computing outs on the spot. Meanwhile, Sam Baneham’s Zen And The Art Of Poker is a psychological self-help book that helps players regulate their emotions during a game.
Watch poker videos
Online videos are another great resource, especially since you’re given visuals to better understand key concepts compared to simply reading about them. You can look to YouTube channels like The Poker Bank, which has tutorial videos for both beginners and advanced players. Beginner videos introduce concepts like the definition of terms and basic poker math, while more advanced videos discuss range construction, bet sizing, and such. Meanwhile, sites like Run It Once offer two tiers of membership (low stakes and high stakes), each with its own huge and constantly expanding library of poker videos.
Play practice poker games
The best way to become a good online poker player is to apply what you’ve learned. For those just starting out, practice poker games that don’t require any real money, as they are a great way to get to grips with the rules. As there is no risk, you can easily apply the tips you’ve learned on how to win at poker to determine your own personal style of play that suits you best. For instance, if you’re playing Texas Hold’em, you’ll know you should limit your range and be patient even if it means you’ll need to keep folding. You can look to poker sites like Ignition and apps like Zynga Poker, as they offer practice games.
Interact with the community
Connecting with other players, and befriending them, will help you improve your game since you can ask questions and seek feedback — which you can’t do with books or videos. You can improve alongside players of the same skill level and learn from more experienced players. A poker forum you can check is Two Plus Two. This has subsections on a variety of topics, from poker gossip to news and strategy. Aside from talking strategy and how to improve, having a circle of poker-playing friends means you also have people to lean on for a confidence boost after a bad session.