Fergals Top Tips for Beginners
I've put together this handy tip-book aimed at any new players who are starting out in the game. If you have any questions or queries don't hesitate to ask!
1. Don't open limp! Just don't do it - Limping is passive and passive is bad. If you see someone open limping you can be pretty confident they are a losing player, don't be one of them!!
2. Tag your opponents - Most sites offer some form of tagging/colour coding system. Create a system and use it to make people effectively. Some common tags I find useful are "Suspected fun player", "Confirmed fun player", "Confirmed VERY fun player", "Nit", "Overly Aggressive"....you get the point. Create your own system and use it, especially in hands where you get to see your opponents cards.
3. Bet for thin value - One of the largest mistakes I see people make at the micros is not betting for value anywhere close to thinly enough and being way too showdown orientated. The river is where the pot is the largest, so your value bets are worth the most. You must be willing to bet rivers without the nuts. Remember, people hate to fold
4. Small hand, small pot, big hand, big pot - Know how much your hand is worth and create a plan for how you want to progress with the hand. Do you want to get three streets of value? Do you want to check raise and play for stacks? Ask yourself these types of questions at every flop and make a plan for how you want to play the hand.
5. Slowplaying will often just cost you value - There are some cases where slowplaying is going to be better, but in general when you flop a big hand you should be looking to shovel as much money into the pot as possible. This links in with point 3 about people not liking to fold!
6. Trust your instincts with folds - When I started out I would find myself in spots where I called down "Just in case" I'm ahead when really I knew I was going to be beat very often. Trust yourself and fold hands accordingly where villain is showing immense strength.
7. Understand variance - If you play poker you are going to lose some stacks in hands where you get unlucky. A lot of them. This is just the nature of the game, remember though that you will also win a lot of stacks! If an opponent makes a bad play and gets lucky, don't get angry but be happy that you made the correct play. This is what will make you a winning player and you opponent a losing player in the long run.
8. Review your sessions as much as possible - Go through your hands, look at your big winning hands and your big losing hands and think about alternative lines you could have take where you could have won more/lost less in certain spots. Always ask the question - If the cards were reversed would I have done anything differently to my opponent that would have been better? It is always useful to think about hands from every perspective.
9. Understand the power of position - If you use any tracking software and look at your results you should notice that you are losing money from the blinds, and winning money from all other positions. The closer you are to the button, the more profitable you should be as you will have position post flop more. This means you are able to play far more hands from later positions that early positions. This is a crucial concept to grasp and you must take it into account when you are deciding what hands you are looking to play.
10. Find a site with a good rakeback structure and soft pools - The 6th best player in the world is still going to be a losing player if they are playing at a table with the top 5 players. The standard of play at different sites can vary dramatically, as well as the amount of money you get from the site for playing in the form of rakeback. Keep this in mind when deciding what site you are looking to play on for your main games.
11. Never be afraid to ask for help. Everybody started out at the same level so even advanced players will know how daunting the game can be at first and there are a huge amount of resources out there where people are happy to help new players improve. Take advantage of this!
Hope this has helped!