The Ultimate Poker Guide: Preparing To Play
Welcome, fellow poker players, to the comprehensive guide for online poker. Although this guide will cover tournaments in a step by step fashion, cash (or ring) games can be played using exactly the same strategy – only the blinds never increase.
Our journey begins way before we take a seat at a poker table. Before we even think about parting with our hard earned cash we need to make sure we’re in the right mental and emotional state to play (I know it sounds cheesy, but it’s true). Playing poker when you’re no 100% fit and well, and when you have other agendas on your mind is dangerous for your bankroll (money from poker winnings – don’t worry if you don’t have a bankroll yet). Let’s go over some examples of what constitutes not being fit and well.
- Illness – This covers a massive array of symptoms and there are too many individual illnesses to discuss, if you feel bad just rest yourself – your body needs it!
- Tiredness – lack of sleep leads to irrational decisions, and when money’s on the table you can’t afford to make mistakes. Turn the laptop off and go to bed if you’re tired! Simples.
- Drug intoxication (for the vast majority of people alcohol is the lead culprit) – We’ve all woken up in the morning disoriented, with a headache and short term amnesia. Whether having a few drinks is right or not is another discussion all together, but booze + poker = epic sadness!
- Stress – when you’re stressed all your priorities change, you can lose all sense of reason and bet huge amounts of money without a care in the world. Everyone deals with stress differently, but everyone’s mental state changes with stress – so grab those stress balls, go for a workout or have a bubble bath! Just don’t play poker until you feel tranquil!
- Hunger – If diamonds are a girl’s best friend and dogs are a man’s, food is a poker player’s! Food gives you energy, and towards the end of a 4 hour+ poker tournament you’ll need all the energy you can get! I don’t want to get comments blaming me for making readers obese, so make sure you still have a balanced diet too!
- Dehydration – No water = death, lots of water = health… enough said? Always keep a bottle / glass of water with you, if you’re playing long tournaments caffeinated drinks will start to dehydrate you (or at least not hydrate you as much as water).
This list is by no means exhaustive, you need to use your own judgement on what affects you – and have the self discipline to wait until you’re feeling 100% before you play.
Choosing the right poker site for you is essential. There are loads of reasons why you would pick one site over another, but before we discuss that let’s rule out a conspiracy theory that’s been getting a lot of attention recently. Firstly, online poker sites are governed and checked for their RNG (Random Number Generation) so each card that comes down has the same odds of falling as a real bricks and mortar casino. If you think you’re seeing, or have heard someone talking about there being too many ‘big hands’ (4 of a kind, royal flush etc) that’s purely because in online poker you get through a massive amount of hands compared to live poker.
Here are the important factors to consider before you choose a poker site.
- Brand trust – If the site you’re interested in is a global, well established brand then you can be pretty confident it’ll be a good choice. Global brands don’t become global brands by accident, with massive expansion come massive responsibility – and these poker site giants live up to their expectations. If you’re going for a slightly smaller site, or an up-and-coming site you’ll need to look at player feedback – check a few forums or poker strategy sites out to get a feel.