How to get started in online poker

This article was posted on December 7, 2007

Being a beginner is never easy, regardless of what activity we're talking about. Being an online poker rookie is all the more difficult, because this game is very deceiving. Most beginners bust out 2-3 times before they actually realize they've been going about the whole matter the wrong way. Therefore, read this article, and make sure you avoid most pitfalls other beginners steer right into. It will not only shorten the road you have to cover to be a more or less successful player, it'll also make the game much more enjoyable for you.

Here are a few pointers:
Despite its apparent simplicity, online poker is a very intricate game. When you learn the rules and play a few hands, you don't even know a hundredth part of what a successful poker player knows. Poker in general rewards small edges put to work over a long period of time. These small edges are readily available even before one settles down to play, one just has to be informed and know how to acquire them.

One such edge, which is a very tiny one on each hand, but becomes a huge money-generator over a month's time, is rakeback. Playing while signed up to a rakeback deal means that you limit the negative effects of the rake on every hand that you play, thus creating a positive edge for yourself when compared to players who know not of such antics. Signing up for a rakeback deal is very straightforward (just check out our rakeback deals section and follow the directions there) and it is one of the surest ways to start your career on the right foot.

Most online poker rooms offer first deposit bonuses too, and some of them don't even deduct rakeback from these bonuses. About sign-up bonuses you need to know that they offer the same types of advantages rakeback does, only they offer them for a limited amount of time, while rakeback makes the edge a permanent one. There are several factors that define the overall quality of a sign-up bonus, and you'll have to read around (in our other articles) to learn all of them. You need to be able to correctly assess a bonus, and you'll have to sign up to several poker rooms which offer good bonuses and rakeback.

Your first deposit needs to be gauged correctly. You want to play properly bankrolled all the time, which means that you need to have the equivalent of about 300 BBs(for Limit HE) or 20 Buy-ins(For NLHE) in your bankroll. You need that bankroll so it can swallow the fluctuation, which will inevitably hit you while playing. If you're stingy with your deposit, not only will you receive less money as bonus, you'll also expose yourself to the risks of playing under-bankrolled.

The implications of playing on a less-than sufficient bankroll are much further reaching, so you'd better do all you can to avoid that situation.
Some poker rooms offer free bankrolls too. In case you're not keen on putting any of your own money into harm's way, I suppose you could sign up for one of them and start real money play like so, but these bankrolls will never be large enough to accommodate healthy poker play. On top of that, I don't yet know of a poker room which offers rakeback on free bankrolls. While it may seem nice to get a head start on the room's money, you need to consider what your goal really is in online poker and gauge your bankroll accordingly.

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