Want to get started playing online poker? Not sure where to learn the skills you need? In this article, we’ll talk about the many great ways to learn to play online poker, including online courses, poker training sites, free and micro-stakes games, and more.
Step one: identify your current skill level
Knowing your current skill level is one of the most important factors in deciding where to start.
For example, if you’re a true beginner to the game of poker, the first thing you’ll need to do is get familiar with the basics. That means understanding how the game of poker is played, what the rules are, and how poker statistics work. From there, you can progress to learning how to use poker sites to play poker online.
Of course, poker pros will want more advanced learning resources: reviews of preflop ranges, the best opening hands to play in different scenarios, and analyses of detailed post-flop strategies.
Decide your current skill level and then take things from there. Fortunately, no matter what level you’re at, there are a host of online poker learning resources just for you.
Offline versus online poker
For any poker player, the key to success is learning to master some of the game’s fundamentals. And one of the easiest ways to learn the game is, simply, to play it – and not necessarily online.
Many of the world’s best online players began simply by sitting at a table, playing poker against friends using real cards. So don’t be afraid to start in this way if you’re a beginner.
That said, once you’ve understood the basics, there are some definite advantages to mastering your poker skills online, including:
- Faster games, meaning more games can be played in a given time
- The ability to play against AIs of different skill levels or against real players
- You don't need a ‘poker face’ to win
- You can play against players from around the world
- You can access specialised poker coaching sites for step-by-step guidance
- You can learn from the pros (many of whom have launched training courses)
Where to learn to play online poker
Many of the most well-known online poker sites include lots of helpful learning and educational resources to help you master the game. You can find everything from detailed rulebooks on how to play poker, to guides on the full set of hand rankings and complete A-Z lists of poker terminology.
Many online poker sites also offer comprehensive software-driven poker schools to help you master some of the basic elements of the game. With in-game guidance, pop-up tips and opponents of different levels, poker schools are a good way to improve your skills if you’re a beginner. But be warned: the style of gameplay you’ll see when playing against the computer may be very different to when you’re up against human opponents.
An additional benefit of learning to play poker on an online poker site is that you can learn to master a number of different poker types. Many sites offer training for PLO, Seven-Card Stud, Five-Card Stud or Lowball. Others are limited to just Hold ‘em and Omaha.
Today, there’s an online course for just about everything. Head over to some of the online course aggregators and check out their online poker course offerings. You’re bound to find more than one.
In general, these courses are delivered in video format, meaning that you will watch an instructor showing you how the game is played, taking you through sample hands and statistics. While you may not be able to get hands-on with gameplay, these courses can be very helpful when it comes to boosting your understanding of the inner workings of the game. Before you sign up, check out the reviews and what other students have said about the course.
Some online courses (such as MOOCs) are free, whereas others are paid. If you are serious about your future as an online poker player, think about investing some money in your success and choosing a paid course.
Online blogs, articles and forums
There are many online blogs, articles and forums available online to help you master the game. Written by everyone from unknown poker enthusiasts to some of the most well-known poker stars, these written resources discuss everything from different poker strategies to poker psychology, playing tips, famous games and more. Check them out.
Free games and micro-stakes
Once you’ve mastered most of the game’s basics, it’s time to start playing online for real. Get started with a free game or two, and when you feel you’re ready to start playing for real money, move up into the world of micro-stakes. Small bets will help you improve your game, without being worried about the financial risk.
Get ready for the big time
Finally, when you’re ready to start playing for real, get set up with a Skrill wallet, which will help you easily cash in and out of games, and let you simplify your money management. It’s a great tool to help you put all your learning into practice.