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How to get started for new poker players

Last updated on April 6, 2019

Getting started as a new poker player can seem daunting. You will be up against a lot of players who have been playing poker for years and you need to be ready or they will eat you up for breakfast. Here are five steps towards making sure your first game isn’t a total disaster.

Step One – Know your Limits

Knowing your limits is very important because you could lose a lot of money very quickly if you play at the wrong limit. Ensure you start off with the small stakes and work your way up. This will also stop you from losing interest in the game if you lose a few games.

Step Two – Know your Poker Strategy

Any poker player of any level needs to know a little bit of strategy in order to be successful. Learn some basic strategy tips through us and you will go into your first few games knowing the signs of when to cash in and when to back out.

Step Three – Learn how to read cards

Learning how to read cards will put you in a much stronger position than other beginners at the same level. Reading cards is being able to quickly work out the percentages of a game and how likely you are to win a hand. This will help you win more cash and lose less.

Step Four – Learn your Poker Room

It’s a good idea to spend a little bit of time learning the ins and outs of the poker room you are using. If you don’t know what the options are, how the lobby works or what the graphics are like then you will feel very confused when you first sign up and play.

Step Five – Talk to Others

Don’t be afraid to approach other players and get some tips based on their experience. Most good poker rooms will now have an option which allows you to talk to other players in the middle of a game or even contact them away from the tables. This will help you in the long run.

Poker for Beginners: Using an Online Table

This part is going to cover what you will come across on a basic online poker table when you first start playing.

Design of an Online Poker Table

The design of an online poker table is very neat and simple. Most tables will be designed with the graphics at the top of the screen and your various options runni9ng along the base of the screen. Most poker rooms will show you the table surrounded by the maximum number of players at the table.

Normally you will see a name and the amount of cash that a player has. Occasionally you will get poker rooms which allow users to upload their own pictures or create their own avatar to play with for all of the time they are registered with that service. The design of an online poker table is kept minimalistic to ensure that graphics and game speed are kept high.

Example of a standard poker table with players, controls at the bottom and chat box on the left

User Controls on an Online Poker Table

There will be many user controls on an online poker table which allow you to control what you are doing while you play a game. There will be table controls which includes things such as your betting options, ability to fold etc. There will also be main options such as a link back to your account or the main lobby of a poker room.

For now you just need to focus on the table controls which most rooms will give you help with. Your table controls will display your options every time it is your turn to bet. Most rooms will give you betting options such as minimum bet, a quarter of the pot, half of the pot, three quarters of the pot or the whole pot. The option to call and fold will also be here.

Example of the poker betting controls you are likely to encounter

Extra Features of an Online Poker Table

Most poker rooms will include extra features on their poker tables which don’t have any impact on the game play. An online chat facility is a good example. This allows you to chat with the other players on your table, you can get to know them and also discuss tactics. This is a great way to get to know the players you are going to be competing against regularly.

Make the most of your Poker Welcome Bonus

Understand your Poker Bonus

This is arguably the most important point. You need to be able to understand your poker bonus in order to get the most from it. Your poker bonus will often be released in segments by your poker room which can mean you have to pay more to get it than the original deposit it’s based on.

Split up your Bonus

Split up your bonus so you can use it across a variety of different games. Even if you have a small poker bonus, you don’t have to just use it all in one go. Many poker rooms offer low stakes games which allow you to break down the bonus cash and spread it around.

Use the Bonus Wisely

Use the bonus to maybe play a couple of games you don’t normally get the chance to play. Alternatively you could save it up to buy into a tournament you wouldn’t normally be able to afford. This will effectively make your bonus a treat for your hard work and graft playing daily poker games.


Accumulate your Winnings

Any winnings you make through using your bonus, save them up and that will effectively become an extra bonus once you have used all of your poker bonus cash up. This can lead to a tidy amount once you have spent your entire initial welcome bonus.

No Deposit Bonuses

Consider a no deposit poker bonus even though it’s for a much smaller amount. You don’t need to deposit any money to get this bonus and you can use the same steps above to make the most of it, regardless of the fact that it’s a much smaller bonus.

How to Setup your Poker Account


So you’ve waded through the various offers on offer and you’ve found a poker room and  bonus which is right for you. Now it’s time to get your account setup so you can start taking on poker players from all over the world.

Step One – Register

The first thing you need to do is register your details which you can via the poker service website or once you’ve downloaded the software. Registration is always straight forward. All you need is basic personal information such as address, post code, date of birth and you will need to set yourself a username and password.

Step Two – Poker Deposit Method

You will need to register a deposit method after you have registered or as part of the registration. You do this by simply adding a debit or credit card to your account or using one of the other options available to add and withdraw money as you play. Bear in mind some poker rooms have different charges for using certain methods.

Step Three – Understand your Bonus

You need to understand your bonus because most rooms will ask you to earn points towards releasing chunks of your bonus. To do this you may need to play a lot more than you first thought you would need to which costs money. Make sure you understand this so you don’t feel blindsided by having to put in extra funds.

Step Four – Know your Poker Service

Different poker services have different interfaces and different promotions. One poker room may have a smaller welcome bonus but it could have a better variety of promotions available. Spend time reading up on how easy the interface, software and website is to use before you start playing poker.

Step Five – Start Playing Poker

Now you can jump straight in and start playing some poker. Check out all of the options available via the main interface and make sure you don’t automatically start playing high stakes games. This is where the pros play and if you’re inexperienced, they will tear you apart.

Managing your Money in Poker

Money management in poker is something that I have already covered since I started this website. However, as we’re moving onto the letter m today, it seems as good a time as any to refresh your minds on this subject. You need to manage your money sensible and seriously if you want to play poker for a job and earn a living for yourself and your family.

Set Yourself Limits in Poker

One of the basic things you can do to control your money is to impose limits on yourself. Most online poker rooms and providers will have a function within the user controls which limits the amount of cash you can deposit each day, week or month. It’s a good idea to set yourself a limit because you will know that you are playing within your boundaries.

If your poker room doesn’t have this option then you are going to have to be a lot stricter with yourself and the way you play poker. Work out an amount of money you are going to play with and divide it up between each day. Stick to that limit and anything you win can go into a bonus pool which you can review at the end of the week or month.


Basic Poker Money Tips

One of the most basic poker money tips that I can’t stress enough is to not try and immediately make back a loss. Losses are never easy or nice to deal with but in the heat of the moment you will end up spending a lot more than you can afford. Never try and make back losses for a day by gambling even more because your weekly budget can soon go out of the window.

Another very basic but essential tip is to never miss out a level when it comes to stakes. If you lose a couple of times at a certain level then moving up will not solve the problem and you are only going to lose even more. Only ever move up levels when you are confident that your poker game is good enough and when you are starting to win regularly at a set limit.

Ultimately we all want to play poker and have fun while we’re playing. Be sensible with your cash and work out a way to get the most poker for your budget. There are dozens of tournaments which require small buy-in fees that can be played for a number of hours and there are many sit and go games you can enter for a small price, you can play tens and tens of these in a day.

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