According to the World Poker Tour (WPT), more than 100 million people globally enjoy poker games. Along with the pure, consistent popularity of the game itself, the dream of winning money has also attracted many to the idea of giving online poker a try in particular. Of course, making money in poker is no sure thing, and that’s always important to remember. But with so many people trying different business ventures and “side gigs” online today, pursuing poker at a pro level is something many have considered trying.
If you’ve thought about giving it a shot, here are five tips that will help you toward becoming an online poker pro.
1. Read books
In poker, there is always something new you can learn that will help you become a better player. And since there are many different types of poker games, there will also be many sets of new rules to learn. One way to do this is to read a strategy book of the poker game you are leaning. You may learn tactics regarding what to do in certain betting scenarios, how to handle specific cards you’re dealt, or even when it makes most sense to bluff. Whatever specific aspect of the game you’d like to work on though, you can bet there’s a poker book for it.
2. Learn the math
While playing poker for fun is simple enough, poker experts know that this game is ultimately more complex. Behind much of the competition and strategy is, essentially, math. As one guide to becoming a professional poker player explains, part of learning the game today involves an analytical approach. This approach can range from learning some basic odds calculations to incorporating game theory –– and some players lean on math more than others. But if you want to play at a high level, you’ll certainly want to explore this aspect of the game.
3. Watch poker
Watching poker is always exciting, and is an easy way to get what amount to free lessons. By watching experienced people play, you can observe their strategies and even try to anticipate their next moves. And for the most part, it’s pretty easy these days to find the kinds of pros you can really learn from as you watch. Per one poker media report, World Series of Poker events (which go beyond the main tournament) got a new TV deal just last fall. And even if you don’t watch new, live events, there’s something to be said for going online and finding clips of old tournaments and showdowns between top players. These, too, can be very instructional.
4. Play multiple tables
Besides learning and watching, the next best thing is to put your knowledge to use and play poker! But it’s important to do it the right way. Pro poker players play different styles, different events, and often several games at once — all for the same reason people diversify stock holdings in investment. The more pots you’re in, the less chance you have of taking a severe loss in any one game (or investment). So whatever budget you have set aside for your online poker, consider spreading it out across different types of games, and giving yourself that many more chances to win tables and tournaments.
5. Take a class
Once you’ve read, studied, watched, and played poker, the next thing you can do to reach a higher level is to take a class with a true expert. You may be able to do this in person, depending on whether or not you’ve made connections through the game. You can also sometimes find valuable instruction through free video tutorials from the pros online. Or you can look into the pricey but worthwhile Masterclass program, which amounts to a sort of video lecture circuit featuring experts in their fields. Daniel Negreanu, a busy ambassador for the game, and Phil Ivey, perhaps the best player of all time, have so far contributed courses to the program. Needless to say, they can teach you a great deal about how to advance your poker play!
Playing poker is a fun activity many people enjoy, but becoming a pro requires a new level of thinking. By following the tips in this article, you will be five steps closer to joining the ranks of the online pros. Who knows? You might end up being one of the legends!