When starting your Online Poker career you only want to keep one concept in mind: Gain the most experience for the least amount of money. I literally stepped right into the online game without any more experience than the weekly Friday night poker games with my friends. I have come a long way, but I had to start at the bottom and work my way up.
When starting there are a few key points you have to take into consideration. Most importantly, you have to remember at this point in your career you are playing for fun and to gain experience. You cannot expect to win a lot of money, even if you are familiar with how the game is played. For this reason, you want to start out playing the lowest limit game you can find.
The second important point you need to understand is that Free Games Do Not Count. By perfecting your poker game at a free table, you can actually hurt your money game later. Everyone who plays for free plays very loose. Why not? When you loose the 1000 play chips you can get 1000 more with the click of a button. You never come out behind at the end of the night so there is no reason to improve. The game you get at a 5 cent table is 100 times more realistic and challenging than any free game I have every seen.
Let’s say you are determined you are not going to play loose so you think free games will work for you. Let’s also say you build your fake bankroll up to 100,000 chips. You still do not have any idea how the real money tables play because 99% of the people you played against to get all these chips played horribly.
Playing the lowest limit tournament you can find is a great way to build your poker skills. There are sites out there which offer amazingly low limits. The Prima Poker sites currently offer four $1 No-Rake tournaments every day. No-Rake means the site makes no money from the tourney; everything goes into the prize pool. I played the 9:30 PM tournament every day for almost a year and there is no better way to gain valuable poker experience with a small bankroll.
These sites also offer 5 cent limit and no-limit competitive games. It can be a lot of fun to sit down at one of these tables with $5 and see if you can double it. There is not much risk involved, but remember, you are gambling $5. That is 5 tournaments worth of experience at the $1 tourney mentioned above. You should play these tables very conservatively until you feel like you can consistently win.
Here is my advice. Sign up on one of the Prima Poker sites and take advantage of the bonuses available. You will only need about $50 to play on one of these sites for months, even if you lose. Play the $1 tournaments every chance you get. If you play tight you will place in the money a couple days a week, but the important thing is you get to play 4 to 5 hours of poker for $1 in a competitive environment.
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