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Poker strategy For Rookies 

If you have an inclination towards poker and know how to play poker, you have landed on the right page. We have got some tips and strategies that will help you get the better of your opponents. Try to understand these valuable tips and implement them in your game. See you at the poker table and hopefully, you use the following poker tips and tricks.

Call, Bet, or Raise

If you place your bets wisely, you can get a distinct edge over your opponents. When you ask any experienced poker player, they will tell you to call, raise, and bet effectively and use it as a strategy to win poker games consistently.

When to Call?

If you want to assess the pot odds in a particular game, call. Some players also call to prevent other players from re-raising their bets.

Once you have a strong hand, you must call, as the other players might increase the bets in the pot and you may win the entire pot. Calling can also be used to bluff; this is done by players to make their opponents believe that they have a strong hand.

When to Bet?

There are various reasons to bet in poker. Some of them are:

  • Get more chips in the pot
  • Drive out competition
  • Information
  • Bluff
  • Free card

When to Raise?

Raising and re-raising tactics are essential to building an effective poker strategy. As an online poker player, you should always know about raising from the small blind, raising from the big blind, and raising when there are many people already in the pot. Once you when to raise, you will start winning online poker games consistently.

Bad Beats in Poker

A bad beat is when a poker player has a good hand that is most probable to win but loses to another hand. An example of a bad beat would be pocket Kings beating pocket Aces with a third king on the river.

Bad beats are a normal part of poker and happen to even the best of players. The important thing is that you must not get shaken up by bad beats. If you are upset after a bad beat, walk away from the table for a hand. In case you continue and are not able to concentrate, go to post and fold or quit; return to the game later. 

Mix up your Play in Poker

Don’t be predictable in the game of online poker; this will help your opponents anticipate your moves and get better of you. Try to bluff or mislead your opponents by changing your playing style. Pull out a random trick to confuse your opponents. Especially when you play cash games, it is best that you mix up the way you play. Diversifying your game against good players will give you the best possible chance of winning. 

Use the following tactics to mix up your game occasionally:

  • Raise preflop with suited connectors.
  • Try varying the betting amount.
  • Re-raise with a hand from a late position where normally you would have called.
  • Call with a hand where you would have raised otherwise.
  • Make a bluff or a semi-bluff.
  • Bet drawing hands such as 4 cards to a straight or flush.
  • When you pick up a big hand on the button, don’t raise immediately.

Dealing with Tilt

Tilt is an emotional effect caused due to stress where you play compulsively rather than making rational moves. When you make decisions purely based on emotions, your chances of winning reduce significantly. You will lose money because of tilt; the following are ways in which you can stop tilt in online poker games:

Play earlier in the day

Play for less hours

No compulsive play

Keep your emotions in check

Set Limits

Slow Play in Poker

Slow playing which is also known as sandbagging or trapping is a poker technique in which you check or call with a very strong hand. A poker player does this in anticipation of his opponents raising. This technique comes in handy to disguise the strength of your hand and increase the pot size. To execute sandbagging successfully, you need to take into account your position at the table and your opponents’ skills.

There are risks involved in slow playing, you will learn how to slow play with time. The more you use this technique, the more you will be able to mitigate the risks involved.

All-in Poker Tactics

All-in, as the name suggests, means betting all your chips. Newbies often make the mistake of going all-in frequently and at the wrong times. Following are some of the reasons to go all-in:

  • When you have the best hand and are sure that you will beat your opponents.
  • If you think you can convince your opponents that you have the best hand, irrespective of what you hold.
  • When you are in a tournament mode and are one of the small stacks.

The all-in is used to scare the opponents so that they fold their hands. If you have a tight player image, then this tactic becomes doubly effective.

Now that you know how to play poker and which poker tips and tricks to use, start playing your favourite online poker games on India’s most loved online gaming platform, First Games.

Poker Starting Hands

The hand that you are dealt at the beginning of any poker game is your starting hand. In some poker variations, you are dealt two cards, and in some more. Let us look at the situation when you are dealt two cards initially. You will want to play your starting hand by looking at the number of opponents at your table, betting rate, stakes and your position. Here are some of the best hands that you can play as starting hands:

Category 1: AA, KK, QQ, JJ, AKs

Category 2: AQs, 10-10, AK

Category 3- AJs, KQs,  AQ, 99

  • Now, if you are in an early position, you will have to place a bet first. So, you should only play and bet if your hands are like those in Category 1. These are premium hands and are the best ones to play in your position. If you don’t have these hands, it is better to fold them.
  • If you are in a middle position, you can play both Category 1 and Category 2 hands as you can take a slight amount of risk. This is because you will see what the early positions are doing, and if they are folding means you can even play Category 2 hands without worrying. 
  • If you are in the late positions, you have the best advantage as the other players will have all either called, raised or folded. You can then assess what kinds of hands they have and then play any of the three categories. If you see that the early position players are rising, that means they have a strong hand or else they would have just called or folded. So, in this last position, you have the best chance of playing your early hands with a proper strategy. 

Understanding The Positions

In poker games, where you are seated at the table makes a lot of difference. This is called your position and can help you win or lose the game. Let us look at what the various positions are but first, let us see the terminology behind the position.

Player with position

  • When we talk about a player with position, it means that the player has to place his bets after the previous player and thus has an advantage over him/her.
  • If a player has to start the betting round, then he is said to be “Out of position”.

Different positions

There are three categories of positions at a poker table which are:

  • Early positions: These players sit to the left of the dealer and have the biggest disadvantage. This is because they have to start betting and generally only play if they have good hands or else they fold. The small blind position starts the betting with ⅓ amount of the big blind. The big blind position then has to pay the big blind amount that was decided at the beginning of the game. The next player is the under-the-gun, who can watch the moves of these two players and then play his hand. 
  • The middle positions- In the middle positions, the players have a slight advantage over the early positions. They can watch their moves and decide whether to call, raise or fold accordingly.
  • The late positions- These players have the most advantages as they can make strategic and skilled decisions after looking at what their opponents have done. The hijack position is just after the last middle position. The cutoff player is just at the right of the dealer and has the most advantage before the fold. After the fold, the dealer can also place bets and thus makes the last call in the betting round. 

These positions are all relative, though, because if the earlier players do not have strong hands, they could fold. Then the middle and late positions will have to play their hands. But the late position can also bluff and steal the blinds as they are the last to play their hands.

Poker Tells

Poker tells are important when playing an offline and online game as it helps you assess your opponent. If your opponent changes their behaviour or their actions, then this is called a tell and can very easily indicate what kind of hand they have. Here are the common poker tells for both online and offline poker.

Offline poker tells

In live poker tells, you can look at and see your opponents and watch them when they are making a bet or call. This will be the best way for you to figure out what kind of hand they have without them knowing. Here are three common poker tells in live poker:

  1. Relaxed player: If your opponent is relaxed and laid back and is hardly attentive to the betting rounds, they possibly have a very strong hand. They are secure in what they have and are waiting for you to keep betting and raising so that they can take home the prize money. If you observe this tell, you should fold immediately.
  2. Combative fully in- In this tell, your player will go all in, but you must watch how they do it. If they are aggressive about it and not very convincing, then they are bluffing. They are trying to get you to fold and probably have a moderate or low hand. You must keep playing if you see this tell.
  3. Count chips- If your opponent asks the dealer to count all your chips, they are trying to get you to fold. They are just trying to intimidate you, and you must keep playing in such situations.

Online poker tells

Although you cannot see your opponents in an online poker game, you can still observe their behaviour and actions and act accordingly. Here are some classic online poker tells that you can use in your next poker game on your First Games App:

  1. Instant raise- This is indicative of a very strong hand, and you should fold.
  2. A long pause and then a raise- This is also a guarantee of a strong hand, and again you should fold.
  3. Instant check- Your opponent has a weak hand and you can continue playing. 
  4. Call the same bet- Your opponent has a moderate or weak hand, and you must stay in the game.
  5. Small bets- Your opponent has a very weak hand, and that means you have a high chance of winning.
  6. All-in- This could either indicate a very good hand or a major bluff. It is up to you to observe the player’s past actions and then decide whether to keep playing or to fold.


  • What is the most important skill in poker?
    The most important skill in poker is the ability to predict your opponent’s hand. If you memorise and pay attention to how many cards they discard and pick up and in which round, you will guess their hand. You can also assess if they have a good hand by seeing how much they raise or reraise in a betting round. By guessing your opponent’s hand, you can make a more strategic decision when playing your own hand.
  • Is there any strategy in poker?
    Yes, poker is multi-faceted and depends on skills and strategy and a bit of luck as well. A poker player has to look at several factors like his/her position, pot sizes, bets, opponent’s way of playing and stakes. Accordingly, the player will then have to make a move to proceed in the game.
  • What is the best position in poker?
    The best position in poker is the right to the dealer or the cutoff position. Here the player makes the last call in the betting rounds and has a chance to assess his or her opponent’s hands and then make an informed decision. For instance, if the cutoff finds that everyone is raising and he doesn’t have a strong hand, then he will fold.
  • What poker hands should you fold?
    Some poker hands that you should not hesitate to fold are:
    7-2 Offsuit
    8-2 Offsuit
    8-3 Offsuit
    6-2 Offsuit
    3-2 Offsuit
  • What are the best starting hands in poker?
    Here are some of the best starting hands in poker, ranked in order:


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