PokerStars ambassadors share their advice to newbies to poker…
By Karen Kwan
Self-improvement goals often include going to the gym more often so you can get into shape, getting into shape maybe strengthening your public speaking skills to boost your career. But how about learning how to play poker as a way to gain confidence and better your social skills? You can gain many life skills by playing this game of strategy that’ll benefit you beyond the poker table.
If you’re brand new to the game, don’t be intimidated. AmongMen checked in with some of the PokerStars ambassadors while at the European Poker Tour in Prague for their top tips for beginners to the card game.
Just Keep Playing
“Get those reps in,” says Parker Talbot. “At the beginning, when you are really just kind of clueless, it’s just about getting those reps in. Like most things that are very dynamic but somewhat still repetitive–you’re playing the same structure although every single tournament is different,” he says.
Remember That It’s a Game
“The first advice I would give is that you should play this game as a game. “It’s maybe the most complete and beautiful strategy game in the world,” says Julien Brécard.
Always Question How You’re Playing
Control the things you can control, says Ben Spragg. “Don’t concern yourself with bad luck. The more energy you give to an unlucky run of cards–you can affect it anyways–the less energy you’re going to have to assign to ‘Did I make the right play? What would have given me a better chance to win? Or what would have made me more chips in any given part?’” he says. “A lot of people don’t have honest introspection when they lose,” he adds. Spragg says many people will think of what hands they lost with rather than asking themselves whether they played the next six hands well enough.
Study and Refine
Talbot says investing time into refining your game play will help. “Spend some of your playing time with some tools–a coach, training videos, or something along those lines.” He says this is key on top of playing poker often.
Be Disciplined When Learning the Game
Start with studying the basic rules and just playing and figuring out if you want to go further in terms of the different levels of playing, says Ramón Collilas. But first and foremost, you have to be disciplined when it comes to learning how to play poker. “It’s not going to be fruitful if you’re not constant,” he says.
Benny Bruneteaux agrees that you have to put in the work. “If you like the game, after you’ve played two or three nights, for example, you need to work on it if you want to improve your skills,” he says. Bruneteaux says it’s about 80 percent work, and 20 percent game. He says the pros wake up and dive into three or four hours of review of the plays from the day before.
Watch Those Stakes
“There is money involved, although it’s not the only part of the game, but be careful with the stakes you play,” says Brécard. “Always be able to lose the money you are going to play.”