Online poker strategy guides

Online Poker Strategy and Tips

Whatever your poker variant of choice, Omaha, Texas Hold 'Em or Draw, it pays (often literally!) to familiarize yourself with tips and strategy relating to the game. On this page we'll be covering some basic advice that's ideal for beginners, but may contain some hidden gems for established players too, because it applies to all varieties of poker.

We'll be looking at things like:

  • The best poker hands, as well as how to bluff when you don't have them
  • Top tips for players who are new to the game, and where to enjoy it
  • Different ways to approach online poker, depending on what you want to get out of it

Basic player strategies in a nutshell

There are a few different ways of approaching online poker, with almost every player falling into at least one of these categories and many mixing two or three. Let's talk a bit about each of these categories, including their typical traits, as well as how each style affects performance when playing for real money.

Tight Players: Don't usually play many hands or take big risks. Can be characterized by the idea of “slow and steady wins the race.” Typically aim at increasing their bankroll patiently.

Loose Players: Are more willing to take risks and play rounds with sub-optimal hands. Usually have a bankroll that ebbs and flows, either rising or falling when those peaks and troughs are averaged out.

Aggressive Players: Will happily raise and re-raise, thinking little of going all in on a good hand. Experience a lot of big wins and a lot of big losses because they rarely fold.

Passive Players: Allow other players to dictate the action, calling and folding but rarely raising. Blend into the background to a certain extent, but often surprise with solid hands.

The best players will show characteristics of all of the above in a single round, making it difficult to get a read on them or predict whether or not they actually have a good hand. The approach you adopt will depend on the size of your bankroll and whether or not you have nerves of steel!

Poker odds

Poker Odds

It's tricky to calculate poker odds on the fly, especially when so many cards are hidden from your view, but it can be done. It can be easy sometimes though, like when there are three Queens in the community cards and you hold the last one!

Try looking into outs (i.e. cards that will improve your hand) for getting a sense of your poker odds of victory. For example, you have 2 outs if you're hoping to turn a pair into 3 of a kind but 4 outs if you're aiming to turn 2 pairs into a full house.

How to bluff like a pro

One of the coolest things about playing the game online for those who don't have much of a poker face is that other players won't be able to study your expression looking for tells, because you'll be represented at the table by an avatar.

But there are still ways to outwit and confuse your opponents by how you play the game on the web. For example, placing a bet very quickly will make it look as if you have a great hand and just couldn't wait to raise. Likewise, taking your time might make it appear as if you're agonizing over whether or not to place a bet. A nice one to exploit if you actually have a great hand!

Just as we recommend studying your opponents' betting habits, they'll be studying yours too. Throwing a couple of very obvious bluffs into the mix or sticking with a poor hand might make other players think you don't know what you're doing, which gives you an advantage coming in for the kill later when you do land a great hand.

The ultimate bluff in online poker is probably going all in, which some bad players get far too reliant on! It's a trick that can be worth pulling out of the bag from time to time, but only if you have sufficient confidence that your hand is better than your opponents'.

Top tips for poker beginners

When you first start playing online poker, especially if you've never really played the game offline before, the experience can be a little bit daunting. As long as you abide by the following and put in some time, you should have no problem blending in. You'll be an old pro in no time!

  • Poker Tips for Beginners Stay level-headed. Sometimes you get weak hand after weak hand; that's just the luck of the draw. Don't let that make you get cocky when you finally get a hand that's a little better.
  • Know when to fold. If everyone else checks and you're the big blind, it's worth rolling with a 2 and a 6 until you've seen the flop. Otherwise, depending on the size of pre-flop bets, it's probably not worth bothering with.
  • Some hands are worth raising before the flop, e.g. AA (pocket aces are ALWAYS a welcome site in Texas Hold 'Em) or an Ace and 10 of diamonds. Just don't bet so big too early that everyone else folds because they guess you have an incredible hand!
  • Understand when you're beaten. Has someone with a bankroll matching yours just gone all in on a hand? Don't face off against them unless you're completely comfortable knowing it might be your last hand of the night.
  • Don't be a sore loser (or winner!). Some online poker sites let you chat to other players. “Nice hand” and “bad beat” are acceptable comments to make, “you suck” and “tough luck, loser” definitely aren't!

Best poker hands

There's only one thing worse than betting big on a hand and getting beaten fair and square, and that's thinking you've won (but haven't!) simply because you're not familiar with the top poker hands. Make sure you get them straight in your head:

Royal Flush
Straight Flush
Four of a Kind
Full House

How do I find the best poker sites?

You can be all set to play the best poker of your life but, if the site you're playing at sucks, you're simply not going to have a very good time. We'd always recommend that you look for sites that feature:

  • Lots of players from Canada (and elsewhere, for that matter). The more players, the more games and blind/pot sizes you'll be able to choose from
  • A variety of different types of poker available, in case you fancy mixing things up
  • Plenty of different deposit/withdrawal methods and the option to use C$
  • Smooth and intuitive software. No one wants the hand of their life interrupted by stuttering mechanics or a dropped connection

A great place to start is by checking out our recommended list of the best online poker sites for 2024, where we've reviewed a huge number of reputable sites with top bonuses for Canadian players.

Put your poker skills into action

Poker, whether on or offline, is a game that's easy to get to grips with but takes a lifetime to master. As much as we'd love to, we can't imbue all of our readers with a lifetime's worth of poker knowledge!

What we have tried to do on this page, however, is set you up with some of the basics that should give you a leg up over other new players. They say that practice makes perfect so, with a decent bonus and a bit of careful bankroll management, the only thing standing between you and poker perfection is time. You can check out even more card games here.