Which game options should I choose?
Probably the most important factor when starting out, is what playing options you can choose from. Normally there are more kinds of poker than Texas Hold'em but even in Hold'em there are many ways to play with the two main differences being whether you play cash tables
. In both cases they are subdivided in Fixed Limit, Pot Limit and No Limit and furthermore they are also divided in different stakes, ranging from 1¢ to thousands of dollars. Tournaments offer even more options as you have sit and go tournaments and scheduled tournaments, both with various speed options and different number of players involved. Tournaments can involve thousands of people or they might just be heads up.
I recommend tournaments for starters
I think tournaments are the best way to start since you have total control of what you stand to loose (your entrance fee) as opposed to the cash table where you might loose everything you got available. When it comes to limits, I prefer No Limit, since it offers a wider range of betting strategies and it was also the way I learned to play. When choosing tournaments I don't put too much emphasis on the number of players except for evaluating how much time I require, but I do put a lot of emphasis on how much the entry fee is. It takes approximately the same time to loose a 10¢ tournament as a $5 tournament, but you stand to get 50 chances when playing at the low level tournament and the opposition is probably also a bit lighter, since the good players don't want to spend any time winning $1 on a 10¢ 10 player table, when they could be winning $100 or more on a higher stake table. My reasoning for choosing the low stakes is that in your beginning phase you have more need for getting a lot of practice, rather than chasing prize money you are very unlikely to get close to. I would recommend Titan Poker for low stake tournaments but there are others you can choose as well. The drawback is that the rakes are relatively high at these stakes but I don't care too much about this. Most pokerrooms also offer “free rolls” which is tournaments with no entry fee that offer various prizes, entry ticket to other tournaments or even real money. These tournaments are very popular and are filled very fast when they open for registration so should be sitting ready to register when they open. Some pokerrooms require that you generate a certain amount of points before releasing the money, but normally they are easier to accomplish the bonuses.
What about cash games?
If you want to go for cash games, I would recommend to choose the lowest possible stakes (which at Titan is 1¢/2¢), only bring a small part of your bank roll and play very disciplined to avoid going bankrupt and loosing all your playing money. When choosing whether to play one game type or another, you should also consider the opposition! As stakes raises so do the level of resistance and you should be aware of that. Some people try to make a living out of playing poker and take the money away from people playing above their ability.
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