Home » How Quickly Can You Learn To Play Poker?

How Quickly Can You Learn To Play Poker?

Home » How Quickly Can You Learn To Play Poker?

How Quickly Can You Learn To Play Poker?

“Poker lessons” writted on a blackboard

Asking, “How quickly can I learn to play poker?” or “Is poker hard to learn?” is like asking how long a piece of string is. It all depends on several factors. These include how much time you’re prepared to put in, if you have a natural aptitude for card games and strategy, how hungry you are to learn and what level you’re trying to reach.

Popular opinion would say you can master the game in around three months. Others might say that even after a lifetime, they’re still learning. But three months will get you to the first stage on a journey to eventually winning poker tournaments.

What Skills Do You Need?

Poker is a complex game with several variants. You might want to master just one version to start with. Texas Hold‘em online is a favorite format of most players, followed by Omaha and Seven-Card Stud.

Most skills you can learn, like the rules and mechanics of the game, but in order to learn how to get good at poker, it helps to have some built-in skills like being a strategic thinker, having a good memory and some basic math skills. You also need to be bold and know how to bluff. You’ve no doubt heard the expression “poker face” — to have a calm outward demeanor — something that comes easier to some than others. And if you’re trying to outwit your opponent, an ability to read their playing style will elevate your game significantly.

So, if you think you’re emotionally and practically suited to poker, the next step is simply to get going. 

Know the Lexicon

A beginner poker player looking at the cards in his hand

Poker comes with its own vocabulary, so it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the jargon and terminology of the game. That way, when you start learning, you know what the books and teachers are talking about. You’ll need to know about dealers, buttons, small and big blinds, flops and turns, preflops, rivers and hole cards. You’ll also need to know the difference between calling, raising and folding. Once you’ve got all those firmly fixed in your head, you can start to look around for a teaching method that suits your learning style. So, what are your choices?

Read the Literature

There are literally hundreds of books on how to learn poker fast, but there are no quick fixes and no one-size-fits-all, so a browse in your local bookstore or library is a good starting point. Maybe you’re a visual learner and lots of diagrams of game plays will suit you better than pages explaining complex moves and strategies. Maybe book learning isn’t your thing at all — in which case you need to find another way to achieve your goal.

Get a Coach

If you can afford to get a coach to teach you one-on-one, this is a great way to learn. Remember to check out their credentials first. You want to know you’re learning from someone who’s had some decent wins (and you definitely don’t want to pick up bad habits.) Ask people who play regularly for a recommendation. The advantage of a personal coach is that you can learn at your own pace. If you grasp the basics, you can quickly move on to more complex strategies and how to play certain hands. They can also coach you in the non-playing skills — the body language and psychology that you’ll need to be a successful player. They can also go into aspects such as managing your bankroll and how to gauge the stakes.

Take a Course

If a personal trainer is a little out of your budget, then try a group training course. This way, you get to play mock games and try out different scenarios, share your hand and get advice on how best to play it. But of course, depending on where you live, there may not be a group within traveling distance. That leaves you with online learning.

Go Online

A man celebrates winning a game on his laptop

There are a few reasons to choose to learn poker online. Instructional videos provide step-by-step moves that you can pause, stop and rewind until you get it. Playing games online puts you right there in a live situation. Many sites offer you the chance to learn to play for free, so your early mistakes cost you nothing. As you get more proficient, playing online also gives you time to master those soft skills you’ll need. No one can see your grin online when you’re dealt a great hand, nor your horror at being dealt a dud. There are lots of other reasons that make going online possibly the best way to learn poker, including the flexibility of time and place. If you’re going to put the hours in to become the player that you want to be, you can go online on your mobile device whenever you have some free time.

Have Realistic Expectations

There’s really no such thing as an overnight success in poker. In fact, there are few skills at which you can become an expert without some form of tuition, practice and a strong desire to acquire those skills. Having realistic expectations of how quickly you can pick up poker is something you need to establish with yourself. Once you’ve started playing regularly, you’ll still need to supplement game time with more reading, more training sessions and whatever other learning methods work for you.

Depending on what format of the game you started with, maybe it was Omaha or Texas Hold‘em, there are top-up tips you can employ at any time to help you tweak and improve your game.

Practice Makes Perfect with BetMGM

Whether you’re looking to become a professional player and give up your day job or you just want to enjoy some recreational online poker with friends, when you’re ready, register at BetMGM and you’ll find a range of games to challenge you at any level. You’ve heard of beginner’s luck. What are you waiting for?

Learning to play poker takes time and dedication, but with a bit of both you could experience some early wins. Find out how quickly you can pick up the game.