What is my position?
Has anyone bet yet? Am I first to bet? Is there a "strong bet"? and "All In" bet?
What is my hand?
How does my hand relate to the board? Is this a good flop for me?
How much is in the pot?
How many players remain in the hand?
If there has been a bet, how much is it? Was it already raised? Is someone "All In"?
Is the board scary? Is it "Flushing"? "Straightening"? "Rainbow"?
Hand Selection (the Meat of the Matter)
AA, Aks, KK, QQ,
JJ, AQs, AJs,
All other pairs
Ace Suited on the button or in the cutoff position
Folding Equity (understanding "Why" you should Raise)
Ever thought about "why" you should raise?
to get more money in the pot,
to get a better hand to fold,
to be called by a weaker hand and player who simply has no discipline.
So Who Loses Money to Me? (they just don't get it - and blame it on bad luck)
People who over-value "top pair" (the average winning hand in holdem is 2-pair)
People who think any pair is "the immortal nuts"
People who think any paired Ace is the "the holy grail"
People who CHASE flush draws…
People who CHASE straight draws…
People who CHASE anything….
People who are "action junkies" - they just want to play
People with no discipline… they cannot fold a hand once they've put 20 cents in
People who think bluffing is a big part of online poker (since you'll always have a strong hand, they can bluff all they want - you simply won't care)
By the way, if ALL OF THE ABOVE, describes you… "Dude! Read a poker book". I am trying to be funny, but quite seriously, start out with Lee Jones' great holdem primer, Winning Low Limit Holdem. It's small, affordable, clearly written, and well worth the money. (By the way, do me a favor and use the link on my website, http://www.pokerdecision.com/BookStore.html, to link to AMAZON.COM and buy the book). Then I'll make a buck on the referral and we'll call it even). I've said this a number of times in other articles, but even though that book is a "limit holdem" book, it clearly explains many fundamental holdem concepts, so even though my site is geared toward "no limit", it is probably the best book to start with (assuming you are new to holdem). If you know the fundamentals, but the above STILL describes you, then I am a bit confused and I guess you may have some misconceptions about the proper way to play - BUT… I still know which book to recommend: Dan Harrington's, Harrington on Holdem, Strategic Play, Vol 1. (again, use my website list of books at: http://www.pokerdecision.com/BookStore.html) That book will fix any problem or misconception you may have. By the way, if you are buying books at amazon, I will typically buy at least two since the total will be over $25 and then I will get free "Super Saver Shipping". You just have to remember to select "free shipping" when you checkout, but this way you get the great AMAZON discount AND free shipping. Plus I get a nice, albeit small referral fee as well. Also, even though they say that super saver shipping takes 6-10 days, they still send it pretty much the same way, so if it is in stock, you get it fast. Ok, enough about that.
In general, don't play with money you cannot afford to lose (you won't have much fun). Even though I am saying this is almost guaranteed money, there is always risk. You may make bad decisions (even though you think you are ready), or you may have a horrible run of bad luck (regardless of what some players may tell you, there is an element of luck in poker). That is not to say you must be lucky to win, and unlucky to lose. Remember, you control ALL the decisions that you make and you must make good ones. But at certain points, you will be at the mercy of the cards (so to speak). Also, no matter how hard you try, you WILL make some bad decisions, and you WILL suffer some bad beats. However, a sound strategy over the long run will always be profitable. Your goal is to always get your money (as much money as possible) into the pot with the best hand. If you can do that, then regardless of any short term bad luck, you will make money over the long run.
In fact, one of the reasons I include "multi-tabling" as part of this strategy is that the so-called "long run" actually happens a little faster. In other words, playing 8 tables every session for 4 days is like playing a single table session over a period of 32 days - so if you maintain a sound strategy, your variance should theoretically be much lower. That's a good thing. One word of caution: DO NOT play 8 tables until you are ready to play 8 tables. Start out with two like I did and build up your comfort factor. You will soon realize with the tight strategy you are playing that you are simply folding almost 90% of the hands that POP up. Thus, you will rarely, if ever, need to make 8 "key" decisions at the same time. My experience is that, at most, I may need to make an important decision on 2 or 3 hands that are in play at the same time. That's not too bad. The "POP-FOLD" concept will frequently be used since most hands you are dealt will be complete garbage, and even some of the more attractive looking hands SHOULD BE FOLDED as well. Remember, I only allow you to play a very limited set of starting hands based on your position. You will be frequently folding hands like AJ and KQ (see my starting hand requirements). For instance, you will be folding a hand like Ace-Ten-suited every single time except when you are "on the button" (last to act) and only when you are required to "call the big blind". Other than that, a hand such as Ace-Ten is like "the plague". You might think you will get bored playing this tight, but once you got the "popcorn" of 8-tables popping, you'll be busy enough with quality hands from superior position. God help you if you wanted to start playing "marginal hands" with 8 tables simultaneously.
One Final Note of Caution
Hey, it works for me. But maybe there was something I forgot to tell you. Hmmm… Unfortunately I can't think of what it might be. I think I've captured everything here you need to know (outside of holdem/poker fundamentals of course) to "crush" (lol) the .01/.02 games. But something in this logic may be flawed and maybe I am just dang lucky or deluding myself, but I think not. I believe if you do as I have instructed, you will most definitely WIN at these low stakes (penny), online poker games. But you're smart, you've read all this and you can decide for yourself whether it makes sense, whether you enjoy online poker enough and have enough discipline to employ this approach. Always remember, you "could" lose - but I think not (or I would not have taken the time to write this).
Have Fun and Good Luck!,