As a NEW player, what things should you consider first?

As a new-to-RP player, what should you do first? Let’s presume you’ve already set up your profile and gone to a ring table.

Before you even sit down at a table, you might want to observe a few live hands. Click a table to open it and watch the action. Some players treat the game as a boxing match to the death. For others, it’s like a chess game in the park on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Find a game that seems to match your hopes and expectations. Join the waiting list or click an empty seat to play immediately.

You’ll have to decide how much to invest. As a general chip management rule, you’ll want to play at a stake level that puts no more than 5% (one 20th) of your total bankroll (all your currently existing chips) at risk in a single game–not per single hand, unless you expect to be broke quickly. Many experienced players will risk far less than 5% at a single game, though it depends largely on your comfort level with risk. Players just beginning may want to start a little higher, like 10%, but that does increase your risk of being busted. My advice would be to treat the chips as if they were real cash (they aren’t, of course, they have NO value in any currency on Earth). If you treat them as worthless, you disrespect the game, the other players, and yourself.

As play progresses, watch what the other players’ habits are. If Player J raises every bet, he’s likely overly aggressive. Dodge him by folding when your cards are weak, reraise him only when your cards are extremely good. Every player is different. They’ll do things for their own reasons that may appear to make no sense.

Expect strange things to happen at the table, especially if you’re used to playing a family home game. In a home game, you might see 20 to 30 hands per hour. Here, with the computer doing the dealing, you may see three or even four times that many deals in an hour. So it will look like there are a lot more “big” hands. That’s an illusion caused by the speed of the table action.

The most important thing of all, though, is to have fun. That’s why we’re all here. Good luck at the games!

What other advice should we offer new players?


Rather than risking your precious 2500, I’d strongly suggest starting by playing every new player freeroll that you are available for and any of the other freerolls that don’t conflict with the new player tournaments.

That should give any new player more than enough games to satisfy the poker urge while waiting for the daily bonus to build the bankroll. In less than one week, you will have a bankroll of at least 10k (two or three times that amount if you have a win or two!) which is a much better place to start from when getting involved with low stakes ring games.

Hope this helps,



Click on players’ profiles. Note two key pieces of information: (1) length of time on the site, (2) chips accrued. You need this information in order to evaluate the quality of the opposition.

Don’t forget to log in every day. You get paid just for showing up. Unless you’re absolutely pathetic at poker, you should have accrued a reasonable number of chips in as little as a month.

Keep track of your profit and loss. Use Microsoft Excel. If you don’t wish to take it quite that seriously, I understand, but personally I found doing so to be critical in improving my performance. Literally from that very moment onward, defeats due to stupidity and carelessness were reduced to almost zero.


I sat right down at a 1/2 ring table, and was dealt AA in my very first hand, which made me think that the site may not be completely random.

I played for about a month nightly, generally just trying to play until I doubled my stack, and then quitting for the night. At some point I tried moving up in stakes so I could win bigger pots and continue to increase the rate of growth for my bankroll.

I had gotten up to around 120k, and felt like I was doing really well. I think it had taken me about a month of careful, tight play, but I had experienced no major setbacks thus far. Maybe it was two months, I don’t remember. At this point, I had a bad run, and got stacked for the first time.

I played more aggressively, trying to win back what I’d lost, and stay “on track” but I just got stacked again. I think I was on a table where 10k was a standard buy-in. I proceeded to lose my entire bankroll over the next 2-3 days. Given how long it had taken me to win that much, I didn’t want to have to do it again, so I quit playing, and didn’t return for over a year. But I kept logging in daily and collected the bonus chips. Each day I thought about whether or not I felt like I could play a winning game, and if I could handle it if I didn’t, and decided against it.

Then, I played a live poker game at a company party, and got the itch to play again. By this time, my bankroll was up to 1.2M chips. I decided to try playing in SNG tournaments, and started out playing 9-handed 10k buy-in.

I would play anywhere from 3-6 games/night, and mostly lost chips over all for about two months, but gradually. I’d finish ITM enough to stay encouraged, but not enough to play profitably. Eventually, I learned enough that I could profit. By this point my 1.2M bankroll had dwindled to around 600k, but after a month of profitably playing 10k SNG, I finally got above the 1.2M mark again, and I steadily won chips thereafter. Around the time I got up to 6M, I moved up to the 25k games, and around the time I got to around 16M, I moved up to the 100k games.

At around 20M, I got invited to join Badonk’s Donks league, and I gradually started to play the SNG games less. Around 30M, I started to play the 3-max format almost exclusively outside of League MTT, occasionally playing 250k SNG once in a while.

I’m up to 39M now, and have started playing more Rings again, now between 500/1k to 2k/4k usually. I’ve played 5k/10k, 10k/20k, and 20k/40k a little bit, but I don’t like putting that much on the line still. I’ve been bouncing between 41M and 35M for the past few months.

I’ve been feeling burned out on poker for a while, and I attribute that to my tendency to magnify my bad streaks by going on tilt and throwing away chips like yesterday’s garbage. If it weren’t for tilt, I might have a stack closer to 100M by now. Controlling this part of my game is my biggest challenge and my biggest leak.

So, what I would tell a new player, is to do well at the game, you need to get a lot of experience, and you need to study the game. Study first, then play. Playing, apply what you learned when you study, and it becomes more real and you can really understand it better than when you just read or watch a video. Try different styles of playing, and try different types of games. Each has a different feel.

Do work towards goals, but don’t chase them, as set your goals intelligently. Define your goals in terms of your quality of play and your emotional or mental state, not how big you can run your stack up to or what kind of cards you’re getting. It can be tough to know when you are not playing your best game, but when you can see it, step away from the game and rest, clear your mind, reset your emotions, study, and come back to the tables when you’re ready to. If you want to throw away chips in anger, go to the low stakes tables where you can do yourself less damage, and get it out of your system.


I started building bank roll playing limit, as the volatility is lower. I don’t remember at what point I first started playing 1/2 cash games, but think I’d probably built my bank to at least 4k.

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This debate over randomness has been done to death and comments like this do not help the cause; particularly in a thread intended to be read by newcomers.

The simple fact is, this site is totally random until proved otherwise. Until and unless you have the data to show otherwise, can we please leave out comments like this?

(Grumpy) TA

I’m working on that.

But, really, if your very first hand ever on a free to play website was pocket Aces, wouldn’t you find that even a tiny bit hard to believe that it wasn’t like some kind of freebie to welcome you to the site and make you feel like you must be the luckiest player ever?

Having some basic knowledge of probability, I wouldn’t consider that at all non-random. Lucky? Yes, undoubtedly.

Somebody, multiple somebody’s, at that particular time, were going to be dealt AA. It just happened that you were one of them.

We can go further and say that, every time you write a comment and use the letter “M”, it exactly corresponds with someone getting dealt 77. I don’t have the data, obviously, but that honestly is a reasonable expectation.


I don’t disagree with you, but if this happened to someone, and no part of them wondered, “Hmm, I wonder if that happens to everyone for their inaugural hand…” then they’re simply gullible.

I’m not saying it is that way, I’m saying it’s human nature to be suspicious about things that are too good to be true. You don’t have to believe the suspicion is true for certain to have it.

If you play a in a brand poker game and aren’t on heightened alert for things that could possibly be a sign that something is screwy with the randomness/fairness of the site, you’re too trusting.

This is a discussion more appropriate to a different thread, in my opinion :slight_smile:

I am happy to continue but I’m not comfortable derailing this particular topic. You might want to check out the thread “the fairness debate”.


Yeah, I’m happier not to talk about it, as it’s pointless to do so. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Puggy, I just wanted to tell you I’ve been reading your recent Forum posts and the ones under the
“As a NEW player, what things should you consider first?” thread in particular. I wanted to tell you that you’ve grown a lot as a player since you started here at RP and it shows. Good for you–and for us, too. Good luck in the games and have fun.
Ron (Alan25main)


Thanks, Alan. I’ve definitely learned a lot about the game over the past couple of years, and a few things about myself that are applicable to life as well. As frustrated as I can get with the game, when I’m not burned out on it, I am able to humbly appreciate the progress I’ve made through all my hard work and study. The hardest thing for me to master in this has been my own emotional response to the perception that I’ve experienced a high proportion of ridiculously unlikely bad outcomes. I like to purge my bad luck by throwing away a couple million chips and then win it back again, and if I didn’t do that, I’m sure I would have a lot more chips than I do, probably several times more, in fact. But I must be an optimist deep down because I keep coming back and never give up totally. Or maybe I’m confusing optimism with masochism. Either way, I am enjoying the daily struggle somehow, both good and bad.

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Getting back to the topic, as a new player here or to poker in general please consider logging in and collecting your free chips, watching for a few hours a day different game tables and what happens at them, get your feet wet and join a small chip buy in table , be patient and have fun. I suggest you read the forums. There is a wealth of information for you here on how to be a successful poker player at a free chip site and beyond. Have fun and don’t stress. As your skill level increases so should your higher stakes table. When it becomes stressful for you snd you are losing many chips either take a breath and a break or go back to low stakes and re organize what your really hoping to accomplish here. Making friends will help you to make good decisions as they will help you if you ask. Some nice people here :+1:t2:

That’s all I got for now.
Best of luck and have fun


Great advice, I would like to add for new players and some not so new players, learn what a bingo player is and don’t become one.


you must need a nap after writing all that.

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Enjoy yourself. Sit down at a table where the stakes arn’t frightening. Make low stakes mistakes. There’s alot of books, maxims, strategies and contradictions, etc. Just play, eventually you might have an “Uh Huh” moment. Not every unfortunate decision is “wrong”. Keep your emotions on an even keel. Sometimes I need a screen break because of a spectacular win. …and/or something truly funny happens.


I actually read all of the responses and they are good comments but, I’m surprised no one had mentioned that after a new player gets their “feet” wet (so to speak), that they should become familiar with the advantages of watching some REPLAYS which are available and the other features. After all, just look at the website name!!

They have the ability to replay their recent hands played, their biggest pots won, their best hands won etc. And, they can do the same for any of the other members who are currently still active on the site.

When in a game, they should click on the gear icon for the options that are available. Then use the drop down arrow on the lobby page (upper right corner) to familiarize themselves with a lot of the info available. Such as personal statistics, available bankroll including tickets won, a history of your bankroll usage, toplist, HELP access, etc.

I think there’s a lot more that they can become familiar with on here. Even how to search for players (maybe even previously played hands if you know the number) in the search box on the lobby page.

But, always remember to relax and have fun.

Even learn how to send friend requests and not get offended when they don’t respond or decline it (I think you can always make a note about it on the player’s profile page) but I’m not bitter or anything.


I certainly agree that taking the time to replay a hand (or the whole game!) can really be helpful. I think, too, it can bring clarity to what “chance” really looks like. Is it really possible that my pair of aces will be bested in this particular hand by triple 2s?! It’s a shock at first…when winning looked so certain! It reminds me of my parents, who left their house unlocked for years, against advice from their kids. “What are the odds a burglar would choose our home to enter?!” That’s what they said until the night they were burgled while they were home in their beds. Then they understood, indeed, that chance is very, very real.

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The first thing you should do as a new player is learn the order of hands in poker, how the community cards work with your cards, and what kickers do. For example, what is the pre-flop? What’s the flop? What’s the turn? What’s the river? What is higher hand order a straight or a flush? Many experienced players take this for granted, but newbies can often mix these two up. Flushes are higher. Second thing you should learn is your hand range. You should be folding about 70% of your hands and only playing your hand when you have a good hand or you are the big blind. For example, you might think Ace of Spades 10 of diamonds is a good hand. It is not a good hand, definitely not good enough to raise with, but nonetheless inexperienced players do not know what a good poker hand is. Third thing you need to learn is your position at the table relative to the big blind and Dealer. You should have your widest hand ranges as dealer (because dealer gets to bet last and has more potential to bluff and punish people who are bluffing) and as small blind and big blind you should only be checking or calling most of the time unless you have high pocket pairs (especially on a table of 9). One after the big blind should only be playing high pocket pairs as well (10’s or above) or maybe Ace King suited. Do not call with King Jack suited or unsuited. It is not a good hand for newbies. I highly recommend you play very tight conservative hand ranges as a newbie. It is boring, but you will learn so much of the game by playing boring and you will also save yourself a ton of money learning how to fold. If you master these 3 things, you will be a better poker player than 90% of the clowns I see playing this game. Order of cards and understanding of community cards (and kickers especially), hand ranges, and your position are the three fundamentals of poker. Once you understand those core concepts, you can start moving on to more complicated concepts like what your bet sizes should be, probability of opponents hand range, and pot luck odds.

One last piece of advice, once you learn what a preflop is, don’t ever call a pre-flop on a 9 man table unless you have AA, KK, or QQ. If you follow this rule you will probably not lose all your money, and even a lot of the time you will probably lose with these hands because the more people that call into the hand on a table, the less likely you are to win the hand. If you’re on a table where no one respects raises at all (which often happens with free chips), try calling every single hand (no raises) that players will let you call and going all in when you have at least two pair on the flop, a straight, or a flush. 90% of the time you will win those calls and take people for all their money. Good luck out there!

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