The choice in poker could be the first one, and it could set the tone for the rest of the evening. That choice is what level of poker you want to play. There are obviously several, but don’t be lulled into a bigger game than you can handle just because you have visions of big pots.
There is no easier way to lose money than to get into a situation you can’t handle. You’ll bust out quicker than any bad beat. Play at a table you are comfortable on and learn the nuances of the game.
That is what is so valuable about online poker. No one sees some of your mistakes online and the people that do see, it doesn’t matter. You are anonymous. It is better to make those mistakes online than to do it in person, because I guarantee you people will remember. I don’t even know that guy’s name whom I was talking to, but I sure remember what he looks like, and the next time he shows up at my table I’ll know that he is an inexperienced player.
A good way to start is to play $1-$2 for at least 10 trips to the card club. You aren’t going to make much money, resign yourself to that fact, but also know that this is a learning experience. The guys who play those tables are usually perpetual losers. They play too many hands, they chase too many flushes and straights and they complain every time they lose. Every beat to them is a bad beat, and unfortunately you get to hear about them all.
It will help you lose the rabbit ears. You will not even hear the complaining anymore, which is good, because when you get to the higher level games, complaining is used as a tool to throw you off your own game.
Move to $2-$4, and the dream chasers are still there, trying to fill their flushes and straights, but there is more skill there. You still aren’t going to chase them off with aggressive bets, but you will learn a little bit more.
The $3-$6 table is where skill really begins to take hold. The players don’t chase as much, and the ones that do aren’t around long because of the pot sizes. This is where you should spend a good amount of time.
When you move to the $4-$8 table, expect at least one professional at your table. This is a good place for them to shark a little bit and take money off players who are not as seasoned as them and maybe a little loose with their chips. Identify them and stay away, unless you feel you have them beat. You will know you have them beat because they will fold.
The bigger games can be lucrative, but also have bigger players there. They have been playing for years and have honed their skills. You should do the same whatever table you choose to sit down at.