How to make a successful comeback in poker05:07

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Published on February 8, 2014

You have stopped playing online poker for a long time. Several reasons drove you away from the virtual felt, but now you are feeling you are ready to come back. Are you really? Follow these tips if you want to make a successful comeback in poker and feel like you have been there the whole time.

Start slow and play within your super-comfort zone

Do not expect to play as good as you used to. Time took its toll on your poker skills. Your game feels kind of rusty, sitting down after all those months feels somewhat awkward and although you feel excited, you are a bit scared at the same moment. Do not worry, that is normal. No matter how much experience you got the previous years, it will take time before you feel home again.

Poker is like the bicycle. You never forget it, yet you do not go jumping off ramps from day one!

Start slow. Go for the micro stakes; that is $25NL. Avoid playing at higher stakes, even if you had managed to play up to $5,000NL! Maybe the game has changed. Perhaps there is a new trend in poker styles. Even the poker software might have changed while you were away and you need to get accustomed to the new interface.

Until it feels natural again to play online poker, stay within your comfort zone; that zone is when a buy-in costs less than 0.5% of your bankroll!

Test the waters and make new friends

Who are all those people sitting with you? Where are the regulars, where is the fish you used to hunt down? Sure, if you are following the tip above, you are playing at an unfamiliar level for you. Still, even if you had started out exactly where you left off, you would not recognize half of the opponents. Some have gone down levels, some moved up and some, well, just quit as you had too.

The chances to meet familiar poker faces after so long are slim. Thus, you need to make new friends. Friends that would happily give you their money, also known as bad players!

Probably you used to play poker with a tracking software. You sat down at a poker table and immediately you knew if you had played against them before and possibly had some useful stats for your opponents, according to which you would adapt your game. All that is gone now that you are competing with total strangers. Stats are nowhere to be seen. You absolutely have no idea how they are playing.

Test the waters, start reading opponents and play ABC poker until you got some history. No history, lot of mystery!

Ask for advice and acknowledge your rookie mistakes


You may have been an expert before but now you are just a newbie. Probably you have forgotten advanced poker strategies, how to confront a short-stacker or what a squeeze play is. You may even have no recollection of the proper bet size for a raise and you might run into a wall, when you try figuring out how much to bet when 3betting from the small blind!

Yes, you took these actions automatically back in the old days. Be patient, they will come to you again. Until they do, do not be afraid and ask for advice to speed things up. You are a newbie, begin acting as one and ask questions. Be humble and acknowledge your mistakes, because you will make mistakes as you try getting up to your feet.

A successful comeback in poker requires discipline and preparation. Some find it easy to return to the poker scene, others struggle to adapt to the new environment. Do not rush it and you will do just fine. Have you been away from the poker tables lately? What are the hurdles you are considering most difficult in your comeback? Let us know in the comments below.


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