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Poker beginner here.
I play a lot of online poker and I was looking for ways to improve my game. The thing that came the most often in guides like The most common beginner mistakes or Poker Tips is that beginners don't know when to fold pre-flop and that they went to see the flop to many times.

That makes a lot of sense. So my question is, how long should you wait for a good hand?

I can bluff my way to the flop but in online poker cash games, people will usually call me out even if I raise 3BB. It's good to play if you hit a good starting hand but is it really bad to go see the flop with a so-so hand if I'm middle - late position.

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You shouldn't be choosing a starting hand because it's been X amount of time since the last time you played a hand. The primary goal in poker is to win chips. You achieve this goal by:

  1. Identifying your opponents strategy.
  2. Determine, and implement, the maximally exploitative response.

So, before you even sit down at a table, whether it's online or live, you should have, at the minimum, a readless starting hand range that will maximally exploit the strategies of the average population. That's a pretty complex task but you can, once you understand the general idea, come up with a rough starting hand range that will do well versus the population.

This is an iterative process. As you gain more information, solid or intuitive, on the population you can tweak your readless starting hand ranges accordingly. Your best bet is to sit down with a tool like Pokerstove or Equilab and craft some starting hand ranges that you think are reasonable.

Then, once you have said range, it's no longer about how long since you've last played a hand. You know which hands you're playing and you're playing them every time you get them. At least, that is, until you gain reads on the opponents at the table. At that point, you should adjust your readless strategy accordingly to maximally exploit their playing styles.

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What if it's taking a very long time before you hit one of the hands in that range? –  phadaphunk Apr 7 at 13:17
    
Then you're either experiencing the tedious side of card distribution or you're playing too tight. Either way, you shouldn't be playing a hand because you're bored. Patience is vital in poker, especially in 9-handed multi-table tournaments. –  Brent Morrow Apr 7 at 13:20
    
Thanks. Makes lot of sense. –  phadaphunk Apr 7 at 13:21
    
Your welcome. :) –  Brent Morrow Apr 7 at 13:24
    
Great answer! I just wanted to add that it might be easier for a beginner to look at some guides like this pokerstrategy.com/strategy/bss/1535/1( there are other good ones too) and then make adjustments with the tools sugested by brent. –  Daniel Apr 7 at 15:22
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