Learning to Win at Poker - Starting Out
If you want to become a good poker player without investing a whole lot into learning the game, then these suggestions might be helpful to you.
These days there is a lot of Texas Hold'em to watch on cable TV as well as a great deal of increased new interest in the game. "Texas Hold'em", commonly shortened to just plain "Holdem", is the most popular of all poker games. Its current popularity makes it readily available to play at all levels, both in regular and online poker rooms, and the best game to study and learn to play first.
Playing the free games is ok for getting used to the tables, but I recommend starting in the lowest limit games offered ($.05/$.10 and $.25/$.50) until you have confidence in your skill level. These very low limit games are good practice because, unlike the free games and despite the low prices, most of the players are seriously playing to win. Many play to increase their bankrolls enough to comfortably play in higher limit games and others simply enjoy the challenge of winning at real money poker.
If you want to get good at this game, then it's important to always play your best game and play to win, regardless of the betting level.
Most of the sites I recommend are good for starting out because they generally offer a lot of very low limit games. In the "Micro" limits group, some poker rooms allow you to play at limits as low as .02/.04 (pennies). Stay in these low limits until you usually win more than you lose, then move up to the next betting level and start over. Again, all the things you read and learn about the game are very important, but they don't hold a candle to time in the trenches, actually playing real money games against good players.