Poker is a game that requires a little bit of skill but mostly relies on chance and psychology. It can be extremely fun and exciting at times but can also be quite frustrating when your good luck runs out. What will keep you going over the long run, aside from a solid winning strategy, is your love for this crazy game.
There are many different types of poker games but the basic rules remain the same. The dealer shuffles the cards, players put in forced bets (the blind and/or the ante), then the dealer deals each player a hand. Players keep their cards face down except for their hole cards which they reveal to the other players at the table when they choose to do so.
After the initial deal the first of a series of betting rounds begins. Each player must either call a bet by putting in the same amount of chips as the previous player, raise it by putting in more than that, or fold.
Once the betting round is complete the dealer puts three more cards on the board that anyone can use, these are called the flop. If you’re holding a good hand like pocket kings or queens this should be no problem but the flop could be a disaster if it’s full of flush cards and straight cards.
If you don’t have a good hand on the flop then it’s time to get out. Unless you’re playing in EP position, and even if you’re in MP) then it’s usually best to fold your hand pre-flop and play the flop with more confidence.
To play the flop you should always try to improve your hand. This can be done by forming a high pair (3 cards of the same rank), a flush (6 cards in sequence but not in order) or a straight (9 cards in consecutive rank). The highest hand wins. If your hands are equal then the high card breaks the tie.
During this process of improving your hands you should pay close attention to your opponents. A lot of successful players are able to read their opponents very well. This isn’t always done through subtle physical poker tells such as scratching your nose or playing nervously with your chips but rather through patterns.
Paying close attention to your opponent’s habits and pattern of play will help you determine what type of hands they will be playing and which ones they are weak to. If you can read your opponents then you can know whether to raise or fold with your poker hands. Remember, the more you practice and observe other players, the faster your instincts will develop and the better poker player you’ll become. Good luck!