For many of those interested in learning to player poker, the first question most commonly asked is “what is the best poker strategy?” It’s a good question too, because winning at poker requires, not just plenty of good luck, but plenty of good skill as well. To get you started, a run down of basic poker strategy is presented below.
Perhaps the most important poker tip is that players should have a solid understanding of the pot-odds. Essentially, pot odds compare the amount of money in the pot to the amount of money you would have to add to the pot to continue playing. This then begs the question, “is it worth it to continue playing? To answer this question, you must also possess an understanding of the card odds. For example, if there is $100 in the pot and, in order to stay in the game, you need to put in an additional $10, the pot-odds are 10-1. If your chance at winning is better than that, then it is worth calling. If, however, you have a 22-1 chance of making a winning hand, your best bet is to fold.
The option to fold is too often ignored by beginning players, but really it is one of the most profitable plays available. Most amateurs play too many hands because they don’t possess the discipline and patience needed to know when to fold. In fact, if you read any books on poker strategy most of them strongly encourage folding. To be a successful player you need to know when to hold and when to fold.
Bluffing is also an important skill, but it isn’t used as often as many of us would think, nor should it be. Good advice is to save bluffing for use against the good players (since they will more often throw down a hand than will the recreational player). Occasionally, a well-timed bluff, where you do not lose a lot of money, can help you win larger pots in subsequent hands. Players may think you are a “bluffer” and remain in the game even when you actually have a strong hand. Just remember that when you do bluff, your knowledge of the pot odds should guide your bluffing.
An obvious strategy, but one worth mentioning because of its importance, is that you should always look for games with players who do not play as well as you do. The successful player knows he needs to play weaker players in order to make a profit.
After all is said and done, just remember that if you focus on enjoying the game, playing calmly and fairly and not too desperately, you will most likely enjoy playing the game as well as its outcome.