Basic Poker Strategy
The game of poker is more about skill than most gambling games. Chance is certainly still a major factor but you won’t win by chance alone. Without a good grasp of basic poker strategy you won’t do well against experienced players.
One of the most important things to remember when player poker is that your strategy should be to win as much or lose as little as possible on a given hand, not to win every hand. You’re in the game to win money, not pots. Any player can win a pot. Just play every hand and call every bet until the bitter end, and you’ll win every pot you possibly can. But you’ll lose a ton of money in the process. The top poker players play few hands and maximize their return when the odds are in their favor.
What Not To Do
One of the worst strategies possible is trying to stay with an initial bad hand. If you don’t have a winning combination in your hand when the betting begins, it’s often in your best interest to fold. Stay in every now and then to confuse your opponents but don’t generally count on turning a bad thing into a good one. Remember, money saved is just as valuable as money won.
The best basic poker strategy is to play selectively and aggressively. The odds will shift as cards are dealt across the table. Know what your odds are and play aggressively when they’re in your favor. But watch yourself, if you consistently play aggressive then your opponents will recognize your tendencies and wait till they have a better hand than you. You must learn to play unpredictably. If other player can see you are tight player or a loose player then they’ll easily know how to go about taking your money.
Be able to switch gears if you get stuck in a losing streak. Don’t just start playing aggressively trying to turn bad hands around. The best strategy is to do the opposite, gear down and play fewer hands. Wait out your streak of bad luck; eventually it will pass.
Study your opponents and learn to anticipate their actions. When hands are turned over at showdown, notice who’s holding what. Try to recall betting patterns earlier in the hand. When possible make notes of players’ patterns.
Bluffing can be a powerful poker strategy but it should only be used sparingly. It’s not a good idea to bluff a loose player. It’s unlikely the will fold. Your best chance to successfully bluff is when you’re up against a tight player with a relatively small pot.
These basic poker strategy concepts apply to all forms of poker. Keep in mind that each variation of poker is quite different, and will have its own specific strategies and tactics. Learn to combine these basic strategies with game-specific tactics. The best way to win at poker is to learn these strategies and practice, practice, practice. Like any skill it will take time and effort to become a proficient and dangerous poker player.