Poker Strategy Guide – How To Win At Poker


by James Smith |
Date of Publishing: 04/10/2021


Poker Strategy Guide

Best Strategies for playing Poker

Many gambling enthusiasts consider poker to be one of the most exciting gambling games. This is for a number of reasons. One of these is that there are so many different game variances, all of which are individual in their own way.

In addition, poker is considered to have substantially more freedom and flexibility for the player when thinking about the format of the game and its objective. It is usually this that is the reason why players find it exciting.

While some tried and tested poker strategies out there, some players have tweaked these slightly, while others also have their own that they use. The very best poker players are especially skilled at bluff, counter-bluff, and anticipate a bluff, which can be a strategy in itself.

David Sklansky’s The Fundamental Theorem of Poker states, “Every time you play your hand the way you would if you could see your opponents’ cards, you gain, and every time your opponents play their cards differently from the way they would play them if they could see your cards, you gain.”

Sometimes, something simple as where a player sits can be a strategy in itself because they will know how far away or near the dealer they are and as a result, they can build up winnings for the initial, compulsory bet when the turn comes their way.  Let’s take a look at some tried and tested tips that you can apply when playing poker!

10 easy to learn tips for playing Poker

With these following tips, you should be able to start playing poker, at least on demo mode, straight away!

Get to know the rules and the value of poker hands

While the rules are quite important, these are mainly about the etiquette of the game and the progression of the game, and when you should stake and/or raise. However, arguably as important is that you get to know the different hands and their various implications.

One wrong decision regarding a hand can be the difference between winning and losing, so this is vitally important. Once you are familiar with the poker hands, you will then be able to bluff a lot better. This might also help you predict what cards other players have, based on those in your hand and those facing up on the table.

Play demo games

There are many of these, which allow you to play for free without risking real money. Offering a great opportunity to play recklessly, knowing that you have nothing to lose can show you what happens when you get it wrong. This can effectively also be a great way to learn the rules because most of these games also have prompts while you are playing.

Bet low to begin with

Until you fully understand the game’s rules and have played at least a few games, it is advised that you start betting low on hands where possible. This may not always be viable, especially if you play a game that allows players considerable raises.

Because of this, you should look for games that have low maximum stakes, and invariably, you will be playing with those of a similar level, so essentially, you are all still learning together. When you bet low to start with, it means that you are not risking a huge amount of money. On the flip side, though, you will not be able to win as much.

Have patience

It is natural to feel pressured into deciding poker, though it is advisable to take your time and think about your next move. When you make a decision quickly in poker, there is every chance that you haven’t taken all of the possibilities into account. This could come back to haunt you as the game progresses and more cards are revealed, such as on the ‘river’ (the last two cards).

Because there is so much to consider in poker in terms of how much to bet or raise and possible hands and what other players have, this can be overwhelming. So, take your time!

Judge when to bluff

Unless you are an expert in psychology and you are a mathematical genius who can quickly calculate the odds of every outcome based on the previous outcome, it is vital to take this tip into account. Bluffing in poker is an art, and knowing when to do it can be the difference between using all of your bankroll too quickly and staying in until the end.

If you have won a large amount, this puts you in a good position and as a result, bluffing in this scenario can be an effective way to eliminate other players from the game in one fell swoop.

Master when to fold

This is just as important as judging when you should bluff. Folding in itself can be a form of bluffing, because if you do it three times in a row, then suddenly play a hand for a large amount, other players may not call you and then fold themselves. This should be applied in reverse. If a player raises by a large amount, it could be a wise choice to fold, especially if you only have a pair (or even a high-value pair).

Folding could also annoy other players because they may be baiting you into raising as well, especially if they know that they have one of the best hands in the game, so taking your ego out of the situation can help. Unless you can quickly calculate odds, judging when to fold can make a considerable amount of difference when playing poker.

Do not drink alcohol

Especially for those who play online, drinking alcohol is quite common, though this is a bad idea. Alcohol impairs a player’s ability to make good decisions, while it can also give a player a false sense of euphoria or even confidence. Drinking water can have the opposite effect, as this will hydrate brain cells, help to improve concentration and also your durability throughout the game.

Consider your opponent’s cards

If you know the rules and are familiar with the hands, it is possible to at least have an educated guess as to what other players may have based on their betting patterns. If a player bets big straight after the river, for example, there is every chance that this means they have a good hand based on this. However, they may already have a great hand from the flop in some cases and have tactically been biding their time to cause confusion. It is likely though, that only the very skilled players will adopt this strategy.

Playing low stakes initially will provide you with the opportunity to do this without risking too much money. The amount of time that a player takes to make a decision can also sometimes indicate whether they have a strong hand; however, again, this could also be a strategic bluff.

Play one game at a time

Until you are a master or a mathematical genius, stick to one game at a time, especially in the beginning! Even for professionals, this is hard enough, particularly if they are playing for high stakes, and concentrating on more than one hand takes a considerable amount of brainpower!

Set a limit

For many players, poker can quickly get out of hand, especially for those who let their ego get in the way of the game. This is why it is so important to master the previous points about knowing when to bluff and fold. Unless you have a large bankroll, then it is important to set a limit and stick to it; otherwise, this can lead to problems further down the line. Do not get drawn into raising unnecessarily just to prove a point!

Does bluffing work when playing online poker?

Whether there is a right answer to this is largely inconclusive. There are some players who prefer to bluff online and those who prefer to do it in person. For the latter, it those who are invariably masters at analysing and reading body language who prefer to do this and often do so very successfully.

Those who prefer to bluff while playing online often find this easier and, most of the time, are successful. This is because they know that the sizes of the bets that they make can have a psychological effect on the other players because no one can see each other.

The skilled online players can usually tell when to bluff as well, based on other players’ betting patterns. It is because some online players do not take this into account, compared to when playing in person and most of the time, think that it is a quick and easy way to make money. However, there is invariably at least one skilled player in every online poker game who makes a lot of money playing against less experienced players just by bluffing.

Calculating odds in Poker

You can rest easy knowing that there are not many people who know how to do this, and it is made harder when you are trying to predict what cards are left in the deck and what other players might have.

In some cases, it can be possible to work out the odds of getting a card such as a two if you have one yourself and there is one on the table in the flop; however, there is always a possibility that another player has one.

Essentially though, this is something that you should not worry too much about. The average poker player does not know how to work poker odds out for each player’s hand, especially at the speed that the game moves at online.

FAQs

Although there is a considerable amount of information on this page about poker strategy and how to apply it, invariably, you may have more questions, which we have endeavoured to answer as concisely as possible, below!

How do you win at poker every time?

This is not impossible and perhaps the only gambling game that gives you a chance to actually influence the game for yourself. While the cards are completely random, if you are great at working out odds and know-how and when to bluff, it is possible to win at poker each time you play. However, there are some excellent poker players though, so caution is advised, and you should never gamble more than you can afford to lose.

How do you strategise in poker?

There are many different strategies that you can apply to poker, though for many people, these are often their own. Understanding the different hands and the rules of the game can help you formulate your own strategy, especially if you become aware of how other players are betting.

Is poker a luck or skill game?

Poker is a game that perhaps has the most amount of skill of any casino-related game. This is because of a player’s ability to impose as much influence on the game as possible by bluffing; however, how the cards land is complete luck.

What are the best starting hands in poker?

This does really depend if a high flush is potentially in play; however, any player that has a pair of queens, kings, or aces could be in a good position depending on how both the flop and the river develop. In the majority of the time, though, it is about the luck of the cards.

Is poker a fair game?

There are some players who may feel taken advantage of or bullied by others if they are bluffing aggressively; however, like all casino games at licensed sites, poker is a fair game.

About the Author

Author: James Smith.

James Smith has been writing about casino games and strategies for over a decade. He is an expert in the industry and loves to help people get started with online gambling. In his free time, James enjoys reading books by other successful authors, cycling around town, or playing poker.