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The Basics of Poker Strategy


Poker is a game of chance, but it also requires a lot of skill. The best players are able to make the most of their cards and the information available to them, while simultaneously trying to read and intimidate their opponents. They’re also able to use the betting structure to their advantage. It takes time to master these skills, and even the most experienced players will make some mistakes – but don’t worry, you won’t be the only one.

Once all players have two hole cards there is a round of betting, initiated by 2 mandatory bets called blinds which are placed into the pot by the players to the left of the dealer. Players can check (stay in without raising), raise (match the highest previous bet and add to it), or fold their hand. When a player announces their action they will usually do it verbally, although there are non-verbal ways to convey this.

The position you play from at the table is important as well – being first to act gives you less information about how strong your opponent’s hands might be, and means you’re more likely to get raised or re-raised. Likewise, playing last can be advantageous because it allows you to steal blind bets from the players before you. This is known as ‘playing the player’ and is an essential part of any poker strategy. Ultimately, the best poker strategy is to only gamble with money that you are willing to lose and to always know when to fold.