Poker is a card game in which you try to make the best hand possible from the cards you’re dealt. The player with the highest hand wins the pot. You can play this game in many different forms, including tournaments and cash games.
1. The Game
In poker, players use a standard deck of 52 cards (some variant games add jokers or a wild card) to create their five-card hands. Each player’s hand is ranked according to the suit and rank of their cards.
2. Betting & Calls
In most forms of poker, players bet or call once each time the dealer deals two cards to each player, then shows a fifth card on the board called the river. After the last betting round, everyone flips over their hands and the player with the highest-ranked hand wins the pot.
3. The Player, Not Your Cards
While you may think you have the best hand, it’s often not as strong as you think. You’ll have to play against other players, so it’s important to consider their hands and what they might have to offer.
4. The Gap Concept
In most forms of poker, you need to bet when you have a better hand than your opponent(s) has. This is called the gap concept and is one of the most important things to know about poker.
5. Stack-to-pot ratios
When you have a large enough stack, you will usually need to be more committed to certain holdings than when you have a smaller stack. This is known as a Stack-to-Pot Ratio, or SPR for short. You can calculate your SPR by dividing the current pot size into your effective stack.
6. Ranges & Hands
As you become more familiar with poker, you will begin to see the value in forming and using ranges of hands. This will help you make more informed decisions on the flop, turn and river and ultimately win more money.
7. Counting Combos and Blockers
As soon as you start to count combos, and blockers, it will become an instinctual part of your game. This will save you a lot of time in the long run, since these concepts will be naturally ingrained in your mind during every hand.
8. Sizing & Playing With Your Eyes Open
Another useful poker tool is to play with your eyes open. This means looking at the other players’ hands and how they are sizing their pots. It can give you a better idea of what they might be holding and whether it is likely they’ll fold or not.
Likewise, it can also give you an idea of how to adjust your own hand sizes. It’s not just about the sizing, though, but about how they are playing with their eyes open too.
By implementing these seven strategies, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a winning poker player. And, in addition to helping you bet more efficiently and improve your hand strength, these strategies will help you avoid making mistakes, which is the number one reason for losing poker games.