Online Poker Strategy

Suits are never used to break ties, and only the best five cards in each hand are used in the comparison. Now that the values of the cards have been established, it is time to move on to the basic rules of poker. First, each player places an ante into the pot before the cards are even dealt. An ante is necessary because it guarantees that someone will always win something on each hand. Once everyone has put in their ante, the dealer deals the cards face down around the table, starting at the player to his left and continuing clockwise. The dealer deals to himself last if he is playing. The dealer deals everyone his first card, then goes back around the circle for the second, and so on. Play begins once everyone has his five cards. Each player on looks at his cards, and then the first player places a bet.

The player directly to the left of the dealer makes the first bet. Then on the next hand, the person to his left will bet first, and so on around the table for each new hand. Players have two choices if no one has made a bet yet. They can open the pot; this means making the first bet. They can also check; a check is a bet of zero that does not forfeit interest in the pot. Once the betting is opened, players have four choices. They can fold, raise, see, or call. Folding is a surrender of interest in the pot in response to another player’s bet, and it is also accompanied by the loss of one’s cards and previous bets. A raise is a nonzero bet greater than preceding bets that all successive players must match or exceed. Seeing a bet is simply matching a bet to stay in the game. All players who haven’t folded are permitted to exchange up to three cards; no one sees what anyone else threw away or drew because it is all done face down. The betting resumes when every player has drawn his cards. The game ends when someone calls, or everyone has folded except for the winner.

Once the basic rules have been mastered, players can concentrate on strategy. Any mere player can luck out when playing a game of poker, but more experienced players depend on strategy. While some may believe that all the winnings in poker are won because of the luck of the draw, others know that strategy is the key element that determines winners and losers. The most important part of being a good poker player is having the ability to lie well. Bluffing, a fundamental strategy of poker, is pretending to have better cards than one actually does. A bluffer usually bets more than his cards warrant because he wants to scare his opponent into believing that he has a great hand. All people have tells, but it is extremely important that one does not allow other players to know what his tell is. This is accomplished by wearing a poker face; it is not giving any clues about how good or bad one’s hand is. Poker players should also bet within their means and not be afraid to fold. Playing too aggressively can lead to losing a lot of money in a short amount of time. Just knowing the cards and their values, the basic rules, and poker strategy does not equate to being able to bet the farm on a hand of poker. Many people have had their lives ruined by betting over their head and coming up short. Winning a big pot in a hand of poker can be exhilarating, but playing poker can also be a humbling experience. When playing poker for high stakes or just for fun, it is important to know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.