5 Tips to Become a Successful Poker Player
To the novice, poker is a game of luck with the cards ultimately determining the winner. Although this is true to a point, it takes skill to win.
When you think of poker, your mind may draw up an image of gamblers gathered around a crowded table in someone’s basement with an overhanging cloud of smoke. In more recent times, you may think of poker as less of an actual card game and more an application on a smartphone or tablet – either way, the same rules still apply.
1. Learn the Game
In order to be good at the game of poker, you first have to learn the rules. The most commonly played variation of poker is Texas Holdem – complete beginners will do well to learn the basics of this and start from there.
The rules can be confusing the first few times that you read through them. If you know someone that plays poker, ask them to run through the rules with you and explain the different hands and their values.
2. Practice (For Free!)
Once you have nailed the basics, or at least have an understanding of them, it is time to get out and practice the game. Under no circumstances should you step straight into a game for money – veteran players will exploit your lack of experience.
Play for fun with friends or online in free rooms in order to get a feel for the game. Under these circumstances, you will likely come up against other players who are also learning the game and do not feel comfortable playing for money.
After a few games, you will begin to pick up on what are good hands and what are bad ones, forming a better understanding of when you are most likely to win and lose.
3. Poker Face
Everyone has heard of the saying ‘poker face’, meaning not to display or give away any emotion. One of the key aspects of the game is to bluff your opponent, especially when you have been dealt a poor hand as, while the chances of winning outright may be slim, you can still beat your opponent.
After each round of dealing, each player is asked to place their bets – either by ‘calling’, which means matching the other player’s previous bet, or ‘raise’, which is to match and exceed the previous bet. During this period, each player attempts to remain stone faced so as not to give any signs of the cards they have in their hand.
If you are able to hold your emotion, you are already halfway there to becoming a good poker player.
4. Look the Part
Looking the part of a poker player is all part of the fun. Some players like to wear designer jewellery, especially on casino nights, while others may opt for a shirt with poker cufflinks (not currently available) as a subtle accessory.
If you are not one for wearing highly formal attire then that is fine, too, as many players prefer to wear casual clothes for long periods of play. Other players like to wear sunglasses as they believe this helps with their bluff, although some players disagree.
5. Have Fun
Lastly, the most important tip to becoming a good poker is that you play for fun, and do not fall into the trap of playing on when the fun stops.
Poker, as a form of gambling, can become an expensive addiction – do not bet with money that you do not have, and do not play to recoup lost bets as this, more often than not, only ends with losing more money.
By following these tips, you will be well on your way to learning the game and becoming a good poker player.