A Beginner’s Guide to Poker Strategy

Despite the fact that poker is largely a game of chance there are many different strategies that can be employed. Generally speaking good players know how to calculate pot odds and percentages quickly, are patient enough to wait for good hands and play in position. They also learn from their mistakes and tweak their strategy accordingly. There are countless poker books on the market that discuss various approaches to the game but it is generally recommended that a player develop their own strategy by taking detailed notes or discussing their playing style with experienced players.

The first step is to determine the strength of your cards. This is done by checking your opponent’s betting pattern and learning their tells (eye movements, idiosyncrasies, hand gestures etc). If an opponent calls often but then suddenly raises a large amount of money, this is usually a sign that they have a strong hand.

Once you’ve determined the strength of your cards you can decide whether to call or fold. Typically if your hand is not good it’s best to fold and move on. However, if your hand is strong you should bet at it to price out weaker hands and increase the value of your pot.

After the initial betting round is complete the dealer puts three more cards on the table that everyone can use. This is called the flop. After this another betting round takes place and the player with the highest ranked five-card hand wins the “pot” – all of the bets that have been placed during that particular hand.