For many people, learning the rules of poker is often enough to stop them from every playing the game. That is to say, poker is quite a complicated card game and this is certainly true when compared to most other games in the casino like roulette, craps and even blackjack.
But does this mean you should avoid competing with players that know all the mind-games?
Definitely not. You see, mind games will only get these poker players so far and skillful players will only take advantage of inexperienced players in the beginning. In other words, you can get your own skills up to scratch and the probability of winning has more to do with your hand than any amount of mind-games. And this takes us right into our first step for how to learn poker like a pro:
1. Know and Study the Different Hands
Now, in order to play poker, you really must get to grips (excuse the punk) with the different hands. After all, even though many types of poker exist, this series of hands is always the same. In fact, it’s often a good idea to have a poker cheat sheet or print-out within reach so that you can refer to these hands for a reminder. Ideally, you can memorize each hand and know their ranking from low to high.
For example, a royal flush is the highest ranked hand in poker and contains a jack, queen, king, ace and the number ten of the same suit. A royal flush cannot be beaten but there are many more types of hands such as a 4-of-a-kind, full house, and two-pair.
2. Know How to Place the Initial Bets (Minimum Bets and Blind Bets)
You always need to place a bet at the start of a game and this can be done in two ways. Texas Hold’em is when a player next to the dealer will place a blind bet (usually half the minimum bet required), and the person to the left of this player will then place at least the minimum bet. Alternatively, every player can choose to place a minimum bet into the pool and this is known as “ante up” in poker talk. Just so you know, most poker games use the latter of these systems.
3. Realize the Importance of Protecting Your Hand
Before you receive your hand, the dealer will place the first card in the deck onto the table. At this point, the dealer will give each player two cards and this will always happen in a clockwise motion. Now, it’s important to remember that players will never show each other their cards until the final showdown. And this even applies to players who drop out because their reactions or facial expressions might give other players some kind of clue as to what hand you have available. Also, with poker cheats starting to rear their ugly heads online, it’s more important than ever to play it safe.
4. Understand What Calls You Should Make in Poker
When the dealer puts new cards out, you can place a bet. Needless to say, this bet will be made based upon the strength or weakness of your two cards. Provided nobody else has placed a bet, you can initiate this betting right away but there are also certain calls you can make as follows:
Call – When you want to match the bet of another player.
Raise – When you want to add more money to the pool.
Check – When you do not wish to bet.
Fold – When you do not want to match the bet of another player.
If you decide to call “fold”, you will be required to place your cards face down on the table.
5. Use the Community Cards to Build a Better Hand
When each player has placed a bet, your dealer will place the top card on the table once again. At this point, they will also place three more cards face up alongside this same card. Known as the “community cards” of “flop”, these cards can be used by players to help build a better hand. In total, there should be five cards which means you will have a total of seven from which to build a hand.
When you are finished comparing these cards, you are ready to place a bet.
6. Check the Turn Card and Examine Your Hand (After Round Two of Betting)
When the dealer places the top card of a deck on the table, this is known as a “burn”. However, when a second card is placed face up next to this burn card, you have what is known as a “turn.” Once again, you will be ready to make one of the calls that we mentioned earlier in this article.
Unless competing in a professional tournament, it’s common for players to swap cards in poker. Either way, you should be focused on building a strong hand and keeping in mind the many potential combinations that might transpire. For example, you there is a 4,5,6 and 7 on the table, any player with a 3 or 8 will have a straight. Similarly, if four cards on the table are the same suit, then a player with one card of that suit can pick them up to create a flush.
But one more thing…there is also the “River” card. The dealer will place this card face up at the very end and this can be used in the same way as the community cards. Finally, it’s time to make a call.
7. Think Carefully in the Final Showdown
A showdown takes place when there are two or more players left in the game. More specifically, the winning player must reveal his/her cards and the winner is selected based on the best hand on the table. And the best part? This is exactly when the winner gets to gather all the chips from the pool.
It should go without saying that having a strategy is always important in poker. If you do not have a good hand, it usually makes sense to fold rather than try to bluff or hope for something special to happen. After all, something special can happen to any player – even those who have a strong hand.
As you can imagine, it’s much easier to bluff when using an NJ online casino but the same tricks, rules and principles still apply whether you can see the other players or not. Either way, you’ve got to know when to hold them just as much as you need to know how to walk away.
Becoming a poker pro takes a lot of time and effort. However, this is absolutely no good reason to avoid competing or at least learning how to play to a decent level. And this happens all the time – as seen in this article about a Wallstreet employee that became a professional poker player.
After all, everyone needs to start somewhere and some of the best poker players in the world are late starters, possibly just like you.