Poker has always been a popular card game, both as a pastime and for gambling. Many people consider it to be the purest card game (discussions with the bridge fanatics can become heated) and is one of the most popular forms of gambling worldwide. Anyone can learn how to play poker, but not everyone will be good at it. If everyone knew how to play poker well, then those of us who do wouldn’t have anyone to take money from.
That’s one of the basic rules of playing poker, if you don’t see a sucker at the table, then you’re it. Outside of a friendly game with limited stakes, if you don’t know how to play poker you will lose. You absolutely must know the rules, the hands and the odds to do well. You might get lucky and have someone in your game who is just playing for fun, but you should assume that everyone you play with knows how to play poker and play it well. Once you do know how to play poker, you’ll have fun playing (or just watching on TV).
With the rise of televised poker tournaments, poker is now in the mainstream. It seems everyone knows how to play and is willing to discuss it at the bar or the watercooler. The professionals who play do it for a living. As with anything else, if you want to learn how to play poker, watch the pros. They all have important traits for the aspiring poker player to study: they pay attention to cards in play, they know the odds and they don’t waste money on foolish bets. If a pro makes a move you wouldn’t, figure out why they did it before you rely on your strategy with money on the table.
Poker takes a lot of practice to learn, and there are a few ways you can do that without spending a lot of money. Many of us ‘charge’ for lessons by playing for money with people trying to learn how to play poker. This is an excellent learning aid as having real money out during lessons concentrates your attention like little else will. But, there are things you need to know before you sit down at a table. Find a computer poker game you like, there are many inexpensive or free poker programs offering a wide variety of play styles. There are also many online poker sites that offer free play. Practice at your computer before you go online, free trials are a waste of time if you haven’t memorized the hands yet.
Poker Is Not Gambling
So you’ve learned how to play poker, you know the odds and understand why a flush beats a straight. The mechanics are second nature and you’ve gotten over drawing to an inside straight. Now it’s time to get serious and start winning at poker.
When you first start to learn to play poker, it looks like a game of chance. Many people believe that their luck will even out if they play long enough. Try and arrange to have as many of these people at the table with you as possible, they bring the money you will be going home with.
Poker is not gambling. There are cards, they get shuffled, money changes hands. Sounds like gambling right ? No. Not at all. Poker is a game of skill. The pros understand this.(‘about even, or maybe up a little’ is shorthand for ‘I always lose and try not to think about it’) Over time, even just a few hours, the luck will even out. And the people who play for a living have mastered the skills in reading their opponents. If you understand how individuals bet, how they respond to bluffs and can tell when they’re probably bluffing then… stay with me… the cards in your hand never matter. If you can get everyone to fold, then you never show your cards (never let anyone examine your cards after winning a hand without a showdown). That’s the pro secret, play the players, not the cards. The cards are simply how you manipulate your opponents. Learning to play poker is learning people.
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