Poker Basics 101

Poker has always been a popular game but thanks to the recent emergence of televised poker games as well as the growing interest in the World Series of Poker, or WSOP, it has never been more popular than it is right now. That is bringing a lot of new players into the game and if you are one of them, realize that learning things from the bottom up is going to make you a fantastic player very quickly.

You need to know the basics. Now, rules can only take you so far. As you learn the rules, you also need to put them into play. So I need you to do something here: for each new rule, tip, or strategy presented in this series of post, do what you can to put it into practice so that you can actually apply firsthand experience to what you learn.

Now, that does not mean you should run right out and start playing high stakes at a bricks and mortar casino or at an online one. Just invite a couple of buddies over and play for fun!

Now, it has to be said that, without a doubt, Texas Hold Em is probably the most popular variation of poker being played right now. As such, most of the rules and strategies detailed in this series of posts will apply to that particular game. However, a lot of rules are universal, so many of them can be used across the board in other variations as well.

There are a couple of terms you need to familiarize yourself with as you begin this game. For instance, this game uses community cards, which means that they can be used by all players. The dealer lays these cards out, face up, in the middle of the table so they are view-able by all. The first three community cards are known as the Flop. The fourth card is known as the Turn, while the fifth and final card is regarded as the River. The two cards you as a player are dealt face down are known as your hole cards. You use them in conjunction with the community cards to create the best hand.

The fact of the matter is, you do not want to be a donkey. Above all else, you do not want your opponents to look at you like you are a donk. That is where these tips come in handy.

So, picking up where we left off, lets start talking about bluffing. You do not want to bluff just because you can. Bluffing just for the sake of it is a real donkey move. Sadly, it is also something a lot of novice players do.

Listen. There is not rule one in poker that says you have to bluff at least once, twice, three times a game. In fact, you never have to bluff at all if you do not want to bluff. Besides, bluffing is an art. You actually should not do it unless you have it down to a science and can actually make it work for you which is harder than you might think.

Another basic move that many poker players especially those who are new to the game do not realize, or at least do not follow, involves staying in the game when you should not. It does not matter how much money you have in the pot. If you have a sub par hand, the chances are high that you probably will not get it back. So, if you continue feeding money into the pot, you are essentially just losing more and more.

Be nice to your wallet. Pull out and fold while you can, especially if there is no hope of improving the hand you currently have.

Folding is not a sign of weakness. In fact, if you do not do it at least occasionally, your opponents are going to find it very easy to goad you into playing a losing hand. That means more money for them, way less for you and who wants that?

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