The Basics of Poker Strategy


There’s more to poker than just playing cards – reading your opponents and understanding body language is key. These skills, along with understanding the odds of your hand and how to play it, are the foundations for a successful poker strategy.

In poker, players bet in turn, by placing chips into the pot. When it’s your turn, you can either call the previous player’s bet, raise (put in more than your opponent did) or fold. When you raise, you have the opportunity to put your own money into the pot and price worse hands out of the pot.

One of the most important things to understand about poker is the concept of risk vs. reward. This is a critical principle to learn and apply at the tables and it will help you make good decisions in every situation. Over time, the numbers that you see in training videos and software output will begin to ingrain themselves into your poker brain, and you’ll develop a natural intuition for things like frequencies and EV estimation.

For example, let’s say you have pocket kings and the flop is A-8-5. This is a great flop for your hand because it disguises its strength and people will have trouble putting you on it. They may even think you have a weaker hand like ace-high or queen-high. In this case, you would probably want to call the bet and hope for a better draw. However, if you have a strong hand and can’t find a better one, then it’s probably best to fold.