Forget luck – Poker is a game of skill, and to achieve any degree of success it’s essential to learn Poker Strategy
Poker is a fascinating, complex mind game
It’s no surprise that poker is so enormously popular around the world, and that so many players enjoy the game online. As the saying goes, the game takes only minutes to learn and a lifetime to master.
Of course, due to the luck element it’s possible to get by and maybe even have albeit limited success by putting in little or no effort. ‘Anybody can win’ is what attracts so many to poker in the first place.
However, for any poker fan who harbours even a modest level of ambition, the only way to progress is to learn about the game, and that means familiarising yourself with poker strategy.
Poker theorists often point out that the game is ‘situational’ – this isn’t a lazy way of adding a proviso that a particular play or aspect of a strategy they’re advocating might not necessarily always apply. Rather it’s a poker fact of life. There simply isn’t going to always be a ‘correct’ way of doing things.
Consequently, the only way to properly learn is to become acquainted with as much about the game as possible in order to have the best chance of making sound decisions in all manner of scenarios. Your aim should be to reach a level of understanding and competence – and with it confidence – that allows you to analyse and assess whatever situation you find yourself in, and in turn arrive at decisions which in the long-term effectively result in being a winning player. This, after all, should be the goal of any poker player, just as those who play golf with any regularity strive to improve their handicap, or chess players work at improving their game.
Given that poker is such a rich tapestry, with countless facets that are all interlinked by common characteristics and themes and so on, there will never be a shortage of elements to get to grips with.
First, poker is the ultimate mind game, so investigating the fascinating area of Poker Psychology is an imperative. Not only do you need to project a certain image (or, indeed, a number of images!), you must try to get into the heads of your opponents on two fronts: to both understand how they might be thinking, as well as to try to manipulate their decision making process by steering them into making erroneous assumptions about how you’re thinking! This approach underpins everything around which poker revolves because with each new hand we’re potentially faced with a new psychological battle.
Then there’s the mathematical aspect. Fortunately, you certainly don’t need to be a maths genius to be a well armed poker player! Once you get an idea about the fundamentals – such as the number of outs you have for an open-ended straight draw, how often your AK will hit at least a pair on the Flop, or the chances of your pocket kings finding another king when the Flop hits and so on – the rest is relatively easy.
These are just two of the key elements of the game in which you should immerse yourself. There are plenty more…
To help you along the way in your quest for poker mastery, we’ve put together a Strategy section which covers numerous aspects of the game and to which we constantly add articles, with daily contributions.
There is something for everyone, from articles aimed at new and inexperienced players to more detailed material that delves deeper into how we can try to think and formulate decisions at the table.
Have a look around, pick up a few tips and food for thought and gradually build up an appreciation of the game while adding to your bag of tricks.
Have fun at the tables!