Poker Strategy

Poker is not a difficult game to learn how to play. It is however, a difficult game to master. In poker, there are only a few rules to the game, so playing strategy in terms of what hands to go for and whether or not to stay in on a pot isn't the hard part. Being good at poker means learning how to use the intricacies of the game to your favor, such as reading your opponents, bluffing and knowing when to cut your losses or stay in the pot.

Know your cards and rules

This may seem like common sense, it's still surprising how many people sit down at a real money table and don't know what a hand is worth. It's even more surprising how many people have no idea how to play a particular type of poker at Zodiac casino Canada, yet happily lose money at it without fully understanding the rules. If you need help with hands and/or game rules; read up first:

• Poker Hands in Order of importance
• Poker Rules for Different Types of Poker 

Know what the chances are for a hand to make

Be sure you know not only what hand beats what, but how likely a hand is to make at any given time. It's one thing to know that two pair aren’t as good as a Flush - but it's just as important to know what the chances are that your opponent actually has that Flush dealt. This will help you read a bluff.

You should be able to figure the likelihood that you will help your hand (before it's dealt) and the chances of the other player having a hand that beats it. If you don't you won't know when to stay in the or when to fold. 

Always consider the risk vs. the reward

Every time you're required to feed the pot you should be asking yourself - what's the pot worth against how much I have to put in it? It's simple risk management - if you have a 1 in 10 chance of taking a pot, but a 1 in 20 chance of having the winning hand on the table - you need to fold!

Over the long run, you'll win more money if you stay in on games where the chance of taking the pot outweighs the risks. 

Don't stay in every hand!

It goes along with assessing the pot amounts, but starts even earlier. If you're dealt a hand full of nothing - fold! If you're not bluffing, why put in any more money than you have to when the odds are against you. The reason most people stay in on a bad hand? 'Because it's boring to fold and wait for the next hand.' That's not something you'll ever hear a professional player say.

The exception to the rule is the occasional bluff. It's still not wise to stay in without a decent hand if someone else has initiated the raising and appears to have something. But, if you never put any money on the table without having 4 of a kind first, the players will eventually figure it out. When that happens, the pots will be small on your winning hands because people will know when to fold. 

Don't forget to bluff! And when you do bluff, remember...

Don't be predictable. In some cases, you'll want to look predictable to get players to do what you want, but if you don't change your patterns from time to time you'll start losing fast.

Bluffing usually doesn't work if there's a full table still in on the hand. Don't expect 5 other players to fold on your pair of 2's, chances are somebody has a hand good enough to stay in.

Players are less likely to fold in games with a split pot like Hi/Lo because they've got a better chance of winning half the pot than they would in a 'winner takes all' game. This is especially true for Hi/Lo, when many players will qualify for a low hand. Bluff accordingly.

Know when to hold 'em. It's inevitable that you won't win every hand that you've bluffed on - sometimes your opponents will have strong enough hands to stay in no matter how much you raise. It's a bad idea to fold every time a player raises your bluff.

If you’re ready to try out your skills check out online poker rooms for great places to play!