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Poker Player Guide

Poker is one of the most popular games available in the gambling world today. It constantly draws millions of players to tournaments and online poker sites, ranging from brand new comers to top professionals. With so any variations of poker available online and offline, it would be difficult to pinpoint the rules and regulations of each, however there several universal strategies that poker players need to take into account if they want to improve their game and make consistent wins.
 

How to Improve your Game of Poker

  • Know your Game: Read up as much as you can about the game of poker, whether through books, websites or other sources of information. Knowledge is power and you can never know enough about poker. There are constant changes in the industry and you would be wise to keep yourself informed as much as possible. Also, don't be ashamed to ask advice from players who are better than you. After all, nobody was born knowing how to play poker.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice: Once you have acquired enough theoretical knowledge, now is the time to apply it to real games of poker. The best (and cheapest) way to go about it would be to download free poker software off the internet and practice until you build up enough confidence in the game and hone your skills. Once you feel that the time is right, you'll be on your way to join the real action by playing for real money.
  • Improve your Math Skills: When playing poker, you will need to know the general probability of the game, the importance of outs and how to figure out the pots. If your math skills are poor, you run the risk of playing a weaker game. Brush up on those old school lessons and stick to practice mode until your feel that your math is good enough to risk playing for real money.
  • Learn to be Disciplined: Discipline ultimately separates the winners from the losers in poker. A disciplined player will know how much money he or she has to spend and how long each gambling session will last. Not only that – the disciplined player will stick to these decisions. This type of player will also know just when to quit – immediately when on a tilt and a little later when the going it good.
  • Develop Psychological Skills: To improve your game of poker, you will need to learn to identify what the other opponents around the table are thinking and doing. Learning to recognize answers to questions such as “What hand has my opponent been dealt” and “What hand does the opponent think I am holding” will go a long way in improving your game strategy.
 

How to Make Consistent Wins at Poker

  • Decide How Much to Invest: It is important to differentiate between two types of poker players. Those who are out to have fun or have not played much in their poker careers, and those who are more seasoned and are out to make a profit. The former group may not worry about losing the initial $200 that they set out with to play and will come back again when they have more money to blow. A more serious player, however, will develop a strategy whereby he assures himself a constant win without blowing his entire bankroll. Investing around 200 big bets is considered a fair amount, considering that the bankroll amount can be met.
  • Keep a Record: A great idea is to keep a daily record of your poker activities to see exactly where your gains and losses lie. If you are spending more than you are winning, you need to rethink your strategy. This prevents you from losing money in the long run at poker games.
  • Play Simply: To ensure consistent wins, especially during your initial attempts at the game, stick to low-limit variations where your main aim will be to outdo poorer players. Keep your game strategy simple by playing tight, avoiding intricate bluffing, using pot odds to make decisions and playing aggressively when you are almost sure that you have the best hand at the table.
  • Accept that there is no Optimal Strategy: While there are some guidelines to follow regarding every variation of poker, remember that practicing and improving your ability to judge for yourself will go much further towards your success in poker. There is no strict set of guidelines for how to play poker and the best thing that you can do to overcome this is to play as much as possible and learn from your mistakes to see what works for you.
  • Work on your Self-Confidence: Learn to think for yourself in poker and you will see how dramatically your game will improve. Combine your general knowledge of the game with the ability to make on-the-spot decisions that may go totally against textbook rules.
 

Common Mistakes to Watch out For

  • Don't Play Beyond your Bankroll: Avoid becoming greedy and – again – learn when to quit. If you have budgeted for a certain amount at the poker tables, do all you can to stick to that budget. Stick to simple games initially and, only after you have built up your confidence, should you try out higher-stake games.
  • Don't Believe in Superstitions: Any game that involves an element of luck is bound to have several myths and superstitions pertaining to it. Try to ignore these misconceptions, as you will find yourself devoting far too much time on irrational behavior in the hope that your luck will change and improve. Focus only on playing well and disregard everything else.
  • Don't Let Emotions Rule your Game: Becoming upset or agitated at a poker table means double trouble for you as a player. Firstly, your judgment becomes clouded as you struggle with your emotions. Secondly, your fellow players will probably rub their hands in glee, knowing that something about the hand that were dealt is making you upset. A good poker player learns to keep him emotions in check at all times.
  • Dont be Rude: Playing poker is NOT about profane language and rough play. In today's poker rooms and online poker sites, etiquette is part and parcel of the deal and you should learn to take into account the other players at the table or on the site. Refrain from bad language, derogatory comments and slander. The anonymity of the internet, does not give you permission to hide behind your cybername and abuse the chat system at a site. You will find yourself removed from the online poker room – sometimes for good.
  • Don't Overlook the Importance of Pot Odds: Take the time and effort to learn about the concept of pot odds as this may help you determine whether you should call to view the next card on the board, if your hand needs improvement. Although the idea of pot odds may seem initially slightly daunting, read up on articles or practice with a pot odds calculator to improve your understanding.
  • Don't Become a Parrot Player: There is nothing wrong with learning the game of poker by watching exciting tournaments on television or better players than you around a poker table. But there comes a time when you have to really understand WHY the player did or did not make a certain move and then apply it to your own logic and game strategy. Imitating any player could lead you to become a bad player in the long run – and is one of the cardinal mistakes made by many poker players.
 

Conclusion

The game of poker provides players with an excellent combination of skill, luck and social interaction. The game is both entertaining and educational, and for these reasons it draws literally millions of players worldwide. The online poker world has opened up the game to people who might never have considered it a gaming option and, of course, there is always the chance that you can make money while having fun. Believe it or not, poker is one of the few wagering games where players can win if they play well over the long run. Smart decisions, knowledge and common sense will go a long way in ensuring a player's road to victory in poker.

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