The Basics of Poker Strategy

Poker is a card game played by two or more players. The aim of the game is to form a poker hand which ranks higher than all other hands in order to win the pot. The hand is formed from the player’s personal cards (pocket cards) and community cards. Poker is a game of skill, luck and psychology. The most powerful poker hands are Royal Flush (10-Jack-Queen-King of the same suit), Straight Flush, Four of a Kind, Full House, Two Pairs and High Card.

When forming a poker hand, the most important thing is to understand how your opponents will play their hands. The better you know your opponent’s range the more likely it will be for you to make a profit. Putting your opponent on a specific hand is very difficult to do but understanding their pre-flop actions and how they play can help you put them on a particular range.

In most poker games, each player puts money into the pot voluntarily. This is called a bet and it’s the responsibility of the player in the seat to the left of the dealer. A bet can be raised, lowered or folded depending on the situation at that time. In the early stages of a poker game this bet is usually a small amount, but as the game progresses the stakes are increased. This allows more and more players to bet with stronger hands and the pot size grows too.

During each betting round, the dealer deals three cards face up on the table. These are the community cards that everyone can use. Then another betting round takes place and the dealer puts a fourth community card on the board that everyone can use. Then a third betting round takes place and finally the final betting round is revealed which is the fifth community card.

Once the final betting round is over the highest ranked poker hand wins the pot. The best way to achieve this is to be in the late position and bet at your strongest possible poker hand on the flop. This will force weaker poker hands to fold, giving you a better chance of winning the pot.

Studying poker strategy is hard work but it can be made much easier if you stick to ONE concept at a time. Too many players bounce around in their studies, watching a cbet video on Monday then reading a 3bet article on Tuesday and so on. This way you won’t get too confused about the different concepts and you will be able to improve your poker game much faster.