Observing from afar, playing poker looks easy, especially when you’re used to watching professionals play. However, when you’re on the hot seat yourself, you’d quickly realize it’s not that easy. Poker is a mind game that requires strategic planning and execution to win. Therefore, you need to understand how to play poker like the pros to actually play like them.
An overview of poker
Poker is a game that utilizes a standard 52 cards pack with the addition of one or two jokers. Usually, two packs of contrasting colors are used to speed up the game and while one pack is being dealt, the other is shuffled. What happens is that when a deal is in progress, the former dealer gathered the cards from the pack he dealt, shuffles them, and places the deck on the left.
In a similar flow, the shuffled deck is passed to the next dealer when it’s time for the next ideal. Also, in most games that make use of two packs, the dealer’s left-hand opponent cuts the pack instead of their right-hand opponent.
Playing poker like a pro: What you should do
There are several tips to adhere to in order to play poker like the pros. These tips would guide your actions and increase your chances of emerging the winner. We have:
- Know your cards
- Understand your competition
- Know when to raise or fold
- Suited connectors
- Flop/Pre-flop and bluff
- Understanding the turn
- Constant practice
Knowing your cars is important to winning in the game of poker. No matter how complicated they seem to be, immediately focus and memorize all of them at the beginning of the game. Doing this would save you the stress of looking at your cards now and then, which makes you look like an armature.
However, reading and understanding your competition is just as essential as knowing your cards. From your opponent’s body language to dressing, nervous behaviors, composure, and more, there is a lot you can tell from reading the room. Knowing whether they are risk-takers or not would help you decide the kind of moves to make.
A pro player knows when to raise or fold, and you have to know that too. For starters, it is not a good idea to raise when you have a bad hand, and even when you do, it’s advisable to keep your head down and wait for the game to mature a bit. When you have a really bad hand, it’s best to fold and quit as soon as you can.
Understanding Flop/Pre-flop and bluff is very important in fooling other players on your next move. The turn comes into play when the fourth community card is dealt with the flop. At this time, knowing when to shut down further betting or leave the betting open is priceless.
Betting an amount: The best approach
As a rule of thumb, the amount you bet should always be measured relative to the pot. A small bet is considered to be an amount equal to half of the pot or less, while a medium bet falls somewhere between half and three quarters of the pot. Tending towards the huge side, anything above three quarters of the size of the pot is considered a big bet.
However, regardless of the size of the pot, you should always bet a sum that you can afford to lose.