5 Basic Poker Skills You Need to Become a Better Poker Player


Poker is a card game in which players form a hand based on card rankings to win the pot at the end of each betting round. The pot is the total amount of bets placed by all players during the hand. It is important to understand the rules of poker and to practice the basic skills in order to play well.

Learn to Read Players

A large part of being a good poker player is learning to read your opponents and exploiting their mistakes. While there are a lot of subtle physical poker tells (such as scratching your nose, or playing nervously with your chips) most players will not pick them up, and it is more effective to watch their patterns instead. This will help you to work out their range of hands, and be able to put them on a hand much more quickly.

You must also learn to recognize when to fold a poor hand, and when to raise it. While many beginners feel they must always hold a strong starting hand, this can be very costly over the long term. In general, you should only call or raise with strong value hands and try to fold any weak ones.

The final skill you need to develop is understanding when to bet and how much to bet. This involves balancing the odds of your hand beating others, and the cost of calling a bet to hit the draw. Generally, you should bet more when in late position, and less when in early position. This will ensure that you are raising more hands and chasing fewer, and will therefore increase your chances of winning the pot.

Be Afraid of Playing Trash

Often, new players will feel timid about playing their trashy hands and will fold them preflop. This is a big mistake, as it can be very easy to get your trashy hand transformed into a monster on the flop. Moreover, you can often get some of the best poker hands such as pocket kings or queens by calling the flop and then bluffing on the turn or river.

Study Previous Hands

Developing an overall poker strategy takes time and effort. One of the best ways to do this is by studying previous hands you have played. You can do this by watching replays, or using poker software that lets you review your own hands. It is also a good idea to look at the hands of your opponents too, so that you can see how they played their hands and how you could improve on their mistakes.

Lastly, you should pay close attention to the players around you, and try to avoid tables with any players who are clearly better than you. While this can be difficult to do at times, it will dramatically improve your win rate over the long term. It is also important to focus on improving your own game, rather than trying to copy the style of other players.