What is Poker?
Poker is a card game in which, in each round, players place bets based on the strength of their cards. There are several types of poker, each with its own rules (see below).
It is a game of skill, considered a sport of the mind by IMSA (International Mind Sports Association), in which it is important to know the rules thoroughly, apply basic statistical and mathematical knowledge, learn to “read” people and their attitudes and know how to deal with your own emotions. Luck in poker may be relevant in the short term, but it is clearly irrelevant in the long term. Let us explain: the best players in the world may have moments when they only receive bad cards and lose games in sequence. In the same way, novice players can get very lucky and win some games. In the long run, however, the best players will win more, and the worst will lose more. An example of this is the professional Phil Hellmuth Jr., who has won the world championship 11 times!
Poker has dozens of versions, but the most popular are:
- Texas Hold’em is a game in which each player is dealt two down cards. During the round, five open cards (community cards) are placed on the table. It is the most popular game today, and the one played in the biggest championships.
- Draw Poker was the most commonly played form of poker in the past. In it, each player receives five cards, and can exchange zero to five cards for others.
- Omaha is one of the fastest growing sports today. It has many similarities to Texas Hold’em, but there are four down cards, not two.
Poker Strategies for Beginners
It’s one thing to understand the basic rules of how to play poker, but learning how to truly play needs a little more commitment. You probably don’t want to spend your time losing at poker until you gain some experience, so let’s give you some tips that will hopefully give you an edge over other players.
Here’s the best poker tip you’ll get, so read it carefully: Don’t play too many hands! You should play only 18-20% of the hands at a standard table with nine players. You probably want to play only good hands when you are just starting out.
But what are good hands? You can start with 9-9, TT, JJ, QQ, KK, AA and AJ, AQ and AK. You can skip the round if you are playing against fewer than eight players. Also, avoid too many calls, as this is one of the favorite moves of the poker novice. It is easy to understand why: new players are not sure what they really have and if it is good.
Don’t be embarrassed if you lose the hand!
Poker has a way of making even the most experienced players look like absolute idiots. It is just the nature of the game. You will get caught with the worst hand. You’re going to lose big pots. You’ll play your hand badly. Anything can happen in poker!
Sometimes, when you’re learning, it can lead to some serious “feels bad, man” moments. Don’t worry. Keep playing and working on your game. It will take some time to get the hang of it.