Basic Poker Strategy
Poker strategy is a key part of the game and helps many players achieve success. For some, poker appears like a game of pure luck and chance. But there is more than meets the eye in all poker styles.
While poker may seem like a straightforward game at face value, a player can improve their chances of winning with basic strategy. For beginner players, having a few different strategies is vital. It can make the difference between being competitive at any table and being eliminated early on.
Is there a Strategy in Poker?
Poker is commonly seen as a game where chance and luck favors players more than strategy. But the best and most successful poker players in the world practice different strategies.
The more games of poker a player experiences, the more they can refine their strategy. Experiencing different scenarios in poker helps players to learn and make decisions. Many beginner players make random decisions based on each hand. Therefore, luck plays a bigger part in the outcome of any hand.
However, successful poker players use strategy to control the game from the start. Many of the top players are patient and commit to a long-term poker strategy.
What is the Best Poker Strategy?
Poker players will have different strategies. Some players will also adapt how they play any game based on several factors. These include the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, position, and how many chips they have.
Below are some basic poker strategies for beginner players:
1. Know the best starting hands: One predictable element of poker is knowing which hands to play. Certain hands have greater chances of winning or losing a hand if they reach the showdown. Understanding starting cards’ value is essential before implementing any further strategy.
2. Understand Position: The dealer button determines position in poker, and changes person after each hand. There are pros and cons to each position at the poker table. As a general rule, the player who bets last is in the strongest position. Here, the player has the benefit of observing all their opponents’ moves and can react accordingly.
3. Avoid Limping: Limping is when a player calls to match the big blind during the pre-flop. Raising is considered a better poker strategy rather than calling on the pre-flop. A raise can win the pot immediately and force others to fold. Calling gives players a chance to stay in the hand. More players in a hand shorten a player’s odds of winning drastically.
4. Observe Opponents: Observation is just as important as a good hand. Picking up on opponents’ tells or patterns reveals their strengths and weaknesses. Throughout a game, you can start to predict other player’s moves and strategies by watching how they act.
5. Aggression Pays: Defensive play rarely wins in poker. Alternatively, raising too much is a dangerous strategy and can diminish chips quickly. The best combination is to play tight, aggressive poker. Attacking with a strong hand but folding if you are in a weak position usually pays off.
How do I Improve my Poker Strategy?
To improve your poker strategy, you need to play regularly. Practicing at live and online tables provides valuable experience, where players can see and react to different scenarios and opponents at the table.
Below are some of the best online poker platforms, where you can improve your poker strategy.
1. Bovada Poker: Bovada hosts regular tournaments, events, and festivals. It is a good choice for players of a more competitive nature, with premium tournaments and cash games also available.
2. Ignition Casino Poker: Great quality and high-end online poker provider with many exciting tournaments and cash games readily available. Ignition Casino Poker also has an easy-to-follow poker strategy guide for new players, or for those wanting to brush up on their skills.
3. Betonline Poker: A great place to start for beginners, with some of the softest cash tables in online poker.
4. Americas Cardroom: An online platform with something to offer for players of all abilities and for those playing for different-sized payouts.
5. Black Chip Poker: One of the most popular poker networks in the USA, Black Chip poker provides great opportunities for novice and seasoned players to make a profit.
Is Poker a Luck or Skill game?
There is an element of luck involved in poker. Players cannot choose the cards they are dealt. However, a lot of the skill and improvement comes from understanding maths, game context, and making good decisions.
A player who cannot notice when to play aggressively, for instance, is unlikely to ever win a game of poker. However, a player who reads the game well understands their opponents and knows a good opening hand will have much more chance of winning more than losing.
One of the key skills to a successful poker strategy is patience. Losing chips early on isn’t necessarily a bad move. Throughout professional games of poker, the game leader can change multiple times across hours of play.
Does it matter which poker strategy I use?
There are several ways to win a poker game. Different players develop different styles the more they play. However, entering a game with a strategy drastically increases your chances of winning. Playing hands randomly with no vision of the overall context of the game will lead to a quick loss.
How can I learn a good poker strategy?
Good poker strategy must be practiced. The more situations a player experiences at live and online tables, the more they refine their strategy. Entering free online or low-stakes games is a great starting point.
Is there an optimal poker strategy?
There is no overall ‘best’ strategy in poker. Generally, it is better to play tight but aggressive poker. Other strategies depend on various factors including, the opponent’s strength or weakness position and the stakes. Many players are adaptable and have different poker strategies they use depending on the game’s context.
What should you not do in Poker?
Playing too conservatively is a big strategy to avoid. Limping is also a quick way to lose a game of poker. Alternatively, playing too aggressively too quickly can limit your pot early on.