The Basics of Poker Strategy


Poker is a card game where players place bets into a pot in the middle of the table. A player with the highest hand wins the pot. The game requires a bit of luck and psychology but can be very profitable.

The dealer deals each player one card, after which he or she may ‘bet’ (put chips in the pot) according to the rules of the game being played. The player who places the highest bet wins the first betting interval of the hand. If there is a tie for the first betting interval, players use suits as a tiebreaker; the highest suit wins.

Once betting gets around to you, you have a choice: fold your cards or say “call” to make a bet equal to the last person’s bet. Calling is a good option when you have a marginal made hand that you want to continue with. It allows you to keep control of the size of the pot, and also gives you an idea of the strength of your opponent’s holding.

Being aggressive with strong hands is a basic part of winning poker strategy. However, over-aggressiveness can be costly if your opponents catch you on later streets with weak hands. So play sensible bluffs and be aggressive when it makes sense; this way you can win larger pots with your strongest hands, and improve the chances of making them on later streets.