Keys to Becoming a Great Poker Player


Poker is a card game where players form the best hand from two private cards (dealt to each player) and five community cards on the table that are available to all. A high hand wins the pot. To become a good poker player you must develop several skills including discipline, perseverance and sharp focus. You also have to commit to smart game selection by choosing limits and games that fit your bankroll and skill level.

One of the keys to becoming a great poker player is being able to read your opponents. The ability to read an opponent’s poker tells is a critical skill that comes from experience and training. In poker you can learn a lot about an opponent by observing their betting habits, such as how much they bet and when. Observing the way an opponent reacts to losing a big hand can also give you clues about their confidence levels and mental state.

A good poker player knows that it’s okay to lose sometimes. Losses shouldn’t discourage you or crush your confidence, but rather they should serve as a reminder of what you need to improve on. Watch some videos of Phil Ivey taking bad beats and see how he handles the situation without getting upset. He doesn’t let it break his concentration and commitment to the game, which is why he’s one of the best players of all time.

Another key to being a great poker player is knowing how to play the cards you have. If you have a weak hand, such as two pairs or three of a kind, you should raise to increase the size of the pot and chase off other players who might have been holding worse hands than yours. This strategy is called “building the pot” and it is a crucial element of playing strong poker.

When you are dealing with a strong hand, on the other hand, you should usually bet. This will encourage other players to call and potentially improve their hand. It will also make it more difficult for other players to bluff you. It is also important to know how to determine which hand will win in the end. You can use an online tool to calculate this for you. The best way to think about it is that the final betting round is like the turn, where everyone gets a chance to check or raise or fold. When the river is dealt the dealer puts down a fifth community card and anyone can make a best 5 card hand from their own 2 cards plus the 5 on the board. If you hold pocket 7’s and the flop is 7-6-2, for example, then you will have the nuts – the highest possible hand at this point. Alternatively, someone might have a better pair and will call your bet. Then, the rest of the players will have to decide whether to fold or call and then show their cards.