How to Play Poker Like a Pro


Despite its simple rules poker is an intricate game that requires much more than luck to become a force at the table. Learning to play the game properly is a challenge that many are willing to take, because the rewards can be enormous.

The first step is to learn how to read the table. This involves looking beyond your own cards and predicting what other players might have, which is easier said than done. Observing a player’s body language, betting style, and even manner of speech can reveal clues to their intentions. Then, you must make adjustments to your own play based on those predictions.

There are two emotions that can kill your poker game: defiance and hope. The former will cause you to defend a poor hand, hoping that a turn or river will improve it; the latter will keep you in the pot betting money that you shouldn’t bet because you don’t want to admit that you have lost.

Once the first betting round is complete, the dealer deals a third card face up on the board that anyone can use; this is known as the flop. Now everyone has another chance to bet/check/raise/fold and hopefully build a strong five card poker hand. Once the final betting round is over, the dealer will put a fifth card on the table that everyone can use; this is called the river. This is where the final decision of who wins the pot is made.