Poker Strategy – A Guide for Beginners

Poker Strategy – A Guide for Beginners

Luck is heavily involved in poker, and sometimes, just having a good understanding of the game isn’t enough to win. This is where poker strategies come in. Having a poker strategy is a good way to boost your chances of winning even if the odds are against you.

Luck is heavily involved in poker, and sometimes, just having a good understanding of the game isn’t enough to win. This is where poker strategies come in. Having a poker strategy is a good way to boost your chances of winning even if the odds are against you. With this guide, you will learn the best way to earn a winning hand with a few poker tips and tricks that would ultimately help you improve your game. Keep reading to find out how you can become the best poker player you can be with some of these poker strategy tips.

Poker Theory

poker strategy how to playNowadays, there are many poker variants to choose from, each with their own unique features and gameplay. The aim of the game, though, is still the same — obtain the best poker hand out of the cards dealt. Due to the vast number of poker variants, the number of cards dealt to a player may differ depending on the variant. For instance, in Texas hold ‘em, players must obtain the best poker hand out of five cards. In Three Card Poker, players must obtain the best hand out of three cards.

In general, there are a total of 10 hands a player can obtain. Ranking in descending order, these hands include royal flush, straight flush, four-of-a-kind, full house, flush, straight, three-of-a-kind, two pair, one pair and high card. Check out ‘Poker Hands Ranking’ at our LV BET blog if you would like to learn more about poker hands.

Poker theory refers to all the different thoughts and opinions on different online poker situations in terms of ranges and probabilities, as opposed to the game of poker simply being a results-oriented game. There are many online poker tips, videos, blogs and books dedicated to experts’ insights and opinions on poker theory. The theory of poker cannot be summed up in one, simple answer. The more you play online poker, the more you learn about the intricacies of each individual game. With some research, you can find some helpful poker strategy tips that you can try out the next time you play online poker, published by some of the best poker minds in the industry.

Poker David Sklansky

David Sklansky is commonly known as the father of mathematical poker theory. Not only is he a famous poker player with several notable tournament wins, but he is also a holder of multiple world series poker bracelets. To put the cherry on top of his many achievements, David Sklansky has also released several versions of his successful book “The Theory of Poker”.

In his book, David Sklansky introduced many poker concepts such as semi-bluffing, implied odds, expected value among other poker theories that can be applied to many variations of the game. Since then, David Sklansky continued to be very active in the poker world, as he went on to publish 13 more books while still participating in many tournaments. If you would like to learn how to play online poker well, then David Sklansky’s poker tips and strategy articles derived from his work are definitely the way to go. Find out how to improve your pot odds, how to make stronger hands, and so much more.

Mathematics of Poker

As mentioned previously, poker is a game of luck, skill, and the ability to read situations and opponents. However, poker is also a game of mathematics. Players should be able to calculate the odds of either them or their opponents winning. Although it cannot be assumed that those who do not use mathematics in poker won’t win, having a solid understanding of your odds can only boost your chances of winning as it gives you an edge over other players.

Like poker theory, many experts have offered their insights into the mathematics behind this game. With a little bit of research, you will definitely find a poker tip or two that may help you win future poker games. Researching poker and gaining familiarity with probability will ultimately boost your chances of success. The more time you dedicate to researching poker odds, the greater your advantage will be over your opponents.

The aim of this technique is to make the most profitable decisions throughout the round and is most commonly used when a player is on a draw. With a solid grasp of the mathematics behind poker, you will become more familiar with pot odds, probabilities, different card combinations, pot equity, bluffs and more.

What is equity in poker hands?

Pot equity refers to your share of the pot based on the likelihood that you’ll win a game at a certain point in time. In other words, that percentage is the amount of equity you have in the pot. For example, if there is €100 in the pot (or currency equivalent) and you are 60% in favour of winning with your current hand, then your pot equity is €60.

In general, it may be the most beneficial to make value bets when you have an equity advantage. This is due to the fact that you gain equity if your opponent calls and you can prevent your opponent from realising their equity by forcing them to fold with your bet. In both cases, your equity percentage may grow even more, and you may ultimately improve your chances of winning with the given hand.

Understanding equity in poker and how to utilise it as a strategy may give you the upper hand. You must also understand that utilising an equity strategy also implies that you bet more often and so, you risk losing more money when playing poker cash games. In any case, whether you decide to bet, call or fold, you will always gain more knowledge of the game. Whether you win or lose the round, practice will help you become a better poker player. Before we dive into some of the most widespread and elaborate strategies for poker playing, here are a few basic poker tips to help you get started.

Poker Strategy: Basic Poker Tips

poker strategy guide

  • Learn the poker rules, odds and poker hand rankings.
  • Try out a handful of games before committing to real wagers — you can play for free through the demo mode or observe the rounds in Live Casino poker.
  • Establish your bankroll and stick to it, make sure to separate your personal and entertainment finances.
  • Use online tools and resources to help you manage your gameplay (calculators, tables, poker bankroll management apps, etc.)
  • Start playing with small stakes to understand the strategy and don’t be afraid to lower stakes when needed.
  • Don’t take unnecessary risks or increase stakes in an attempt to recover from a losing streak.
  • Know when to fold and when to cash out.
  • Keep track of your poker gameplay and betting history through online tools or with the help of your favourite online casino.
  • Most importantly, have fun!

Texas hold ‘em Strategy

When developing a good poker strategy, it is crucial to understand the interaction between poker players, your chances of winning and the importance of table positions. Being successful in a poker game implies that you have a good grasp of all of these factors, as well as what a good or bad hand looks like. Let’s take a look at a few of these strategies that one can adopt in Texas hold ’em.

The Basics

In Texas hold ‘em, a button is used to signify which player begins as the dealer – this rotates with every round. Having a position strategy is helpful in this case due to the fact that the ‘dealer’ seat holds the best seat in the game as the dealer has the ability to bet last.

Placing your bet last allows you to witness the actions of every other poker player which, in turn, allows you to devise a good poker strategy now that you know what the stakes are.

The player to the right of the dealer, otherwise known as the ‘cutoff’ player, has the ability to raise the bet of the dealer and even knock them out of the game. This action is referred to as ‘buying the button’. All other players are at a disadvantage, as they would not be able to make an educated decision from their early positions.

Make sure to always keep an eye on what other players are doing. Ideally, you should aim to knock out as many players as possible while maintaining your position. Test out your bluffing skills and try to bluff your way to the top while narrowing down the playing field.

The most important poker tip for any poker game is to always do your research! Pick up as much information about the game as you can find and take a look at the many poker strategy articles and tutorials around. They will help you gain a better understanding of the many poker variants, teach you how to play poker successfully and help you improve your game overall.

Heads Up Poker Strategy

Heads up poker is a form of poker played between two players, usually during a larger cash game session or at the beginning of a game when two players are waiting for their opponents to join.

Heads up poker strategy requires adjusting to your opponent and exploiting them, either at the beginning of the round or at the end. The rules of heads up poker are the same as in a game with more than two players, with the exception of community card poker. The blinds are usually reversed to decrease the positional advantage between players of similar skill level. However, the employed strategy can greatly differ from multi-handed poker games, since the odds of obtaining a stronger hand between two players is greater than in a multi-handed game. In turn, this typically leads to more aggressive gameplay. One of the advantages of playing heads up poker is that it is easier to pull off bluffs since you only need to trick one other player to win the pot.

Heads up poker is definitely a high-pressure environment and is commonly played on the competitive field between high-skilled, professional poker players. Check out the national Heads Up Poker Championship to learn more about this technique and maybe pick up a poker tip or two along the way.

Sit & Go Strategy

A Sit & Go (SNG) is a type of poker tournament where the game beings once a certain number of participants has been reached. This number can range between two and 360 players but, more commonly, features six or nine players in single-table tournaments. SNGs are great for beginner players, as they help you get a better understanding of poker and the games are relatively short, lasting between 30 and 60 minutes on average.

In a 9-Max SNG, the top three players cash, but the difference between the top paid places is quite large. The basic premise of this poker strategy is aiming to win, holding on to a big stack with tight play and bullying the short stacks. As players bust, you can open up your range while keeping the stack sizes and table positions in mind. Unlike cash games, once you bust you are out of the tournament without the possibility of buying-in again.

In short, protect your stack, use tight-play tactics and don’t run big bluffs (unless you are certain that you can pull one off). The cons of playing in SNGs is that the payouts are relatively low, especially when compared to multi-table tournaments (MTTs), but these tournaments are excellent for new players who seek to find their footing on the competitive ground.

Poker Bluff Strategy

Bluffing in poker is an act of deception in an attempt to make your opponent fold a better hand than yours. While it is possible to bluff at any point in the game, the thing to keep in mind when bluffing is the timing. The best moment to bluff is when you think your opponent is most likely to fold. Knowing when to bluff is a skillset in itself, as it may help you maximise your expected value and profit.

Try and gain as much information about how your opponent acts (their ‘tells’) as possible. If you have an opponent who only bets when they have a good hand, it makes it easy to strategise against them since you would be able to get a pretty good idea of what kind of hand they have based on their betting patterns. If an opponent shows aggressive play and raises, then this can be a good indication that they have a strong hand. In this case, you might want to call or fold instead. As mentioned previously, players in late positions (LPs) have a slight advantage over the early positions when it comes to bluffing, as they are able to gather more insight into their opponents’ tactics as the game progresses. Take a look at bluffing strategy articles and resources online, you may pick up a tip or two and learn more about reading your opponents’ tells in a cash game.

Slow Playing Poker

Slow playing poker is a deceptive strategy in poker where one player bets weakly or passively with a strong hand. An example of slow play is flat calling — when a player calls while they would normally be expected to raise. The aim is to lure the opponents into a pot that might fold, raise or cause them to place a higher bet than they normally would. Essentially, this is tricking your opponent(s) into thinking that you are playing with a weak hand, the inverse-bluff. The drawbacks of slow play surface is when you are facing opponents that play tight — they play few hands, call or fold frequently and are playing passively overall. Alternatively, this poker strategy can be advantageous when facing players who prefer to move aggressively.

Gap Concept Poker

The gap concept was first introduced by David Sklansky and refers to the idea that a player would require a stronger hand to call a raise than it takes to make the first raise. The ‘gap’ refers to the difference between the value of the raiser’s hand and the value of the potential caller’s hand. This gap is increased when playing against tight opponents and decreases when playing against loose players. The gap concept is not exclusive to Texas hold ‘em and can be played on almost all variants of poker that have an initial round of betting, such as Omaha and 7 Card Stud.

This poker strategy is believed to be a little outdated now, but it still may come in handy every now and then. If you do decide to give this poker strategy a try, you need to make sure that you have secured the best possible hand when calling a raise. If your hand is not strong enough, then you risk being “dominated” by your opponent.

An example of where this concept can be put into practice is when you are holding a hand whilst in the middle position. If your opponent chose to raise before you, it is likely that they have a solid hand since they decided to raise in an early position.

Raising in an early position generally indicates a stronger hand than when raising in a late position. This is due to the fact that there would be a number of players acting after and the early positions cannot deduce the strength of their opponents’ hands before raising. Examples of good hands to have for this tactic include AK, AQ, AJ, AA, KK, QQ and JJ. In the case that other players raise in an early position, the best course of action is to fold. If other players do not choose to raise before you, then it may be a good idea to raise yourself and use the gap concept to your advantage. This is where your bluffing skills come into play, as you would make other players think you have a stronger hand which may force them to fold. Calling a raise may indicate to your table opponents that you have a strong hand; however, this is not always the case and may simply be an indication of your opponent playing aggressively.

Deception Poker

By now, you probably get the idea that poker is not just a game of luck, as successful players are also extremely knowledgeable and skilled. Having a solid grasp on the odds, rules and hand rankings, as well as knowing when to bluff is essential! Ultimately, poker is a game of deception — making your opponents think that you have a better hand than they do, which is an indispensable skill in competitive cash games.

Try out some of these poker tactics yourself, from semi-bluffing to the gap concept or many other spicy strategies. Always do your research, you will find comprehensive guides and video tutorials online that dive deeper into these strategies and explore different tactics for every poker variant. You can test your skill at LV BET, where you can enjoy a variety of online poker games with fantastic gameplay and additional features that’ll boost your gaming experience to the max. You can even play for free through online poker demo games, where your bankroll is virtual and will be reset every time you play. Although you cannot cash out in free poker demo games, they are an excellent opportunity to hone your strategy and learn the ins and outs of poker in practice. New players who are interested in trying out a poker game or two shouldn’t miss this opportunity to play free poker! Practice makes perfect, and you will find it extremely beneficial when playing a cash game. Keep an eye out for Deposit and Live Casino bonuses as well, they may grant additional rewards (or funds!) to make your poker gameplay that much more enjoyable.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to play poker, take a look at our other poker strategy articles on our LV BET blog. We post articles regularly to help you boost your gameplay and maybe win a couple of cash games! Head to the LV BET blog to find more poker strategy articles, pick up a poker tip or two to improve your gameplay and find out how you can master the art of poker.

Play poker online at our Live Casino or play with friends, but always remember to play responsibly.

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