Often times becoming a professional poker player involves a significant string of luck and countless hours spent building a large enough bankroll to compete in large tournaments. Fortunately, you do not have to be a professional Texas Hold 'Em player to play like one. Developing the skills of a professional will take time and concentration, but if you are willing to put in the effort you can learn enough to be able to regularly win your home game with your pals.
- Deck of cards
- Poker chips
- Poker players
- Internet connection
- Subscription to a poker website
Learn the basics of the game. Each player is dealt two cards, which players then pair with three of the five community cards on the table to make the best hand possible. The community cards are revealed in three stages, with the first three cards dealt called the flop, the fourth card called the turn and the fifth card called the river. There is betting each time cards are dealt during the hand.
Learn the values of the cards. Many beginners will play with any cards they are dealt. While that may work when playing with friends, professionals play their cards by the odds. For example, if you are dealt seven-two off-suit you should almost always fold, but if you are dealt a pair of aces it is a good idea to play the hand.
Learn how to play the blinds, bets made before the cards are dealt so there is always money in the pot. Your position at the table relative to the blinds should determine, in part, how you play the cards you are dealt. If you have a mid-range pocket pair, like a pair of nines, and someone in front of you raises aggressively, it's a good idea to fold. If you have a poor hand, a two-nine off-suit for example, but you have already bought into the pot by putting in the big blind, check and see what the flop has to offer.
Learn how to play the players. Playing your opponents is as important as playing your cards. Sometimes you will go against players who are conservative and only play strong hands and other times you will play against loose players who will bet anything. You need to be able to identify these players and value your hands and bets against their playing styles.
Practice. Simply reading about how to be good at poker will not make you a good poker player. You need to get out the chips and cards and call up some friends and play. If you cannot play with your friends regularly, sign up for an account on an online poker site. Many of these will allow you to use play money so you do not have to risk your paycheck while honing your skills.
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