How to Play Poker - A Psychological Game

By: Gen Wright

Poker is an exciting game that can keep you entertained for hours. If you wish to pick up this game, you have to learn the basic rules and strategies. This is not an overly complicated game, so anyone can learn this game in a matter of hours. However, to become really good at the game requires years of practice. That's because the game play is fluid and constantly changes depending on who you are playing against. A quick word of advice if you are just starting out - observe how expert poker players play. You can learn a lot just by watching and observing.

The rules of the game appear simple enough. When the game starts, each player is dealt 2 cards. One faces up, while the other faces down. No one, except the player, knows the value of the card that faces down. The card is not revealed until the very last moment, when the game ends. During each turn, the dealer opens up another card on the table. The player with the highest ranked cards gets to decide whether to hit or fold first. If a player decides to hit, he then decides the amount that he wishes to bet. The next player that decides to hit has to match the bet amount or he can choose to raise that amount. If a player chooses to fold, he is out of the game. The remaining players will continue playing. The turn ends when all players have made their decisions.

The next turn starts and the same thing happens all over again. Play continues until each player receives all 5 cards. Remember, there is still one card within the hand that is not unrevealed. Usually, towards the end of the game, the players and audiences will start to feel a sense of excitement. Sometimes, the rank between two players can be very close. For example, player A can have 3 Aces and a 10 (one card is still covered). Player B has 3 Kings and a 9. If player A's covered card is an Ace, he will have 4 Aces and he will be the winner of the game. But if he doesn't have 4 Aces, he still stands a very good chance if his covered card is a 10. Then his hand will be Ace-Ace-Ace-10-10, which is a full house. The only way player B can beat this hand is to have 4 kings. So his covered card must be a king. Otherwise, he would have lost. But what happens if player A doesn't have an Ace or a 10? In this case, player B can still beat player A with a full house: king-king-king-9-9. So is player A trying to bluff?

The best poker players are very good at reading people. In other words, they are very good at guessing the value of the cards just by observing the other players. Psychology is a big part of the game. If you want to become good at this game, then you really need to learn how to read people.

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