4 Basic Poker Tips to Develop Better Playing Strategies

By Marcus Harmon
February 02, 2021

Skillful poker players consistently win. Reaching this level can take years; it’s all about knowledge and strategy. Working on these will set you apart from the competition. With continued practice and study, you will become truly proficient in the game. In this post, we share four basic tips for developing better playing strategies, whether you’re playing for money or just for fun. Especially if you’re just starting out on your poker journey, you’ll do well to commit these ideas and strategies to memory.

poker chips

Read as Much as You Can

As with anything you want to improve at, it always helps to read around the subject. There are many poker pros keen to share their knowledge online, posting on sites like Regular reading on poker can expose you to different strategies and tips you can use in your own game. It can also help you identify how others are playing, which is useful in poker.

Use Deception

Use deception to encourage your opponents to act differently from how they might if they were able to see your cards. The aim is to maintain your strategy while inducing your opponents to change towards your style. Bluffing is a standard poker strategy that usually involves betting strongly on a weak hand to encourage other players to fold superior hands.

You can also semi-bluff when your hand is weak, but you have a chance to improve it in later rounds. In this case, bet strongly to encourage those with weaker hands to fold.

You can also opt to use a slow-playing strategy of deception, which is the opposite of bluffing. The strategy involves checking or betting weakly when you have a strong hand to coerce opponents with weaker hands to call or raise the bet, which will increase the pot size that you’re likely to win with your superior holdings.

Fold often

Even though it may sound counterintuitive, you should fold most of the hands you are dealt. Most poker hands are losers – it’s the law of averages. This means that most of the hands you are dealt won’t be worth playing, so it is not worth betting aggressively on them.

Instead of wasting your money, consider folding your cards so you can play another round. It may seem boring to do this while others are playing, but they will be chasing their losses, and you won’t. Use this time wisely to study your opponents’ gameplay. The information will help you beat them next time around.

In a nutshell, poker is a game of strategy and wits, but it’s also a game of patience. If you exhibit enough of it, you’ll minimize the amounts you’d have been more likely to lose with poor holdings and maximize your wins with the stronger hands that you opt to play.

Play as Often as You Can

Beyond studying away from the tables, the best way to improve at poker is to practice. Take the opportunity to play as often as you can, with different people and in different settings. Playing with different opponents will expose you to various strategies and mindsets, helping you spot similar ones in future opponents. Play online and in person. Play for fun often so you can up your game ready for when money is involved. The more you practice, the better you will become.

Poker is all about strategy. It has a strong psychological component that, when mastered, can see players go from beginner, to average, to quite skilled in a relatively short space of time. Use the tips in this post to see if they help improve your performance next time you play.



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Marcus Harmon poker author
Written By.

Marcus Harmon

Marcus Harmon is a poker writer and editor of Sunshine Poker Rooms, a poker news and information source. With a decade of experience in the online gaming industry, Marcus has been lucky enough to have met and indeed been beaten by some of the great players. His other passions are soccer and travel.

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