If you’re not familiar with the term, just flip through the channels to watch the World Series of Poker or go online and register for free poker sites such as PokerStars or Full Tilt Poker. You can watch real professionals play, gain some tips, and hone your game. These are non-gambling sites that are designed for practice more than earning money.
You can still deposit money into your account if your 18 or over but I suggest playing with play chips first. I think free rolls are your best pet if you want to try to win some real money but that’s not the point of poker. Poker is a professional game with professional champions and people who win big.
Famous poker champions like Phil Ivey, nicknamed the “Tiger Woods of poker” play the game as if it were a professional sport and like a professional sport, if they are a 1st draft pick or the MVP, they make gain worldwide fame and recognition. To make a long story short, poker is a card game, there are many variations of the game but the most common is hold em or Texas hold em. Players get a hand or two cards and than either bet, check, raise, or fold what they have.
We then see a flop or three face up cards on the table. The key point here is do you have a match with cards from your hand to the cards on the flop. Now there is a hierarchy of possible poker hands. Those range anywhere from a high card pair which simply means the highest card pair you may have such as Ace King to the highest on the ladder, the Royal Flush.
Here is a helpful guide about the hands of poker. It gives a description of a hand along with an image of how to get that hand.
All of that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to poker and there are much more complexities in regards to betting, raising, checking, and folding but again, if you want to start playing this casino favorite, check out PokerStars, Full Tilt, or other free poker sites to learn from the best.
Is Poker a Game of Luck or Skill?
Good question. So does winning a tournament involve getting the right hands or winning a huge hand on the river (the last card drawn out of the five from the flop). Is it folding every hand until you get those precious pocket kings or queens (two kings or two aces in your hand)? Perhaps it’s getting the right flop (first three cards drawn on the table) and matching your hand to the cards on the flop.
Some people think that it has a lot more to do with how you play rather than what you get. Indeed to win big hands even if your playing with friends at home is to play smart. Bet or raise when you have a good chance of having the best hand, fold if you have a bad hand, or try to trap a player by checking. When an amateur poker player has the best hand, they usually don’t do a very good job at concealing it. I should know.
When I first started playing poker with some friends, whenever I got pocket kings or aces, my expression gave it away immediately. Than I started raising or going all in (putting all your chips in) to try to win some chips. Well either they folded immediately or I only won a few chips thus wasting my perfect hand.
Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” says it all (great song by the way). If you play with someone face to face, you have to be an actor and hide your emotions. A lot of beginners get really excited when they have a strong hand with a great flop. Bad idea if you want to win big. Just remain calm, cool, and collected. Instead of betting right away, why not check and see if others bet. Don’t raise too high or other players will suspect something.
Wear sunglasses if you have to, change around your expressions to confuse other players but most importantly wear your poker face well.
People usually think poker champions are just lucky
I guess if people keep getting pocket aces and having flushes and straight (click link at beginning to know more) than they may win a lot of money. Yet how come we have poker champions that constantly beat out hundreds and thousands of other players to get to the final table and even win. Why do we have great poker pros such as Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, Jamie Gold, or Scotty Nguyen.
Does it mean they they always get the perfect hands or get lucky on the river or is there something more. People who lose a lot of hands would probably think the former and that it’s just luck. Those who win and play a lot such as I do know that poker is just as much skill as it is luck.
It’s about slow playing your “straight”, “checking” your pocket aces, or painfully having to fold your pocket kings or ace-king due to a bad flop. It’s about being gutsy and betting a lot of chips hoping your opponent folds even though you had nothing. It’s about knowing when to bet, when to raise, how much, and which hands to play. Just because you have 2-3 for a hand doesn’t mean you should automatically fold. Surprises come often and your biggest pot win may come from your worst hand.
So is poker a game of luck or skill? That’s ultimately for you to decide. For me, it’s a combination of both not to mention playing with intelligence. Fold when you have to and play the right hands. You can’t always play with a 2-3 and expect to win just because it worked out one time. You can’t expect to win just because you have pocket aces. Poker doesn’t work like that.
Luck is definitely a key to poker, I would be lying if I told you it wasn’t. If you have an amazing hand plus flop and somebody puts you all in so you have to call. Than the other player gets a runner runner (the fourth and fifth or final card on the flop) and knocks you out on the river, well that’s just really bad luck for you.
Luck can be good as well. Say you are put all-in and have a very bad hand and a bad flop but than with the the fourth and fifth cards drawn, you get exactly what you need and win. Well than you just got lucky. So try things out, be creative, play some bad hands and some good hands, get gutsy and bluff (a fake out) if you can. Poker is a fun game to try out and the next time you go to a casino or Las Vegas, try it out. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to play it but I believe it is and will always be the King of All Card Games.
Hints, Tricks, and Tips
1. Don’t play every hand
Some are good, some are bad, but trying to play every hand and hopefully getting lucky is not the way to go. Chances are you’ll lose most of your chips before you ever get that lucky flop on your 2-3 hand.
2. Analyze the possibilities
Look at the flop, look at your hand, and try to figure out how others could win. Are there three suited (a club, diamond, heart, or spade) cards on the flop and someone may have flopped a flush. Maybe there is a king, ten, jack on the flop and someone has a queen-ace in their hand so they have a straight.
Think about all the possible ways someone could win and use that to your advantage.
3. Use the raises, checks, and bets to your advantage
If you know you have the best hand with the best flop, don’t reveal it. Check and let others bet and raise. This is called slow playing your hand. Do you want to win 100 chips or 1000 chips? Try to wring out as much as you can. Bet low amounts, only raise a little bit. Downplay your hand to your opponents and let them guide you.
4. Don’t be complacent, play smart, and realize that luck is not always on your side
I had pocket aces in a game I was playing, naturally I was happy on the inside because I knew I had the best hand. The flop comes and lo and behold, another ace. Now I had trips and I know I won. So I raise a bet a little bit, someone raises me, I raise them back. The 4th card comes, a deuce (2) of hearts, big deal. The guy raises me and I go all-in so he calls. The last card is a 3 of hearts. We show our hands and I lose.
How could I lose with pocket aces? My opponent won with a flush and I was knocked out of a tournament. So the thing to realize is that sometimes even if you think you have the best hand, it might now always be the case. The goal is to play your best and hope for the best. Don’t give up if you get unlucky, keep trying, maybe bluff them out next time. Just don’t give up so easily, don’t quit.