How to Play Poker Like a Pro

When people ask me how to play poker I usually say there are two parts. The first is making and ranking hands, the second is betting and gambling. You have to be good at both to get really good at poker. The best way to become good at either is to play lots of hands. This means 6+ hands an hour in the real world or playing online.

Each player puts up a small amount of money to enter the hand, this is called the ante. Players then receive two cards. The player to the left of the big blind acts first and can choose to put chips into the pot equal to the amount of the previous bet (call), raise the current bet by at least double the size of the big blind (raise) or fold their cards and not participate in the hand.

Once the players have acted they reveal their cards and the player with the strongest five card poker hand wins the round. If no one has a winning hand they will share the money at the table.

As a beginner you need to focus on relative hand strength, meaning how strong your own hand is compared to others in the same situation. You should also pay attention to your opponents and look for patterns, a large number of poker reads are not from subtle physical tells but rather from patterns in how your opponent behaves.