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Poker strategy essays

What is the Fastest Way to Improve at Poker?

By Barrie Smith
July 2016

When you first start playing poker you're undoubtedly going to feel a bit overwhelmed by how much there is that you need to learn about. Although each variant of poker is different, they all tend to have the same common trends and so you'll find yourself having to know the various types of hands, betting rounds, play style, and other more intricate details such as the odds, bluffing, and so on.

With so many different areas, the hardest thing about improving your poker skills is figuring out where to start. As much as that may vary depending on your current level of experience, it is best to approach it methodically from the beginning - and then skip over any parts you feel that you're fairly confident about.

1. Understand the type of poker you intend to play

Because there are so many different types of poker, the first thing you need to do is identify the actual variant that you're playing and learn how it is played. That includes everything from the different types of hands to the betting rounds and any actions that you need to take as a player.

2. Figure out how the odds are calculated

In most types of poker, the odds that are used by players are really relatively simple and involve calculating your chances of winning vs. the payout that you will receive should you win. If you have little or no experience in calculating odds then this may take some getting used to, but it is an invaluable skill for any poker player to have and is worth dedicating some time to master.

3. Learn how to bluff

For most variants of poker, a considerable portion of the game involves 'bluffing' or representing a hand that may be stronger or weaker than the hand that you're actually holding. In 'live' games where you can see the opponent it involves looking for tells and psychological signs, but even in online casinos you can 'bluff' based on the size of your bet.

4. Watch the experts

Knowing the basic skills in poker is a great start, but in order to really understand the intricacies involved in the game your best bet is to watch the experts play it. For some versions of poker (such as Texas Hold'Em) there are numerous tournaments that you can watch to see how professional poker players approach the game. By learning from them, you will be able to perfect your play style.

Make no mistake, it will take time for you to master poker and will require quite a bit of practice on your part. Now that you know where to start however, you should at least be able to begin improving your abilities and as you go along you'll start to see the improvements translate into a better overall performance. Who knows - you may even one day be on par with some of the professional poker players out there if you play your cards right.



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