Poker Articles: How to Play Poker & Win

Whether you are a poker afficionado, or you just like taking money from your in-laws when they visit during the holidays, we all like to win when playing poker. In order to make sure you leave with a fatter wallet, understanding the tricks of the trade are compulsory.

before the game

When you have an important meeting with the big boss, it's always a good idea to prepare yourself before you get there. If this habit leaks into your poker playing, then you're on your way to winning. Get psyched up. Luck does not exist. The more you concentrate on being lucky or unlucky, wishing for luck, or cursing bad luck, the more mental energy is exasperated away from the game, putting you in a mental hole. (this tip is useful throughout the game, not just before you sit down.)

getting started

If your goal is to win, then you're in for the long haul. When you just join a game, your cards don't matter. Take the long view, and get a line on your opponents. To really win you need information, so fold as often as need be in the beginning to read your opponents. Look for betting tendencies, composure and habits to get a feel for whom you're playing against. Use their vices to your advantage and crack the game wide open. Getting a feel for your opponent involves studying where their awareness lies. If they never believe that someone is bluffing, then they probably don't do a lot of it themselves. Also, what your opponent believes you are going to do is probably the same thing he would in your situation, so take note of that.

not going anywhere

Control is an asset all good players have. They can play as long as they like without going broke. Practice patience very early in the game so that you play longer than it takes for you to down the drink by your side. Patience is definitely a virtue when it comes to playing poker. When you join a game, you are faced with eight potentially new opponents; they have only one. So when you dive in head first and attempt to guess the playing habits of all eight, you probably won't come up for air. You have to realize that they have only one newcomer to worry about. Be observant, absorb and learn. You can pick up on some of your opponents' tendencies by throwing away a few hands. Remember, you want to win, not win fast .

mixing it up

Your opponents can't figure out your strategy if you don't have one. Mix things up a little. Don't always use the same game plan, especially if you play home games with the same players. If your opponents think you are clueless, they get reckless.

decisions, decisions

Every hand is a new hand, which means every decision should be a new one too. Don't become a creature of habit. Base all betting and card actions on the facts at hand. Concentrating on the present will counter falling victim to repetition.

look at me

Be "Da Man": If you're active, energetic and animated, then you become the center of attention. The more people pay attention to you, the less time they put into their game, and that is when mistakes are made. If someone else happens to be making all the noise, don't fall for it. Sit back and wait until you can use it against him, and quiet the noise. Always be polite to he who makes a stupid move. If someone is lucky enough to beat you when he makes a mistake, be polite and encourage his play. This will make him feel like he knew what he was doing and in turn, it's likely that he'll to do it again.

your own worst enemy

Don't feel embarrassed or shy to slide back a limit, or return to your favorite game if you know you can win. When things aren't going your way, take control. After all, it is your money, win or lose. Seek those games that can make you some money and build up your strength and confidence.

when you got it, you got it

Don't get too greedy. When you have a monster hand, play it. Don't wait to try and increase the pot, and give the opportunity for a weaker hand to catch up. Inversely, don't convince yourself that you're invincible and bluff with a fairly weak hand. Certainty is the key, so bet it when you got it.

practice makes perfect

I know I sound like your father when you were learning how to ride a bike, but if you want to master these tricks, you must practice. Whether you force your wife into a game after the dishes are done, or play some video poker on the Net, just practice. Use the video machines, the Internet, or poker software to improve your game. The more looks you have, the more experience you get in dealing with them. There is something you should remember when playing poker. Whether for money or sport, poker should be fun, and there is a hell of a lot more fun in winning! Nobody likes to lose, and now you've been pointed in the right direction. Make me proud!