Poker Strategy Guide

Poker Strategy Royal Flush and Poker Chips

Poker strategy adds to the skill, perception, and patience needed to play the game. You’ll do well to have a plan that provides a set of choices in any situation. Couple that with experience, and you are well on your way to stacking chips.

The best poker strategies keep you in a game longer and make you a winner more often. This guide explains how to devise the best course of action with some simple and more advanced techniques.

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Best Poker Strategies

We’ve assembled ten poker tips that lead to a winning strategy. With experience, your system may evolve until you have fine-tuned it and know what to do in any situation.

Top 10 Basic Poker Strategy Tips

Understanding the various instances and testing these poker strategies will help you build your bankroll over the long run.

1

Learn The Rules & Hand Rankings

Rules List Icon

Understanding the rules of the poker variant you are playing is essential to increase your chances of winning. You can swap cards out in 5 card draw, there are community cards in Texas Hold’em, and Omaha gives you four hole cards. Despite these differences, they all use the same hand strengths.

2

Start With Low-Limit Games

Low Limit Arrow Icon Big

When you begin playing poker, it’s helpful to start with small stakes. You don’t want to lose a ton of money during the learning and mastery phase. The higher the stakes, the more skilled the players are, and the more bankroll you need to keep playing.

3

Learn to Calculate Poker Odds

Card Game Odds Percentage Icon

What are the chances that the cards in your hand are going to win? When you can estimate those odds more accurately, you’ll know when it’s right to bet, bluff, or fold. To play like a pro, you must always think about pot odds and thoroughly assess the winning probabilities you have.

4

Know When to Raise

Raise Your Bet Arrow Icon Big

Is a high pair going to win it? Will a bluff here knock out a timid player? Use the knowledge you gather at the table to deduce when to raise. Get a good grasp of where you stand before pushing more money into the pot.

Here are a few situations where you should consider raising:

  • Protect your hand
  • Bluff your hand strength
  • Knock people off the pot
  • Bring more money into the pot
5

Know When to Fold

Folding Poker Hand Icon

It is the hardest thing to do when you start with a good hand, but odds can fade. You should learn to let it go if a tight player suddenly goes all in. Don’t chase four to a flush or open-ended straight, even if you think they are bluffing.

Here are some situations where you should consider folding:

  • You know you have the worst hand
  • Pot odds aren’t in your favor
  • You’re chasing a single card
  • You don’t want to call a massive bet
6

Going All In Strategically

Poker Chips Icon Big

Don’t go all-in unless you are sure you have the best hand or have set up a persuasive bluff against a weaker player with fewer chips. While it could be an opportunity to knock someone off the table, you’ll want the cards to back up your actions.

7

Bluff When It Matters

Bluffing Icon

When you have a strong hand but are not sure if it is a winner, it may be a good time to bluff. Remember, it is always good to prove you can win at a table before you try to trick anyone. Bluffing can cause timid players to fold and give you more info about other opponents’ hands. However, be prepared to bow out if someone calls or raises the pot.

8

Learning Tells

Hand and Poker Chip Icon

For in-person games, try to pick up on patterns that other players do consistently, like shifting eyes, long sighs, or particular hand movements. Online you can keep mental notes of how much players bet and how quickly they act in certain situations.

9

Find The Best Games

Card Games Icon Big

The best games have rules you understand entirely with players at your skill level or lower. Play at a casino with valuable comps or at online sites with quality software features, great graphics, and trusted banking methods.

10

Play When You Feel Good

Happy Gentleman Icon

Playing poker involves emotions, and you don’t want to go to a table in a foul mood. Don’t play when you are drunk, which invariably leads to bad decisions. Remain upbeat when you join a table to ensure your mind is clear and your choices are solid. 

Online Poker Strategy

Video Poker Games Icon Big

The strategy for online poker is slightly different since you can see people’s faces or read their tells or bluffs the same. Be selective with which hands you play at a new online table. Keeping a slower pace gives you time to observe the field and pick up on the quirks of the other gamblers.

When playing real money poker online, make sure to add these additional strategies to your arsenal:

  • Play Only Strong Hands

    Don’t play every hand. Wait until you have two pairs or three of a kind to go big.
  • Be Aggressive

    When you know you have a good hand, bet strongly to knock others out.
  • Don’t Bluff Too Often

    It’s harder for players to read your bluffs, so they may call and luckily beat you.
  • Don’t Be Afraid to Fold

    There will be more hands. Don’t lose it all chasing a draw when everyone is in the pot.
  • Follow the Blinds

    Know when the blinds are coming to you and factor that into your decision to play or fold.
  • Play Within Your Bankroll

    Play blinds and bets that are 1-2% of your total bank, so you don’t get knocked out early.

Video – The Best Poker Strategies

Watch the following video to better understand the best winning poker tips and strategies.

Poker Strategy Charts

You may be able to find a poker strategy chart that explains the best times to hit, raise, and fold for a specific game. These tables give you the best statistical decisions based on the odds of winning with your starting cards.

When to Play in Texas Hold’em

This chart gives you an idea of good hands to play based on your starting cards and position relative to the button. Find your hole cards and use the legend as a guide.

Texas Holdem Starting Hand Poker Strategy Chart
Texas Hold’em Poker Strategy Chart

Call or Fold in Caribbean Stud

This table shows you the best statistical decisions you can make based on your starting card compared to the dealers. A green C means to call, and a red F indicates to fold.

Caribbean Stud Poker Strategy Chart
Caribbean Stud Poker Strategy Chart

Advanced Poker Strategies

When you have some of the basic tactics down, consider moving on to these more advanced poker strategies when making decisions.

Poker Player Strategies Thinking In Ranges Icon

Think in Ranges

You know what you have, but what could your opponents possibly hold? Figure these in ranges according to how they have been betting. Consider ALL the possibilities before making a move.

Poker Strategies Pot Committed Icon

Exploit Pot Commits

When another player puts a significant portion of their chips on a hand, they are probably ready to go the distance. Try to call in more of their money and take them down if you know you will win.

Poker Strategies Counterstrategy Icon

Counterstrategy

Many times you enter a game without knowing the other players’ styles. As the session progresses and you gain more information about your opponents, you can develop tactics against them. 

poker bets

Poker Tournament Strategy

Tournament poker may require some additional strategy. Always keep your eye on the prize. Worry about the table you’re at and the current opponents. If the goal is to accumulate chips, make sure to make smart, tactical bets.

Use This Poker Strategy Guide to Play Like a Pro

You need to learn, develop, and hone your poker strategies to win more money. So, employ our advice, gain experience, and be patient. Of course, you may run into roadblocks, such as runs of bad cards and bad beats, but that is part of the game.

In the long run, following a solid strategy will build your bankroll. Sign up at BetOnline, and you can practice different poker tactics at a legit gambling site right now!

Poker Strategy FAQs

These are some of the most common questions we get regarding poker strategy.

How do you play with a poker strategy?

To play with a poker strategy takes patience and experience. Start with a basic system and revise it if needed. The best strategy will allow you to know what to do in any situation.

Is poker a strategy or skill game?

Poker is both a strategy and skill game. You should know a strategy but have the skill to make the right move at the right time.

How do you win at poker every time?

You do not win at poker every time. The best players in the world still lose sometimes. You have to play your best and hope for the cards and odds to hit in your favor over time.

Does poker have a strategy?

Yes, poker has a strategy that a player must develop over time. Use the rules above to find a system that works best for your game, table, and opponents.  

Can you consistently win at poker?

Yes, you can consistently win at poker by making smart choices and using a consistent strategy. Don’t make emotional moves based on hunches.

About the Author
Webster Lupton

Webster Lupton - Researcher / Writer

Webster has been writing about gambling for 10 years and gambling even longer. He also likes the outdoors - mountains, beaches, camping, and birdwatching.