Many people that play casino games feel that poker is a game of chance like blackjack, roulette, and craps. In reality, poker is a mind game that requires a superior strategy in order to be successful in the long-term. While short-term luck can play a factor in poker, those that develop a long-term strategy will be successful over time. Let’s look at the three pieces that comprise great poker strategy.
The first piece of developing a successful strategy at the game requires knowledge. That knowledge starts when a player learns what the best starting hands are and how to use their position at the poker table to their advantage. Next, that knowledge continues as a player learns the concept of pot odds and hand odds. This allows them to know what percentage of the time a hand will hit given a set of circumstance. It will also help them determine whether to draw at a hand, or abandon it in lieu of a better spot.
The next piece of a successful strategy is psychology. Poker is not about having the best cards. Sometimes, it is convincing the other player that you have the best cards or taking advantage of their fear of losing to make them fold. This starts by a player learning how to evaluate his opponents and spotting their weaknesses. Part of this is based on what the player shows down, but sometimes it can involve subtle hints called tells. Tells are more than just a nervous tick. Tells can also involve how a player bets when they have a hand or even the way they bet when they don’t. It also can involve things as subtle as how willing a player looks to fold his hand.
The third, and many times the most important piece of developing a strategy is confidence. Confidence in knowing what type of play to make and having the confidence to pull off a play. When a player is confident in his ability, it is reflective in his play and can even be intimidating to other players. Inferior players will many times stay out of the way of a confident player unless they have strong hands. They perceive that the player has exceptional skill and refuse to risk their bankroll to them.
As you can see from above, developing a superior strategy in poker is not just about playing the best cards. Unlike other games like video poker, the game also requires being able to evaluate and even manipulate the other players to achieve the results. More times than not, the game is about playing the player more than the cards. This makes poker less of a game of chance and more of a mind sport than any other casino or gambling game.