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How to Win at Poker

The game of poker involves a combination of chance and skill. While luck certainly plays a role in winning, top players possess several key traits including patience, reading other players and adapting their strategies.

To play a hand of poker, you must first put up chips into the pot (representing money). These are called “ante” or “blind.” During each betting interval (depending on the poker variant being played), one player, designated by the rules, has the privilege or obligation to place the first bet. Then the other players must either call this bet or fold their cards.

A good poker hand can be ruined by an unexpected turn of events on the board. For example, you might have pocket kings or queens but an ace showing on the flop could spell disaster.

To avoid this, you must learn how to read other players and their tells. The most important tell is the way a player is playing their hand, not necessarily what they are holding in their hand. For example, a player who is usually a caller may suddenly raise. This is a sign that they have a strong hand and they are trying to scare other players out of their hands. Watching experienced players play will help you develop these instincts.