Poker is one of those card games that combine strategy, skill, luck, and gambling. All varieties of poker involve betting of some sort, but they differ in terms of the number of cards dealt, the hidden and shared cards, and the betting procedures.
Here are 11 basic tips for all poker players:
- Be prepared to lose, but play to win
There is enough luck involved with poker that a pro can lose to an amateur. Still, with time, it is possible to become ever more skilled. Whatever your skill level, though, you need to be able to handle a loss. If you start a game with $200, you need to be prepared to walk out with nothing. The key is to keep focused on winning the hand that you’re playing and to tune everything else out. Winning is also about more than just making money; ask yourself, for instance, would you play poker after winning $100 million?
- Be upbeat at the table
Telling a joke, chatting with fellow players, and smiling are a big part of getting the most out of your play. Not only is the game more enjoyable this way, but you can get a feel for the other players and get them as much as possible on your side. At all costs, avoid making fun of those less skilled than yourself.
- Listen to, but don’t tell, tales of woe
It can’t hurt to listen to another player’s problems, but it does neither you nor anyone else any good to talk about your own.
- Know the rules
Knowing the rules and the player’s turn are important in any game. Other players quickly become annoyed when someone doesn’t know what he or she is doing. Playing your turn quickly and correctly is a courtesy that will be appreciated.
- Win graciously
Winners should buy a round after the game is over and show humility about their success. Everyone’s luck turns eventually, and a free beer helps take the sting out of a big loss when you’re about to walk away with someone else’s money.
- Lose graciously
Take your losses like an adult and as life lessons. Also, never let yourself lose so much that you can’t buy one last round before calling it a night. Like we just said, everyone’s luck turns eventually, and people will be more likely to give you a chance to win your money back when they have fun playing with you.
- Learn games other than Texas hold ’em
A poker player needs to master various versions of the game. Everyone knows hold’em, but you should also get comfortable with games like five-card stud and Omaha, and develop a fun alternative for dealer’s choice at home games.
- Chat up the dealer
The dealer is usually the most interesting person at the table, as well as the most knowledgeable. Dealers rarely get the credit that they deserve, and most appreciate a friendly conversation. Treat them with respect, listen to what they have to say, and be sure to tip.
- Invite the ladies
Women are just as good at poker as men are and should take every opportunity to play. A night of cards always makes for an exciting date; just be sure to keep your cool if you lose—or win—big.
- Don’t wear sunglasses
Wearing sunglasses and other wardrobe gimmicks just make you look less serious, and possibly under the influence.
If you keep these few tips in mind, you’ll be sure to enjoy your poker experience.