Basic Poker Strategy

Whether the game be stud or draw poker, seven-card or five-card, deuces wild or nothing wild, there are three very important poker strategies of play. If you remember these poker strategies, it is almost impossible for you to lose in an evening of poker unless you are playing with a group of experts who also know them. If you play poker regularly with the same group of players and find that there are a few who win consistently while the rest of you lose — leaving the possibility of dishonesty aside — it is because these players are aware of these poker strategies and play accordingly.

The first rule: When you have nothing, get out. More money is lost by stud poker players who go in with two indifferent cards and drop out later, or by draw poker players who stay with a low pair and fold after the draw, than is ever lost by having three kings beaten by three aces. The player who has the patience to stay out of pot after pot, for hours if necessary, is the player who, in the long run, will win.

The second rule: When you’re beaten, get out. you may have a pair of queens back to back in a stud game — a high hand good enough to win 99 pots out of 100. But if, on the next card, one of your opponents should show a pair of kings or aces, in most cases the smart play is to drop out at once. You may improve your hand, but the odds are against it. Even if you should improve, your opponent may improve also — and his pair was better than yours to begin with. Except for going in on nothing, trying to beat a big pair with a small one loses more money than anything else in poker games.

The third rule: When you have the best hand, make your opponents pay. If you have the pair of aces back to back, make it as expensive as possible for the man with the pair of queens to play. It is true that every once in a while he’ll outdraw you, but you will beat him much more often, and you can afford his occasional victory.

There are many fine points to the game of poker; but if you get nothing out of this section of the web site but these three rules, you will be a consistent winner against most players. The rest of the poker strategies, tips, hints, tactics, and warnings on this web site added to the above, if studied seriously and applied faithfully, should make you a winner at poker.