7 Skills You Need to Succeed in Poker


Poker is a card game in which players form hands based on the cards they are dealt, competing to win the pot at the end of each betting round. There are several different variations of poker, each with its own rules and strategies. To be successful in poker, you need to develop the following skills:

Learn the terminology. Understand the game’s rules, including how to play in a hand and when to fold. Be aware of the betting structure and how to call or raise a bet. Ideally, you should only say “call” when you think you have a strong hand that will beat the other player’s. If you don’t have a strong enough hand, say “fold” and leave the table.

Study some of the more obscure poker variations. This will help you expand your knowledge of the game and possibly improve your own strategy by learning how to play against different types of players.

Practice your mental game. Poker requires a lot of focus and discipline, so you need to be able to keep your emotions in check. A bad beat can be devastating, but you need to be able to accept it and move on to the next hand. To sharpen your mental game, watch videos of top players like Phil Ivey playing bad beats and note how they react.

Be a good player. This includes being able to read other players and understanding how to calculate odds and percentages. It also means choosing the right games for your bankroll and developing smart bluffing strategies.

Develop a solid game plan for every round. This should include how to play each of your cards, who to call and bet against, and what your odds are of winning a hand. Plan to adjust your strategy throughout the game if needed.

Don’t Get Too Attached to Good Hands

A good poker player knows that a hand is only as good or bad as the situation surrounding it. For example, pocket kings are very strong, but an ace on the flop spells doom for them 82% of the time. A strong player will know when to make their pocket kings good and when to let them go.

Pay attention to other players’ tendencies and try to predict what they are holding. This is a skill called reading other players and it can make or break your chances of success in the game. Observe their subtle physical tells and look for patterns in their betting habits.

Use bluffing to your advantage. This is an advanced technique, but if used properly can improve your chances of winning. Especially with a full table, bluffing can push players with weak hands out of the pot and increase the value of your winning hand. However, it’s important to remember that you need a decent starting hand to make bluffing worthwhile, and you should bet at least enough to force other players out of the pot. Otherwise, your bluffing will be costly.