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''...valuable, easy to follow basic poker strategy articles to ensure successful play..."
Basic Poker Strategy Text
Playing online poker involves constantly making decisions based on a set of factors, and these can vary depending on different situations. Basic poker strategy will tell you how to act and plan ahead to make the best of any situation. Using basic poker strategy principles can alter any likely outcome of a specific hand, and gives you an edge over other poker players.

There is no perfect basic poker strategy, and you need to balance the available information for good strategic play against the unknown information to enable anything other than a guess at an outcome. This is one of the essential elements of a poker game, with reasonably strong poker players being able to use different strategies against different players, and in different types of games.

Our pages contain many of the powerful secrets that you'll need - we're building resources to develop a firm understanding of basic poker strategy - and understanding these should set you on a course for success by changing the way you play poker forever.

To succeed at online poker,  poker strategy must be at at the centre of all your decisions - using the correct strategy in different situations will often make the difference between winning and losing. Poker is different to other casino gambling games in that it combines the elements of an  odds dependant game, with the elements of a strategic mind game.

In basic poker strategy, you learn how to combine all of the elements to calculate odds and make the best strategic decisions. Your chances of winning a poker hand often rely on a mixture of your reading of your opponents hands, guessing how they will play their hands, reading the moves they have made, and all balanced against your own hand and your odds of improving it balanced against what's in the pot already. With all of these variables impacting the game, you can see why it's impossible to have a perfect poker strategy - but having a good knowledge of strategy gives you the all important edge in a game - including the way you bet and when, the way you use weaknesses in your opponents play, the way you watch how your opponents play, and your ability to bluff or deceive the other players.

Improvement can be fast, and just by playing for a few hours you can start to notice the growth in your basic skill level. There are many poker players who have reached expert level in a short period, but It takes  time, effort, and practice to fully develop the experience, knowledge, and poker strategy skills  to win consistently.  Luck plays a part, though it's this very aspect which also makes poker a game where the ability is required to make skilful decisions.






 
You are playing against real people with the full range of human strengths and weaknesses, with no advantage to any of your opponents apart from experience and the ablity to think quickly and accurately. Poker is a psychological game, where you bluff and counter-bluff, using skill to win.

Remember that everyone makes mistakes, and often the ultimate winner is player that makes the fewest mistakes. 

So, you're here to learn about basic poker strategy. Poker strategy is an art because it is played against humans who are not perfect. It is an essential element of poker strategy to remember that people do not always make perfect decisions - and the lower the skill level of your opponents, the more likely they are to make incorrect strategic decisions. In fact, it can sometimes be safer to play more experienced players who are more likely to use known effective strategy to determine their actions. Of course, if you do that you'll then need to learn how to change your style on occasions - each element of poker strategy must be used in any poker game to give you the best possible winning advantage.

We'll assume you've covered the elements you'd need as a complete beginner, such as poker hand rankings.


Understanding Basic Poker Theory and Mathematics
 
At it's core, poker is a game based on mathematical probabilities where any chance of improving a hand or ultimately winning can be calculated by applying basic mathematical principles. In practice, there is much more to the game than just this.


Bluffing

Bluffing is an art which is central to any poker game, and has many elements to consider. The first point to remember is that bluffing may only be useful when you're playing experienced players - some poor players or learners will be more likely to make a decision to call that goes against the correct strategy or move in their position.....read more on poker bluffing.....


Position Play - Understanding  your position at the table

Knowing your position in any hand is critical, as there are advantages and drawbacks to any position, and of course your position changes in each new hand. Take notice of your position to the dealer button. The small blind is the worst and the button is the best position.

A good starting hand in an early position can often be worse than a bad hand in a late position. Try to minimize to play hands out of position (positions just after the button) and try to maximize your hand on the button, and before it.  When first starting out, it is advisable to adopt a tight-aggressive strategy until you understand the game mechanics. You can make a profit at lower limit games by simply playing the strongest hands from the best positions, and either raising when your hand is strong or folding if you feel it is beaten. The importance of position in holdem must not be underestimated.

Being seated in a late position (you're the dealer or close to the dealer) is a huge advantage, as your opponents must make their bets and give you a chance to estimate their hand before you have to act. Make sure you use this advantage when it occurs. As a rule, when everyone folds to you in late position you should raise around 90% of the time, and if subsequently another player raises, you should come out over the top around 50% of the time.


Folding

Folding, or not to fold, is one of the fundamental decisions you need to make in any game, at any point of the betting rounds. If you have nothing and can't draw to anything you should fold. Most of the money you will lose at poker will not come from folding your big blind preflop, but being caught with the second best hand. 'Paying off' the best hand is why most people lose at poker. Since you do not know what your opponent has,  it is obviously impossible to know for certain that you are beaten. However, you can often prevent having the second best hand by folding hands that may not be strong enough. If someone in early position puts in a raise, fold that AJ offsuit. Chances are he has AK,AQ, or a pocket pair of JJ or higher.



Raising

Make sure to raise when you believe you have the best hand. If you play no-limit, make your raise a sufficient size to chase away drawing hands that could end up beating yours. If you induce a bluff, make sure the "story" you tell is right. Imagine that you have the best hand and try to bet that way. If you pre-flop raise, you opponents most likely assume you have high cards like A-A, A-k, A-Q or A-J, if the flop comes, and you pre-flop raised and the flop is showing some high cards, you should bet because you need others to believe that you have high cards, but if the flop doesn't show high cards, you shouldn't raise because then your story is incorrect and other players will know that you were bluffing the pre-flop raise, and you will most likely get dominated by better hands. The correct play in this case is to check instead.


Trapping

We'll be adding a page describing trapping soon, please check back.


Watching Your opponents

Remember to watch the moves of your opponents! This is an important aspect of any poker game. When you're not actually playing in a hand, this is probably one of the best times to watch how your opponents play and develop your player reading abilities. Try to work out what cards they're holding, note whether they are tight, aggressive, or open players. All of this has an impact on poker strategy. You can gain valuable information for use later in the game when you are playing against them. Remember it might be right to raise against a certain type of player with one hand, and not against a different player with the same poker hand. There's more detail on how to understand your opponents actions in the advanced poker strategy section.


Starting Hands and Starting Hand Values - Pre Flop Play

In pre-flop play, knowing which hands to fold, call or re-raise is a crucial skill which you need to master to make the correct decisions with pre-flop hands.

The two pocket cards (or hole cards) are what separates your hand from those of the other players. Learning how to play these defines how successful you'll be. An AA (ace-ace) combo has a much better chance of winning than a 7-3 combo for example. Play good starting hands, fold bad. Learn which starting hands are statistically favoured to profit in the long run so when you are dealt cards, you only play the hands with a positive expected value.


Playing Pairs

There are some golden rules to follow when deciding how and when to play pairs. Playing pocket pairs in poker is a skill you must be aware of to play successfully....read more on playing pairs....



How to Play With a Weak Kicker
This section will be added soon, please check back.


Deciding Which Hands to Play
This section will be added soon, please check back.



Playing Blinds

Knowing how to play when you're on small and big blinds is a critical poker strategy skill.


Playing Tight
This section will be added soon, please check back.


Playing Aggressively
This section will be added soon, please check back.


Betting Patterns

This section will be added soon, check back regularly.


Player Types

Your opponents betting moves will of course be based on their hand, their betting position, and their skill at bluffing. Remember your opponents are trying to deceive you, just as you are trying to fool them. You need to be able to determine player types among your opponents. Understanding what type of player you are competing against will give you a good advantage and help you to make the correct decision depending on the type of player....read more on player types....



























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Useful Links There are a number of poker websites offering highly valuable information on poker strategy. if you want to know more we suggest visiting either:

the PokerNews strategy articles or PokerListings complete poker strategy section