Poker Strategy

It’s time to play like a champion

Ever wonder why the top poker pros in the world always seem to know exactly what their opponents are holding? Or why your favorite player felt so confident with his pocket fives and was able to get his opponent with an AK suited to fold? Poker strategy has a lot to do with it.

If you’re new to poker tournament strategy, it’s time to learn the basics. By learning about things like pot odds and implied odds, not to mention how to read a bluff, you could end up owning the felt in ways you’ve never imagined. Get poker strategy on your side and start thinking like a pro. And when you’re ready, apply what you’ve learned online at one of the top poker sites we recommend.


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Know one golden rule for playing these popular forms of poker

Poker has more variations than Baskin Robbins has flavors, so it can be tough to be an expect at each and every one. If you’re just looking to dabble in the many brands of poker, you don’t need to know every in-and-out. You just need to know the gold rule.

Here’s a look at some of the most popular variations of poker and one key thing to remember when playing these games at your favorite online casino or brick-and-mortar casino:


Texas Hold’Em Poker


Texas Hold’Em is the most popular poker variation, thanks to the poker explosion in the 2000’s and the vast coverage around tournaments such as the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. There are a number of tips and tactics to remember when playing Hold’Em but perhaps the most important rule is don’t react to your hand – good or bad. Texas Hold’Em is all about reading your opponent and not letting them read you.

So if you draw a strong hand, keep you composure and cool and try to hold back that smile, as not to scare away the other players. If they sense something is up, they’ll likely fold and leave the pot light – wasting a winning hand. On the other side, don’t show your disgust when drawing a weak pair. For all you know, those others at the table are holding bad hands as well and a little fake bravado could spook them into folding.


Stud Poker


Sometimes known as draw poker, stud poker deals the players five cards and they’re allow to discard and draw new ones to make a stronger hand. Due to that rule, most players can build a respectable hand and that makes it very competitive.

With that in mind, if you don’t have a good hand, fold up and fight again another day. You don’t have to bet into every hand and knowing when the odds are stacked against you is probably the best tip you can utilize when playing stud poker. There’s nothing more crushing to a player or a bankroll than getting to deep into a hand with a losing set of cards.


Pai-Gow Poker


Pai Gow is growing in popularity at casinos, with the one-on-one action between dealer and player much more inviting to casual and new poker players than sitting down with the sharks in stud or hold’em poker. Pai Gow poker asks the player to make two hands from seven cards and create his two strongest hands versus the dealer.

In order for a winner, either the player or the dealer must win both hands. If not, the game is graded a push and the best are returned. It’s this aspect of the game that really tests the focus of players. There are a lot of pushes in Pai Gow poker, which can be frustrating. So, it’s important to keep your cool, enjoy just sitting down and playing a fun game, and always keep your focus. If you play the cards right, you should come out on top in the long run.


Let It Ride Poker


Jeez, even the name sounds fun. Let It Ride was a popular poker variation in the 1980’s and 90’s but has cooled off in recent years. However, it’s making a comeback with the popularity of online casinos. Let It Ride has the player placing three bets across the table and “letting it ride” to the next bet if they feel positive about their hand. One strategy for Let It Ride is letting circle one bets ride if your first three cards are: three of a kind, a pair of 10s, any three cards for a Royal Flush, open-ended straight flush. You can let the second circle bet ride if your first four cards are: pair of 10s or higher, three of a kind or four of a kind, and any four cards of the same suit.

Four common problems poker players can run into at the table

Four common problems poker players can run into at the table  | Poker Strategy from

Poker is a game ripe with pitfalls, especially when you’re play with and against other playerspoker strategy. One of the most popular – and challenging – variations of poker is Texas Hold’Em, and these are common errors that can find even the most experienced players waving “bye bye” to their chips:

Bad bluffs
Being able to bluff is not only about keeping a “poker face” and being aggressive with your play and bets early into a hand. Knowing who you’re bluffing is just as important. If you have an aggressive style of play to begin with, your big-bet bluff may not spook off the other players. And if you’re a patient and careful player, a sudden shift in gears could give your buff away.

You have to ask yourself if the guy you’re bluffing is wise enough to: 1. Pick up on any changes in play. 2. Wise enough to fold and buy into the bluff. Experienced players are often times easier to bluff because you know they don’t mind surrendering a hand if they think you have them beat. An inexperienced player may not know to pump the breaks and could end up calling your bluff, only to look like a genius after beating your weak bluff hand.

Overexcited Aces
Pulling an Ace in your hole cards does put you at an advantage, but sometimes players can get overexcited when it comes to that edge and bet themselves into a bad hand waiting for a pair to show up on the table. Experienced players will back down if it doesn’t look like a strong hand is going to show up, but newbies can often bet too big into a pot and get caught with a losing hand after opponents call and put a price on that Ace.

Pounding low pockets
Pulling a pocket pair is often times an instant winner, but if you do end up saddled with a low pocket pair – seven or lower – you can often times over bet pre-flop and lose when an opponent draws a higher pair on the table. Don’t over-invest on small pocket pairs. Rather, you should slow play pre-flop and then scan the possible outcomes once the flop rolls out. If there’s a chance an opponent could finish with a higher pair, pace yourself and read the table and the pre-turn bets. If most players are checking, your low pocket pair might be strong enough to hold up.

Chasing losses
Before a single card is dealt, set your betting bankroll for the night. Know the buy-in and the buy-back if you plan on playing long, and try to stick to your budget when playing: win or lose. Too many times, players go well beyond their depth after a bad game and find themselves chasing losses and buying back into games that haven’t gone their way. Losses could be due to bad cards or bad play, but it could also be due to the competition at the table. If you find yourself swimming in shark-infested waters, there’s no shame in taking your loss – and hopefully some valuable lessons – and walking away to fight another day.


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New to poker? Try these three “newbie” friendly variations of poker

New to poker? Try these three

Poker is among the most popular casino games in the industry, and with more and more new players showing up online and in brick-and-mortar casinos.

But poker is a game of skill, with poker Player Rankings and seasoned players holding a big advantage when sitting at the table with the lesser-skilled opposition. Those games go by pretty quickly and aren’t that enjoyable for those trying their hand at poker for the first time.

Instead to leaving a bad taste in their mouth – and empty pockets – we want to show the best intros to poker. And with those new bodies at the table, we overview some of the best options for newbie poker players that you can find at PlayOnlinePoker’s partners:

Video Poker
It’s simple, quick, fun, and the game does most of the heavy lifting for you. Video poker can be found at just about every online casino, Vegas floor, and various bars and restaurants, and is a great way to learn about valuable poker hands and how to grade them.

Video poker doesn’t have players going head-to-head with others, rather it asks them to make the best poker hand with the cards dealt by selecting which cards to toss or keep, drawing one round of new cards to then make the final hand.

Each hand has a value, and the more difficult hands to make pay out more. Certain variations of video poker assign “wild card” value to particular cards, such as “Jacks” or “Deuces” and those can be in turn used to fill in gaps in high-paying hands. It’s a solo game that you can play at your own pace or while doing something else, like watching the football game at the bar.

Stud poker
This is probably the most basic variation of poker and a nice graduation from video poker for new players. The same hand grading applies to stud poker, but when playing in a casino setting, you are facing a dealer rather than other players.

You place your wager before five cards are dealt, then you have the option on tossing or keeping cards once you get your hand, receiving replacements for the number you tossed away. Then – depending on the rules – there is another round of betting, before the cards are shown. If the player has a higher-graded hand than the dealer, than they win. Simple enough.

Pai Gow Poker
This is another variation of poker that allows new players to face the dealer directly and not have to play against others head-to-head. Pai Gow is a nice intro game to different types of poker and the pace is very leisurely, with plenty of pushes allowing players to enjoy a lengthy session without breaking the bank.

Pai Gow deals seven cards to the dealer and player (after bets are placed) and they are asked to make their best two poker hands from those cards: the front hand consisting of two cards and the back hand consisting of five. In order for the player to win, they must beat both of the dealer’s hands. If the two split hands, the game is ruled a push and bets are returned.


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