Learning Poker Through Bad Hands


All poker players start out with bad hands. That’s just the way it is, but if you’re lucky enough to have good cards, you can make up for a lot of lost chances by bluffing and raising. That’s why you should never let a poor hand discourage you. Instead, use it as an opportunity to learn more about the game by studying other players and figuring out how they play.

There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for learning poker, but the best strategy starts at lower stakes, which minimizes financial risk and allows you to experiment with different strategies without excessive pressure. Then, dedicate time to reviewing your gameplay after each session—whether by utilizing hand history software or simply taking notes—to identify opportunities for improvement and determine your strengths and weaknesses.

Once everyone has 2 cards, a round of betting begins. Each player can decide whether to hit (play) or stay (fold). Then 3 additional cards are dealt simultaneously, face up—called the flop. Then another round of betting ensues, starting with the player to the left of the dealer.

The strength of your hand is relative to the other players’ hands, so it’s important to bet frequently and aggressively when you have a strong one. Top players “fast-play” their strong hands, which means they bet early and often to build the pot and chase off opponents waiting for a better chance of winning the hand. This also helps them keep the money from weaker players.