Poker is the number one card game in the world, and for good reason. It’s an incredibly tense game with a lot of depth. While some gambling games are all about luck, poker takes skill to master, making it highly rewarding for those who study and get good at the game. You can get better at poker by playing and gaining more experience. More experience means you’ll make better decisions and have a better chance of success.
Learning the hand rankings and knowing the value of your hand is the first part of learning how to play poker. Once you’ve grasped these basics, you can start learning when to call or raise. In poker, you call a bet when you match the current bet level and add your chips to the pot. A raise is when you increase the bet, forcing other players to either call or fold. Knowing which action to take can mean the difference between winning and losing, but it’s not always easy to get it right. Here are some tips for the next time you play poker.
The position you sit at the table should influence the decisions you make. Although it may not seem like a big deal, the position has a major impact on the game. This is due to the blinds and the playing order. There are three main positions around the poker table:
- Early – These are the first three players after the blinds and will go first
- Middle – The middle positions are the fourth and fifth players after the blinds
- Late – The sixth and seventh players are in the late position
The early and middle positions are considered weaker than the late positions, as they need to make a decision first. The late positions have an advantage because they can have an idea about the other players’ hands based on their decisions. They have more information on which to make their decisions, which is why the best players make the most money here.
Most new players make the mistake of folding too often, and even when they play hands, they usually call in situations where they should be raising. As a new player, it’s normal to want to look after your bank and not bet more than you can afford to lose, but playing aggressively is an important skill to learn. Raising pre-flop is a great tactic that a lot of new players are afraid to utilize because of how aggressive it is. However, it gives you more control and allows you to steal blinds from players.
When to Raise:
You can raise on the pre-flop either as a bluff or when you have a strong set of pocket cards. This is a great way to steal blinds from the early and middle positions. After the flop, raising is best done when you think you can bet out your opponents. If you see checks folds or small raises in the early positions, you know that a big raise can potentially force your opponents to fold. Being aggressive is important once more in preventing opponents from staying in the game.
When to Call:
Although the aggressive play is beneficial, it can sometimes backfire. Folding or calling are both very useful strategies in their own right, and you shouldn’t overlook them. Especially when you’re a complete beginner, you should be folding or calling more often than you raise. If you have low-value cards without straight potential or a face card with a low kicker, you should opt to call rather than raise.