A Beginner’s Guide to Poker Strategy


Poker is a game of chance, but it also requires a lot of skill and psychology. During the betting intervals, a player may choose to put into the pot (representing money) either because he believes his bet has positive expected value or because he is trying to bluff other players for strategic reasons.

The first step in learning poker strategy is to understand hand ranges. A hand range is a grouping of hands by their suited and offsuit components. It allows a player to visualize what his opponents likely hold in each situation. This is an essential skill to master in order to maximize your winning potential.

A pair contains two cards of the same rank and another unmatched card. A full house is three matching cards of one rank and two matching cards of another. A flush is five consecutive cards of the same suit. A straight is five cards in order but from different suits.

As a general rule, pocket kings and pocket queens have a very strong chance of winning against the opponent’s hands. However, this is a very general rule and the specific situation will often determine how good a hand is. For example, if you are in EP and the flop comes A-8-5, your kings will lose to their pair 82% of the time. However, if you are in MP and the flop is A-8-5, your kings will win their share of the pot only 20% of the time.