So you're ready to begin on a long and enjoyable journey, and you are going to need to start at the beginning and gain a strong understanding of basic poker strategy. This understanding of basic poker strategy will build you a concrete platform on which to grow your poker skills, and give you the ability to play successfully against different types and levels of opponents.

Poker strategy should be considered as an art which involves playing against human opponents who are not perfect. It is useful to remember that people in general do not always make correct strategic decisions in any part of life, and poker is no different. The lower the skill level of any player, the more likely he or she is to make incorrect decisions. Because of this, it can sometimes be safer to play against experienced players who are more likely to use conventional and appropriate strategy in any situation. 

Of course, that means you will also need to learn how to mix up your styles of play - each element of poker strategy must be used in any poker game to give you the best possible winning advantage.

We will assume that you have a firm appreciation of the basics of playing poker, and know the other elements that go towards making your poker games successful such as using reviews to choose a poker room to play at, deciding which game type will suit you best, where to get the best value poker bonuses, the terms you need to understand, and of course the different poker game rules and poker hand rankings.

Basic poker strategy can be broken down into the two main areas of Psychology (personal attitude or the qualities of a successful poker player,  discipline, how to handle tilt, recognizing poker tells) - and the actual in-game playing options and associated methodology which we will describe next. These are the main basic poker strategy areas that you need to consider.

Basic Poker Strategy and Tips

Once you have the basics of poker for beginners covered, you can start to work on understanding basic poker strategy.

Effective strategies are based on a wide range of possibilities and these can be either known or unknown -  including the strength of your starting hand, the potential hand you might be able to achieve, the position you're in at the table, the amount of chips you or your opponents have,  the playing style of your oppoenents, and how many chips are either in or likely to be in the pot.

In addition, different strategies are used in different types of games such as cash games or tournaments.

Poker strategy also covers what to do and when - the well known arts of bluffing, betting, and folding.....

Basic Poker Theory and Mathematics
This can be a complex subject, but is one that is well worth taking the time to understand fully. Poker is a game of mathematical probabilities and possibilities, where your chance of getting an improved hand on the next turn of cards and ultimately winning any hand can be calculated by applying basic mathematical principles.  Knowing the probability of improving is a critical element for long term success. One of the best articles I've found about understanding the basic mathematics of poker can be seen at www.pokernewstoday.com. Calculating pot odds is one of the most important aspects, and you can read more on this in the advanced strategy section.

Pot Odds Knowing the Odds - Pot Odds, Implied Odds, Reverse Pot Odds

This section probably better covered as one of the more advanced strategies of poker play.


Bluffing is the human skill of taking an action which is designed to mislead and can be heavily developed with practice. It is an art with many elements which is central to any poker game.

Knowing when to raise is a core poker strategy skill. Raising in Texas Holdem games at the right time and for the right reasons can ensure long term profit.

Position Play - Understanding Your Table Position

With the dealer position changing for each new hand, knowing your table position in any hand relevant to where the dealer is and the playing styles of your opponents is critical. Understanding your table position will allow you to act accordingly to maximise the benefits and reduce the potential drawbacks of any specific table position.

Table Selection

Choosing a table where play suits your level of skill and playing style is critical - playing in games above your level is likely to put you on a fast track to losing your bankroll. Appropriate table selection from the outset will ensure you're playing at the right level.


Folding is the fundamental action of deciding to keep or discard your starting hand. During the betting rounds you will constantly need to be making decisions on whether to fold, call or bet. The folding decision can often be the one which makes a difference between a winning or losing session - many of your losses can potentially come from trying to play hands which mathematically do not have a sufficient probability of ultimately winning.

Playing Starting Hands - Knowing The Best And Worst 10 Starting Poker Hands

Your starting hand is the two hole cards that you have been dealt by the dealer. The two pocket cards (or hole cards) are what separates your hand from those of the other players. Learning which starting hands are mathematically favoured to profit and deciding which hands to play in the long run will define your overall level of success

It's good to understand the 10 best starting poker hands and the 10 worst starting hands, and this coupled with knowledge of how to play a variety of starting pairs will allow you to make correct basic poker strategy decisions about which hands are worth playing or not. In play before the flop, knowing which hands to fold, call, raise, or re-raise is a crucial skill which you need to master to maximise your chances of success. Playing mid pairs, high pairs, or low pairs correctly is another strategy which it pays to understand well, and can contribute either to your winning or losing rate over a period of time.

Poker Betting - Raising, Checking, Calling

Poker games invariably involve wagering of money - which adds that extra touch of excitement to the game. Learn and understand poker betting rules. You'll need to know what blinds and antes are, how to bet and when, the differences between limit and no limit games...and eventually the betting strategies to follow to get the greatest chances of success in any poker hand you play.

Raising, checking, and calling are all covered in the poker betting section of our site. Raising is the element of poker betting where you increase the size of your bet, either to make your opponent risk more of their own cash, or to attempt to misrepresent the strength of your hand.

Calling is another element where you signal your intent to carry on playing but placing an equal bet to the ones already made.

Checking is the option where you continue iin the hand with no additional bet being made. Utilizing all three at different stages of a hand is an essential basic poker strategy skill.


Trapping is the art of setting a trap for your opponents by thinking and planning ahead, and betting in such a way as to encourage your opponents to make their own bets into a hand.
You can find valuable articles on poker trapping at TightPoker.com,  which covers the trapping subject from three different perspectives - spotting a trap, setting a trap, and getting trapped yourself.

Observation - Watching Your Opponents

Observation is an important aspect of any poker game. Watching the actions of your opponents can often reveal clues, either through body movements or in the way they regularly bet. We look at some detail on observing opponents in the poker tells section.

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, with playing aces worth special attention.

How to Play With a Weak Kicker

I'm currently preparing this section, please check back.

Playing Blinds

Knowing how to play when you're on small and big blinds is a critical poker strategy skill. Playing blinds correctly can make the difference between long term loss or profit.

Playing Styles And Player Types

This section refers to your and your opponents styles of play. Generally this can be broken down into tight (or conservative) or aggressive (attacking or bullying) play. 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.

Betting Patterns

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 - their betting patterns can reveal much about the strength or weakness of their hand.

Building A Bankroll

Even professional players can hit losing runs, and you need to be prepared for this to happen in your game. the most effective way to counter losing runs is to ensure your bankroll is sufficient to help you get through losing sessions without reaching zero.

Limiting Losses

Often the difference between a losing and a winning session can rely on whether you've limited your losses and maximized your winnings in a number of hands.

Reading And Study

There are a wide number of highly valuable poker books available, and from an online perspective there are a number of poker schools which focus on all aspects of poker strategy.

Poker Software

We take a look at the different poker software tools available that will enhance your play and provide supporting help during and after your games. Poker hand analysis tools are particularly useful.

Know Yourself

When playing online poker, there are a number of factors which might lead you to make a wrong decision. These might include hunger, frustration, or illness.

Do not force yourself to play poker - it should be enjoyable and if you do not feel good this may cause you to lose. Strong opponents can also make you lose.

No matter how good you are at poker yourself, your level of success depends to a high degree on the skill of your opponents. You can win individual hands with  luck and some skill, but if you lose a game overall it is usually because your opponents are better.

Bad Beats

Bad luck can strike even the most experienced of players, and can often send you on a tilt course that will cause you to make mistakes and lose even more cash. Read the bad beat article to find out how to overcome a loss in an unlucky hand.

Learning With Free Poker

Learning how to play without risking any cash does have some advantages and disadvantages. Playing free poker is a good way to get some experience of the basics rules, betting, and hands.


Each of the elements listed above are worth studying in depth to give you an overall understanding of basic poker strategy, but to summarize in very simple format:

- Stick to playing only the best starting hands in most situations

- Fold the bad hands, certainly when holding one of the worst Holdem starting hands

- Consider raising as a strategy to knock out weak opponents or those that might be holding marginal hands with the chance of improving.

If you need more resources on basic poker strategy, here are the links to the major search engines Google, Yahoo, and MSN/Bing search results. We end up with one of the most useful basic poker strategy videos I could find on Youtube.
Valuable, easy to understand basic poker strategy articles and tips...
3 great websites - basic poker strategy.....



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