The game of poker has a lot of different forms and betting structures, but most of them share many of the same rules. There are some fundamental principles that every player should learn if they want to become a winning poker player.
Play the player, not the cards
There’s an old saying in poker that you should “play the players, not the cards”. What this means is that your poker hand is good or bad only in relation to what other people have. For example, pocket kings on the flop will lose to an ace 82% of the time.
Learn to read the other players at the table
One of the most important things you can do to increase your chances of success is to learn to read other players and look for tells. These aren’t just the subtle physical poker tells like scratching your nose or playing nervously with your chips; they’re also the way a player acts when they make a bet, how quickly they call your raise, and so on.
It’s generally best to play a tight range of hands from early positions, but as the tables move and you get into late positions you can open up a bit more. This is because you will be able to manipulate the pot on later betting streets by raising and calling re-raises. You can then bet into a player with a weaker hand than theirs and still win the pot over the long run.