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How to Play Poker Like the Pros


Poker is an international game, with a rich history of bluffing and misdirection. It started in the 16th century as a German bluffing game called pochen, developed into a French version called poque, and then was brought over to the New World by riverboats in the Mississippi. Today, the game is enjoyed in virtually every country where cards are played. The best players have several similar skills, including patience, reading other players and adaptability. They also have the discipline to choose the right limits and games for their bankrolls, and the commitment to develop and practice strategies.

In poker, a player’s hands are evaluated based on the strength of the card combination. There are a variety of combinations, but the highest hands are a pair, two pairs and three of a kind (one five in your hand plus one on the board). A flush is also a strong hand that can be difficult to conceal.

Another skill that top players possess is understanding ranges. This means that they are able to work out the range of hands that their opponent could have and then determine how likely it is that this hand beats theirs. This is a far more sophisticated approach than simply trying to put their opponent on a specific hand, which is the mistake many inexperienced players make.

Another important skill is knowing when to fold. It is often best to fold if you have an inferior hand and have seen your opponent raise repeatedly during the betting phase of a hand. Many new players will believe that they have already invested a large amount of chips and should play it out, but this is often the wrong strategy.

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