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Rules of Poker – How to Play Smart and Keep Your Emotions in Check

Poker is a card game that requires skill and a fair amount of luck to win. It’s also a test of, and a window into, human nature. The element of risk makes it more lifelike than most other casino games and learning to master it can be deeply satisfying.

The first rule of poker is to play smart and keep your emotions in check. It’s important to practice and watch other players to develop quick instincts. Keeping your cards in order is critical, too. You can do this by shuffle them a few times before playing to ensure that the cards aren’t unevenly distributed.

If you have a good hand, bet often and early. This will force weaker hands to fold or call, which will help you build the pot value for your winning hand. If you don’t have a strong hand, play it cautiously and fold if you must.

Say “call” if you want to bet the same amount as the last player, or raise your own bet. If you have an excellent hand, raise it often, too – this will push weaker hands out of the way and increase your chances of winning the hand.

Never limp unless you have a premium opening hand like a pair of Kings, Queens or Aces. This is a mistake that many inexperienced players make and it will usually cost them their bankroll. There’s nothing worse than getting beaten by a pair of unconnected, low cards after raising your bet aggressively!

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