How to Read Poker Hands

Poker is a game of chance with a fair amount of psychology and skill (and betting). When you are dealing with other players the ability to read them becomes an important part of the game. Reading other players is a topic for an entire book and a very important skill to master but the basic idea is to look at the way your opponents are playing their hands and try to figure out what type of hand they are holding.

Before you start playing poker you should know a little about the game and its rules. First of all you should understand that poker is played from a standard 52 card deck, sometimes with extra cards called jokers. There are four suits in poker, spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. The Ace is high and the rest of the cards are ranked in order from low to high.

Each player puts an ante into the pot before they get their cards and starts betting. When someone bets it means they are putting in as many chips into the pot as the player before them, and that player must either call the bet or raise it. If a player chooses to call, they are saying they have the same hand as the person who raised, or better, and will be in the running for the hand. If they don’t have a good hand they can fold and discard their cards.

Once all the betting in a round is done the dealer will deal three more cards to the table, face up, that everyone can use. This is the flop. Now the other players have to decide whether or not to bet again. They must consider their own pocket cards, the flop and any other community cards on the board.

Don’t Get Too Attached to Good Hands

A common mistake even advanced players make is getting too attached to their pocket cards and making decisions automatically. This is very dangerous because the board may say something totally different from what your pocket cards tell you and it could spell doom for your hand. For example, if you have pocket kings and the flop is A-8-5 it will likely be over for you but this isn’t always the case because there are other things that can make your hand great.

The key to success in poker is thinking about the whole situation at the table and understanding that there are certain types of hands that win more often than others. A pair of aces, for instance, is a great hand to hold in most situations because it conceals your strength so well. Similarly, a full house is a great hand to hold because it is very difficult for other players to put you on it. So, the next time you are dealt a strong hand think about all the other options and make the best decision you can.