Poker might be the most widely recognised card game in the world, heavily featured in pop culture like movies and TV shows – and what makes it exciting and fun is that it is a game that is easy to learn, but not always easy to master.
If you want to learn how to play poker, then you need to start with the basics – what is poker and where did it come from? Once we have taken a brief look at the history of the game, then we will check out a few basic skills that you will need to become a winner at the poker table.
The History of Poker
The earliest literary references to the game we know as poker come from as early as 1526 in Europe, and that game developed into brag in England and pochen or poque in Germany and France respectively by the 1700s.
French colonists took the game to the USA in the 1800s and anglicised the name to poker – and contemporary references demonstrate that by 1834 the game of poker being played in America was almost identical to the modern game.
Throughout the late 1800s and further, poker became somewhat of a national pastime – with games in saloons in the Wild West, to high roller games in the most luxurious casinos in Las Vegas.
As the internet exploded, so did the popularity of poker – online casinos meant that you did not have to leave the comfort of your own home to play poker and other games, so more and more people could learn how to play. Global tournaments like the World Series of Poker turned a fun game into a way for good players to earn huge sums of money – and the professional player was born.
For most people, however, poker remains a fun way to inspire some good-natured competition between friends or an exciting way to spend some time – so it is no wonder that it remains so popular today.
When it comes to playing poker, there are a wide range of skills that you should work on. These skills are the ones that come with experience and hours at the table, whether you play online or with your friends. The skills you need can be categorized in the following ways.
Knowledge of the Game
Having a good knowledge of the game is about learning the rules – when to bet and how that works, how many cards there will be and which ones you can share and keep private, and what constitutes a winning combination.
The other part of game knowledge is the ability to be able to calculate the odds and know how likely it is that you are going to win based on the cards that are available, especially considering that there are more than two and a half million possible hand combinations from one deck of cards.
Good poker players have excellent logical and strategic thinking skills, allowing them to react and adapt to the cards that they are dealt and the actions of other players.
The excellent players have great judgement skills that allow them to make the right decisions at the right time. They can remain focused and concentrate and can roll with the changes to make the most of the game in front of them.
Poker is a social game, and that means you need to be able to develop some sort of relationship with other players – and in combination with perceptiveness, this will allow you to be able to read your opponents. Some people think that tells and body language are not reliable indicators of what cards a player has, but social skills will make a real difference to your game and the way you play.
Self-Control and Patience
If you are playing for big money, you might start to get anxious and emotional. Even if you are only playing for buttons, the natural human urge to win can come into play – and if you don’t have self-control, you could find yourself reacting through your emotions rather than with logic, strategy, and judgement. Patience and consistency are a much better course of action and will help you to keep your cool.
The excitement of the game can be all-encompassing – and if you are not careful, you can get caried away in the world of the cards and forget that you are a responsible adult.
The balance between focusing on the game and remembering that you have a life outside of the game can be difficult. This balance will also help you to ensure that you can manage your bankroll, and have the space, cash, and ability to play again tomorrow.