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Learn to play Poker

Ever since the popularity explosion poker has seen starting 2003, the number of people trying to learn the game has also skyrocketed.
Learning the game is easier than ever before. The internet offers access not only to free poker articles, but also to books and educational material authored by some of the biggest poker names.
What do you need to pay attention to when you decide you want to learn to play poker? The most important thing is to understand the nature of the game.

Some beginners confuse the “learning of the game” with the learning of the rules of the game. Texas Holdem’s rules (because that’s what most people begin with) are fairly simple. Anyone can learn them in a few minutes. As experts say though, poker is a game that takes a minute to learn but a lifetime to master. The learning of poker only begins once you’ve mastered the rules. There are countless aspects that need to be taken into consideration, and make no mistake, nothing but experience can thoroughly teach you the subtleties of the game. All the poker books, videos and articles that you read can only hope to give you guidance, the real learning takes place at the table.

All the different elements that a good poker player knows about and masters are held together by one concept: the nature of the game of poker. As a beginner, you should strive to understand the nature of the game. You should focus on learning what makes it tick and how it works in loose lines. Then you can go and fill in the blanks that exist everywhere through diligent study and countless hours of real money play. Don’t try to use the play money feature most online poker rooms offer for advanced study. Play money poker is only good to make you familiar with the software interface and to hammer the rules down for you. Nothing more.

The nature, the essence of the game of poker can be summed up quite briefly and I’ll attempt to do it in the flowing paragraphs.
Just as you wouldn’t want to bet $2 against your friend’s $1 on a coin-flip, you do not want to play negative EV value situations in poker. Whenever you play negative EV you lose money regardless of whether or not you get lucky and win a hand, and whenever you play positive EV, you win some money, regardless of whether or not you get ripped off by a bad beat.

As David Sklansky puts it: whenever you play a hand the same way you would if you could see your opponents’ hole cards, you gain value. Whenever you fail to do that , you lose value.

You will never be able to play perfectly according to this theorem, but with the limited tools at your disposal, you should do your best to play as close to perfect as possible.


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