How to Play

Poker tips and advice

You've worked out the rules of poker, and you’re ready to play. Now for a few last tips before you hit the tables.

Pay attention

Watch who's playing aggressively or in a loose way (betting hard, playing a lot of hands) and who's playing tight (folding quickly, only playing good hands). Only go up against the tight players if you’ve got a strong hand.

Watch the chips

If someone has more chips than you, be careful – a mistake could knock you out. Fewer chips? You’ve got the upper hand.

No match

Cards don't match any of the community cards? Fold as soon as someone else bets.

Ace in the hand

An ace in your starting cards isn’t necessarily a winner. Only play it if your other card is the same suit or a 10 or higher.

Starting hands with potential

Before the flop, go ahead if you have pairs (7-7, 9-9), two face cards (K-Q, Q-J), or cards that could make either a straight or a flush (8-9, 6-7 of the same suit). Anything else, fold – unless you're in the blind.

Good hand? Bet strong

In no-limit Texas Hold'em, you can bet any amount, any time, so when you do have great cards, back them up with a strong bet.

Watch and wait

Play fewer hands when you're one of the first players to act. You can’t see what other players are doing, so if they raise, you’ll be out on a limb.

Wait your turn

Play goes clockwise round the poker table.

Be a 'bettor,' not a 'caller'

Remember, a lot of poker is psychological, so go out there and take control.

Call their bluff

If someone in a late position raises, chances they’re just trying it on, hoping to ‘steal the blinds’. If you’re in blind position and raise, you could scare them off and take the pot yourself. This move, known as going 'over the top', is probably the strongest play in no-limit Texas Hold'em.

Be patient

Try not to act too quickly. Before you make a decision, think about how the betting has gone and what your opponent might have. Take your time.