Poker is a game of chance, but it’s also a game of skill and psychology. It’s a great game to get into, and there are plenty of resources available for beginners. However, what separates break-even beginner players from big-time winners isn’t so much luck and strategy as it is a mindset change. It’s easy enough to learn the fundamentals of winning poker strategy, but staying the course when this doesn’t produce instant results is a whole different challenge.
One of the biggest mistakes poker players make is to think that they should win every session. It’s not realistic, and even the best players struggle with losing sessions from time to time. Instead, a better goal is to play as well as possible in every session, and let the cards and winnings take care of themselves.
Getting the most value out of your strong hands is vital to winning poker, and this starts with positioning. Generally speaking, you should bet aggressively with your strong hands and fold with weak ones. It is also important to be careful not to bluff too much, as this can easily backfire and lead to an empty pot.
Another area that many poker players need improvement in is their decision making when they’re out of position. When you’re out of position, it’s often easier for your opponent to put you on a hand, and they can take advantage of this. A good way to avoid this is to work out your opponent’s range and try to estimate the strength of their likely hands before you act.
If you have a weak hand, it’s usually better to raise than just check. By raising you can force weaker hands out of the pot and increase the size of your potential wins. However, you should still be cautious and only raise if you have a strong hand that’s worth it. Otherwise, you’re just throwing money away and wasting your opportunities to improve your hand.