Sure there’s a lot of luck involved playing poker. I saw my ace-queen lose to a queen-three at Texas Hold’em when the board came up with a queen on the flop and a three on the river. Talk about bad beats, I’m sure you have your stories too. Luck plays a part in your success but developing skill at poker can only benefit you in the long run.
You can read and study but you must practice many hands (I’m talking thousands!) in order to better your chances of winning consistently. So that’s tip number one, practice and more practice. I recommend you use poker software and play at least two or three hundred hands a day which should take you about a half hour. In a casino setting you will play about forty hands an hour, so you can see how much time you can save. You can also practice directly with the online casinos. Many offer no-bet and low-bet games for practice. Bear in mind that these games are for beginners and those looking for entertainment and may not exactly duplicate the games you will play in an online casino.
Tip number two builds on tip number one. Work your way up. Don’t jump into a high stakes Bandarq game without being successful at the low level games. A twenty or forty dollar minimum bet game plays a lot differently than playing for little or no money. The pros call the low stakes Texas Hold’em games “no fold’em, hold’em.” After all if it only costs a little or nothing to stay in, players will stay in hoping for a miracle like that draw to an inside straight. As you work your way up you will notice the players have much more skill and will make fewer mistakes than those at the low limit games. You must also learn to deal with the different subtleties in the higher stakes games. In general you’ll find tougher and more conservative opponents in the higher stakes games and less bluffing.
Third tip: Fold early and fold often. Learning when to fold is absolutely essential to winning poker. In Texas Hold’em the best play is to fold after the first two cards if you don’t have super-strong hand. Fold after the flop if you don’t have top pair or better, or a straight or a draw to an outside straight, or a flush or a draw to a four-card flush. Sometimes you’ll have to fold with a strong hand if others are raising and you don’t feel they are bluffing. On the other side of the coin, one of the worst plays you can make is folding a winning hand and watching someone else scoop up the pot. If there’s the remotest chance of you having the best hand when it’s the last round of betting, you’re better off in the long run calling and not folding.
Luck is a factor to winning at poker but winning is also dependent on you developing skills and capitalizing on other players’ mistakes.