Poker is one of the most popular card games in the world, but it can be very difficult to play well. Even good players are bound to have some “bad beats” and will miss flops from time to time. But learning to accept this is a vital part of becoming a consistent, long-term winner.
Each betting interval, or round, begins when a player makes a bet by placing chips into the pot equal to or greater than the amount placed into the pot by each player before him. Then each player in turn must either call that bet (put in the same number of chips) or raise it (put in more than the previous player and risk losing any chips that were already in the pot).
Any poker book written by a pro will tell you to only play strong hands such as full houses, straights or flushes. While this is a sound strategy for winning money, it can be boring when playing just for fun.
It is also important to learn to fold weaker hands when your opponents check to you, or even better, raise to you. This is especially true in early position. As you gain more information about your opponent’s position by playing in later positions, you will be able to play a more diverse range of hands. This will force your opponents to fold more often when they have weak hands and improve the value of your hand strength.