The Mental Game of Poker
Whether you play poker as a hobby or for real money, this mentally intensive game teaches you to control your emotions under pressure. A good poker player will never chase a bad hand, throw a temper tantrum or try to “win it back.” This ability to take a loss and move on, as well as learn from your mistakes, is an important life skill.
Poker requires constant concentration and observing your opponents. Observing the tells and changes in their body language and facial expressions is crucial to success at the table. This attention to detail improves your concentration levels and allows you to pick up on a lot of information that would otherwise be missed.
The first step to becoming a winning poker player is learning to view the game in a more cold, mathematical, and logical way than you do now. Emotional players lose frequently, while those who are able to control their emotions and stick to a disciplined playing style can achieve break even or better results.
Once the forced bets are in place (usually the ante and blind bet), the dealer shuffles the cards, and the player to his or her right cuts. The dealer then deals each player one card at a time, with the option to raise or re-raise at any time.
A poker hand consists of 5 cards and includes the following hands: Straight – Five consecutive cards of the same rank. Flush – Five consecutive cards of the same suit. Full house – Three matching cards of one rank and two matching cards of another rank. Two pair – Two distinct pairs of cards. High card – The highest card breaks ties if no one else has a pair or higher.