Welcome to the World of Poker!
For years, poker has been a popular hobby with plenty of books, poker supplies, local games, video poker, casino play, and tournaments for fans to enjoy. But over the last few years, the popularity of poker has exploded due primarily to the televised poker tournaments and the emergence of online poker rooms.
Poker has a number of unique characteristics that makes it such an enthralling hobby.
- Statistics, odds, and incomplete information challenges your decision making skills.
- Psychology factors in with bluffing, intimidation, decoys and traps.
- Poker is easy to come up to speed on the basics but yet will keep you learning and challenged for years to come.
- The pressure and excitement increases when real money betting begins.
- Small tournament buy ins, give you a shot at winning big money stakes from a small stake.
- Poker is a social activity with local home games with friends.
- For the do-it-yourself types, equipping your rec room to handle the weekly or monthly poker game will offer you some fun to-do projects.
- For the collector, poker offers unique opportunities for collecting vintage poker chips, cards and poker books from over the last hundred or so years.
- And for vacation ideas, poker adds nicely to any destination which has casinos or card rooms.
If poker sounds like something you would like to consider, here is our roadmap that we suggest you follow.
First, come up to speed on the basics of poker. Learn the rules, types of play and players, get comfortable with the poker terms, rules and determine if this interests you.
Next, start to play poker either online or against the computer in free games. This will give you the chance to test out what you’ve learned and give you some practical experience.
As you begin to play, you need to continue your education. There are a number of excellent advanced poker resources to help you to take your poker skills to the next level. Learn, learn, learn, it’s part of the fun and necessary for you to compete, and not lose your money!
Soon, you’ll be ready to test you game against others in casino and tournament poker play. The excitement of sitting down at a table raises the fun to another level. Do your homework first, be prepared, but then the game becomes a blast!
You’ll soon crave the poker action on a regular basis and you’ll find yourself organizing a regular poker game with your friends. For this you’ll need to outfit yourself with the right poker supplies. Depending on your budget, creativity, and available space at your house, the options are endless for how you can setup a poker room to suit your games.
Now, you’ve got your game improving on a regular basis. You’re playing online, in tournaments, and in local games with friends. Finally, you may want to turn back to the history of the game and become a collector of poker memorabilia. Chips, books, cards, and other aspects of poker history may take on a new light of interest for you.
And finally, you may now find your poker vacation schedule looking to include poker tournaments and casino play as part of the fun.
Remember, as with all forms of gambling, poker is only fun when controlled with moderation, so don’t bet the family farm and rely on poker to pay the monthly electric bill!
Somewhere along this path, you’ll hear stories about the guy who won a satellite online poker tournament with $25 buy in. This led to a seat at a major tournament where he placed in the money and is now playing poker for a living.
Yes, that could be you! But, remember that you’ll probably be turning a great fun hobby into a job with its own grind.
Poker is a game of decisions based on incomplete information. At times it is a game based on mathematical odds, pot odds and risk vs reward. At other times its a game of psychological warfare where you must dominate the table and intimidate your opponents with aggressive play. Understanding and mastering the subtleties make this simple card game a lifetime passion for many. Here’s how you can begin to master poker.
Assuming that you’ve mastered the Basics, now its time to switch focus to your opponents. We recommend the following books for taking your game to the next level.
The Theory of Poker – by David Sklansky
Hold’Em Poker for Advanced Players – by David Sklansky
Starting with the David Sklansky books will be time well spent.
The focus of this next phase is in analyzing your opponents and using this information to your advantage. You’ll need to understand when to bluff, semi-bluff, put out feeler bets, slow play, and mix up your style.
You’ll also need to understand the subtle differences of limit vs no limit games, tournament play and how to balance conflicting principles in situations where you have only limited information.
DEFINITION: Wikipedia states that “Poker is a card game, the most popular of a class of games called vying games, in which players with fully or partially concealed cards make wagers into a central pot, after which the pot is awarded to the remaining player or players with the best combination of cards”.
We recommend three great books for those getting started:
- Poker For Dummies –
A thorough, readable introduction to many facets of poker.
- Fundamentals of Poker – by Mason Malmuth and Lynne Loomis.
A short but effective introduction to poker.
- Hold’Em Poker – by David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth.
The first definitive book ever written on the Texas-derived world championship poker game.
For a roadmap on learning the Basics, we suggest ….when you’ve mastered the Basics:
- Understand the Poker Hand rankings. Gain some confidence by making sure you know these inside and out.
- Understand the basic terms in poker. This will help you to follow the action and speak the same language.
- Learn the basics of betting, when to check, fold and raise. Understand why you should never fold when you can check.
- Learn which hands you should play and which hands you should normally fold. New players will play far too many bad hands, putting them at a disadvantage.
- Understand the significance of table position and why betting last has its advantages.
- Learn what it means to be tight or loose and when to recognize a tight or loose table.
- Learn what it means to be passive or aggressive.
- Understand Outs and Pot Odds and when the statistics are for and against you.
- Focus on you and your cards in the first phase. Don’t worry about reading tells, bluffing and your opponents.
- Master the Poker Basics first before moving to the next level Advanced Poker.
Keep in mind that when you play with play money, there’s little incentive to fold, so bluffing doesn’t work. Instead, work on understanding the Basics of the game.
Poker Hands: Best to Worst
- Royal flush: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Ten of the same suit
- Straight flush: cards of the same suit in number sequence
- Four of a kind: cards of the same value (e.g. four aces)
- Full house: three cards of one value, two of another (e.g. three aces, two kings)
- Flush: all cards are of the same suit
- Straight: cards are in number sequence, but not of the same suit
- Three of a kind: three cards of the same value
- Two pair: two pairs of cards with the same value (e.g. king, king and ace, ace)
- Pair: two cards with the same value
Las Vegas hasn’t lost its luster as the top poker destination. With the emergence of local poker rooms, the spread of Indian Casino gaming and Riverboat gambling, Las Vegas could have lost its edge. Instead, the oasis in the desert continues to remake its skyline with new hotels and attractions and is drawing more visitors than ever. For poker fans, trips to Las Vegas to test your poker skills or just to watch the poker pros in the major tournaments adds to the fun of the hobby. Check out more Vegas fun on Getaway Vacation Ideas.
For those of you who enjoy the high seas with all you can eat buffets, then adding poker may be just the ticket. Try this website, Card Player Cruises, for updated schedules on poker cruises.