Getting started playing poker

Having a hobby is important for everyone, not only does it make you a more interesting person to share stories with, a hobby can also help to relieve stress, develop skills and have more social interactions. This how to find a hobby guide helps to explain how different people are suited to different activities, they are the perfect tool for building your confidence and self-esteem as well as elevating boredom. 

Playing poker is fun, thrilling and challenging. It is a game that requires specific skills as well as patience and a level head. If you are looking to take up poker as a new hobby, before you begin you may wish to review a how to play poker guide and learn from the experts the rules of the game.

As a beginner at the game there is a lot that you will need to know in order to succeed. Here are some of the most important rules you will need to follow, alongside important terminology and some top poker strategies to try out:

To start with, you should know that there are many different variants of the game poker. The most popular version is Texas Holdem, but other types you are likely to come across include Omaha Hi, Omaha Hi-Lo, 7-Card Stud, 2-7 Triple Draw, 5-Card Draw; Badugi; Horse, Razz and Chinese Poker. Luckily, there are plenty of online guides which explain how each differ.

While different variants of the game have different rules and methods of play, one common factor is the way that players can win. All players begin by wagering money on the outcome of each hand, the wagered money is placed in the pot in the centre of the table.

At the end of the hand, the player that has the strongest hand will win the money that is in the pot. Alternatively, if all the other players fold (give up their hand) the one player that is left will receive the winnings, regardless of how strong their hand was. 

There are different options that you will come across in the game, here are the ones that you will definitely need to know:


This is when a current player decides that they want to increase the amount of cash that they have wagered. Obviously, you only want to do this if you think that you have the strongest hand or that all the other players are likely to fold.


As mentioned above, folding is the act of exiting the current hand. The player will hand their cards over to the dealer and forfeit any money they have already put into the pot.


When a player calls, they are matching the bet or raise that the other player(s) have put into the pot.


If you check, you are opting out of placing a bet in this game.

Different variants of poker will involve different betting structures. These are the top three you need to know about:

No limit

Bets and raises have no limit and you can make them at any time during the game.

Pot limit

Bets can be no larger than the size of the pot

Fixed limit

Fixed increments are used for bets and raises.

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Developing your poker strategy

Developing your own poker strategy for success takes time, becoming a well-rounded or even professional poker player takes a serious amount of practice and a tonne of patience. Players need to be disciplined in order to win games without betting more money than they reasonably have to wager.

The best way to figure out what your individual poker strategy should be is to use guides to read around the topic online or in poker books, you can also watch video tutorials and listen to podcasts made by poker pros. Play lots of games with players that are better with you and make a record of all of your actions so you can scrutinize them later and improve your game. 

When playing poker, whether that is online or in-person, create a comfortable gaming environment and eliminate any distractions in your space. This will allow you to concentrate and make important decisions effectively.

Most professional players agree that you should try to play fewer hands but play them aggressively. You should also always avoid being the first player to limp (call in an unraised pot).

It is also wise to fold in situations when you are unsure if your hand is the strongest. Players sometimes resist folding because they are curious to see what their opponents have or they let their ego get in the way, however calling too often is the quickest way to lose all of your cash. Managing your cash efficiently while enjoying your hobby can be tough, check out this how to enjoy hobbies while saving for the future guide for some great advice.

Lastly, you should always ensure that you are in the correct mindset to play when starting a game. It sounds obvious, but if you are angry or frustrated then you are less likely to make good decisions and your emotions may impact your ability to bluff effectively. Playing poker should be fun so only play when you feel like it.

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