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Tips for playing better poker
By: Jeff Lakie

Poker has been gaining such popularity lately that many people are looking for the secrets of the pros to help them play a better game. Countless books and shows and web pages have been created to help people play better poker.

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Whether you are playing at the casino or in a regular weekly game, you want to know the techniques that will make your game that much better.

There is one secret of the pros that is important for every poker player to know. It doesn't matter if you're playing Texas Holdem on a televised celebrity match, or seven card stud in the casino, or five card draw with a bunch of buddies at your house. This is one of the main secrets that pros use:

"Play tight"

The term "playing tight" means that you should fold bad hands quickly and aggressively play good hands. If you have a bad hand, get out early. Don't try to wait it out and hope that the cards will turn your way. They rarely do. However, if you have a good hand, stay in and bet high. Your high bets will drive out the weaker players and still raise the pot to make up for the small losses that chipped away at your pile of cash through the evening. In fact, a good player may only play a couple hands in an entire evening, but if they play tight they can still win.

So what is a good hand and what are other ways to help you play tight poker? It depends on the game you're playing. Here are some suggestions, although these are just guidelines and not everyone will agree.

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If you are playing Texas Holdem, stay in if you are dealt a good black jack hand on your two down. If not, get out.

If you are playing five card stud, stay in if you are dealt a pair. You may want to stay in if you are dealt an Ace, but you're taking a risk. Otherwise, get out.

No matter how tempting it is, don't hold out for a straight! If you're trying to build a straight, fold because the chances are slim.

If you are playing draw poker, keep the required amount plus a "kicker" card, which will throw off your opponents as to what you have. And you'll be surprised at how often that kicker will help you win the pot.

Don't bluff. If you are great at bluffing, you may want to do it occasionally, but most people are terrible at it. What's more, in many friendly games, people will pay to see if you're bluffing because the stakes are low, so if you gain a reputation for never bluffing you will also gain a reputation for going big only when you have a good hand.

About the author:
Jeff Lakie is the founder of Poker Resources a website providing information on poker.

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