Improve Your Poker Hands by Betting Aggressively Right Out of the Gate

If you have a premium opening hand like pocket Kings or Queens, bet aggressively right out of the gate. This forces weaker players to either fold or call your bets. It also gives you an opportunity to learn more about the other players at the table, especially if you’re a newcomer to the game.

The law of averages dictates that most poker hands will lose, so don’t get involved in them if you don’t have a strong one. It’s a much better idea to wait patiently until you have a strong hand, then ramp up your aggression and go after the pot.

In a poker hand, the highest-ranked cards win the pot. A full house is three matching cards of one rank and two matching cards of another. A flush is 5 consecutive cards of the same suit. A straight is five cards of consecutive rank but from different suits. Three of a kind is three cards of the same rank. A pair is two distinct cards of the same rank. High card breaks ties.

The best way to improve your poker skills is to practice, and learn from the mistakes you make. But don’t just study hands that went badly; you need to look at good ones too so you can learn from the way other players play. Be sure to watch for tells, too — things that give away the strength of a player’s hand. These can include nervous habits, such as fiddling with chips or a ring, as well as the way the player plays his or her hand.