Of all card games, Poker best rewards skillful play. The best player in the game will win consistently even if he holds inferior cards; he will seldom lose. The ingredients of skill are:
• Observation of the other players, and judgment of what hands prompt the bets they make.
• The patience to throw away a hand whenever the chance of winning the pot is less than the number of chips to by gained by winning.
• Some knowledge of the mathematics of Poker, from which one may judge what a good hand is and what a bad hand.
• How many cards to draw and future probabilities of certain cards to turn up.
Even experienced Poker players are consistently guilty of the following habits, all of which should be avoided:
• Always drawing to one pair.
• Betting too high on two pairs.
• Opening every pot immediately with a pair of jacks.
• Drawing four cards to an ace or wild card.
• Drawing to a three-card straight or flush.
• In Stud Poker, playing against a showing pair on the hope of getting a higher one.
The first step is to learn the values of the Poker hands and to study the principles of betting until you are sure you understand it thoroughly. Then deal out hands, face up-the hands of six or seven players, as they would be dealt in a game. Notice the Poker combinations. Decide on your betting patterns and what you would discard and how many cards you would draw, if you were playing Draw Poker. Observe how many poor hands and how many good hands show up; this will give you an idea what to expect other players to hold in an actual game. Read and understand the rules of the various Poker games and most important of all, play Poker in actual games. No amount of study compares with actual play for learning a game.