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Playing Poker to Win

Many poker professionals say that it is impossible to win in poker if a player does not bluff. When a player bluffs, they are essentially deceiving their opponents by playing in a way that might indicate that they have a hand that is different from the one that they actually have.

Bluffing is important in a poker game because one of the most effective ways to win at poker is not through luck and always getting dealt the right cards, but rather by knowing more about one's opponents and playing in such a way that a player is actually manipulating their opponents into the positions and maneuvers that would greatly benefit that player.

There are two ways of winning the pot in a hand of poker: one is when all of the other players fold and only one player is left to contend for the pot, and other is through a showdown. A showdown happens after the final betting round, if there is more than one player left to contend for the pot at that particular point.

During a showdown, is the only time a player is required to show their cards, and often, it is during a showdown that a player's luck matters the most. When the cards are shown, then the winning hand or winning hands are determined, and the pot is accordingly awarded. A player cannot always be absolutely sure that they possess the winning hand, unless they have a royal flush in a high-card game. This means that the only sure way that a person can win in a hand of poker then, is when all of their opponents fold.

In some cases, folding can also be a tactical move, since a poker game can consist of more than one hand. There are some instances when opting to stay in a hand can actually hurt a person's chances of getting a positive expected value during a poker game.

Poker is more than just luck and skill; often it is also a game of psychology, since confidence often plays a big part in whether or not a player will fold or call a raise. During a betting round, after the pot has been opened, it is almost always a player's prerogative to choose whether they will simply match a bet when they call, whether they will raise that bet, or opt to fold. Most of the time, players fold when they feel that their cards will not be able to hold out in the showdown, and would rather not put any more money into the pot.