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Poker Strategy | Beginner's Poker

Luck vs Skill in Poker

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A lot of new players tell me that poker is a game of luck, and to them I say poker is a game of skills. Luck is just one random factor which you have no control over, and it's not that important when considering all the other variables that you can influence as a player.

What are those variables you ask? Well, they are numerous. Reading an opponent for example, is something experienced players are good at. While there is never certainty in reading an opponent, those who are good at it have worked hard to develop that skill. What you need to know about luck is that it can only affect the hand you are currently playing. There is no good luck or bad luck because someone's bad luck is someone else's good luck. Furthermore, while luck can only affect the hand you are playing, remember that sometimes it only takes one hand to loose all your chips! Don't rely on luck to be successful at poker, because it won't work out. The two don't go together. Just acknowledge that there is such a thing as luck in the game, and it's the only variable you have no influence over. Everything else you do at the table, like when you bet, raise, bluff, fold and so on, are all things you are in control of.

Does that mean you should never try to be lucky? Absolutely not! There are times when you want to gamble. There are times when you don't want to play by the rules. Generally, this is when you're playing heads up (two players left at the table) and you have a massive lead. If your chip stack is ten times the amount of your opponent, then you can afford to gamble and hope to get lucky. At that stage, you can put your opponent all in with any hand, and hope to get lucky. If it doesn't work out, maybe you'll want to try again. Just be cautious because every time you fail, you'll double up your opponent and that's not something you want to do normally.
Finally, remember that sometimes, you can do all the right things, play a perfect game, and still loose. It happens. It can be frustrating, but don't let it drag you down. It's just the name of the game. One day, you'll be in trouble and luck will rescue you. Sometimes it beats you up real bad and other times it saves you from the walk of shame.

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