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Poker is a game of chance, skill, and strategy. The best way to increase your odds is to know the game inside out. Remember though, no amount of knowledge can guarantee a win and no hand is ever an automatic winner or loser.

Before you play at a casino

A casino is not the place to learn how to play poker. Serious players play to win and they won’t hesitate to take advantage of novice players.

Before you make the decision to play at a casino, make sure you’re as knowledgeable about the game as you can be, and feel confident playing.

Know the hands

A hand is seen lifting a pair of hole cards to get a peek at them.

Understanding how to evaluate your cards as well as being able to predict possible hands of other players can help you know when to stay in the game and when to fold.

Know when to walk away

Sometimes when a game heats up and players keep raising the stakes, your best bet is to cool off a bit. Knowing when to get out of the game is the best way to keep from losing more than you can afford.

Two cards appear face down above the betting line.

Fold often

It’s perfectly normal in poker to fold your hand based on the cards you’ve received. If you’re looking at your cards and not feeling the love, fold ’em. No harm, no foul.

Half a sandwich on a plate.

Take breaks

If you’re feeling tired or hungry, upset at a hand or irritated by a string of losses, you’re allowed to take a break and keep your seat at the table. Similarly, if you win a big hand, don’t feel pressured to keep playing. There’s no rule that says you must stick around. You could play one hand, win, and leave if you wanted.

Don’t go “on tilt”

A man runs on a treadmill, chasing a bag of money hanging just out of reach.

Try not to go “on tilt” – that’s when someone lets a losing hand get the better of them, and they start playing aggressively, maybe even doubling up their bets to try and win back their money. More often than not this strategy leads to further losses.


Going “on tilt” is also known as chasing your losses, and it’s a bad strategy: no hand is guaranteed, and you could lose your chip stack in a few short hands.

If I play more, will I win more?

Playing more can increase your skill and knowledge, but no level of skill can guarantee a win. When it comes to poker, no matter how much you practice, there is no system or sure way to win.


Over time, you’re more likely to lose than win. If you find yourself on a winning streak, you might want to think about cashing in your chips and taking a break.