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The Psychology of Poker

Although there's no point trying to win a game of poker without understanding the rules but ultimately, winning is about psychology.

To win a game you don't necessarily need to have a high hand; you just need a hand that's better than your opponent's. The art, however, is in knowing what they have.

So how do you do this? The following tips should help you on your way.

• Study your opponent's bets. When the game's over and the cards are thrown, look to see if their bets matched their hands. Did those with strong hands bet slowly, trying to convince their fellow players that their hand was actually weaker than it was? Did a strong player have a weak hand?

• Watch how your opponents respond to others' play. Did a player come out strong only to fold when the raising became too heavy? He's obviously one who would have you believe he's holding a good hand without having the nerve to follow through. What about those who did keep raising and meeting bets? Were their hands as you'd expected?

• Did a player who came out strong start drawing? Why would he do this if he already has a good hand? Is the weak player holding on to his hand? Surely he'd be looking to improve it if his hand really was as weak as he'd have you believe?

The art of poker psychology should be learned over time but these tips will at least give you start. Remember that the more games you play the more you'll learn, but you MUST remain focused and concentrate on the game. The game meaning not only your hand, but how your opponents are playing!