Poker is a People Game

In poker, the aim of the game is to make the best hand and win the pot, right? Yes, but that’s not the whole story. While poker is a game played with cards, it is made up of people - to become a winning player, you need to appreciate this fact.

Psychology is a massive part of poker and the reason why you can win pots without even having to look at your cards. Knowing the tendencies of the players around you is a vital skill you need to acquire because, without it, you will be dependent on getting dealt good cards. 

In poker, there is an old saying: ‘Poker is not a game of cards played with other people; it is a game of people played with cards.’

To illustrate this point, we can look at two points: in poker, you are dealt a pair of aces every 221 hands. Thus, if you were to wait for the best pre-flop hand, before you put some money into the pot, you would eventually go broke. 

The second point can be illustrated by the good old-fashioned poker move: the bluff. Let’s say you’ve been sat at an online poker table for an hour, and you’ve noticed that the player to your right likes to raise a lot of pots pre-flop. 

However, once they see the community cards, they are less willing to splash their cash; they will fold if they encounter any resistance. 

After noticing this trend, and having not played many hands at the table yourself, you decide to take advantage of the situation by calling this player’s raise with 7-2 offsuit. 

As predicted, this player bets on the flop and folds when you put in a raise. As they fold, they show you that they had bottom pair on the flop. Obviously, you had no hand and, thus, demonstrated that, in poker, it is playing the player that is important. 

Every time you are at the poker table, you need to apply the fundamentals of the game in a way that suits the situation. Adapt all your moves based on the person you are facing, and you will come out on top.