So you just started playing poker and you understand the rules but you can not seem to win. Let's turn that around so you can start winning. Whether you are playing in home poker games or at the local casino follow these three golden rules and you will set yourself up for success at the tables.
Golden Rule Number One - Quit Seeing so many Flops
A lot of new players see ultimately way to many flops. The old saying goes, "you can not win by folding your hands". While this is true it should read like this, "you can not win by folding your GOOD hands". You should play conservative when you are first starting especially when you first sit down at the table. Many beginners are one dimensional thinkers were they only think how good the cards they have are. Elevate that line of thought to "I wonder how good my card are compared to the other players". The bottom line is tighten up your play. Play pocket pairs and face cards like QJ, AJ, KQ, AK, KJ to start until you get a feel for the other players and what type of game you are in. There's nothing wrong with folding more often, plus you'll appear as a tighter player so other players will think you are only entering flops where you have good cards.
Golden Rule Number Two - Play in Position
What this means is play in hands where you are the last person to act. It's great to be involved in hands when you are either on the button or the button has just passed you. This means that everyone else at the table will have to check, bet or call a raise before you do. This gives you insight as to what the other players holdings are. This is called being in late position. If you are in a hand and the first person to act raises then the next person re-raises, just fold without you have KK or AA. This is a very strong move that people typically make when they are holding a monster hand. If you were in early position and someone re-raised you will be less relevant to fold but you should here as well as re-raising before the flop is a very strong move. When playing most of your hands in late position it makes it easier to fold and saves you a lot of money.
Golden Rule Number Three - Do not Chase
I've seen this time and time again where players are waiting to hit the straight or the flush and they keep calling and keep losing money only to never hit. Know your odds. You have about a 38% chance of hitting a straight or flush if you have 4 cards between your hand and the flop to make your hand. Let's go through an example. There is $ 10 in the pot and you need one more card to hit your flush (38% chance of hitting). The player behind you just bet $ 10 making it a $ 20 pot and you have to call $ 10. You have to call 50% of the pot in order to give yourself a 38% chance of winning. This is a bad bet and overtime you will lose money. On the other hand in that same scenario if there is $ 10 in the pot and the player behind you bets $ 4 making the pot $ 14 and you have to call $ 4. You have to call 28% of the pot and you have a 38% chance of winning. Call, this is a good bet. There are plenty of free resources online where you can find simple poker math.