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Skill and Luck in Poker

Is poker a game of luck? Many poker players ask this question after seeing their strong hands destroyed by a bad beat. Even the best players lose winnable games due to bad luck. Since poker is a form of gambling, and gambling relies on luck, ergo, poker is a game of luck. Or is it?

It can't be denied that there is an element of luck in poker. In fact, all casino games involve luck. But don't be fooled into thinking that luck is all you need to win in this game. Skill is still the most important aspect of winning poker.

Mathematicians, for example, say that you have a 1-in-650,000 chance of getting a royal flush. The odds are certainly not in your favor, so don't rely on a lucky draw to win but instead concentrate on the skills and strategies needed to win.

To acquire skill, you must study and practice. Study and practice go hand in hand in the game of poker. You can't become a good player if you lack both practice and study. Your knowledge of poker strategies such as knowing when to fold, hit or stand can be acquired through reading books, articles and guides. Knowing how to bluff and read poker tells can be attained through constant practice.

Before you start playing, make sure that you are in a proper mental and emotional condition. Stress, anger and problems can ruin your concentration and judgment and make you vulnerable to mistakes. Don't play when you are in a bad mood, unless you are playing a game you can afford to lose.

If you play for money, make sure that you manage your money wisely. Set limits to the amount of money you spend on every gambling session. This can minimize your losses if you're unlucky.

Take your time to study your opponents at the table and find out what style of play they have. Are they aggressive or passive? Loose or tight? You can then adjust your strategies according to your opponents' playing styles.

Master the art of the "poker face." Don't give clues to your opponents based on your mannerisms and facial expressions. No matter how good or bad your hands are, always display the same kind of emotion throughout the game. If you are skillful and experienced enough, you can even pull off a successful bluff by projecting false tells and feigning strength or weakness.

Poker is an easy to game to play but very difficult to master. The path to poker success is a lifelong journey, so continue to learn and practice by playing free or low-limit games on the Internet.

Both luck and skill are needed for you to win in poker. Luck is something that you cannot control or change willingly, so you can focus your attention on your poker skills and winning will be a lot easier to achieve.

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