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Poker is one of the most popular card games in America and the world today. Professional players operate in casinos, but that doesn’t have to discourage you from playing at home. Some people wouldn’t be comfortable in the fast-paced environment of a casino and simply want to have a good time with friends. Whether you wish to learn the ropes to enter the casino environment or to learn as a pastime, poker is both fun to play and easy to learn. Get your hands on the best poker chip set your money can buy and get started.

There are many different versions of poker including Omaha, Razz, Pineapple, H.O.R.S.E., and Draw Poker. However, the most popular poker game of all time is Texas Hold ‘Em. Each player is dealt two cards with five cards set in the middle of the table as community cards. The player who stays in the pot until the end and combines his or her cards with the community cards to create the best five-card hand is the winner.

A round of betting occurs after the first two cards are dealt, followed by the overturning of three community cards. This move is called the flop. A second round of betting occurs, followed by the exposure of the fourth community card called the turn card. The third round of betting occurs, the fifth card is exposed (the river card) and the last round of betting ensues, followed by the showdown.

Are You Telling?

Expert poker players observe their opponents to “read” their reactions and body language. The clues and behaviors that can give information about your hand are called poker tells. These tells apply to both newbies and professional players. Remember that experienced players will often exhibit false tells to trick their opponents.

Keep Your Eyes on the Eyes: Many professional poker players wear sunglasses or visors to prevent others from seeing their eyes. The eyes rarely tell a lie. Most players cannot help but look longer at big hole cards than at a lesser hand. If a player intends to steal the pot, he or she may glance quickly to the left to observe if those who haven’t acted yet intend to fold. Another tactic that players use is to ask questions about your hand. It is rare to find someone who can “look you straight in the eye” and be dishonest at the same time.

Weak is Strong, Strong is Weak: This mantra generally refers to novice players, but it can also apply to the pros. Good poker players will “act” during a game. A player who has a stellar hand will tend to behave in an especially disinterested fashion. On the flip side, a player who tries to look intimidating and increases the level of his voice while raising the pot may be bluffing.

Chip Organization: Some people show obvious changes in body language based on their attitude toward the game. In general, aggressive players tend to keep their chips in sloppy, unorganized stacks. Conservative players, on the other hand, tend to keep their chips in well-organized stacks.

Symptoms of Anxiety: Most people suffer from anxiety symptoms when they face a confrontation. This “fight-or-flight” response generally manifests itself as dry throat, heart palpitations, flexing the muscles, and trembling hands. A player who exhibits any one of these symptoms may have a big hand. Top poker players will often observe the temple vein on their opponents’ faces. This vein will expand as blood pressure increases. Other signs of a possible confrontation include abnormal chest expansion and increased pitch in the voice.

Body Language: Changes in posture/attitude are common ways to determine whether a person is confident or not. Slumping or dropped shoulders can demonstrate a weak hand, while a player who is extremely attentive and sitting erect may have good hole cards. A player who tends to bluff and appears to be confrontational just might have a killer hand.

Avoid the Tell Trap

To protect yourself from being “read” by your opponents, follow the steps below.

  • Standardize your reactions and your responses. Don’t bet more when you have a strong hand than when you have a weak hand.
  • Avoid excessive talking or re-checking your cards when a flush draw appears.
  • Stay consistent in the method you choose to place chips in the pot whether splashing or stacking.
  • Pay attention to your breathing patterns. A player who is bluffing may hold his or her breath.
  • Try not to talk at all when involved in a hand. Voice inflections and pitch can reveal the state of your hand.

One of the most common ploys used by players to generate a tell is to question an opponent about the cards in his or her hand. You can handle this situation in one of two ways: ignore the questioner, or reverse the question. As an example, if a player asks you whether you have an ace or not, you can reverse the question by saying: “What do you think?” Your opponent will be forced to either leave you alone or to give you free information by stating what he or she thinks you may have.

Poker Chip Set for Home Use

The best poker chip sets available for purchase are casino-quality chips. These chips are usually made from clay or injection-molded plastic and are uniform in size. The uniformity of these chips makes them easy to control for both the dealer and the players. You can also purchase customized home game poker chips to add your own unique touch to your game table.

Poker is a game that cannot be taught solely by instructions on paper. It must be played to be thoroughly understood. If you really wish to become an expert at poker, look for friends who are experts at the game. Play with them and ask them to teach you how to succeed. Poker takes both skill and knowledge to play successfully. Experience will give you the tools you need to become a skilled player at this game.