How to Play Poker Like a Pro: 4 Moves and Strategies to Try

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You never stop learning how to play poker. While the game is fundamentally methodical, how you execute it is entirely up to you.

Your poker strategy will evolve with experience. Wins and losses will teach you what works for you and what doesn’t. That’s why it’s vital to experiment with new poker moves and strategies constantly. Trying out new things is how you become a better player. It’s how you find new ways to win.

This article will share four poker moves and strategies you can try next time you’re dealt a hand. Mastering just one of these moves will make you a better player. But if you can master several, you’ll be well on becoming a poker expert.

Read on to learn how to play poker like a pro—and sign up for an account on GGPoker, the world’s largest poker room, to start practicing these tricks.

1) The Continuation Bet

Also known as the “c-bet,” the continuation bet is a powerful tool you can use to win pots in Texas Hold Em. It’s simply a bet you make on the flop after you’ve raised pre-flop.

Say you have a hand with the 9 and 10 of spades. You raise pre-flop, and the flop brings a jack of clubs, queen of spades, and king of spades. You’ve now hit a flush draw. If you make a c-bet here, you’re essentially betting that your flush draw will come in.

C-bets help put pressure on your opponents. By betting on the flop, you’re pushing other players on the table to decide whether or not to call or fold. Moreover, c-bets help you build pots when you have strong hands. If your opponents do call your c-bet, they’re likely to call future bets as well, allowing you to win a larger pot if your hand wins.

However, if you decide to adopt this move into your Texas Holdem poker strategy, remember to use it wisely. If the flop doesn’t give you anything, c-betting is often a wasted effort. In these situations, it’s better to check and see what the other players do. The same goes if your c-bet gets called, but the turn doesn’t improve your hand.

In general, you want to make a c-bet when:

Brush up on your knowledge of Texas Holdem poker hands on GGPoker. The site has a dedicated online Poker School for players at all skill levels. Register for your free Poker School account here.

2) The Float Play

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The float play is a tricky but effective poker strategy that can be used to steal pots in certain situations. It’s most commonly used against tight players who tend to make continuation bets.

Say you have a hand with the ace of clubs and queen of diamonds. The flop brings a king of clubs, a jack of hearts, and nine of diamonds. You check to your opponent, who makes a c-bet. You then call, intending to “float” or “ghost” the flop.

Floating or ghosting is when you make a bet on the flop to take the pot away on the turn. The idea is to keep your opponents guessing. By calling their c-bet, you’re giving the impression that you could have hit something on the flop. This will make them more likely to make c-bets again on the turn.

When the turn comes, and you have the best hand, you can then bet and take down the pot. The key to making this play work is timing. You need to be able to read your opponents well to know when they’re likely to make a c-bet. You also need to have a good understanding of how the board is likely to hit its range.

A few things to remember: The float play is a high-risk, high-reward maneuver. There’s always the chance that your opponents will have hit something on the flop and that you’ll be behind.

Additionally, if you’re not careful with your timing, you could give away too much information about your hand. If you use the float play too often, your opponents will eventually catch on and start playing around you, so use it strategically.

3) The Check-Raise

The check-raise is a classic poker move that can be very effective if used correctly. It’s exactly what it sounds like: you check on the flop, wait for your opponent to bet, and then raise when they do.

This move is often used as a bluff, as it can force your opponents to fold. Imagine you have a hand with seven and eight of spades. The flop brings a queen of clubs, a jack of hearts, and three of diamonds. You check to your opponent, who makes a c-bet. You then check-raise, essentially betting that your hand is stronger than it is.

By checking and then raising, you’re making a move that says, “I have a strong hand, and I’m not afraid to bet it.” This can often make your opponents fold, even if they have a decent hand. Additionally, check-raises allow you to take control of the pot.

Check-raising is an excellent move when you’re up against players who make c-bets often. It’s a good way to spin the table and put pressure on them. It’s also a great way to strengthen the way you play your drawing cards.

4) The Slow Play

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The slow play is a good strategy for helping you bring home a bigger pot when you have a strong hand. The idea behind this move is to trick your opponents into a false sense of security by checking or calling instead of betting, so they’ll continue to bet, check, or raise—and increase the size of the pot as they do.

This move is most effective when you’re up against loose and/or aggressive players. By checking or calling, you’re essentially saying, “I don’t have a strong hand, but I’m not going to fold just yet.” This can often make your opponents think they’re better off placing more bets into the pot that they’re likely to win. Eventually, you can make your move, bet or raise when you have the chance, and take the prize.

On the other hand, this strategy would be less effective on tight and/or conservative or passive players. If you’re up against these players, they’re likely to check or call as well—afraid of betting into a possible stronger hand—so you’ll be more likely to miss out on value during the game.

When using the slow play strategy, it’s essential to have a good read on your opponents and how they like to play their hands. Otherwise, you could find yourself in a difficult spot later in the game.

Poker is a complex game with many different strategies and moves to try. These are just a few of the most common and effective ones you can use to improve your game. As you keep playing and learning, you’ll slowly develop your unique style of play. So keep at it!