Getting in the Right Mental State for Poker

Poker is a card game that mixes chance with psychology, game theory, and the ability to read your opponents. It also requires patience and concentration, because if you’re not in the right mental state for poker – you can’t play well. Whether you’re battling an argument with your significant other, dealing with bad news about a friend or relative, or just coping with the indignity of a bird pooping on your head, you should stay away from poker until you’re in the right frame of mind.

After players put in their blind or ante, they are dealt cards – known as hole cards. Depending on the game, there is then a round of betting that begins with the player to the left of the dealer. Once this betting round is complete, the dealer puts three more cards face up on the table that anyone can use – this is called the flop.

Top players often “fast-play” their strong hands – this means that they bet on every street – in the hope that this will build the pot and chase off other players who are waiting for a draw that could beat them. The important thing to remember is not to be too greedy and not to overplay your hand – this can easily ruin your chances of winning. It’s also a good idea to review your hands, both those that went well and those that didn’t – there are often lessons to be learned from both.