Is Poker Difficult to Learn?
Recently updated on August 26th, 2020
If you have never played poker before, we would not fault you in thinking the game is pretty difficult to learn. There’re so many combinations and rules to learn and these may even change across variations.
Hollywood has not helped in dispelling this idea. When you watch a movie with a poker scene in it where a player loses it all, it seems like the situation could have been avoided if the person just understood the rules better. Overall, poker just seems like a very intimidating game to newcomers.
The thing is: poker isn’t all that difficult to learn how to play. In fact, we’d say that it is an easy game to learn how to play.
But then why does the game have this bad rap?
Well, perhaps, the situation can be best summed up with Bushnell’s Law, which states, “All the best games are easy to learn and difficult to master”.
Although Atari founder Nolan Bushnell used the phrase to sum up his approach to video game design, the statement can be applied to a load traditional casino table games too, including poker.
So, what makes poker a difficult game to master?
Players Fail to Balance the Odds
The reason card counting is such an effective strategy in blackjack is that it gives you a semi-accurate understanding of the outcomes you can expect in the coming hands. A lot of people don’t seem to understand that some of these principles can be applied to poker as well.
For example, let’s say that you have a hand of three queens. You can already infer a few things from such a hand. Firstly, three of a kind is a relatively good draw, which has the potential to win you the game.
Secondly, the chances of other players having better hands than you are lessened slightly. After all, if you have three queens, there is only one other out there to make straights and flushes with.
If you behave analytically rather than rashly, you already increase your odds of winning. You gain a better understanding of which hands to bet on and which to step back from.
Practice Makes Perfect
A lot of players don’t understand that poker is a game that requires constant practice for one to truly master it. While you may understand the rules, a true understanding of how the game works and how strategies can be applied in different situations only comes by putting yourself in scenarios over and over again.
Particularly important to practice is your “poker face”. This may seem like a joke but many beginner players give away the game by revealing that they have good or bad hands with facial tells. Again, you can only get better at bluffing by putting yourself in situations where you need to bluff.
So, Is Poker Difficult to Learn?
No, poker is not a difficult game to learn. However, if you want to become a better player, you are going to have to put the time and effort in. A lot of players also don’t understand that while poker is a game of chance, there are some summations that you can make in-game that may lessen your losses.
If you find that trying to get better at this game is a lot of effort, you may better off with a more passive gaming experience, such as slots.
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