Poker is generally the most complex of all casino games and if played with proper strategy is also the one game least dependent on luck. The basic concept behind poker strategy is that you must always try to play your hand according to the probabilities of drawing the best cards that would beat your opponents while at the same time attempting to deceive the other players into playing their hands differently than they should if following the same rule.
From the perspective of your own hand the player must know the probability that they will receive the cards they need to achieve the best possible hand. Furthermore, when assessing their own hand, that same player must decide the probability that another player could have a better hand given the card information available on the table. This assessment must consider one’s own face down cards and all other cards laying face up on the table.
When assessing the probabilities there will always be a great deal of missing information. This is when betting can serve to supplement your information or to provide disinformation. For example a large bet may signify a strong hand or it may be a bluff where a player is attempting to create the illusion of a strong hand in hopes that everyone else will be convinced to fold. The flip side of the bluffing strategy is called the slow play. Slow playing occurs when a player with a strong hand intentionally bets the minimum, does not bet at all or only calls (agreeing to match the bet of another player in order to remain in the hand) bets made by other players. The idea here is to make the other players think that your hand is weak relative to their hand and thereby encourage them to add more money to the pot. Given the power a bet can have to influence the betting and play of an opponent, it is optimal to be seated in a position further from the dealer because you can see the decisions of others before you must make your own. Conversely, if seated in an early betting position it may be wise to bet only if you are sure you have a strong hand.