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Poker Strategy

Basic Strategy: Five Card Poker for Beginners

Written By: PokerNet.com | January 8, 2012 | Posted In Poker Strategy

If you are a true newcomer to five card poker games, there are a few basic strategy tips that you must know before you slap your cash on the table for a live real-money game.

Here are the ins and outs of basic strategy for five card poker games. Aimed at beginners, this article will give the most essential tips and tricks to make your time playing five card poker more profitable and more enjoyable.

Learn Poker Hand Hierarchy

The first and most important thing to know about five card poker is the ranking of hands. Even if this is old hat for you, take a second to study the list of hands arranged by rank:

Royal Flush
Straight Flush
Four of a Kind
Full House
Three of a kind
Two Pair
One Pair
High Card

You’d be surprised how many beginners to poker get this information wrong or ignore it altogether. More important than understanding what hands beat other hands is how to determine a winner in case of what looks like a tie. In general, in the case of a tie, the player with the high card always takes the pot. If more than one player has a flush, for example, the pot will go to the player with the highest flush in terms of card ranks.

Strike While the Iron is Hot

Beginners to poker often play the game wrong at both ends, betting too much on bad starting hands and not enough on big table-clearing winners. No matter how long you play poker, you’ll always have both good and bad hands. The trick is to win when you have a large margin and lose only when the pot is tiny. That means working out your bets ahead of time to draw as many of your opponent’s chips when you hold an awesome starting pair and minimizing losses when you know you’re going down in flames.

Learn Your Opponents

In five card poker games, you don’t have as much information about your opponents as you would in a game like Texas Hold’em Poker. Five card draw is one game where you are set up to know as little as possible about what your opponents are holding. There are clues, though, that can tell even the greenest five card player what is going on in your opponents’ hand. Look at how and when they bet, how and when they discard, and how and when they appear to be nervous or bluffing. If a player in a five card game lets go of just one card, he is probably drawing to a straight or a flush. Players who get rid of two to three cards are probably holding a pair at best. Even though five card poker games don’t give you as much info about your opponents, you can still use your brain to get inside theirs.

Five card poker strategies are different from even the simplest strategies used to beat Texas Hold’em. As a beginner, just make sure you’re reading everything you can get your hands on, paying attention to the actions of your opponents, and playing only the best possible starting hands.

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