Like most popular and widely played games, poker comes with its fair share of myths. Some myths are common misconceptions, such as a poker win relying more on luck than skill. However, other poker myths border on the fantastical - for example, the notion that successful poker players are born rather than made. The following takes a look at some of the most popular poker myths.
"Poker is simply a game of chance."
Despite the skill and strategic capabilities required to win a game, many people prefer to think of poker as a game of chance. This idea could not be further from the truth. Poker is about obtaining a winning hand from the cards available in the deck. While a player has no guarantee of receiving the strongest cards, the game can be influenced substantially by making the correct decisions. A successful poker player will calculate odds, bet strategically and strive for the highest hand possible in a game. Whether or not a player achieves the best hand is indeed a matter of luck, but players can still win by examining their opponents and the table variables, then adjusting betting and behavioral strategies accordingly. Simply watch a beginner go up against a seasoned player and you will quickly discover that while an element of luck is present, the outcome of the game is influenced heavily by skill and experience.
"The best poker players continuously bluff."
While it is true that bluffing can help a player win a game by deceiving opponents into thinking the hand is different than what it actually is, one needs to avoid being branded a "serial bluffer." If he develops this reputation, other players will refuse to take him seriously. When used with discretion, bluffing plays an important role in poker strategy. However, it is usually used in moderation, primarily because there are only some circumstances in the game where it is wise to bluff. There is little point bluffing if the stakes are high and a player has nothing to support the bluff. Instead being used to gain an advantage, bluffing at the wrong time can be an expensive exercise in self-discipline.
"Aggressive players have stronger chances of winning."
One common misconception about poker is that the more aggressive the player is, the better the chances become for winning a game. This theory may be supported by the Hollywood film industry but in reality the consistently successful player is one who uses caution to gain advantage. In contrast, playing poker aggressively can be costly. Heightened emotions cloud judgment and result in poor decision-making. It is always best to play poker with a clear head.
"Great poker players are born, not made."
This poker myth relies on a whole-hearted belief in fate rather than skill, perseverance and human endeavor. While some players may display a natural ability for poker, rest assured that advanced and professional players have dedicated large amounts of time to learn the full extent of the game. What's more, they are constantly finding new ways to