There are few casino games as well known, and loved, as Poker. The fast paced, yet deeply strategic card game offers up everything that players enjoy, including deception, luck, and a healthy dose of nail biting tension.

But anyone learning how to play the game from some of the famous movies would be doing themselves a huge disservice. The fact of the matter is that, regardless of how famous Poker is, many are misguided as to how it all really works. Or at least, how it all works when you are playing as a professional, and not a cowboy that is likely to walk away empty handed.

Here are a few tips for beginners on how to take the game of Poker to the next level.

Take It Slow

First, keep in mind that Poker is a game about taking it slow, feeling out the table, and understanding your opponents. Many newcomers tend to jump in aggressively, and start making huge bets right off the bat.

This might be a good approach, if you have a strategy in mind. But those who don’t look before they leap, when it comes to cards, often tend to be the first to go bankrupt. It is best to approach the game defensively at first playing offline or online here, until you have a better idea of who you are up against.

Strike While the Iron is Hot

With that being said, when the opportunity does come along, it is essential to try and take advantage. That great hand will come along eventually, and when it does, be sure to take advantage.

Though, this is perhaps all obvious. What is less obvious is that playing a great hand, when it does come along, is perhaps the most challenging part of the game. Opponents will be naturally cautions if they suspect your hand is good, which is why baiting others in is essential. Making small initial bets to get others hooked is the key.

Don’t be Afraid to Fold

But it can take some time for a good hand to come around, which means that you may spend a great deal of the game simply folding. But folding is boring, right?

Folding is boring only if you prefer throwing your money away on dead hands. The majority of professional Poker players will not make any bet unless they have a hand of a certain minimum value, otherwise they have no problem simply throwing down the hand, and folding. This is best kept in mind.

Bluffing Like a Champion

On the other hand, it is often a good idea to play a bluff, just so opponents fear your Poker Face. A bluff is best played during the later stage of the game, when tensions are high, and everyone at the table has started to focus on caution.

Remember that a bluff need not be with a dead hand, but simply a hand of a low, easily beatable value. Your opponents will likely not even see it coming, if you have been playing a relatively straight game up until that point.