Whether playing poker in a back yard with friends or going for broke in a tournament, poker is a universally popular game. For most, the amateur status is perfectly fine but, for some of you, you may want to pursue this a little further. As with anything, poker has requirements on which to build. This means that at the beginning it is important to learn and go over the very basics. This includes things such as knowing all the different hand variants and their individual worth. For example, is a Full House better or worse than a Royal Flush? Once these basics are firmly ingrained, it is time to move on to a strategy and the discipline that goes along with it. Discipline can never be underrated. Poker is a game of focus and, without it, winning can be hard. Never play poker when you are mad, sad or drunk. These emotions will be distracting. It should be noted here that not playing every hand as a beginner is important and it is here that discipline will appear. The ability to be strong enough to throw away inadequate first hands will set you in good stead further down the poker road. There are many other aspects to consider in a game of poker and these will vary in each game so it is necessary to understand their importance. The number of players, the deck, the player positioning around the table – all can have different effects on how the game is played. It should also be observed that whilst poker is known to be a game of bluffing, the professionals rarely implement this. Only newbies to the game do this continuously and, by doing so, flag themselves as newcomers to be taken advantage of. Play conservatively, watch the other players and the table, and learn all the rules and you should soon find yourself improving.