Texas Holdem Poker Strategy
Texas Hold'em is in essence a high card game. The higher your hole cards, the better your chances of winning the hand. As more community cards become available, the odds will change, but if youíre dealt two high cards, you should certainly buy-in to the flop if nobody has made any big raises.
As a general rule, at the pre-flop stage only play your stronger hands that give you an opportunity to raise/re-raise from an early betting position. Play a medium strength hand or another playable hand if you have a decent chance of seeing the flop at a reasonable betting price. Do not get caught entering a hand and seeing it to the flop if your hand is weak and the betting has gone array.
Poker is as much about playing the game as it is about playing the player. If your opponent is playing very timidly and tightly, take advantage of that by stealing blinds, playing aggressively when the position is to your advantage. When you are dealt strong hands, take all the raises you can get. Try not to let the cat out of the bag too early, let players bet into you. Remember that if there are several players around the table, a small pre-flop bet that is called by everyone at the table amounts to a decent little pot if you scoop the hand and is very little commitment on your part.
However, depending on your position and the strength of your hand, playing aggressively from the start can be to your advantage. Placing large bets and forcing players with weaker hands to fold will increase your chances of winning the pot. This aggressive play will also add credibility to any strong play you make after the flop, so even if your hand is not the nut hand, your strong consistent play may give you an opportunity to steal the hand. Just remember, if people are betting strongly against you, only follow if you have a very good chance of winning the hand. Pay close attention to the flop, make sure you are aware of all the possibilities, and be prepared to fold your pair of Aces if thereís too much action or too many possible big hands with the community cards.
Be wary of straights and flushes. If there are possibilities on the board, remember that you are not the only one who may have that straight or flush. For example if there are 4 diamonds on the table and you have a diamond, donít be too hasty to bet large amounts unless your diamond is a high one. If a 7, 8, 9, 10 flops and you are holding a 6, you may well have the weakest straight so donít be too eager to bet if there is too much action.
Unconnected medium and low cards are usually unplayable. Do not make a habit of attempting to make a miracle out of low unconnected value cards. Fishing for these types of hands is going to cost you more money than you will win, in the long run.
Play low pairs very cautiously. Pairs of 6's down to 2's are not necessarily a strong hand without a third card of equal value. If you don't flop a third card for three of a kind, the smart option would be to fold.
Play aggressively when you have a two way draw after the flop. If you can make a straight AND a flush or three of a kind, itís wise to bet/raise your hand.
Always be aware of all possible hands with the community cards available. If you have the highest pair on the table but a straight or flush looks likely, donít get too attached to your hand. The number one rule in Poker is knowing when to fold. Remember that you can also use this to your advantage Ė if a straight or flush looks likely and you feel confident none of your opponents have the hand, that may be a good pot-stealing opportunity. Position is everything in a situation like that Ė you want to be the last to play your hand.
Be cognizant of the raisers chips. Players that are close to all-in often rush the betting just to get all their chips in a last chance all or nothing hand.
It is good to be caught bluffing every so often. It is a calculated way to throw your opponents off guard and will ensure that your play is unpredictable. If your bluff works, you win a pot you donít deserve; if it doesnít work, you lose a few chips but it will get you calls from weaker hands at some point when you have a strong hand and need other players to give you action. From time to time I will show my cards if I pull off an outrageous bluff; it will certainly get players riled up and throw them off their game.
Study your opponents when you are not playing hands and can pay very close attention to their habits. Ask yourself whether they find more hands to play than they fold? Do they bluff? Can they be bluffed/timid style of play? You can always make notes about a player within the InterPoker software if you discover a certain trend that may be useful to you should you come up against that player again in the future.
Good luck on your next poker game From the Online Casinos USA team