Texas Holdem Strategy

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Starting Hands In Texas Holdem Poker
The Importance Of Seat Position
Reading The Board
Bluffing In Texas Holdem Poker
The Odds Of Making Your Hand
Pot Odds
Texas Holdem Poker Rules

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Starting Hands in Texas Holdem Poker

When playing Texas Holdem, the first thing a new player should learn is what cards to play, and what cards to fold! Many new players will stay in a hand with cards that have no potential. The best tip for players new to Texas Holdem Poker is FOLD A LOT!

Next thing to remember is that no two cards alone are unbeatable, and if the flop does
not add any value to your hole cards, or make it possible to get the best possible hand,
it’s in your best interest to fold after the flop.

These are the best starting hands when playing Texas Holdem:

High Pairs - Any pairs of eights or higher are good starting hands and should definitely be played.

Ace With A High Card Of Same Suite - An Ace paired with a Ten or higher of the same suite can be a good starting hand because if a flush comes along, then you will have the, highest possible flush because you already have an Ace. This will also open up the opportunity for a high straight or even a straight flush. Play these cards.

Face Cards and Tens Of The Same Suite - Although its better to have an Ace in the hole, face cards of the same suite can still be played well. They have a lot of potential for getting a high pair with a strong kicker, a straight, or a flush.

Ace With A High Card Of Different Suite - An Ace with another high card can give you a high pair and high kicker. Because another player might have an ace as well, the other high cards strength can win or lose the hand for you. The winner will be decided by that card or "kicker" if there is a tie between you and another player. If the other card is a ten or above, you can also get a high straight. Remember that you don’t have to play every hand that has an Ace.

King With A Face Card - A King with another face cars is a playable hand. It is a good idea to stay in and see the flop.

In Texas Holdem Poker, these are the best hands to start with. If you are a beginner then you might want to play only these starting hands (folding everything else) until you get to know the game a little better. Although these starting hands will not guarantee you a win, they are a good starting point for winning large pots.

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The Importance of Seat Position

Lets say you’re at a $5/$10 Texas Holdem table and you decide that with the cards you are dealt, it is worth $5 to see the flop so you call. The following couple players fold and the player after that raises $5. It’s not worth another $5 to see the flop but you already put $5 on the table so you fold and lose the money you already bet.

Where your position is at the table makes a big difference. If you knew that the player after you was going to raise, you would have folded and saved yourself $5. You have a huge advantage when you know what you opponents are going to do.

A Texas Holdem Poker table is broken down into 3 sections: The Early Position, The Middle Position, and the Late Position. Paying attention to your table position can greatly improve your game.

The Early Position: This is the first three players. These players are acting first and should avoid playing hands that are not very strong. These players should only play stronger hands because there are up to 9 other players after them to compete with.

The Middle Position: These are the next set of players at the table. They have some what of an idea what they are up against because they have seen what some of their have done. These players do not have to limit themselves to only stronger hands if no one has yet raised. Also there are less players after them that will be able to raise.

The Late Position: These are the last 3 players at the table. They have already seen what everyone else has done as far as raising or calling so they are at a greater advantage over the early and middle position. The very last player holds the most advantage and can often play very weak hands if the table permits. These players already know who has folded and who has potentially strong or weak hands.

In general, you should play very conservative in the Early Position playing only the strongest starting hands. When in the Middle Position, you can play a slightly wider variety of hands if the early players are not raising too fast. In the Late Position, you can play more loose because you have already seen what you are up against.

There are many different strategies that can be used depending upon your position at the table and the actions of your opponents. You can greatly improve your game and pick up on other strategies when you pay attention to your table position in relation to the dealer.

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Reading the Board

Great Texas Holdem Poker players know how to read the board and know which hands are possible for other players to have. They also know which hands are not possible for a player to have and therefore don’t need to worry about them. Here are some simple guidelines to follow when reading the Texas Holdem Poker Table.

Pairs: If there are any pairs on the table then its possible that someone has a full house or four of a kind. Both of these are strong hands so pay attention when you see this. If someone is raising then it’s possible they are holding one of these.

Three Cards of Same Suit: When you see this, it’s possible that someone (or you) could have a flush. Be sure not to overlook this. It’s very easy to overlook it when the cards on the board are low or non-sequenced cards.

Cards In A Sequence: When you see sequence cards on the Texas Holdem Poker table, it’s possible that someone could be holding a straight. If there are 3 cards with 2 ‘holes’ in between such as 5-7-9, its possible that another player could be holding the 6-8 and you must be aware of this. Now if those cards are also of the same suit then it opens up the possibility of another player holding the straight flush. You know what cards you are holding and this will tell you what your opponents are not holding therefore reducing the overall possibilities of someone else taking the large pot on a bluff.

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Bluffing In Texas Holdem Poker

When playing Texas Holdem Poker, sometimes nothing can be your best hand. If you bet like you have a good hand then other players might actually believe you and therefore fold their hand.

Use cautiously. There are good times and bad times to bluff. If you follow a few simple tips then you should be able to profit from this strategy in no time.

Here are some reasons not to bluff:

Never Bluff a Bad Player. They don’t always know when they are beaten. They might not be able to read the table very well so they won’t always know when it’s possible that you are holding the stronger hand.

Don’t Bluff in a Low Limit Game. If it does not cost much to see your cards then your bet or raise won’t necessarily keep other players from calling your bluff.

Don’t Bluff When There Are A Lot Of Players. In order for the bluff to work, you MUST fool everyone into believing you are holding the better hand. It’s much easier to fool one or two people than it is to fool an entire table. The more players that are still in, the more of a chance that someone is holding the good hand and call your bluff.

Here are some situations when you do want to bluff:

When the table shows that someone could have a good hand and no one is raising then you have a good chance of winning on a bluff. For example, if there are 3 cards of the same suite on the table then it’s possible that someone has a flush. If you start betting or raising like you are the one with the flush then it’s a good chance that the other players will believe you and fold their hand.

It’s good to bluff against conservative or "tight" players. They are usually looking for a reason to fold when they don’t have the right hand so you can be the one to give them that reason. Make them think you have an unbeatable hand by betting high.

It’s important to study the habits of your opponents. When a player is always calling just to see the next card then don’t try to bluff them. Also if a player catches you bluffing and you try it again too soon then they will remember and might just call your bluff. This can also be advantageous to you because if you are sitting on a good hand and the players start calling your bets then you will most likely walk away with a larger pot.

Bluffing is a great strategy when playing Texas Holdem Poker and should definitely be mastered but make sure this is not your only weapon.

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The Odds of Making Your Hand

When playing Texas Holdem Poker, there are times when you will rely on a card to show on the flop, turn, or river and you may need to know the odds of that happening. To calculate the odds of making your hand, you need to know how many possible cards or "outs" can make your hand. You also need to know the number of unseen cards.

So let’s say you have 2 spades in your hand and 2 spades on the flop. There are 13 spades in the deck so there are 9 more spades that can help you get your flush. Now you need to find out how many unseen cards there are. Well, 2 cards in your hand and 3 on the flop make 5 seen cards. There are 52 cards in the deck so 52 - 5 = 47 unseen cards remaining. Now take the 9 spades left and divide it by the 47 unseen cards (9/47) and you get .1914 or 19.14% chance that your card will show on the turn. Now if it does not hit on the turn then there are still 46 unseen cards so 9/46 = 19.56% chance that your card will hit on the river. If you’re like most people and cannot calculate that in your head then you might want to keep a calculator handy or see below for calculating pot odds.

 

Pot Odds

Knowing the pot odds will let you know if it’s worth it to call to stay in the hand or if you should get out. The pot odds is the ratio of how much money is in the pot to the amount you would have to bet to stay in the hand. So lets say there is $100 in the pot and you need to call at $10. The pot odds are 100 to 10 or 10:1.

The calculation for this is pretty much the same as when calculating the odds of making your hand. In the above example you need a spade on the river. There are 46 unseen cards and 9 cards that will get you that flush so the odds are 46/9 or approximately 5 to 1. If you need to call at $5 to stay in the hand then for it to be worth while there needs to be at least 5 times the bet amount or $25 dollars in the pot.

An easier and faster way to calculate this would be to take your number of Outs which in this situation is 9 and multiply it by 2 then add 2 to get your percentage. So 9 outs times 2 = 18 + 2 = approximately a 20% chance of making your hand. Therefore your call should be no more than 20% of the total amount that’s in the pot.

Calculating the pot odds is an absolute necessity and one of the most fundamental rules of playing Texas Holdem Poker. It is also one of the most common mistakes made by a beginning poker player. Learn this properly and you will never again question yourself whether or not you should stay in a hand or fold.

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Starting Hands In Texas Holdem Poker
The Importance Of Seat Position
Reading The Board
Bluffing In Texas Holdem Poker
The Odds Of Making Your Hand
Pot Odds
Texas Holdem Poker Rules