Strategy

Online Poker Tips

A Crash Course in the Basics

Poker is a complicated game but a few simple guidelines go far in preventing beginner mistakes. Later in the guide we will recommend good poker books and web sites where you can learn the finer points of advanced strategy, but for now keep these ideas in mind:

Be Patient

Fold early and often. Top holdem players might fold 80% of their hands before the flop. The idea is to only play when you have an advantage. The sad truth is, most of the time you don’t have an edge and you can tell just by looking at your first cards. If you’re going to fold at all during a hand, the earlier you fold the better, because you will contribute fewer chips to a pot that someone else wins. By folding a lot early, you give yourself a stronger average hand when you do play. That makes it easier to follow the second rule.

Be Aggressive

Don’t be afraid to raise. The fewer opponents that are in the pot with you, the more inclined you should be to raise instead of call. Often the best choice is to raise, next best is to fold and the worst choice is to call. The exception is when there are a lot of other players in the pot. Now the odds are that somebody has a pretty good hand. In this case you can fold your medium-strength hands and call with good draws. But when you make that draw, don’t slow play it. Raise!

Know When You’re Beat

Okay, so you started with a strong hand and have been doing a lot of raising. But now this other guy just won’t quit reraising you and your hand hasn’t improved. Well, it may be time to give up. Don’t be afraid to fold when you know you’re beat.

Watch the Pot

The smaller the pot is, the stronger your hand needs to be to continue. Even a good draw in a tiny pot is not worth the cost. But conversely, a long shot draw becomes profitable in a large pot. When it’s your opponent that is drawing, remember that his profit is your loss. You’re happy to let them draw against you when the pot is small, but be sure to make them pay the maximum to draw when the pot is large. In short, don’t draw in a small pot and don’t slow-play in a large pot.

Get Inside Your Opponent’s Head

What do you think he has? What do you think he thinks you have? What does he think you think he has? If you can outsmart your opponent on this level, you have the advantage. But it takes practice. New players tend to concentrate too much on their own hand. It’s just as important to understand what your opponent might have as well. A good start at developing this skill in holdem is to imagine what is the strongest hand anybody could have given the current board. For example, maybe a pair of aces in the hole would make three aces. Then think back over the play of the hand so far. Is your opponent’s play consistent with holding two aces? If not, he probably doesn’t have that hand. To go to the next level, look back over your own play so far this hand. Is your play consistent with holding two aces? That gives you an idea what your opponent might think you have.

More Basic Strategies for Texas Hold em:

Shorthand Limit Texas Hold’em

• Shorthand is a table with 6 or less players and the most popular game on the web. Most of the higher limit games are played shorthand.

• Do not play against pros.

‚Ä¢ You can tell if the game is easy by looking at the flop percentage. If it is 40 or higher, it should be your choice game. If it is 25-30 don’t play there.

Starting hands

• Hand values are relative. Like if there has been a lot of action it is best to fold anything other than AA/KK.

• Raise on paired cards, A10+, KQ, KJ, QJ and J10s.

• Call a raise with high-paired cards, AQ, AK and KQ.

• Raise again with made hands like JJ, QQ, KK and AA.

Flop

• Bet your made hand. If another player bets, do you think he is calling on a second best pair? Then continue betting. If not sure, stop.

‚Ä¢ If you do not have the top pair, don’t call a bet. Either raise or fold.

Bluffing

• Bluffing does not work until $5-10 or higher.

‚Ä¢ Semi bluffing occurs when you don’t have a made hand yet, but chances are you will. Only semi bluff at higher levels, otherwise other players will call you.

• Pure Bluffs are best on higher levels and when there are not many in the action.

Limit Hold’em with eight or more players:

The most important thing to remember is that in limit Fold’em you want to have an advantage going into the flop.

Starting Hands:

Wait to be dealt the quality hands, and just win with those.

AA, KK, QQ, JJ and AK

These are the very best hands. Play aggressively. With AA, you want to see as much money as possible in the pot, so reraise. For AK you will need to hit an ace or a king. Do not get in a raising war with one player because s/he likely has a pocket pair already.

TT, 99, AQ and QK

These are good hands. Most likely, you will need help from the board. Raise to knock players out – the less players the better.

AJ, AT, KJ, QJ, 10J

These are also good hands. Cautiously play AJ, AT and KJ. You can lose to a higher kicker. Play only if your hand is suited. Raise to knock players out, but do not call a raise.

88, 77, 66, 109, 98, 87, 76

These hands need help from the board. Play only if your hand is suited.

Flop

1. If you are winning but your hand can be beat, you hope a player will bet to you so you can raise. If you are in late position and no one has bet, you must bet to knock people out.

2. If you have three of a kind or maybe even a full house on the flop you do not need to knock players out. You will likely win. Do reraise however if you suspect someone of having a better hand than you have.

3. If you have the second best hand, treat the hand as a drawing hand or simply fold.

4. If you have nothing-just fold at the first bet.

These are just some basic strategies for texas hold em. You’ll develop your own over time.

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