In the world of poker one variation of the game stands out above all others in terms of popularity – Texas Hold’em. There are many reasons why it is so widely played, not least the simplicity of the game. The betting structure is also comparatively simple to understand. However, the apparently straightforward nature of Hold’em doesn’t mean that it’s also easy to become a very accomplished player!
So if you plan to take up the game, or just try it out, there are some basic strategies you should know. Remember them and hopefully, you go from rookie to someone who can consistently win hands against other, more experienced, players.
Poker’s a game of controlled aggression especially when it comes to putting in your stakes. So you should try to raise whenever there’s a face card, ace or any pair. It will make your opponents think that you on your way to a very good hand.
When you get higher value pairs be bold and raise even more – even when your opponent is raising pre-flop. The chances are that they’re bluffing and this could show them up.
Use Your Position
When you're the last person in any hand, so to the right of the dealer, you're in the strongest possible position. That’s because you’ll have had the chance to study how all the other players as they take their turns. You are in a more informed position about how strong they think their cards are.
But beware, the small blind is the worst place to be, so proceed with care when it’s you. It's too easy to get called out by players further along the table.
Watch Your Opponents
Keep a close eye on how your opponents are playing and look for patterns in their behaviour. Some of the best Texas Hold'em players in the world are as good at reading people as they are at playing the game. It's also why so many wear sunglasses and hats. It is to hide any giveaway in their faces!
Make note if your opponents are bluffing on weaker hands or underplaying stronger ones. And if they’re starting to look tired and distracted it could be the time to hit them the hardest. It could also be that their body language starts giving their positions away.
Know When To Fold
Kenny Rogers said it best. Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em. Don't fall into the Texas Hold'em trap of thinking that you'll win more if you play every hand. You may hate to give away money that you’ve put in the pot but it could end up costing you a lot more if you stay and see out the game.
It’s far better to fold if the two cards you’re holding aren’t great than to rely on luck, or bluffing, to see you through.
You might be watching your opponents, but they’ll be watching you too. So mix up your play a little and they’ll be less likely to see the patterns that could help them to second-guess you.
So there’s the theory, but the best way to master these golden rules will be to put them into practice – and look forward to what could be a great winning streak.