Texas Holdem Strategies and Tips

Don’t play too many hands

The best players typically play an average of 25% of their starting hands.  That is what the experts play;  A beginner may be well advised to play only the top 10 starting hands, working up to more as they gain experience.

Study your opponents’ playing habits

Whether you are in a hand or not, watch the game unfold.  Pay close attention to what the other players do.  Categorize them as tight, aggressive, loose, etc., and adjust your play accordingly.

Ready everything you can get your hands on about poker

There are a good number of excellent books on poker, written by professional poker players.  Buy some.  Alternate your time between playing and reading.  You’ll find that, the longer you play poker, the more sense the books make, and the better they help you improve your play.

Takes notes and read hand historiesimage

‘Take notes about your play and especially about the other players’ play.  You will see the same players more than once, even online, if you play regularly.  It’s good to have some notes to go by when meeting up with them again.  Also, a good player will analyse his/her hand histories to gain some insights as to what works and what doesn’t work for them.  Knowing this will help you refine your play.

 

Understand how your position at the table works for you and against you

The seat position you are in should dictate how you play your hand.   There’s a big difference between being “on the button” and in the “big blind”.

Be Unpredictable

Change your style.  If you’ve been playing very tight, switch to loose for a round or two.  Get caught bluffing with a mediocre hand (show your cards).  Make it hard for your opponents to guess what you’re holding.

Know how and when to Bluff

Bluffing is a wonderful tool when used correctly.  Correctly means sparingly and in the right circumstances.   Obviously, bluffing will backfire on you if you’re playing against a player who calls everything.

Use Pot Odds

Poker is a game of odds.  In the short run we all get luck regardless of the odds, but for long term success, it is key to know the odds and play accordingly.  Tune up your dusty math skills and know what your pot odds and the odds to catch your cards</ for each hand/betting round.  Once you have this mastered, and determine whether to call/raise or fold accordingly, you will find you win more over the long term.

A few more tips,strategies and reminders for Online Texas Holdem Players:

  • After a losing session, examine your play on that hand for leaks and mistakes.
  • Leave the table when you no longer have a winning expectation for whatever reason.   For example, leave a table after 2 bad beats, because your game is probably over at that point.
  • If you plan to play your cards, and it’s folded to you preflop, raise instead of limping in. No sense in forcing everyone out if you have a strong hand.
  • Know your weaknesses:  Be completely honest with yourself about the quality of your play, for better or for worse.   You can’t improve your play if you don’t know what needs improving.
  • Nobody gets a free card.   If you intend to continue playing a hand and no one has raised, raise it.  You’ll narrow down the competition this way – people who have draw hands are likely to fold if you raise.
  • Slowplay if you flop the nearly unbeatable nuts – within reason.   You want to lure your opponents into sweetening the pot.   Coming on too strong will only encourage those with marginal, draw hands to fold.
  • Shake off the bad beats.  Don’t let disappointing results shake you up and put you on tilt.
  • Don’t chase!   Recognize when you are dead money, and throw in your hand.
  • If it is good enough to call, it is good enough to raise and visa versa.  Don’t chase.
  • To continue past the flop you should have either:  The best hand, The probable best hand, A draw to the best hand,  or even A draw to the probable best hand.
  • It’s more fun to win than lose, but enjoy the game, even if you are a professional. It’s not life or death, it is supposed to be fun.
  • Be prepared to fold a very good hand when the situation warrants.Be Patient:  In SNGs and tournaments, let players knock each other out early.
  • Raise on the flop to find out where you’re at.
  • For gawd sakes, don’t try to bluff a calling station/sucker!

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