Texas Hold’em Poker Strategies You Cannot Afford To Miss
Poker is a vast game, it has several variants, each of which is interesting and exciting in its own way. Additionally, each variant also comes with its own set of challenges and thrill, thus bringing in different unique strategies to help you ace the game. If you want to be a skilled poker player, you can not neglect the importance of good poker strategies.
Of the many poker variants, the most popular and commonly played variant is undoubtedly – Texas Hold’em. Even though very little is known about the invention of the game, the Texas legislature officially recognized Texas as the birthplace of the game in the early 20th century, and thus the name ‘Texas Hold’em.’
After gaining popularity in Texas, the game reached Las Vegas, which is today known as the ‘Mecca of Poker.’ Later the popularity of books and televised shows further propagated the game among the masses to reach the popularity it has gained today.
The game is simple to understand and extremely intriguing too. One can learn and ace this game easily, but not without Texas Hold’em strategies and practice, of course! If you are a Texas Hold’em, player, too, and wish to learn some of the ultimate Texas Hold’em strategies & tips, then you’re in the right place.
We will tell you some of Texas Hold’em strategies for beginners as well as for advanced players. You will be able to easily ace any games with these Texas Hold’em tournament strategies and Texas Hold’em cash game strategies.
10 Texas Hold’em Poker Strategies & Tips
1. Know the starting hands
The first and most basic Texas Hold’em strategy is to know the starting hands. Starting hands is nothing but the two-hole cards dealt to you. You will find many charts on the internet, that show the strength and weaknesses of every possible starting hand. These chars also display the percentage or likeliness each starting hand has of winning. These will help you understand which starting hands are worth playing and which you should generally choose to fold.
Since these are the first cards a player gets to see, and they will help the player form the best possible hand, one should know which starting hands are strong enough to bet money on. The right knowledge will help you save yourself from a lot of bad beats and a lot of money too.
2. Make The Most Of Your Position
The position has a great impact on how you play your hand. The position can give you the advantage to play even with the most weak hand and win the pot. Usually, the late positions on the poker table are considered to be the most beneficial ones. This is because a player in the late position gets the opportunity to see how the opponents in the early positions and mid-positions have acted and decide his/her action accordingly. So if you’re in the late position and the players before you have either just called or checked (post-flop), you can then raise or bet to apply pressure and have the opponents fold if they do not have good cards. The position also helps increase the range of starting hands you can play with.
Position can also refer to having a bigger stack than others on the table. Being the top stack, you are in a position to apply pressure on the opponents by putting in more funds than them, thus making them fold even with the strongest hands.
Whatever position you are in, realize the value of your position and make the most of it to earn maximum rewards.
Remember, information is the key. Use the information you get from your position to your advantage and you can turn losing pots into winning pots.
3. Play limited hands but play them well
This is one of the thumb rules of Texas Hold’em strategies. If anyone tells you that you need to play maximum hands to win more, they’re wrong. Texas Hold’em is all about playing limited hands but playing them fairly well. If you think you have a strong hand, play it and play it the right way. Use the aggressive strategy if you think your opponents have weak hands or deceive them to believe you have a weak hand so that they put more money into the pot.
If you have moderately strong hands, play sparingly to see if the hand improves. If you feel you don’t have strong cards, don’t hesitate to fold. Even if you have bet pre-flop and see no scope after the flop, fold. It is better than putting in money on nothing and losing it. Always remember that it’s only wise to play selective hands to maximize your profits.
4. Learn To Fold
One cannot emphasize the importance of folding enough. Understand that it is any day better to fold a weak or unfavorable hand than to play it and loose your stack. You can save yourself a lot of money in poker if you know when to fold, and when to hold. You can then use this saved money to play aggressively whenever required and earn more money.
Players often hesitate to fold their cards post-flop or on the turn or river, because they think, it makes sense to play since they have already put in their money preflop. But this is the wrong approach. Think about it, you have a decent starting hand and hence you call the blinds preflop. The flop brings you no help, and you know, someone could have a better hand with that flop. But because you think about your preflop bets and decide to call/bet with a weak hand on the following streets, and you eventually loose you are wasting your blinds by giving it to your opponent for free. As against this, had you decided to fold, you would have saved the blinds which would have helped you play more levels and maybe even win some of them.
So learn to fold whenever required because poker is as much about betting as the bets you save.
5. Learn to check-raise with strong hands
If you have a strong hand, you should definitely play it confidently, however, sometimes it is also important to act passively with strong hands. Why? To make the opponents buy in to the pot, thus helping you to grab a bigger pot. When you check it usually depicts that you have a weak or moderate hand, and thus more opponents may be encouraged to play the hand, generating a bigger pot by putting in more money. Since you have a strong hand, you are more likely to win and collect the big pot.
Once the opponents have checked or bet small amounts, you can then raise, to make the other fold, and pull the pot. This strategy works best against players who tend to check back or raise you often.
6. Be smart on the Turn and the River
The turn and river are when most players have already folded and are out of action. Hence it is very crucial to play smartly on the turn and river. If you have hit a straight draw or a flush draw on the turn, try to get the river as cheap as you can. This is because, a draw means you still need one card to complete your best hand, if the desired card doesn’t show up on the river, you might lose the pot. Getting to see the river card for a small amount will reduce your loss in such a case.
If you have already hit the best hand on the turn, raise heavily and make it expensive for the opponent to see the river card. If there is a pair on the board, keep in mind that someone could have a full-house and if the board has three suited cards, someone could have a flush, so you would want to play smartly, keeping in mind the possible outcomes.
Once the river is revealed, you purely play for the value of the cards you have since there is no chance of your hand improving any further. If you think your opponents may have a good hand, you don’t want to bluff here.
7. Avoid limping first
Most poker experts suggest avoiding being the first player to limp. Limping refers to simply calling the big blind preflop. There are several reasons why one should avoid limping as much as possible.
- If all the players on the table limp, the blinds get the chance to gather a lot of information for almost free, since the money they have put in is compulsory bets, they haven’t voluntarily contributed to the pot yet. Against that, if you raise, the blinds become alert and will call/raise only if they have significant hands.
- Avoiding limping and folding the cards instead can save you the funds which you can invest on strong cards. Limping action is often followed by limping action by the following players too, this just increases the number of hands in action, taking away the actual skill factor and allowing luck to take over.
- Since there are many hands in the action, it also reduces your chances to win the pot. More the number of hands, the less likely you are to win the pot if you have moderate hands.
- By limping you lose the opportunity to win the pot preflop. If you raise, it is likely that if the other players do not have good cards, they will fold and get out of action, thus leading you to win the pot preflop itself.
However, it’s safe to limp after at least one player before you have already limped. This is because then you get good pot odds to join the action and hopefully find a good card on the flop.
8. Do Not Tilt
Tilt refers to a mental or emotional confusion/frustration which leads to the player playing aggressively rather than playing strategically. Sometimes, especially in tournaments, it can become mentally tiring and frustrating for players to sit and play for long hours, even more, when they don’t get good cards or don’t win pots for long. In such cases, it is likely that the player ends up tilting.
Poker requires patience and a calm mind. Every poker expert will recommend not to play if you are not in a healthy state of mind. Tilting can turn out to be your biggest enemy because when you play in frustration or without a strategy, you end up playing aggressively, bluffing unnecessarily, or making poor calls and giving away chips for free.
9. Defend You Blinds
Being in the big blind position can be a profitable deal. If you’re in the big blind, try your best to defend your blinds. Preflop, you have already put in a compulsory bet of one big blind, and you are the last to act. You can use this to your advantage by understanding how the previous players have acted and raise or call if favorable as you get a fairly better bargain to see the flop. If everyone has limped, you can simply check to see the flop for free.
Post-flop, you are the second to act, you can use this by raising or betting if you have strong cards and have the others fold.
10. Steal the blinds
If you are not in the position of the big blind, you can steal the blinds in that case. Stealing the blinds means to raise pre-flop when others have simply called the big blind, this leading to everyone, including the big blindfold. Typically, if everyone before you has limped or just called the big blind, they are likely to have weak or moderate cards. When you raise heavily at this point, players with such hands would choose not to risk large sums of money and rather fold. Since your raise is higher, the big blind will also think twice before putting in a large sum.
If everyone folds, you get the entire pot without having to show your cards. Since everyone had just put in the amount equal to the blind, you are stealing away their blinds, and increasing your stack without necessarily winning a pot.
While these are just some of the strategies, there are several other advanced Texas Hold’em strategies that you can adopt to further strengthen your game. Also remember, the best strategy in poker is to be flexible in adopting a mix of various strategies according to the situations as and when required. So make sure to analyze your cards, opponents, and the entire situation before adopting and using any specific strategy. Also, it is advised to keep alternating your strategies and playing style to avoid giving any free information and keep the opponents guessing.
It is advised to avoid limping in Texas Hold’em. Limping can invite unwanted players into the pot There is also a chance that weaker hands will improve later.
In poker, it is a popular saying that goes ‘when in doubt, just fold,’ Hence, do not be afraid to fold if you do not have a good hand.
Knowing your starting hand is the best Texas Hold’em strategy. Understand, evaluate and analyze your starting hand and play only a strong starting hand. Study the hand ranking strength chart thoroughly.