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Strategies and Tips for playing Poker

PokerTips

  • Pay attention.Watch who's playing in an aggressive or loose way and who's playing tight, try to play the loose players and avoid the tight players, unless you've got a strong hand.
  • Watch the chips. Always be aware of everyone's chip count. Know who has more chips than you and play more carefully against them - a mistake could knock you out. It's usually better to play pots with players who have fewer chips than you do. You can scroll over the players PokerFace to see more about their points, chips stack and status.
  • No match. If your cards don't match any of the community cards, throw your hand away when someone else bets.
  • Ace in the hand. Don't play every time you have an ace in your hand. However, play an ace if it's accompanied by a card of the same suit or by a 10 or higher.
  • Hands to stay with before the flop. Play with pairs (7-7, 9-9), two face cards (K-Q, Q-J), or hands that can make both a straight and a flush (8-9, 6-7 of the same suit). Be patient and fold other hands, unless you're in the blind.
  • Good hand? Bet strong. In no-limit Texas Hold'em, players can bet all of their chips at any time, so bet aggressively when you have a good hand.
  • Watch and wait. Play fewer hands when you're one of the first players to act, because you'll be 'out of position' and vulnerable to raises from the remaining players.
  • Wait your turn. Do not act until it is your turn; play proceeds clockwise at the poker table.
  • Be a "bettor", not a "caller". Being aggressive is good.
  • Call their bluff. If someone raises in a late position, re-raise them a good amount if you are on the blind. Chances are, they don't have a big hand and they're just trying to steal your blinds.
  • Be patient. The biggest mistake most players make is to act too quickly. When you're making an important decision pause to think about how the betting has gone and what your opponent might have. Take your time.

Basic Strategy


Starting Hands

There are (52 x 51)/2 = 1,326 possible combinations of two hole cards from a standard 52 card deck in Texas Hold’em, but since suit have no relative value in poker, many of these hand are identical in value before the flop. For example, A J (in hearts) and A J (in clubs) are identical, because each is a hand consisting of an ace and a jack of the same suit. There are 169 possible starting hands in hold’em, but there are only 25 starting hands with th probability of winning at a ten-handed table of greater than 1/7. Hold’em hands are sometimes classified as having one of three shapes:

  • Pairs ­ two cards of the same rank. One hand in 17 will be a pair, each occurring with individual probability 1/221.
  • Suited hands ­ two cards of the same suit. Four hands out of 17 will be suited, and each suited configuration occurs with probability 2/663.
  • Offsuit hands ­ two cards of a different suit and rank. Twelve out of 17 hands will be nonpair, offsuit hands, each of which occurs with probability 2/221.

Position play

Poker positions refer to the order in which players are seated around the table and the related poker strategies that can result of that position. The players who act first are in the "early position", players who act later are in "late position". A player "has position" on opponents acting before him and is "out of position" to opponents acting after him. Because players act clockwise order, a player "has position" on the player seated to his right, except when the player has the dealer’s button and in certain cases in the first betting round of the game.

The biggest advantage held by a player in the late position is that he will have more information with which to make better decisions than players in early position, who will have to act first. Also as the earlier opponents fold, the probability of a hand being the best goes up as the number of opponents goes down.

The blinds are the least favourite position because you’re forced to contribute to the pot and you must act first on all betting rounds after the flop. Although the big blind has a big advantage on the first round of betting, it is on average the biggest chip losing position.


Fold

The saying goes "winners know when to quit" and that is never truer than it is in poker. Kenny got it right too, you need to "know when to hold rsquo; and know when to fold ’em". Folding is to throw in your current hand and forfeit your stake at the pot. It is a difficult thing to do, made more so if you are one of the blinds and already have chips in the pot. It is especially difficult online with reality suspended except for your dwindling stack.

Strategic advice for folding is as many times divided as there are games of poker. Most of it hinges on a particular strategy and style of play; so if the objective is to unsettle your opponents in tournament play, passive players should fold less often and aggressive players should fold on hands that they´d normally run with. But these are specifics that will only come in as your individual game develops. That being said there are some golden rules regarding folding:

  • Focus on the flop and fold that good hand if you know you’re beat.
  • A face card alone will never cover a low kicker, eg K-8. Fold it.
  • Don’t fall in love with your cards. Pocket aces mean nothing to a straight.
  • Watch out for straights and flushes on the turn, play the odds and fold it if need be.

Types of play

Your type of play refers to your personality around the poker table. It is essential for a good player to have varied and rehearsed ‘roles’ that are adopted throughout the length of a poker game. It is even more important in multi-table tournaments; when it might well come down to what the other player thinks your’d do.

Whether you’re playing online or not; learn to stem tells, habits and the unconscious personality related behaviour you put out to other players and the rewards will come through in your card game.

Tight Aggressive: Is the most advocated modern style of playing poker. It is valued for its cautious and methodical but decisive characteristics. Tight-aggressive playing is characterized by patience and acting on observations that squeeze opponents without exposing the player to undue risk. A tight-aggressive player has worked hard to become one, fine-tuning all facets of their game from managing ones chip stack to position play and, as a result, makes very few errors.

Tight-Passive: Brilliant pre-flop game from this playing style but the reluctance to raise or call instead of merely checking can see this player not maximizing the potential of their good hands. An easily readable playing style that will almost never bluff.

Loose Aggressive: The more expensive of the 2 loose player variants. This player’s habit of aggressively raising with poor hands (read ‘any’) will see them come short in a big way. This playing style is also very easy to read; the silly bluffs and over-bets attract a lot of attention because stronger players can smell the big payday. Often this is the style that players trying to be tight-aggressive find themselves playing in.

Loose Passive: These players are known as ‘calling stations’ because they call poor hands and don’t bet enough chips. They usually aren’t schooled in pot odds or any form of technicality surrounding game. They usually go home early.

 

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