To be a truly great Texas Hold ‘Em Poker player, you need to be able to read your opponents, ascertaining when they are bluffing and when they really have a solid hand. But if you are just starting out, then learning some basic strategies and general rules will go a long way toward making sure you won’t get a drubbing in your first games
Some of these tips are very simple- but you’d be surprised at how often a newbie will forget the basics, and even the rules- and even one mistake can be costly- not only in terms of confidence, but also your cash!
1. The two cards you hold are the only cards that set you apart from the other players and give you the chance to win. They are the be-all and end-all. If they are poor cards, you’re very unlikely to win.
2. All of the face-up cards are community cards, shared by you and every other player. Don’t just think about what those cards mean to you and your hand. You should also consider what those cards could mean to someone else.
3. In following 2 (above) keep your eyes open for your opponents’ straight and flush possibilities. They are most likely to upset your plans.
4. When you first pick up and look at your cards, be careful not to give anything away and reveal anything with your reaction. Keep a blank, emotionless “Poker Face”. No comment, no noise, no facial twitch, no body movement.
5. Evaluate your cards carefully, based on the number of players in the game. As a general rule you should seriously consider folding before the flop if you have two non-pair or unsuited cards, both less than 10.
6. What is the big blind? If the big blind is low enough, it may be worthwhile to stay in so that you can see the flop even if you don’t have particularly strong cards in your hand.
7. Always be prepared to cut your losses. If you’ve stayed in because you thought that a certain card my turn up and it doesn’t, then get out!
8. Don’t despair if you get a few poor hands. You should be willing to suffer through a series of poor hands without getting impatient. The good hands will come, eventually, and you’ll be in better position to take advantage of them if you don’t waste your chips trying to get something out of nothing. You can’t make a purse out of a sow’s ear, as they say in England!
9. If you’re first to bet after the flop, don’t be afraid to check. Why? This can work to your advantage in two ways. First, if your hand is weak, you might be able to see one more card without having to put more into the pot. Second, if your hand is strong, you could convince an opponent or two that it’s weaker than it really is. Hey- you’re bluffing already!
10. While you shouldn’t pour good money after bad, and get sucked in to supporting and paying more when you have a weak hand, there is a point where the investment you’ve already made virtually dictates that you hang in there. It’s useful to measure this in terms of percentage of your chips. For example, if you’ve already committed 40% of your chips to the pot, another 5% isn’t that much! But this depends on just how weak your hand is. If it’s threadbare, then why have you got yourself this deep in already?? Get out!