Poker strategy for beginners; How to get better at poker.
There are a lot of strategies in poker, but you need to start by playing your natural game and then when you have some experience, adjusting your game to cut out the weak areas and develop the strong areas. Ultimately poker is about making money (and having fun while you do it) and in any single hand and in the game overall you do that by minimising your losses and maximising your wins. It like the old song, you have to know when to hold’em and when to fold’em. As explained in ‘how to play Texas Holdem poker’, there are four rounds of betting and you can make your bank or lose your chips on any one if you are not careful.
Poker players have archetypal ways of playing, even at high level, but especially in pub games. Once you figure out how someone plays, you can start to optimise your strategy against them. Typically there are four types of player, tight passive, tight aggressive, loose aggressive, loose passive. You will have your own style. But when you can read the other players style of play it helps determine how and when to play your hands. Against someone who is loose aggressive, you need to be careful they don’t re raise you all the time so its good to have them on your right. If a player is tight passive, you can bluff with a raise frequently, as they will fold easily, so it’s good to have them on your left. Against a tight aggressive player the opposite is true, they will be a good player and you risk your chips against them unless you have a very good hand. On the other hand, a loose passive player is also dangerous, they are unlikely to recognise the power of a bluff and will call you every time.
There are three strategies you should try in the beginning they consist of; be patient, play position, and be aggressive. This is basic Texas Holdem strategy and would be included in poker tips from the pros. If you want to know how to master poker, start here.
So you have watched the world series of poker (WSOP) on the net and they are winning a hand every minute. In real life it takes ages to win a hand. So be patient, it’s not going to happen all the time. If you have big suited cards you will flop a high pair 33% of the time and a flush 11% of the time, and make the flush by the river 35% of times. But you won’t get starting hands like that very often. So wait for them and take advantage when they turn up.
Poker strategy for beginners; Position
Any two cards can win, but it’s easier to win if you play in position. Position is critical in poker. In early position (next to the big blind, called under the gun (UTG) or the next one, the UTG+1 position) you fold most hands, and sometimes that seems a waste, but you will be saving yourself chips in the long run. However hands that you would fold in early position can be raising hands in late position, depending on what has gone on before. In late position if you raise it looks like a strong hand no matter what cards you have, and if the flop is checked around to you then you can raise again and unless someone is playing you they will all have to fold. If however you are not in late position (the the blinds, UTG), and the cards don’t match yours in any way, and there is a bet, you must fold, no matter how good your cards looked preflop.
Poker strategy for beginners; Starting hands
Below is a table showing the cards you should play in the different positions on the table when you are beginning. It’s not absolute, and you will see players opening with hands in early positions with hands you wouldn’t touch. Don’t worry, even if every now and then you see an unlikely hand get a big win. Playing those weak hands will lose you chips in the long run, and in poker it’s all about the maths over multiple hands.
Memorising this guide will be a big move towards knowing how to win Texas Holdem poker. This guide depends on many aspects of table play including comparative stack sizes, aggressive or loose players ahead of you, tight players and everything else. Beginners should try hard to stick to the starting hands as they are most likely to turn into poker winning hands, and even those with some experience can use it as a guide. You must be prepared to fold even the good hands (though not necessarily the best ones) to big preflop raises.
Hands in the first four positions. (Small blind, big blind, UTG and UTG+1)
|Sevens to Aces||Ace with K,Q,J,10||Ace with K,Q,J,10,|
|K with Q,J,10||King with Q,J|
|Queen with J,10|
|Jack with 10,9|
|Ten with 9|
Hands in the middle positions;
|Fives, sixes||Ace with 9,8,7,6||King with 10|
|King with 9||Queen with J,10|
|Queen with J,10||Jack with 10|
|Jack with 8|
|Ten with 8|
|Nine with 8|
Late position opening hands. Dealer, the cut-off, the cut-off +1
|Fours, threes, twos||Ace with 5,4,3,2||King with 9|
|King with 8,7,6,5,4,3,2||Queen with 9|
|Jack with 7||Jack with 9,8|
|Ten with 7||Ten with 9,8|
|Nine with 7,6||Nine with 8,7|
|Eight with 7,6||Eight with 7|
|Seven with 6,5|
|Six with 5|
|Five with 4|
Poker strategy for beginners; Optimal poker strategy;
As implied above, you will need to adapt your game according to the play on the table. So typically if the table is loose and aggressive, you need to tighten up and pick your spots. This will give you a chance to make a killing with the right hands. If, however the table is playing passively, you can open and raise lots of hands, see lots of flops and pick up chips easily. You need to watch how players react. If you limp in does someone raise you every time, or if you raise is there someone who calls your raise every time. As you pick up this information you adjust your game to take the most advantage. But beware; any smart players on the table will be assessing you in the same way. They will notice if you are really tight and hardly play any hands, and will try to take advantage, or if you raise a lot with weak hands. It’s a juggling game, constantly reassessing and manoeuvring for position.
Poker strategy for beginners; Aggressive play;
A big mistake beginners make is to try and milk a weak or even a strong hand by not betting hard enough when they make a hand on the flop or the turn, and then get caught up on the turn or the river and lose, then tell everyone how unlucky they were. This is not how you get better at poker. Unless you have the unbeatable nuts, its worse still to check in this position, it gives the other player a free card with which to make their hand. It’s better to bet for value, a decent bet, making it hard for the opponent to just call if they don’t have a ‘made’ hand. The truth is you have to be aggressive, because even if you don’t have the strongest hand on the flop, if you have a hand and make it look strong, you can force better hands to fold.
Some players are out and out aggressive. They take no prisoners and raise constantly. This can be a great poker strategy, and allow you to build up a big stack quickly. But it depends a lot on luck, and if the player isn’t gifted with luck at that time they will lose their chips quickly when the smart players around them figure out their play and take advantage. But, if play goes their way, once they do get a big stack in this way they dominate play by never letting anyone else into a hand with aggressive raising. It’s still no guarantee of success and a single minded unadaptable approach like this generally fails in the end, although for some players it is how they master poker.
So the secret to how to get better at poker is to be adaptable to every player on every table you come to. Sometimes you get away with one type of play and sometimes another. If you just stick to one way of playing, you might win occasionally, but not consistently. Understanding this is basic Texas Holdem strategy
Adapt and win.