Texas Hold'em For Beginners

Texas Hold’em may seem like a complicated card game to play, but it’s fun and easy to learn given the right guidance and resources. And if you are looking to learn the game, then you have come to the right page and resource. In this article, we help you understand the mechanics of the game. This article and guide are written with the assumption that you have the basic knowledge of the game and you want to expand what you know.

Is this a form of gambling?

We are in a grey area on this one. For a start, you should know that this game will qualify as a form of gambling since you have no control on the cards that will be given to you, or the cards of the other players, or which ones will come on the flop. What you can control here is the amount of money that you can put in the pot. This means that you are in control of what will happen to your bankroll.

By managing the amount of money that you will put on the pot based on favourable situations, and folding when you think that the odds are not in your favour, you can win in the game of poker. Of course, there is also a big chance that you will lose because of circumstances that you cannot control. But these losses can be managed well if you can make better decisions compared to the other players participating in the game.

The basic strategy to follow in Texas Hold’em

In the game of poker, the battle is between the value of the hands. The showdown between competing hands starts when you are assigned two hole cards. The strategy here is to come up with the best hand possible before the flop. It is recommended that you play 18 to 20% of the hands in a regular poker table.

Your success in the game will depend on the number of cards you fold and play. If you put in play some cards, then it will not reward you with a promising profit. There’s a chance that you will lose money on weak hands which cannot be compensated by good hands. Experienced players always suggest always to play tight.

How to win against regular Hold’em players

If you participate in regular poker games in the casino, you will discover that most games are loose and many players tend to play 30% of their hands. Keep in mind that when they play weak hands before the flop, they will also pull off the same hand values after the flop. Weak hands are the second-best on the table, and you want to take advantage of these cards played by the other players.

Hand strength in poker

The main objective of the game is to come up with the best hand after all of the five community cards have been dealt with. It’s impossible to say if your hand is good enough because the value and importance of the hands will also depend on others. But if you can play tight most of the time, you can come up with better hands and less weak hands.

During each hand, you should always consider the cards on the board and the hand combinations that they can form. In this card game, information is critical in making the right decisions.

The pre-flop strategy you can use

Before you can play the flop, you need to prepare first the first two cards that have been assigned to you. The initial objective is to come up with a top pair, or one with no other pair combination on the board that can exceed yours right after the flop with a great kicker. Another option is to come up with a hand that has a good chance of forming a ‘big hand’ like a flush or straight.

 

Playing KK, QQ, JJ and AA

These are prized hands in the game of poker. During the showdown, a single pair is considered the best. And if you are dealt with these cards, it’s highly recommended that you raise them. If you hold AA-KK or QQ, you should always raise and re-raise.

 

Playing AK-AJ and KQ

These cards hit the flop; they can combine to create a top pair with a great kicker. The kickers are important in this card game because poker players will flop the same pair, and only the kicker will break the tie. If you have a pair, the kicker will come into play. To increase your chances of winning with a kicker, it’s best that you always play tight. You can also play a top-pair if there is a raise made on the table. If nobody raised, you can raise the hands to improve its value just before the flop.

 

Playing suited connectors: QJs-89s

In many poker games, some amateurs often play any two suited cards. This is one mistake that you should avoid if you want to cut your losses. What you can do instead is to focus on the suited connectors because these can flop the straight and flush draws. A suited or a connected is not enough; both must present.

Suited connectors can work in your favour because these can help you win the games when they form into straights and flushes. Although these cards can lead you to big wins, we recommend that these should be folded to a raise unless its raise is extremely small. You can take advantage of these hands if you can get these cards cheap.

 

Playing pocket pairs: TT-22

These cards can have their purpose to your hands as well. With small and medium pocket pairs, the flop can deliver at least one over the card to the pair. If you are holding a 6 of Diamond and 6 of Spade and the board comes with a Jack of Diamond, King of Clover and 3 of Spade, your hand becomes almost worthless. The true value of the pocket pairs will happen when they flop a three-of-a-kind. The three-of-a-kind is important in poker, and if you flop it, you should aim to get all in.

 

Playing Ace-X suited: A9s-A2s

These are the weak Aces that you should also play. These are playable because they are suited. If you can come up with an ace-high flush, there’s a chance that you will win the entire stack of the other player is he has a smaller flush.

This is the reason why some players lose when they flop a pair of aces, with the other player having the same pair but with a good kicker. The A-Xs hands should not be pitted against a raise unless its a small raise and there are some players.

 

Playing the other hands

The other hands should be avoided whenever possible. The outlined cards here are the ones that you should work on, and all others should be skipped because they will not boost your chances on the table. When playing poker, keep in mind one basic principle- good hands before the flop are good hands after the flop, and good hands can help you make easy decisions.

Playing Texas Hold’em Post-Flop

Once the flop comes out, you should immediately assess the value of your hand. Take a look at the board and see what the other combinations that are possible are, and how well your hand compares to the rest.

 

Note: What you want to accomplish during this stage is to come up with a top pair or at least get a good chance of forming a big hand.

If you managed to get a pair but smaller than the top pair, and a bet is in, we suggest that you fold. If you hold a top pair and you have a good kicker, then you can bet or make a call. Pay attention to how the hand has been played out: the top pair is great, but if some players have raised, then your top pair may not be worth the gamble.

 

Reminders on the draws: The draw is possible if you can make a flush or a straight on the next card. These are also called big hands because the flushes and straights are often good enough to create wins.

But not all draws are created the same. For example, a 5 and 6 Diamonds on a 7 of Hearts, 3 of Hearts and Ace of Diamonds board will have four outs. The four 4s and the draw is weaker since the 4 of Hearts may give other players the chance to create a flush.

Now, if you need the middle card to form a straight, this is known in poker as the gutshot. And the better straight draw is called the open-ender. An example of this is an 8 and 9 of Spades on a 6 of Hearts, 7 of Spade and Jack of Diamond board. Open-enders are considered better than gutshots.

You should not rely too much on gutshots past the flop unless you are facing small bets. The flush draws, on the other hand, will have nine outs and are considered strong. You can make a call on the flop, and if you miss on the turn, you also miss your chance unless the bets are small.

Playing on the Turn

If you join the turn, you will have to play with 2 or 3 players. If a player makes it to this phase, keep in mind that he has at least a piece of the board. If you are the one who initiated the betting and the turn did not reveal many changes, continue your bet. If the turn comes with a straight draw or flush, be cautious on your next moves. Now if you bet and the other player raised, we suggest that you fold.

 

Playing on the River

You need to prepare for the river, and this can be done by using all the available information on the cards and the table. Each play that has been completed by the player should give you some information about the hand. If the player raises before the flop and bets the flop, the turn and also the river, then it only means that he’s holding a big hand.

Now, if he raises before the flop, bets on the flop and then check the turn and river, it’s expected that his hand will be weak. It’s best that you should collect as much information as possible and use your critical thinking skills when making a decision.

Benefits of Playing in Position

If you want to win in the game of poker, then you should also pay attention to position. Position, as used in the game, will refer to your placement or rank about the dealer’s button, which assigns who will act last during the hand. Acting last in the game of poker will give you more information, thus helping you make the right decision. In short, you become in control of the situation.

Yes, poker is a game that you can beat in the long term, and you can control the amount of money you bet, but it’s still a form of gambling. You decide the amount, but the cards drawn from the deck are beyond your control.

It also comes with the element of luck which makes it interesting but can also be a source of frustrations for many. This game will test your decision-making skills, and a series of great decisions can be spoiled by one uninformed action. It’s the nature of the card game like poker, and you should be prepared for it.

Since there are some factors in play, the best thing that you can do is to enjoy and have fun simply. If played the right way, poker can bring in some decent wins, and you can even enjoy in the end!

Takeaway Points:
  • Texas Hold’em Poker is a fun card game with some elements of gambling since you don’t have control over the cards dealt with you.
  • A general strategy to be used when playing poker is to play tight.
  • Understanding the top cards and hand strength is critical in enjoying the game and in taking home the pot.
  • There are specific strategies that a player can use when playing the pre-flop, river, and the turn.
  • It’s important to know one’s position in the game and take advantage of it.