Texas Hold'em Strategy

Just like other card games, you also need a tested set of strategies that you can use when you play for real money. And to come up with a working set of strategies, it’s best that you understand the interaction between the participants, the odds, and the advantages of table position.

While there are different types of poker games available today, you will find minimal differences among these game types. What's important is that you need to come up with a great understanding of the odds, and you should be able to tell the difference between a bad hand and a good one.

Position Strategy in Texas Hold’em

One of the best strategies in this game is to know your position about other players including the dealer. The dealer is considered the strongest since he has the opportunity to bet last. Since he is the one who acts last, it means that he has all the decisions required to make an informed decision.

The player to the right of the dealer who is also known as the ‘cut-off’ is another important position since he can raise and put the dealer out of contention. The other players in the early positions are considered holding weak positions since they have access to fewer information. Thus they cannot make informed decisions on bets.

Narrow the Playing Field

There’s this common thinking that you need a lot of players to win big. While this is partly true, keep in mind that you will also lose big. The best approach to take is to narrow down the field, leaving a few players on the table and collecting small pots along the way. It’s often best to win on a consistent basis than to bet on one large win but with a larger risk.

To put players out, make sure that you play tight during the start by adopting conservative strategies. This is also the time to observe the habits and decision styles of players. You will easily take note of aggressive play and big bluffs from players.

Once you are familiar with their styles, then that’s the time you can use your chips against them. Hands should be selected carefully and should be played tight until you gave a good reading of the field and the table.

Once you are already confident of the table, then you can adopt an aggressive stance. The key here is to vary your style so you can give the impression to players that it’s time to fold.

Pointers When Raising

Here are a few rules and suggestions to keep in mind when you want to raise:

  • If you are confident that you have the biggest hand, raise This should motivate players into folding, thus narrowing the field.
  • If you are sure of the hand and no longer needs extra, raising will push the other players to draw more cards and fold.
  • You can also raise as a way to bluff or semi-bluff. If your hand is poor, but you think you can outsmart the other players with a raise, consider doing it. This is one risk that may also give you an advantage. If the bluff has been called, you can still improve on the draw.
  • You can also raise to get information on the table. If you decide to raise, the other player will then raise, call, or fold. The decision can give you information on how good his cards are.

Going All In In Texas Hold’Em

This is the most exciting and adventurous play that you can make so do it with confidence. You can go all in if you think that you have the best hand, or you have conditioned the table for a great bluff, or you simply have nothing to lose.

If at the start of the game you have played tight, then going all in next may work in your favour. The other players on the table may think that you will not risk it all without a winning hand.

Pointers on How to Call

These are some of the pointers and suggestions you can keep in mind when deciding to call:

  • If you think that you have a great hand but wants to hide it so you can raise later, then calling is your best decision to make. This is also considered as a reverse-bluff. Although this is a neutral move on your part, this can give you a better position and confidence to continue playing.
  • If you are the assigned dealer, you can close all bets using a call.
  • A call is also highly recommended if you think your cards are doing well and you want to stay in the game but manage the losses.
  • If you are planning to make a bluff, a call in the early rounds can help hide your intentions.

What are Tells?

These are involuntary reactions or movements that are often uncontrollable. The most experienced poker players are the ones who can easily observe and interpret the ‘tells’ of other players. Tells can come in many forms; often these are repetitive.

For example, a player will repetitively touch his face, or take a peek at the good and bad cards. Tells can also refer to the twitching of the eyebrows or the change in the player’s voice if you are playing in a brick and mortar casino.

For many professional players, the challenge is to observe these tells of reading or anticipating the hands of poker players. It is almost impossible to read the hands of the players, but you can get a glimpse of the value of the cards based on the player’s reactions.

Keep in mind that ‘reading the tells’ during play is a two-way street. This means that if you are reading the other players, there’s a big chance that they are reading you as well.

Some players often use the ‘opposite strategy’ which means that they will channel tells that will suggest that their hands are weak even if these are not, or vice versa. So if you notice that a player suddenly becomes aggressive and tries to intimidate you, there’s a big chance that the player is bluffing so you will fold.

If the player is quiet and does not move a lot, there’s a big chance that he is holding a strong hand. Keep in mind that the changes in behaviour can help you analyse the value of the hands.

For many players, covering a part of the face is considered as one of the most common bluffs tells. Many players cannot hold a lie, and some of them will put their hand up to the face to create a diversion or distraction. What you can do is to observe the hand-to-face movements, and avoid doing this mannerism.

Not all poker players have told, and many of these card enthusiasts know the importance of tells in playing poker. But since you will play mostly with amateurs, then you can easily take advantage of these signs.

How to Calculate the Odds

Did you know that a lot of players today are not aware of the odds? It’s like driving in an expressway with the blindfolds on. In short, it’s something that you should always avoid. To know the odds, you need to consider first the number of unknown cards related to the outed cards.

If you are trying to complete a flush and you currently hold four suited cards, then the deck will feature 46 unknown cards. Of the cards available, you hold 2 pocket cards and another 4 on the table. Since you know that there 1re 13 cards in a suit, there’s a 4 and 9 in the deck, boosting your odds to 25 per cent against drawing the card you need.

Of course, the odds will chance since other players will also hold their cards, and there’s no way you can check the value of these cards.

In short, a poker strategy is a requirement when you want to play poker. To increase your chances of winning in the game, you need to integrate some strategies so you can play smart. Make sure to think ahead and come up with a player’s instinct for every situation.

Takeaway Points:
  • Poker strategies are critical elements in play.
  • A positioning strategy is important as this will tell you how do you stand against other players.
  • Another approach in playing the game is to narrow the field. Here, you need to play tight during the first phase of the game.
  • There are some rules to consider when raising. For example, you should only raise if you are confident about the hand value.
  • Tells are critical components of play, and you should be able to track and take advantage of these.