Basic poker strategy

King of spadesTexas hold’em, like all poker games, is essentially about risk and reward. Every decision you make will have some effect on your result. Luck is a frequent ingredient, but in the long perspective luck will be on (approximately) the same level between players, and that makes skills to the defining factor. Skill is in the end what makes the difference.  

Betting

If you have a good hand that you think is the best, but that can be beaten if more cards will be shown on the table, you must handle actively (i.e. bet) and trying to get the pot before it’s too late. You shouldn't bet too modest: if the opponent doesn’t have anything but are waiting for a possibly good hand, such as a straight, you want to make it expensive for him to see the next card.

But don’t bet to gratuitous or in unnecessary risky manners. If you overbet you could lose more than it should cost in most cases just to get your opponents away from the pot. By learning pot odds and memorize different probabilities, you will become more certain about how to do. Until then, remember to handle actively but without exaggerating. Be aggressive to take command, if you’re passive you let the opponents decide the conditions.

Folding

It’s critical that you are able to fold your hand (sometimes even a good one); otherwise you are being a fish feeding the sharks!

The easiest way to spot a bad player on the table is when someone doesn’t give up hands in time. In way of knowing when to fold or play on, you must have an understanding about positive and negative odds. The foundation for this is to choose solid starting hands and know how to read the opponents from their actions.

As long as you hold on to cold hands, you must rely on luck. But you shouldn’t play for luck, but with calculation.

Position

If you don’t know how to play positional in poker you should get to know the concepts of it right now. Let’s look at this sequence:

Pre-flop:
Player 1 - 1st position
Player 2 - 2nd position
Player 3 - the button (3rd pos.)
Player 4 - small blind (4th pos.)
Player 5 - big blind (5th pos.)

After the flop (the order is obviously changing):

Player 4 - 1st position
Player 5 - 2nd position
Player 1 - 3rd position
Player 2 - 4th position
Player 3 - 5th in the “position”

You have to be familiar to these two configurations and plan your game upon it. As you can notice, the player with the button will later become in the position and to be in the position is a big advantage. The player in position will have all the information collected when it’s his turn to act. If you’re fond of bluffing, this is the bluffing pole position. And, if you’re a tight and solid player, playing in position will involve the least risk taking.

This concludes that although the small blind can “limp in” on half the price, he’s also got the worst position after the flop.

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