Basic Poker Strategy for Texas Holdem

When it comes to strategy for Texas Holdem we could write a whole book on the various aspects that could be used during a game; in fact many people have. We want to keep things simple, however, and that means covering the basics so you at least have an idea of what to do.
In Texas Holdem your two hold cards are all you have to work with. The first and most important decision to make is whether or not to play your two cards at all. To keep this simple, if your two cards are both non-paired cards less than 10, fold. If you happen to be in late position (acting last or next to last) then suited connectors are okay too. Suited connectors being two consecutive cards of the same suit, for example, 8-9 of spades.

After deciding whether or not to play your two cards you then have to make the decision whether to raise or just call. For the most part you only want to raise with premium hands like aces, kings, queens, jacks, ace-king suited, and ace-king. After seeing the flop you then need to decide whether or not to stay in the hand. If you don’t see anything that looks promising your best bet is to fold. Don’t go chasing back door flushes or inside straight draws. They just don’t hit enough to pay off for you in the long run. Avoid trouble and fold when you don’t have anything strong.

The last two cards are called the “Turn” and “River.” They are where players decide how best to play their hands. Many of your opponents will be on a draw so if you have a high pair you must make them pay for drawing those extra cards. Don’t let them see cards for free. If you are the one drawing to a possible flush then you want to see cards for free. It is pretty basic in strategy that when you have the best hand you want to bet, but when you are drawing to the best hand you would prefer to see cards cheaply. The bottom line basically is to bet when strong, but put little money into the pot when weak. This is a very general example, however, and doesn’t always apply but it is a good starting rule.

When we think about weak hands we must remember that the only way they will improve is by drawing out. If someone is going to make us pay to draw, then it is probably not worth it to stay in the hand. So many people lose money today by chasing draws that don’t offer good odds. Don’t be one of them.

We kept this very basic so you wouldn’t get overwhelmed with remembering every nuance that exists when playing Holdem. If you can remember to play aggressively with your strong hands and very carefully with your weak ones, you have a chance to hold your own at the table. That is not a bad thing anytime you sit down.

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