If you use to play poker quite often, you will soon decide to participate in a big poker tournament. And if you wand to win such event, you should know some poker strategies, tips, tactics and many other things about this entertaining card game. But mainly, the key for a successful play is the strength of your starting hand.
The first important decision you need to take when you sit at the poker table is which starting hands to play and which to fold. This quite difficult decision can be made easier by considering a few basic points – starting hand groups, your table position, number of the players at the table and the chip position.
There are several groups of starting hands and knowing them will help you to decide when to raise or re-rise, when to call, when to check and so on. The first group starting hands includes the High Pairs – AA and KK. You will need to put in a big pre-flop raise with AA and KK, because your purpose is to drive out just one of your opponents. If you decide to raise and re-raise, do it with at least 10% of your chips.
The next starting hands are also known as pocket pairs – QQ, JJ, TT, 99, 88, 77, 66, 55, 44, 33 and 22. They are the only starting hand group and holding one of these pairs you should call a big pre flop raise. But you should restrict your calls to about 7 or maximum 8% of your chips. Such starting hands will bring you more luck if you wait first, then if you play them.
The third group of starting hands is Ace with any other card of the same suit – AKs, AQs, AJs, ATs, A9s, A8s, A8s, A7s, A6s, A5s, A4s, A3s and A2s. After the flop you can play these starting hands from every position. You should never raise berfore the flop when you hold such starting hand. You just need to precisely limit your pre-flop calls to twice the big blind. The last starting hand group is called face cards – AK, AQ, AJ, AT, KQs, KQ, KJs, KJ, KTs, KT, QJs, QJ, QTs, QT, JTs and JT. If you are in late position you should play them after the flop. Never call a raise or pre-flop raises, because in most of the cases you will loose your money.
The other component, which you need to consider while deciding whether to play your starting hand or not, is your position at table. There are three different kinds of positions you can play from – early, middle and late position. When you are in early position you should be very careful about which cards to play. Remember that after you there are a lot of players, which can re-raise your cards. If you are in a middle position (4,5 and 6 seat from the dealer’s left), you have better chances for winning. This is because after you there are only four players and if someone have been folded you could raise. As you can guess, the late position is the best for you, because you will be able to play many more cards. You can see all other players’ reactions, ways of acting, so when it is your turn to play it will be more easier for you do make the right decision about your hand. Sitting last will surely help you to play a successful game.
The game will become dangerous for you, if there are only 4 players at the table. It is a perfect time for you to play more starting hands, but do it very carefully. You just need to be very attentive, to observe your opponents’ acts and not to be so impudent to steal the pot too often. If you have a small amount of chips, be brave and try to enlarge it. When there are only 3 players at the table, you must avoid every sign of confrontation. This is the time when you should concentrate and play only these starting hands, which can bring you the victory. The time when you have to be extremely aggressive is when you play Heads Up.
Your amount of chips is also very important when you decide which starting hand to play. If you haven’t so many chips, just play more hands, but only if you think you will win. When you already have an enough amount of chips, you should steal blinds, of course without risking too much.
Before you start playing poker, just read these valuable advices. They will surely help you to orientate in difficult situations, make the right decisions, which will bring you the victory.
I’m Jason Rockwell. When I’m not winning playing online poker, I enjoy writing about my love of the game. Thanks for visiting!