When you start playing poker, you will have a lifetime to fine tune your poker strategy. Every game will be a learning experience where you can get a lesson or two. If you are a new player perhaps you’ve only played live roulette before we line up some basic poker tips that you can use when trying to bring home some chips.
Know when to bluff
Newbies of poker are often very aggressive playing their games and they also do have a tendency to bluff a lot. Bluffing is really a powerful move in poker, but over use it and it will really lose its value. You might see big bluffs on TV with the professional poker players but remember that they rarely do this.
When you bluff regularly, you risk your stack without holding the best of cards. It is fun. It is exciting. But remember that you may end up losing a lot of money when you don’t properly time your bluffing plays.
When you are dealt your cards you have to know your position on the table relative to the dealer. You have to know if you are acting early or acting late. If you are on the left of the button, then this means you will be one of the first to make a move. When you’re on the button or onto its right, then you will be making a late move.
Using your position will give you an advantage. Let us say you are playing late, you can see how your opponents will act upon seeing the flop, on the turn, or river. Let us say your opponent checks they you may somehow say that they might have a weak hand, so you can do a bluff or any move to make a good round.
One safe way when beginning with your poker journey is to play safe and stay with your big hands with really strong potential. Playing lower cards will expose you to some trouble especially if you are not familiar on how to play those cards.
Reading Online Poker Tells
Poker tells are the habitual actions of another player that somehow gives you a good clue of what they plan or what cards they are holding. Playing online is sort of a different game since you cannot see your opponents. The poker tells we list down here are most applicable to online poker games.
Speed of game play
Poker rooms set a certain tie for online poker players to make their move. It is one good way to gauge the kind of opponents you have with how fast or slow they take to act. A fast bet usually shows some weakness while slow action displays a bit of strength since the player calculates the risks before making a move. You might also want to take note of their cards when shown and see what hands they bet on slowly and which ones they fast bet.
Use of auto plays and check boxes
If you are used to online poker play, you are familiar with check boxes that will let you “call any”, ”fold”, or “raise any”. You will be able to tell if the other players use these boxes since they act a second or faster when it is his turn to act. This too can tell you a lot. If the opponent automatically raised, then he must have checked raise any and you might be dealing with a strong hand. A check might tell you that he has a weak hand and wants to wait and see. Taking action even before seeing the moves of the other players is a good tell of how a player behaves on the online poker table.
Advice from WSOP
One of my favorite poker websites is wsop.com. They have an article on Texas Hold ’em tips located here: http://www.wsop.com/poker-games/texas-holdem/tips/. It is good reading if you love the game of Texas Holdem and want to improve your skills.
How an online poker player makes use of the chat box gives you a good idea of how he handles his cards. If a chatty poker player suddenly goes quiet, it might be a hint that he is holding some monster cards. Too much show of confidence on the chat box may indicate that the player is bluffing. You will also notice a change of behavior on the chat box if someone is bluffing or tilting.
How to Play Specific Hold’em Hands
Certain hands should be played in specific ways. Following are tips on how to play specific hands dealt during Texas Hold’em.
Small Pocket Pairs
When you get cards ranging between 2-2 to 6-6, then you have a small pocket pair. Anything beyond these cards can be considered a medium pair or a high pair. These low paired cards are quite strong in a deceptive way but may bring your chips to the drain if you are a poker newbie who overvalues them.
Pre-flop small pocket pairs give you a good advantage but after the flop, things may get a bit trick when your hand does not improve.
Here is how you handle a small pocket pair:
The strength of these cards will be to get a good set upon the flop. You get a set when you get another card of the same number to make a three of a kind. Now this set gives you a strong hand and a good chance to make you some money.
The best move you can do with this hand is try to get a set. If not, then fold. If you do not get a third card on the flop then this cards are hardly profitable.
The odds of getting a set when the dealer gives you the flop are not really that good. There is 1 chance to make a set in every 8 flops. This translates to the reality that we should not keep our hopes too high with a small pocket pair. The implied odds though or the chance of playing the cards worth while is good enough.
Getting a pair of queens is one of the best hands pre-flop in No Limit Texas Hold’em. There are problems though when you go on a pre-flop raising collision with other players, as you might be banging heads with pairs of aces or kings. After the flop, you have to be ready to fold in case you meet an overcard to your good pair. Do not be married to the queens.
There is a very low probability that your pocket queens will be facing aces or kings. You need to feel the game though when the pre-flop betting goes very heavy. Check the behavior of your opponents if they are likely having aces or kings.
You need to consider your position when playing these cards. Let say you have a loose raiser to your right, then you have a green light for a re-raise. See if after the flop there will be an Ace and there will be a raise or more people getting into the pot, you might consider folding.
You need to probe as the players make their move so you can decide if you will play or fold.
You should also consider the size of stacks. If the blinds are 10% of your chips then a raise or a re-raise can be wise moves if you have pair of queens. With other players also in short stacked situation, there is a high probability that underpairs will be going all in, and this will be your opportunity to go all in and boost your stack.
Preflop situations can be very tricky. It will be judgment call on your part to know the meanings of the bets of your opponent prior to the flop. Dry flops which make other players bets should also be assessed carefully.
Reading the Board and Burn Cards
When you look at the flop always take your time and use the same amount of time every time. Don’ look at any of the other players when you raise your head. look instead at a neutral place or the dealer. You should not have picked up your cards until you have had a chance to study the other players at the table pick up theirs. Holdem can be fast paced but you can slow it down some without being obnoxious about it.
Reading the Board
One of the nice things about Texas holdem is that you can always tell what the best possible hand is by reading the board. Pre flop you know that the best two cards to hold is pocket aces. nothing can beat it.
After the flop and right up to the river, you know what the best possible hand is by reading the board. It can tell no lies. If a pair shows up in the flop then you know the best hand is four of a kind. If three hearts flop then you had better hope that you have the Ace of hearts in the pocket. always look carefully, especially at cards that can bridge to a straight. A six and a nine somehow do not scream straight at you but if another player has a seven and eight in the pocket he has a good open end straight draw.
You are going to see the dealer burn cards before the flop, turn, and river. No one gets to see the burn cards before they are mucked so they are of no help to you in making a decision. They should be taken into consideration when you are calculating your outs.
The burn cards are a security feature of Texas Holdem. There is always the possibility that the card has been marked during play. The burn and muck of the cards makes it impossible for anyone to know what the next card coming up is before betting.
Slow Playing Texas Hold ’em
Should you “slow play” when playing Texas holdem? That’s a good question, and it is addressed by a guide on pokernews.com. Here is an excellent guide on the “do’s and don’ts” of playing online poker. In that guide, you’ll learn about slow playing properly.
Properly Using Check Raise
When you are playing Texas Holdem you are going to want to check raise from time to time. The check raise seems to some people to be sneaky and underhanded. Coming as it does from a hand that first checks, pretending to have a weak hand, to a hand that will raise. It can really ruffle some feathers, especially those guys who are trying to limp into the hand. They want to get all the way to the river without spending any money. You want them to spend money. The other day I was playing and was dealt the seven of spades and eight of spades.
I know that there are long odds of catching a flush on the flop and the eight has lots of over cards that will beat it, but I was feeling lucky. The flop comes seven of diamonds, seven of hearts and a king of clubs. Cool, I flopped a set. Fortunately for me another player flopped kings over sevens. His two pair looked pretty good to him. I could tell because he was eager to bet. I thought about it for a long time, making him wait. Then checked. He bet his KK/77 and I raised him. It changed the whole complexion of the game. He had thought he was top dog until I raised. He called me. On the turn the fourth seven came up. It gave him the full house and me the nut four of a kind. I checked again. He could barely hide his glee as he bet.
“Be still my beating heart.” I said to myself, and raised him again.
I was using the check raise to build the pot. I wanted everybody to stay in but I knew they would not if I bet in early position with three sevens on the board. That bet has to smell to high heaven of a full boat at the very least. He was calling on the bet that I did not have pocket aces and thus AA/777, to beat his kings. His reasoning was sound. If I had pocket aces it is most likely that I would have raised before the flop instead of limping in.
There are some guys who just get irritated if you check raise. They will turn all their guns on you and try their best to beat you. It is tough to do. First they have to have a hand to play against you. Second they have to have a hand to play that will beat yours. And third they are morons for taking it personal. Anger will loose them money every time.
I’m Jason Rockwell. When I’m not winning playing online poker, I enjoy writing about my love of the game. Thanks for visiting!