It is extremely important to understand the interaction between players, the odds and the advantages of table position if you want to develop a poker strategy that woks. There are many different versions of poker games with some play differences, but some of the strategies used remain the same. If you wish to be successful at the game, you must have a basic grasp of the odds and a basic idea of what is good and what is bad.
One thing you should take into consideration in Texas Hold’em is your position at the table. You should know that the dealer is the strongest player at the table as he is on the button and has the ability to be last, which means that he can make the most educated decision as he has the most information. The person who has more power than the dealer is the one sitting the right of the dealer as he or she can raise the bet and knock the dealer out of play. People who are in the weakest positions are the ones who place their bets early as they can’t make an educated decision for they have few information when making a decision.
Narrowing the field
There are many players who believe that if they want to win big there must be a lot of players at the table. This is technically true, but it also increases your chances to lose big time. The optimum way is to force out as many opponents as possible, leaving a few people in play, who will make many small pots. You should also keep your play tight in the early rounds – be conservative and watch the habits of each player. You will start noticing a pattern and you can decide what strategy to use against each type of play. Play your hand carefully and keep your play tight and conservative until you got a read on the table or a really good hand. That is the moment when you can become more aggressive.
There are a few situations in which you should consider to raise:
if you think you have the best hand, then raise big as you will scare the weaker players;
raise to bluff. If you have nothing in your hands, then you can rise to outmaneuver your opponents into making them believe you have a very good hand. It’s risky, but it may pay off;
raise to gain information. If you raise, your opponents will have to raise, call or fold and you can gain information about how strong their hands are.
Going all in
I’m sure that going all in sounds pretty exciting. It’s both the biggest payoff and the biggest risk so you should use this strategy if you have the best hand or you want to set up a very convincing bluff.
When to call
Last, but not least I will show you when to call:
- if you have an excellent hand but want to hide it to raise stakes in future betting rounds, then calling is good move;
- if you’re on the button, you can close the betting action with a call;
- when you have pretty good odds and want to stay in the game but limit potential losses;
- if you want to bluff later in the game, calling might disguise your intention and make opponents believe you have a better hand than you really have.