The poker strategy below is what I myself use at PokerCS and LM Poker. It works very well at these sites but should work equally as well at others. I personally recommend PokerCS because they have more freerolls than any other site and therefor there are a lot of lower level players there making it easier to win hands. You can win real free money in these freerolls.
Texas Holdem Poker Strategy Highlights:
- Familiarize yourself with the software of the poker room you will play in
- Choosing a poker table to play in
- Texas holdem preflop strategy
- After the flop, playing the turn and river
- Final betting
- Reading other players
- What makes a good texas holdem poker player
- Things not to do
Learn the texas holdem poker rules, common terms and best starting hands by clicking on the words. The pages will open in a new browser and you can read through them before moving on. If you haven't yet selected a poker room, and even if you have I would highly recommend especially for beginners to go to and download the PokerCS software. It is easy to install and use and the competition will be more to your liking.
Choosing the right poker table to play at. This is a very, very important step. Too many people start out playing over their heads. Each poker table has a set of blinds. The large blind (bb) and the small blind (sb). These are also the minimum betting requirements to play a hand. Now no one likes to lose but you cannot play being afraid of losing and be successful. Everyone will lose hands. So when selecting a room look at the bb size and multiply that by 5. If losing that amount in one hand bothers you select a smaller table to fit your comfort zone. The pots will be smaller or bigger for each hand meaning your cost to play will vary but the 5 times bb works well for finding a comfort level. If you are playing scared you will find yourself being bluffed out of many good sized pots especially in the no limit rooms.
Limit or no limit rooms? For beginners I highly recommend playing in a limit room. Limit in poker means there is a ceiling on betting and you can't be bluffed as easily or bet out of playing a hand by a sudden all in bet. It is also a better pace for learning the software and seeing how other people play the game. Then you can move onto no limit tables if your heart so desires.
Texas Holdem Poker Preflop Strategy:
If you are holding top hands such as AA, KK or AK I would recommend a preflop raise of anywhere from double on limit tables to as high as 10 times the large blind on no limit tables 9 times out of 10. The reason for the big preflop raise is to get into your opponets heads that you have a good hand and to build a nice sized pot. You will not get many of these top hands so when you do you want to win as much as you can. But do not preflop raise too high or no one may call your bet. You need to go by what preflop size raises have been called by other players during other hands at your poker table. This becomes a 'feel' for the table that cannot be taught but learned because each table will vary depending on the type players.
Other hands that may warrant preflop raises are any 'pockets' (pairs) and second tier hands such as AQ, AJ, A10, KQ etc. along with cards in the same suit such as KJ, KQ etc. Even though the odds are against your getting a third card to match your pockets a decent preflop raise may get many of your opponents to fold their hands. The fewer poker players in a hand increases your chances of winning. These preflop raise amounts can vary and should be within your personal comfort zone. Again, learn your comfort zone so that you do not begin playing scared. Or you will lose!
Calling preflop raises. You now know one or more players at your table is telling you they have a good hand. Should you call? If you have the bottom tier cards, never. Fold, fold, fold. Yes your 2 pocket cards represent only 2/7ths of an entire hand but in no limit games you will probably never get to see the turn or river because the next round of betting will push you out of the hand. Yes sometimes folded hands will become winners but not nearly often enough. You will lose all your chips/money sooner or later by playing lousy hands.
Some things I personally watch for though in making a call decision is what cards were drawn the previous hand and how many bettors/callers are there this hand. If lots of face cards were drawn the previous hand it slightly increases the odds that it will not happen again this time. Just the law of averages in this one. And if there are a lot of bettors/callers in this hand it can mean that many of the high cards are already being held. This can increase the chances of lower cards being flopped. This poker strategy must be used in accordance with what the other players at your table are playing. It takes a few hands to figure this out and again you must be comfortable with losing your bet if the flop does not work in your favor.
Texas Holdem poker Strategy - Playing the Turn and River
If you hit nothing or only have a low pair etc and there is any betting fold your hand. Trying to fill and inside straight will usually only cost you more and more money. No sense in throwing good money after bad because the odds are you will lose this hand anyway. Far too many people 'fish' (keep betting or calling waiting for a card) and these people almost always leave the table as losers.
If you 'hit' your card(s) you have the option of playing your hand 2 ways. You can raise or reraise with your hand signalling to the other players that you have a good hand or you can check or call any bets and wait for the turn and river. Using this poker strategy you are 'slow playing' your hand. You are trying to let people believe that they may have the best hand and get them to continue playing and betting. The downside to this is you are giving them an opportunity to better their hand and possibly yours. This becomes your call. If the pot is small or I don't think anything will help other players enough to beat my hand then I will slow play to get the pot as big as I can. If on the other hand I think I am ahead for now or there are lots of fish in the room who will bet high waiting for a card I will bet from anywhere from half the pot size to my entire stack (allin, no limit tables). Don't take all your money to the table when you sit down so you can use this strategy in case you are wrong and lose. That way you can rebuy and continue playing. When you go allin you are letting the other players know you think you have the best hand and it's going to cost them big to see it.
Texas Holdem Poker Strategy - Final Betting
This depends on how good a hand you have and how other poker players have played the hand. Check and do not bet if you are unsure as to whether your hand can be beat or if you feel someone else caught their card on the river. If you believe you still have the best hand raise or reraise to your hearts desire. Just remember though that you may lose. Others could be slow playing as well to catch you with over confidence thereby sweetening the pot for them. Poker is a mental game to say the least.
Learn to 'Read' other Poker Players
What this means is watch carefully even the hands you have folded. Watch what the other poker players in the room do betting wise. When hands are shown look at their pocket cards and think back to how they bet that hand. Remember the size of raises and reraises and when they checked. Even keep some notes if necessary on players to draw back on. Look for players who may have been 'bluffing'. All this will help give you an idea as to what they may be holding next time they play a poker hand and are betting that way. Those who pay the most attention on their competitors have a better chance of reaping greater rewards.
Whatch for loss of confidence in a hand. Someone who bets lower after another card has been turned from previous bets that hand may mean they think it helped another players hand and theirs may now be beat. This can be a sign your opponent has a weak hand. Careful though it could also be your opponent has done this on purpose to make you think that to get you into betting more then coming back at you with a reraise costing you more money and/or losing the hand.
Bluffing in itself is an art. You want people to believe your hand is a lot stronger than it really is and you are trying to get them all to fold so you can 'steal' the pot. Bluffing is very hard to do in limit poker games but can play a big roll in no limit games. You can bluff right from preflop or you can start after the flop, the turn or even after the river. Once you start bluffing in a hand you need to constantly make bigger bets or sizeable reraises or even allins to get everyone else to fold. If they don't you lose! I never bluff from preflop as I see no sense for it. For the risk to be worth the reward in bluffing it needs to be a fair sized pot with the majority of the money having come from a number of players not from one. If one player has a sizeable amount of their stack in the pot they are more apt to call any bet you might make trying to 'save' their money. Bluffing usually takes hold if the aggressor of a hand starts to back down on betting. This signals to the bluffer that their opponent has a lack of confidence or possibly a weak hand and with a hefty raise they may scare them into folding. Bluffing your opponents can win you a lot of pots when you get good at it. But even if you are having success with it don't do it too often or other players will catch on and call more of your hands. This can also work to your advantage though by having people call you more often when you have a good hand.
If you bluff very little and are successful what I like to do some times is show my hand after everyone has folded letting them see it was a bluff. This can really get some people irritated but that's ok with me as some will now bet more on my good hands thinking I may be bluffing again. The same can hold true for your good hands. It's ok to show some of your strong winning hands to set up a future bluff but do not show very many. 2 or 3 is enough to suit the purpose. More and you are letting people read your betting habits on your cards easily giving them an advantage.
Another advantage in texas holdem poker strategy comes by being the 'button' (dealer) or very near to the right of the button. This means people are making their bets before you and you can see the way the hand is forming. This gives you more of a power position to work from. You can compare bets made to the strength of your hand and if you have gotten good at reading people give you a better idea what you may be up against.
What Makes a Good Poker Player?
A good poker player is a little of everything above. They know what cards to bet strong and at what point to fold. Just because you got pocket aces does not guarantee a win. They can win pots by bluffing and keep their opponents offguard by showing the odd hand played each way. They are not scared of losing but play with a confidence to win. They do not play garbage hands and rarely do they fish. They win the their share of big pots and lose a lot of smaller ones. They learn to read their opponents to give them an idea as to what kind of hands they are up against. They are not creatures of habit mixing their betting stratgies to keep their opponents guessing. This is why above I said 9 times out of 10 I make the big preflop bet/raise and not 10. Keep them wondering.
They do not over bet but do not show weakness. Constantly raising your bets after each card is drawn ususally will get many people to fold. But only do this if you have a good hand or are intent on trying to bluff the hand. Checking or folding when you think you are losing is very prudent. They do not throw good money after bad.
What Not to do!
Do not play bad pocket cards. Fold them without betting. Lower strength pocket cards can be played through the flop if all you are paying is the big blind or sometimes a small raise to stay in the hand. Check the pocket cards strength chart.
Never bet for the sake of betting and staying in the hand. You will lose too often.
Do not show weakness in your hand unless you are prepared to fold.
Do not try and bluff too often as you will get called more and more and lose a lot of money.
If you have a straight and are holding the bottom card(s) with the top end on the table do not be too aggressive as chances are someone will have a higher straight.
Do not bet heavy if holding a weak 'kicker'. Hands like a pair or 2 pair are often decided by the next highest card to decide a winner.
Do not be a creature of habit in your betting ways or you will become easy to read. Meaning the hands you win will be smaller and your loss per hand will probably increase.
Do not play all the hands. Many gurus say you should only average playing 3 out of every 10 hands. I probably average about 5 myself but the extra ones I am only betting the blind equivalent to see the flop and am folding if they do not 'hit'.
Do not play in too big of a room blind wise or you will be playing scared and lose more often.
Do not only play your cards. Think of what your opponents might have and play against those cards instead of just playing what you have.
Do not slow play marginal hands. Someone in the room will fish and catch and you will lose more often than not.
I hope that you have found some of these texas holdem poker tips useful and that they help you learn or play texas holdem poker better. I am considering opening up a poker voice chat room where people can come in and ask questions. If you want to keep up with the group and stay updated join our mailing list. You will only receive one or two emails a month and it will keep you abreast of changes and offer more poker tips and other poker related information.