A lifetime is not enough to learn all the secrets of poker. But certainly ten minutes are enough for an intensive course on the basics of the game!
Texas Holdem Poker is a game based on the strength of the hands. Only the best hand wins at the showdown.
Of course, before placing a single chip in the pot, you need to think that you have the best showdown hand.
It all starts when you receive your two private cards.
You will only play the best possible hands before the flop, because they are the ones that close the best points after the flop.
Generally, you will play approximately 18-20% of the hands, on a full nine-handed table. It doesn’t seem like a large number of hands, and it isn’t, but it’s the best way to make a profit.
Hold’em is often based on the hands you fold as well as the ones you play. If you play too many hands, you simply won’t be able to make a profit.
You will waste too much money with weak hands, so that your strong hands are sufficient to recover the losses. So play tight: it’s the right way.
Get to know your opponents
The Texas Hold’em games you find in casinos are usually very loose. Many casino players play 30% of the hands, if not more.
Poker is empathy and psychology
When your opponents play weak hands before the flop, they close weak points after the flop.
By weak hands I mean hands that can be the second best possible point, which will make you earn money.
Tips: Learn how to read your opponents’ tell and foil their bluffs.
The strength of the hands
Remember your goal: you want to have the best hand when the board is complete and it will no longer be possible to bet.
There is no clear answer to which hand is strong enough to make it to the showdown. It always depends on the situation.
But playing tight will ensure that you are closing more better hands and fewer “second-best” hands.
During each hand you must take into account the cards of the board and the possibilities they offer.
Think about what type of opponent you are facing and how the hand developed.
Poker is an information game. Be like a sponge: absorb as much as you can, and use the information to your advantage.
Tips: If you are not familiar with Texas Holdem points, print the value of the hands and practice calculating the probability of winning with a free calculator.
Before seeing a flop you have to think about which hands you can close with the two cards you have received.
Your goal is to close the top pair on the flop with an excellent kicker, or a higher point, or a hand that has a good chance of closing a very strong point (a straight, a flush, etc.) on a subsequent street.
Here is a list of hands that will help you understand which you should consider playable before the flop.
Monster hands: AA, KK, QQ, JJ
These are very strong hands in themselves.
A single pair often turns out to be the best hand at the showdown, and these types of hands will often be overpaired on the board.
These hands are all very profitable, so you should raise every time you receive them.
With AA-KK, and even with QQ, you can and must counter-raise.
Tips: do not take it for granted that you can win with a pair of aces, you must be able to play it.
Top pair hands: AK-AJ, KQ
These hands, when they hit the flop, can close the top pair with a good kicker.
Kickers are very important in Texas Hold’em poker, because two players often flop the same pair and to see who has won you have to examine the kicker.
When you have only one pair, your kicker will almost always come into play.
For example, on a board A ♦ 3 ♠ 4 ♠ 7 ♦ 2 ♥, A ♠ Q ♠ will beat A ♥ T ♥ because the winning hand formed by A ♠ A ♦ Q ♠ 7 ♦ 4 ♠ is stronger than A ♥ A ♦ T ♥ 7 ♦ 4 ♠.
When you play tight, you will win the battle of the kickers and your loose opponents will fill you with their worst kickers.
With top-pair hands you can play if someone raises before you, just by calling to see the flop.
If nobody raised before you, you should raise by value before the flop.
Suited Connector: QJs-89s
At the casino, many players play any combination of suited cards.
This is one of the biggest mistakes made by beginners, who waste money seeing flops with unnecessary hands.
Focus your efforts on suited connectors, because they can flop straight and flush draws. When a hand is suited and connected, it doubles the probability of getting a good flop.
The fact that a hand is suited or connected is not enough to see a flop: it must be both.
Suited connectors are profitable because they win pots and the next is added to the others on the table. Unlike the flop, in this case there will be a single card in common for all participants, but there are no other major differences compared to the previous game.
On the third betting round the fixed amount doubles and remains the same for the next betting round in case of hat games.
River or Fifth Street occurs after the third round with another card that is discarded and the fifth card called River is joined to those already on the table.
The Showdown and the Kicker
During the showdown, as the name implies, challengers must show their cards. And even in this case there are very specific rules to follow, both for the players and for the dealer who will have to determine the winner of the pot.
In case of equal combinations of texas holdem among the players, the Kicker card is used, that is, the highest one following those that make up the combinations of texas holdem.
In case all the players have used the private cards assigned at the beginning or have the same combination the pot is divided equally between them as there is no Kicker.
To improve their texas holdem points players can use some of the community cards. Anyone wishing to do so must announce it before removing their cards or give up the pot.
Whoever reaches the river but without a point to declare, can make the so-called ‘muck’, which consists in returning the cards to the dealer without showing them at the table. It is a way to give up, but also the possibility of trying to take home the pot without offering readings to one’s opponents, despite having just missed a beat.