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Article has been taken from PokeriInfo website with their permission.

Texas Hold'em Poker Strategy

Texas Hold'em is the most popular poker online. There are several reasons for its success. The basics are easy to learn for everyone. On the other hand, it is complicated enough to challenge advanced players. Luck is one part of the game. Still, experience, self control, and skill play a significant role. Sophisticated players have a crucial edge.

The fundamental strategy is to play tight, disciplined poker. This concept is extremely important when playing the starting cards. Although any two cards can win, too liberal an attitude is a costly habit. Especially beginners fall into this trap.

The strategy depends on the player's position in the betting round. The first bettor in order has to make his decision without any knowledge of the opponents' hands, whereas the last man on the button knows exactly how the others have acted and can play accordingly. Consequently, the later in betting order the player is sitting, the better his position is.

In a ten-handed game, the first five players in the betting order are sitting in early position, the next three in middle position, and the last two in late position. Below is a table of appropriate starting hands in different positions in a loose ten-handed game.

 

Bet

Raise

Early position

99-55

AA-TT

Middle position

66-22

AA-77

Late position

66-22

AA-77

Unsuited

   

Early position

 -

AK-AJ, KQ

Middle position

AT, KJ, QJ, JT

AK-AJ, KQ

Late position

AT, KJ-KT, QJ-QT, JT

AK-AJ, KQ

Suited

   

Early position

A8-A2, K9, QT-Q9

AK-A9, KQ-KT, QJ

Middle position

A8-A2, K9-K8, QT-Q8, JT, T9, 98, 87, 76

AK-A9, KQ-KT, QJ

Late position

A8-A2, K9-K5, QT-Q7, JT-J8, T9-T8, 98, 87, 76, 65, 54

AK-A9, KQ-KT, QJ


If you get raised, the big pairs (AA-JJ) are normally worth a reraise.
 
If the game is very loose (players/flop>50%) and passive, all suited open-end drawing hands (JTs-54s) and pocket pairs are worth playing already in early position. Correspondingly, such hands as KTo and QTo and possibly ATo and KJo are rather worthless. Furthermore, AJo, ATs-A9s, KJs-KTs, QJs, middle pairs (TT-77) and possibly even JJ are no longer raising hands.
 
The big money games are tighter, and there is a lot of raising and reraising. The value of drawing hands and small pairs goes down, while the high cards and high pairs correspondingly increase in value.
 
No-limit games are somewhat different. Because the pots used to be much bigger, the real odds allow some more liberal playing before the flop. In late position, all suited connectors like 8d -7d  and possibly one-gap suited connectors like 8d -6d  are worth a single bet. Also, some in fixed limit games marginally losing hands like unsuited AX, K9, Q9, J9, or T9 can be profitable in loose no-limit games. They can pay, because they are improbable and the opponents can misread them.
 
The table is therefore not to be followed slavishly as a mathematical truth, but rather as a basic rule, that has to be applied all the time according to the nature of the game. As a rule of thumb for novices, it is better to play too tight than too loose, because an overly tight strategy reduces losses more than potential profits. You don't lose, but you can't win that much either. In the long run, every player has to develop sophisticated knowledge and intuition about how to play the starting cards in all kinds of circumstances. It is one of the fundamentals in winning poker strategy.
 
After the Flop

On the flop, five out of seven cards are seen most often with only one single bet. The strategy has been quite straightforward. Later on, the playing will be more complicated and, above all, more expensive. Therefore, to continue on the flop you must have a strong hand or a draw to a strong hand. As a rule of thumb at least:
 
. An overpair or the highest pair with a decent kicker.
. A draw to a flush or an open-end draw toa straight with at least three opponents.
. Two overcards witha backdoor draw.
 
The strategy depends on the nature of the game in the same way as before the flop. In loose low-limit games, disciplined mathematical poker is the winning strategy. You have to be able to calculate the winning odds and the pot odds and play strictly according to them. Beating tight big-money games requires sophisticated tactical moves: bluffing, semi-bluffing, check-raising and slowplaying.

 
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