Texas Poker Tips

  • Preflop Texas Holdem Strategy
  • Starting Hand Types
  • Postflop Texas Holdem Strategy
  • Texas Holdem Strategy: Betting and Raising

Preflop Texas Holdem Strategy

Texas Pokerist App

Your preflop poker strategy forms the foundation of your game. Your first decisions will be made preflop during a hand, so it is important to get these decisions right. Thankfully this is one of the easier areas of the game to understand.

Only Play A Small Percentage Of The Hands You are Dealt

Thus the first preflop poker strategy tip is to play only a small percentage of the hands you are dealt — the type of hands to play will be discussed further on in the text. Players who play a small selection of the hand they are dealt are referred to as tight. Conversely, players who play lots of hands are known as loose.

Limping: Flawed Reasoning

Often, new players limp to see a cheap flop with speculative hands or to trap with strong hands such as AA or KK. Good winning players very rarely limp and there are many reasons why:

  1. You give the other players a chance to beat you with their weak holdings. For example, if you limp with AA and your opponent in the big blind checks behind he will have a chance to outdraw you to three of a kind or two-pair. Do not give people a free chance to improve and beat your strong hands.
  2. Raising with good hands builds the pot. A big hand deserves a big pot! Typically the only way you will win an opponent’s whole stack (all of their chips) is by raising preflop; winning their entire stack is what you want when you have AA or KK, right?
  3. It allows you to better understand what your opponent may have. If we limp in and our opponent is in the big blind, he could have every possible hand; however, when we raise our opponent will fold some of the worse hands and the type of hands he can have become more defined. Experienced players use this to their advantage.
  4. Playing speculative hands (hands which could potentially, but infrequently win a big pot) such as 64s (s = suited, o = offsuit) and T2s just is not profitable in the majority of cases, whether you raise or limp, and no matter how good you are at poker.

Example: JTs Under the gun

Since limping (i.e. just calling) is not an option our only option is to raise. That poses the question of how much? In this case, we will raise to 3x the BB, so $3 and one player calls our bet as shown. We will cover the reason we use 3x later in the article.

Aggressive vs. Passive

In poker, an aggressive opponent is a player who bets and raises frequently. A passive opponent is a player who calls and checks often and very rarely bets or raises.

The four playing styles

In total there are four player styles:

  1. Tight-Aggressive (TAg) — This player type which makes up the majority of the winning player pool. They wait for strong hands and bet and raise them hard, punishing other players who play weaker styles.
  2. Loose-Aggressive (LAg) — successful loose aggressive players are few and far between. They play lots of hands and play them very aggressively. It is a tough style to play but also a tough style to combat!
  3. Tight-Passive — this player type does not play very many hands and when they do the play them by calling and checking frequently. These players lose their money slowly but surely.
  4. Loose-Passive — these player types just don’t like to fold. Loose passive players play lots of hands — sometimes over 50% of the hands they are dealt. They are the complete opposite of tight-aggressive. This player type is the biggest loser and where the big winners make their money.

Starting Hand Types

However, there are some basic starting hands that you should almost always be playing:

Premium Hands

There are very few premium hands in poker but when we do get these hands we should be trying to build a pot as big as possible and as quickly as possible. These hands are:

  • It dominates all other strong non-paired hands (e.g. AQ and KQ),
  • Against a pair, it’s nearly a coin flip with approximately 45% pot equity (will win the pot 45% of the time if we are to go all-in preflop)
  • It blocks AA and KK which are the only two hands which have a significant equity advantage.

Strong Hands

Strong hands are hands you should also always be raised when first entering the pot. These hands should be called when someone has already raised before you. These hands include:

Medium Strength Hands

You need to be careful of this hand type. These hands can make you a big winner if correctly played, but when incorrectly played can cost you lots of chips. These hands include:

Summary Of Preflop Texas Holdem Strategy

In summary, preflop you should:

  1. You should play a small percentage of the hands you are dealt.
  2. Never limp.
  3. Take the initiative and be aggressive. Raise and Reraise your strong hands frequently and don’t rely on others to do the raising for you!
  4. Do not overestimate the value of ‘suitedness.’ Evaluate the strength of the hand from the rank of the two hole cards.

Postflop Texas Holdem Strategy

Once you understand right preflop Texas Holdem strategy, the postflop poker strategy becomes significantly easier. When you play weak hands from poor positions poker is quite difficult; nobody likes to play Q7 from out of position (Out of position means you act first, so your opponent will have more information than you)! However, if you play only a narrow range of hands from good starting positions, as is recommended, poker will become a much simpler prospect.

Postflop Poker Strategy — The Basics

One of the most important considerations is if we are in position (IP) or out of position (OOP). We will cover this in more detail in Position is king.

Texas pokerist app
Texas

Postflop Poker Strategy: Notation

Before we discuss post-flop poker strategy and board composition in detail, we need to make sure the notation is clear to everyone.

Dry Board Texture

Dry board textures are ones which the players in the hand are less likely to have connected with the community cards. Also, dry also means a board which the strength of your holding is unlikely to change over the course of the hand.

Texas
  • An Ax (e.g. Ace-Queen or Ace-Seven) hand and hits an ace on the turn or river.
  • A pocket pair such as 77 which hits his set on the turn or river (unlikely).
  • A hand such as QJ which hits a runner-runner straight (two cards in a row — for example, the turn is a Ten, and the river is an Ace resulting a straight Ten to Ace) or runner runner full house (two Queens or two Jacks).

Wet board texture

On the other hand, wet board textures are boards where the board is very likely to change over future streets.

  • Any 8 or K is an inside straight draw (4 cards will complete the straight).
  • Any J is an open-ended straight draw (8 cards will make a straight)
  • The majority of opponents plays Queens, Tens, and Nines.

Continuation betting

A continuation bet, as its name suggests, is when you follow up on your previous aggressive action with another bet. For example, you raise pre-flop and then continue to bet on the flop. Continuation bets are extremely useful postflop poker strategy for two reasons:

  1. It is tough to connect with most board types; therefore player who bets first will often win the pot
  2. The player who last raised pre-flop will typically have the strongest hands; thus will get the benefit of the doubt when he bets again.

Example 1: A Good Spot To CBet

So let’s take a few examples of good examples of continuation bets. Continuation from our previous example of JTs from UTG (click the picture to see the full replay):

Example 2: Another good spot to CBet

Another situation for a good cbet is below:

Example 3: A bad spot to Cbet

Below is a dangerous situation to continuation bet:

Texas Poker Tips

Stack sizes

Texas Pokerist

The number of chips you have bought in for or currently have on the poker table is known as ‘stack depth.’

Texas Holdem Strategy: Betting and Raising

Betting is the fundamental aspect of poker which makes it an exciting game to play. The ability to wager money as a bluff inducing your opponent to fold is one of the biggest selling points of the game; it is the first thing people think of when discussing poker!

Poker

Poker betting strategy: reasons to bet

There are three reasons why one would want to bet:

  1. For value — to get worse hands to call meaning we will win a bigger pot. For example, you value bet AK on an Ace high board (such as A72) to get AQ, AJ, etc. and worse pairs to call.
  2. As a bluff — to get better hands to fold so we can win the pot with a poor holding. For example, you may be QJ on the A72 board to get hands such as non-paired Kings (KQ, KJ) to fold.
  3. As a semi-bluff — A semi-bluff is much like a natural bluff only that when we are called we will still have a good likelihood of winning the pot. With a semi-bluff, we have a lot of pot equity. An example of a semi-bluff would be betting or raising with a flush draw: a weak non-made hand which has the potential to make a robust hand. See more information on semi-bluffing.

Poker betting strategy: Bet sizing

Bet sizing is one of the most complicated parts of NLHE and is one of the most challenging aspects to grasp for a new player. For simplicity sake there a few rules to stick to which won’t lead you too far wrong:

  1. Preflop raise to 3 times (3x) the BB with all hands you are opening. Do not vary your bet sizing depending on your hand strength. Changing your bet sizing based on your hand strength is a sure-fire way to let your skilled opponents what you are holding.
  2. The same applies when re-raising another player preflop, make your raise three times the initial raise. For example, a player in a 100Nl game might open to $3. In that case, when you re-raise him with your strong holdings such as AA or KK, make it $9.
  3. Postflop bet between 1/2 and full pot size bets. That means that if on the flop, the pot is $10 you should be betting between $5 and $10. Any smaller than that and your opponent can easily call with a lot of hands. Allowing your opponent to call with lots of hands means you miss value with strong hands; also, your opponent isn’t likely to fold when you are bluffing. This is a bad result either way!

Further Reading

That’s it for Texas Holdem Strategy. If you are really keen on learning poker quickly, we would suggest you check out our home page for more information to accelerate your poker learning.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store