Until the 2000s, seven card stud was the most popular version of poker in many regions of the world. This changed during the mid-2000s poker boom, when Texas holdem poker became the favoured game for every big tournament. Because of its popularity, millions of individuals now play Texas holdem poker every day. And the goal is always to win money, whether you’re just playing with friends or grinding in online casino cash games.
But how do you win if you’re new to poker and/or not very good?
Learn more in this comprehensive book, which takes you from the fundamentals to the methods that can help you defeat Texas holdem.
The Strategy of Winning at Texas Holdem Poker
Texas holdem poker is frequently regarded as requiring only 5 minutes to learn yet a lifetime to master. This is especially true today, when strategy is so easily accessible, allowing more players to become specialists. Nonetheless, everyone must begin with the game someplace, and that somewhere should not be at real money poker tables. If you’re new to the game or simply seeking for a solid strategy foundation, these are the fundamental elements you should understand.
1. Positioning of the Table
Table position, which means you act after your opponents, is one of the most neglected fundamentals among poker newbies. Position is determined by your location with reference to the large blind. The dealer button is the most recent position, and the tiny blind is the most recent.
Position is crucial since it helps you to gather more information based on the decisions of your opponents. Furthermore, holding position on most or all of your opponent’s allows you to influence the pot size and gauge your opponents’ hand strength more accurately.
Here’s how table position looks on a 9-seat table:
The early spot position
Seat to the left of the big blind, small blind, and huge blind. Because you don’t have as much information, you want to play strong hands from these positions.
The middle position
The following three seats. The middle position allows you to see what a couple players are doing. However, you should still exercise caution when playing in this region.
The late position
Best, the dealer button, and the two chairs to its right. Late position allows you to steal blinds, tiny pots, and estimate your opponents’ hand strength on later streets.
While you can win from any position on the table, the bulk of your Texas holdem profits will come from late position, while the majority of your loses will come from early position.
2. Limit the number of hands you play to a minimum
The most common Texas holdem poker mistake is playing too many hands.
Many new players believe they can play a broad variety of hands based on guesswork. However, the majority of the 169 possible starting hands are utter rubbish.
Before we go any further, these are the top ten opening Texas holdem poker hands:
These are premium hands that can be played in a variety of circumstances, regardless of table position. Popular hands like A Q, K J, and 9 9 are not on this list, as you can see. Nonetheless, many players see these cards as premium hands, playing them in every situation.
The majority of beginners are also confused about how their hand strength relates to position. Because these are premium hands, table position has no bearing if you have QQ through A A. However, if you play cards like K J, Q J, 8 8, and A T from early position, you may find yourself in a bad spot if someone raises.
Another common error is overvaluing speculative hands such as suited connectors or consecutive cards of the same suit, such as 6d 7d. While these hands are absolutely beneficial at times, you’ll be better off folding them the vast majority of the time.
In fact, unless you gain a better understanding of poker, you should fold 80 to 85% of your cards. With more experience, you’ll learn when to play particular hands according on your opponents, table position, and past bets.
3. Reading Your Opponents
Reading Texas holdem poker opponents is more about paying attention than it is about spotting anxious ticks. When you initially sit down at a table with fresh opponents, you have no idea what kind of hands they like to play or what kind of bets they make in various scenarios. In these cases, the most you can do is pay attention and take mental notes.
The good news is that if you fold 80 to 85% of the time, as we previously mentioned, you will have enough of hands to analyze opponents. You can then apply this knowledge when presented with difficult choices against the same opponents you’ve been studying.
When observing other players, there is no shortage of things to look for. The range of hands they play in each position, when they bet, the size of their raises / re raises, and how frequently they bluff are all important elements to consider.
As you play more Texas holdem, you’ll start to notice tendencies in less talented opponents that you can take advantage of.
4. Limit your bluffing and look for good opportunities
Aside than playing too many hands, another rookie error is bluffing too frequently. We can blame Hollywood for this, but the important thing is that you comprehend the truth of bluffing. Before we go any farther, there are three categories of bluffs: minor bluffs, semi-bluffs, and naked bluffs.
A minor bluff
Minor bluffs are bets placed in late position to steal blinds and small pots. The objective is to keep your stake low so that you only risk a small amount of money to get a tiny profit.
The odds are in your favor, and you can win this pot with a tiny bet that demonstrates power.
A semi-bluff is a bet or raise in which you do not have a made hand but could still win the pot later.
They currently have you beat if they have any pair. However, because you can still win with your over cards or flush draw, this is a semi-bluff.
The naked bluff, also known as a stone cold bluff, is the style seen in poker movies, in which someone goes all in with 2 7 off suit and forces a fold.
These are the worst bluffs you can make because they leave you completely exposed and out of money if your opponent calls.
You have nothing in this position because your flush and straight draws were both eliminated on the flip. The only thing you can hope for is that your opponent does not have kings or another made hand and folds.
Naked bluffs can be effective in the proper situation and with the appropriate player. However, before you can parlay these plays into long-term profits, you must have experience and good reads on your opponents. A solid rule of thumb is to avoid naked bluffs entirely until you’ve mastered tiny bluffs, semi-bluffs, and reading opponents.
Bankroll Management in Texas Holdem Poker
Far too many inexperienced poker players enter tournaments or cash games with only a few buy ins. When you set your mind to it, the possibility of making money through poker is exhilarating. However, due to the variance / downswings of poker, you won’t last long unless you have a large amount of buy ins.
What to expect in terms of bankroll management is shown below.
What Should Your Stakes Be?
The first step in managing your poker bankroll is determining how much money you can afford to play with. Examine your finances and bills, and then decide on a comfortable amount to devote towards poker.
The next step is to determine what stakes you should play depending on this amount.
A solid rule of thumb for cash games is to never play stakes that require you to risk more than 5% of your bankroll at once. If you have $500 set away, you should never play a cash game with a maximum buy in of more than $25.
Tournaments differ in that there is more unpredictability because only 10% of the field makes money. This is why it’s a good idea to play stakes that allow you to cover at least 100 buy ins. You should have a bankroll of $1,100 or more if you wish to play tourneys with $10 + $1 buy ins.
Deal with Variation
To expand on the preceding point, having a strong bankroll allows you to weather downturns and fluctuations that would otherwise deplete your assets. Because poker has aspects of chance, you will experience periods when nothing seems to go right, regardless of how well you are playing. At some point, bad beats, poor card runs, and tilt will all wreak havoc on your bankroll.
Getting out of these slumps takes not just patience and talent, but also enough money to replace the losses.
Think About More than Money
The main reason individuals play Texas holdem poker is to make money. However, if you solely focus on how much you win and lose each session, you will do significantly more of the latter. Instead, concentrate on long-term goals that will improve your ability to earn money.
Non-monetary objectives include:
- Playing a certain number of hands per month
- X amount of hours per week spent studying poker strategies x number of hours spent playing
- Sessions x number of hours
- Investing x number of hours in self-analysis
Reduce the Stakes
What should you do if you can’t get out of a slump and are doubting your poker abilities?
The best solution is to lower your stakes for two reasons:
1) You’ll have less competition, and
2) You’ll risk less money every buy in.
Nobody wants to work their way up to a specific level just to be forced to lower because they aren’t performing adequately. But when everything else fails, this is sometimes the only option.
One final suggestion on how to improve your Texas Holdem poker game is to continually think about and analyze your play. The usage of online hand histories makes this easier. If you don’t have access to these, at the very least, replay challenging circumstances in your thoughts and try to come up with answers to these challenges. You can also ask coaches or post specific hand questions / difficulties on forums.
In addition, for every 3 to 4 hours you play, you should spend at least one hour studying strategy. This may not sound like enjoyable, but the improvement in your game will be well worth it. Once again, there is no time limit on how much time you can spend progressing as a player. If you actually want to become a profitable player, you should constantly fine-tuning your strategy and gradually increasing the stakes.