4 Basic Rules for Texas Holdem
1. Dont be afraid to fold. You dont need a good hand to win, you need the best hand.
2. Dont be afraid to bet the maximum. If you have a good hand, maximize your winnings.
3. Dont chase the pot. Dont worry about whether there are cards that could win it for you; worry about whether the odds are good of getting the cards that can win it for you.
4. Play long term. To make a profit at Poker, you have to play the odds you lose a few hands for a few dollars each and then you win a hand and make it all back plus some.
1 Starting Hands
Fold more in early position (among the first to bet) than in middle or late position. The later you are in position, the more you can figure out about your opponents hands by watching how they bet, or dont bet. General guidelines (s = same suit, o = off suit): In early position: Raise AA, KK, QQ, AK Call JJ, AQ, KQs Fold Everything else Middle Position: Raise same as above plus JJ, AQ, KQs Call TT, 99, 88, 77, AJ, ATs, KJs, QJs, KQo, KTs Fold Everything else Late Position: Raise same as above plus TT, II, AJ, ATs Call 88, 77, 66, 55, 44, AT, A9, Axs (where x is any small card), KJ, KT, K9, K8s, QJ, QT, Q9s, JT, J9s, T9, T8, 98, 97s, 87s Fold Everything else.
There are two ways to win: get the best hand, or get everyone to fold. The less people still in the game, the better chance you have of beating them. Be aware, however, that in low limit games rarely fold. Its harder to get a $3 bet to fold, than a $300 bet.
3 The Math
When you want to figure out whether its worth betting, thing about this. The first thing you do is count your outs the number of cards in the deck that make your hand. For example, if you need a straight and you have 5689, you need a 7 to win (assuming there is no one with a higher hand). There are four 7s in the deck so you have four outs. If you have 4567, you can get a straight with a 3 or an 8, which means you have eight outs. If you have a flush draw (four cards to a flush) after the flop (when the first three cards are laid down) it will leave forty seven unseen cards. 52 (total cards) 3 (flop) 2 (in your hand) = 47.
When the next card is laid (the turn), 38 cards are bad and 9 are good. That means the odds against making the flush are 38 to 9, approximately 4 to 1, meaning for every four times you dont get your hand, you will get it once. The next step is figuring the pot odds. Dont count money youve already put in the pot as part of your odds. That money is gone; it is no longer yours. If you are playing $3-$6 Holdem and there are 9 small bets in the pot (meaning 9 people have bet and called) then you have 9 to 1 pot odds on your bet. In other words, if thats the last of the betting, you would make $27 on a win and lose $3 if you lose. Next, look at the odds together. The pot odds are 9 to 1, and the odds of getting your hand are 4 to 1. Over time, youll miss four out of five times. In five hands you will loose $3 x 4 = $12 during your losses and youll win $27 the time you hit. That means your profit will be $15, or $15/3 = $3 per hand. So you should call.
To put it simply, the pot odds are bigger than the odds of hitting. Heres a shortcut on figuring out whether youll make your hand. After the flop, multiply your number of outs by four to get a general percentage of winning your hand This is your probability of improving, not the odds against it. To figure out your odds, just switch it. If you have a 35% chance of winning, then you have a 100 35 = 65% of losing. 65 to 35 = 1.86 to 1 odds If there is only one card left to come, multiply your outs by 2.2, or you can be more general and just go with 2, although the calculation wont be as accurate.