Beginner's Course in Texas Hold'em
been raised -- If the pot has been raised before it is
your turn to act, you must tighten up significantly on the
hands that you play. Savvy players might raise with almost
anything in late position if no one except the blinds are
in the pot, but if a player raises from early position, give
him credit for a good hand and throw away all but the very
strongest of hands.
that you need a stronger hand to call a raise than to initiate
one. After all, if you raise, your opponents might fold, allowing
you to win the blinds by default. If you call a raise, you
have to give your opponent credit for having a strong hand,
and you should call only if you believe that your hand is
someone's raised after you've called -- When an opponent
raises after you've called, you essentially are committed
to calling his raise, seeing the flop, and then deciding on
the best course of action.
But when you call only to find yourself raised and raised
by a third opponent, you should throw away your hand unless
it is extremely strong.
that you called with a hand such as 10h 9h. Just because this
hand may be playable in a tame game doesn't mean that you
must play it. The ideal way to play speculative hands such
as this is from late position, with a large number of opponents,
and in a pot that has not been raised. This is when a hand
such as this is worth a shot. After all, you always can throw
it away whenever the flop is unfavorable.
should you raise? Hold'em is a game that requires aggressive
play as well as selectivity. You can't win in the long run
by passively calling. You've also got to initiate your share
of raises, and here are some raising hands.
You always can raise with a pair of aces, kings, queens, jacks,
or tens. In fact, if someone has raised before it's your turn
to act and you have a pair of aces, kings, or queens in your
hand, go ahead and reraise. You've probably got the best hand
anyway. Reraising protects your hand by thinning the field,
thus minimizing the chances of anyone getting lucky on the
also can raise if you're holding a suited ace with a king,
queen, or jack, or a suited king with a queen. If your cards
are unsuited, you can raise if you're holding an ace with
a king or queen, or a king with a queen.
you are in late position and no one has called the blinds,
you can raise with any pair, an ace with any kicker, and a
king with a queen, jack, 10, or 9. When you raise in this
situation, you're really hoping that the blinds - which are,
after all, random hands - will fold. But even if they play,
your ace or king is likely to be the best hand if no one improves.
Playing the flop -- Defining moments are crystallized
instants in time, forever frozen in memory, imprinted into
consciousness, never to be forgotten. Like Armstrong walking
on the moon, and the first home run you hit in Little League,
these magical moments shape the way that you perceive and
value the world around you.
Hold'em also has its defining moment, and it's the flop. Unlike
seven-card stud, in which cards that follow your initial holding
are parceled out one by one with rounds of betting interspersed,
when you see the flop in Hold'em, you're looking at five-sevenths
of your hand. That's 71 percent of your hand, and the cost
is only a single round of betting.
implications of this should be abundantly clear: If the flop
does not fit your hand, be done with it. Playing long-shot
holdings after the flop is a sure way to lose money. After
the flop, the relationship between the betting and the cards
to come is reversed. Now, you're looking at spending 83 percent
of the potential cost of a hand for the remaining 29 percent
of the cards!
or fold -- That's the concept. Fit can take one of three
forms: The flop fits because it improves your hand; it offers
a draw that figures to pay off handsomely if you hit it; or
you hold a big pair before the flop.
you don't improve to a big hand or a draw with a nice potential
payoff, get out -- and do it now.
Flops that you're going to love -- While you're not
going to like the flop most of the time, there are those rare
instances when it fits like a custom-made suit. When you're
lucky enough to flop a straight flush, four of a kind, a full
house, or the nut flush, your major worry is not whether you'll
win, but how much money you can extract from your opponents.
first order of business is examining the texture of the flop.
Based on the betting pattern prior to the flop, try to determine
whether one or more of your opponents has made a hand or has
a draw to a hand that would be second best to yours.
to Part 4