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Your Transformation From Novice to Expert Texas Hold ‘em Poker Player

Your transformation from novice to expert Texas Hold ‘em Poker player begins by making sound judgments using all the information that you have at your disposal. The acquiring of information begins even before your first two hole cards are even dealt to you.

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Your transformation from novice to expert Texas Hold ‘em Poker player begins by making sound judgments using all the information that you have at your disposal. The acquiring of information begins even before your first two hole cards are even dealt to you.

Before the first cards are even dealt you should begin by considering your position at the table. The table should be divided up as follows:

Early Position 2-3 Players to left of the blinds
Middle Position Players 4 through 7
Late Position 8-10
Small and Big Blind

Early Position – When you are seated in early position you are making you’re betting decisions before getting a chance to see what the other players are going to do. You are making you’re decisions without information on what hands your opponents may have. You will not be acting from a position of strength. For this reason, if you do not have one of the better starting hands, you should consider folding.

Middle Position – This position will allow you to play more hands than if you were seated in the early position since you will get to see what the other players in front of you are going to do. There are also not as many players who will act behind you so you are not as susceptible to a raise as you would be in an early position. For this reason, you can play the best starting hands aggressively. Raising and re-raising opponents would be a sound strategy. In middle position you can use a raise to help you determine the strength of your opponents’ hands – Do they fold, call or re-raise? How they react to your raise can tell you a lot about what they may be holding.

Late Position – This is the most advantageous position at the table. You get to see what most of the other players in front of you are going to do. You get to act with the most information available to you. Being seated in late position allows you to play a wider selection of hands. Being “on the button” – the dealer - is the best position. This is because you will act last. You will have the advantage of seeing what all the others in front of you have done. Here again, raising and re-raising opponents would be a sound strategy. Being seated in late positions allows you to play a little looser.

Small and Big Blinds – While these do act last before the flop, you are acting last in every round after the flop. This makes it one of the more difficult positions on the table.

As a general rule of thumb, you should expect to play a tight game when you are seated in one of the early positions and looser when in late position.

You will put yourself on the winning path in limit hold ‘em by playing good hands and showing sound judgment on when to be aggressive.

• There are some very good reasons to be aggressive and raise the pot, especially before the flop, such as:

• You have one of the best starting hands and by raising, you get more money into the pot.

• You want to force opponents with weaker hands out of the game. There is no sense in letting someone hang around and give them the chance to hit the flop.
Others in front of you have folded. The likelihood that your hand is the best increases as others fold.

Of course there are also some good reasons to not raise:

• Someone else has raised.

• You don’t want to narrow the field. An example of this is when you are drawing for a flush or straight. You are risking less up front for a hand that you may or may not make. By keeping more players in the pot, you have the potential to win a larger pot if you do hit your hand.

• You’re raises don’t work. This happens in very low limit games and/or games with poor players. They all react to raises by raising and re-raising. The large pots tempt players to hang around with lower ranked hands and increase the possibility that one of them may hit a card on the turn or river that will beat your hand.

By studying and knowing your opponents you’ll know how they play hands and you’ll know when your raises will or will not work.

 

Master Shorthanded Texas Hold ‘em Poker Games and Master Tournaments

Your progression from superior Texas Hold ‘em Poker player to eventual tournament champion begins with mastering shorthanded games. Shorthanded games typically involve five or six players and are very common in online poker rooms. When you are playing in a shorthanded game the action can come to you fast and furious. You’ll be playing in more hands more quickly than in your typical ring games.

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Your progression from superior Texas Hold ‘em Poker player to eventual tournament champion begins with mastering shorthanded games. Shorthanded games typically involve five or six players and are very common in online poker rooms. When you are playing in a shorthanded game the action can come to you fast and furious. You’ll be playing in more hands more quickly than in your typical ring games.

Playing in shorthanded games will typically favor the aggressive player. Because there are fewer players to begin with, hands that are not thought of as premium hands rise in value. Examples of this are medium pairs and high cards that you wouldn’t normally raise with in a full game (A-8, 8-8, 7-7…). If you are raising before the flop, when the flop comes down and your opponents do not connect with it you may very well steal the pot.

Drawing hands in shorthanded games are typically not good hands to play with because of the limited number of players in the game. It is highly unlikely that you will get pots large enough to make it worthwhile to chase.

If you do not have a hand that you feel comfortable raising with you may be better off folding and waiting to play a better hand.

Just because you are playing in a shorthanded game do not plan on playing a greater number of hands, rather, play the hands that you do play more aggressively.

Being aggressive and occasionally bluffing in a shorthanded game, especially when others are checking and calling, will allow you to pick up small pots. Your aggressive plays may make others fold and hand the pot over to you. While it may not work every time, in the long run it usually proves to be profitable.

If you find that most of your opponents will only bet when they are turning pairs, a well timed bluff can steal the pot for you.

When you find yourself seated in late position in a shorthanded game and your opponents before you have folded, a raise can force the blinds to fold thereby winning you the pot. This move, known as stealing the blinds can also be an effective way to pick up small pots and add to your chip total.

Playing in shorthanded games is also great practice for playing in tournaments. As your opponents are knocked out of the game, you’ll be going up against fewer players. Playing in shorthanded games will prepare you for these situations.

You’ll also find lots of shorthanded games played online. With players dropping in and out for a few hands before dinner or on a lunch break at work, it is not uncommon to be sitting at a table up against ten opponents one moment and then before you know it you’ll be up against Five opponents.

On a final note, with all the extra hands that you will be playing in shorthanded games your bankroll can take large swings. You need to be ready to handle these swings. Shorthanded games can be very profitable and remember you will need to know how to play in a shorthanded game if you ever want to play in and win a tournament.

 

Playing QQ In No Limit Texas Holdem

While there is no argument that QQ is one of the most powerful starting hands in no limit Texas holdem, it also can be challenging to play correctly. The trademark of a good player is one who can win big pots while losing small ones. What this means is that the best players minimize their losses when they do lose a hand and maximize their profit when they win. QQ is one of the starting hands that separate the winning players and the losing ones.

When you are first to act ...

While there is no argument that QQ is one of the most powerful starting hands in no limit Texas holdem, it also can be challenging to play correctly. The trademark of a good player is one who can win big pots while losing small ones. What this means is that the best players minimize their losses when they do lose a hand and maximize their profit when they win. QQ is one of the starting hands that separate the winning players and the losing ones.

When you are first to act or the first player who hasn’t limped into the pot, you should raise most of the time. There are two reasons for this. The first is you don’t want anyone to see the flop for cheap, especially hands with an Ace and small kicker. The second reason is that you need to do everything you can to find the strength of your opponents hands. By raising, if one of your opponents re-raises and/or moves all in, you will have a difficult decision to make, but you may be able to get away from the hand if you think your opponent has AA or KK. This is the absolute worst position to be in. In addition, QQ plays best against one or two opponents. You should keep all of your pre flop raises roughly the same to not give away the strength of your hand, usually three or four times the big blind.

Playing QQ after the flop is usually straightforward. If you have shown strength by raising pre flop, continue to show strength until one of your opponents convinces you that they have a better hand. This includes when an Ace hits on the flop. You must bet to represent an Ace in your hand. If you check, you are giving your opponents permission to steal the pot from you, as you will have to fold to a bet. When you bet and an opponent calls or raises, you then must decide if they actually have a better hand or not. In most cases they will have a better hand because you have shown strength two times and they should respect your hand, unless you have been playing too loose.

There are a few situations in which I will check after the flop. They both happen when I am in the hand with an aggressive opponent and I feel I have the best hand. The first is when a Queen hits on the flop giving me trips. By checking, rarely will a free card hurt me if my opponent doesn’t bet and this gives them a chance to bluff off more chips to me. The other situation is when the flop doesn’t have an Ace and appears ragged. My plan when this happens is to move all in when my opponent bets after I check. There is danger in both of these situations, especially the later one. Your opponent may have hit a set, in which case you will be drawing almost dead. However, I have found that the times they can’t beat my hand far outweigh the times they can, so these situations are profitable. The key to both of these is that you must be sure your opponent will take the bait and bet. Giving free cards can be harmful. I do not do this when two cards of the same suit are on the flop unless I did flop a set. When you flop a set, you have many outs to a full house, even against a flush. The other thing is that these plays do not work very well against the best competition. They will respect your hand and will be less likely to bluff at the pot after you check unless you do a great job of acting weak. After showing pre flop strength, this is often difficult.




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