Starting Hands in Poker – Part 1 of 4

When playing poker there are many different options you can take. Playing tight may be a good approach some times, but in other cases letting yourself play more hands could be the difference in a good or bad game.

In part 1 of this series I went over the basics for newcomers to poker. Playing good starting hands, understanding your position, and understanding other players could be the difference between making a profit and losing a game.

Let’s say you have T7 and you raise from under the gun in middle position. Everyone else folds to the button who calls. The flop is J82 and you have second pair. What should you do?

Play it exactly the same way you would play a medium pocket pair, such as 1010. You want to see the flop and see if you landed a set or not. If you did, now it is time to build the pot. Throw in a cheap flop bet and find out if the small blind is in the hand with you. If he is, put in a big raise.

Now this same play will not work the same way if you land a big hand like flopped a set. In these situations you want to slow play and let the small blind bet. If you raised him in the blind you will get some information but not enough to be sure if you are ahead.

In either case what this dealing is about is stringing along players. You want to get stuck into them.ue to take down a big raise before they realize you have hit the set they were chasing. Either way, you do not want to be drawn out on the flop by these type of players, as your so-so hand can get taken away by a monster.

If you make a hand and the small blind or big blind gets mad, you should fire out a bet of around 4 times the big blind to test the fire. Make them think you are really strong before firing out another bet. If they are on tilt and think you have a monster hand, you can free them up with a nice raise. They may or may not call, but at this point you want to get a good look at the turn and/or river to make sure you are still ahead.

Sometimes you will take the pot down on the flop or the turn without anyone seeing it. When you do this, make sure you take care of the hand and bet out. Do not let everyone at the table see a cheap flop. I have seen players who slow-play big hands like JT suited fall in to this trap.

If you make a huge hand like trips, full house, flush, or four of a kind, you should bet it out pre-flop. Do not check or wish. The hands that can call a flop bet are big hands. If you make a monster hand bet the flop. If you cannot afford the call, but you have a monster hand, go out of the game.

There are some players that will slow-play big hands. Their first thought is that the flop must be very coordinated to chase down the players. Sometimes the coordination is there, but they can not bet. Or, if the flop is coordinated, players find 2-5-7-9-10-J-lot is not a particularly strong hand. Slow-play when possible.

You are not going to win all the hands you play. If you can, get into the hand history and flush out the flop and turn See which ones won. Bet that second one for a change. Leave if you lose. Come back later for a different hand or the same one.

Don’t chase losers. Everyone goes to the flop with the intention of getting a big hand. You can’t afford to do that if your number one objective is to win at this table.

Being an impatient player is the kiss of death. You will see players throwing everything at the boards in alissterrible hands.

If you are in the right, you can play an ace or two with any AK. If you see a flop with one, you can either bet if the board is scary, or check hoping someone else may have hit a bigger hand.

For example, you have 95; the flop is 5-8-J. You like the sound of this, especially with a pleasing flush drawing possibility. Checking is the name of the Egp88. If you hit the nut flush, great. If not, you can usually get away from the hand.

However, if you are in the right, you can trap a player with a big hand.

Say you have got A-9. Players love hands like this, mainly due to the flush draw.

You might bet strongly, or even go all in.

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