Since it’s considered one of the most popular casino games to date, it’s time to discuss Texas Holdem strategies. This fast-paced and exciting card game has been around for a while and in that time, many famous card players have developed several strategies and tips that should help new players fare better at the poker table.
Whether you are brand new to Texas Holdem or simply wish to improve your game, we’ve compiled a Texas HoldEm guide to help you out on your journey. We’ve carefully selected our favorite list of 13 Texas Holdem tips that we think will help most players, especially beginners.
This guide will not help you win all your poker games
The main purpose of this guide is to provide you with various poker tips and tricks often used by Poker players. This guide isn’t going to magically help you win all Texas Holdem games. At the end of the day, just like all gambling games, Texas Holdem is based on luck and since luck is something that can’t be predicted, a concrete winning poker strategy simply doesn’t exist.
By reading this guide you will be able to better understand the game, know what to do in certain situations, and get advice on what combinations you can build. This guide will not help you win more games.
Rule #1: If you don’t know when to bet, use this poker strategy cheat sheet
The very first thing you should learn about playing Texas Holdem Poker is knowing when you should and shouldn’t bet. While you are more than welcome to develop your own poker strategy, until you grow your own wings, you should know a few universal rules.
You may be inclined and wait for the flop before you start raising your bets but there are certain hand combinations that you can bet on, no matter what is on the table. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of ALL card combinations you can have at Texas Holdem and marked when exactly you should bet (and when you should wait).
Rule #2: If you start with a good hand, make them pay to see it
Most new players wait for the flop until they start making bets. What many new players don’t know is that you might be able to collect a bunch of chips without even getting the flop. So if you are lucky enough to have a pair of strong cards, start raising (if you can).
You don’t necessarily have to go all out with your bets, but simply raise it a fair amount so most other players feel inclined to follow. This can also save you the trouble of making players with low starting cards fold out before even seeing the flop. If you wait for the flop, it may turn out horribly for you, so don’t wait. Make hay while the sun shines.
Rule #3: Do this during Turn and River
For beginners, it’s a turn just like any but for experts, Turn and River are two very different steps both with unique opportunities. Don’t get too greedy if all the cards are of the same suit because an opponent may have a flush ready. If there is a pair in the community cards, there’s a chance that one of the opponents may have 3 of a kind (or even 4 of a kind).
If you are absolutely sure you have the best hand, raise those bets but don’t go overboard so you don’t scare your opponents. We all have that time when we are waiting for that 1 card. Until the card you need shows up in the community cards, try to get to without paying too much.
Don’t follow if one of the players makes a raise because you never know whether or not the card you need will show up. Once you get to River, there are no more cards incoming so make it or break it.
Rule #4: Plan based on your position
As you know, there are several positions in every round of Texas HoldEm poker. By far, the most beneficial position is being last. As the last player, you will have a complete overview of the table from the Big Blind player to the semi-last player. Depending on what the other players do during their turns, you will get the choice to either call, raise or fold without wasting any of your chips.
This position becomes especially powerful during the river phase when you will be the last person to play and ultimately dictate the outcome of the game, especially if a few players fold early.
By far, the worst position to be at is the small blind. While being Big Blind basically means paying in advance, as the small blind you have to often play poker aggressively (with or without good cards) just to keep the pressure off. Know your position, follow the game and act accordingly.
Rule #5: Don’t Limp
Since Texas Holdem is a game where you generally sit, you might be wondering how exactly can someone limp during poker? Remember how we said in Rule #4 that the best position is to be the last person to play while being small blind is the worst. Well, second to that might be right after the small blind. Generally, in that position, you are expected to raise rather than call the big blind. If you happen to call, it will be viewed as limping or, in other words, you are just following along… barely.
While you may be thinking that with a weaker hand, it’s not wise to take unnecessary risks, limping will make the other players see you as an easy target, and you definitely don’t want to be labeled as such. So, don’t limp. If you are playing after the small blind, raise even if you don’t have the best cards. You will instill fear into other players and you may just make a few good hands fold before the flop.
Rule #6: Keep an eye on your opponents
Continuing with the last rule, you don’t want to be seen as a weak player. This implies that other players will be watching you during the game, and you should do the same. Every experienced poker player will tell you how it’s important to know how to spot bluffs using your opponent’s facial expressions or their gestures but did you know you can also read players when you play online poker games.
Yeah, even if you can’t actually see your opponents, you can tell a lot about them based on how they play their hands. Do they take forever to make a move, do they do it immediately, are they thinking a lot before making a move. All these things are important when it comes to reading your opponents. The absolute worst thing you can do is only pay attention to your own hand which is a one-way trip to losing most games.
Rule #7: It’s not folding, It’s tactically retreating
It may be viewed as a sign of weakness but when your hand won’t bring you anything in the long run, the best thing to do might be to simply fold and hope for a better hand next time. Your decision to fold should also depend on your current position.
For example, if you are playing big blind and everyone else calls it, there’s really no point in folding since you can see the flop for free. It should go without saying but folding early is probably a better strategy than folding late when there is a lot of money on the line.
Rule #8: The sucker
In every single Texas Holdem game, there exists a sucker. The weakest player at the table is considered the “sucker”. This will be the player that will constantly lose chips, fold late and limp behind. While you definitely don’t want to be labeled as the sucker, you generally want a sucker to be present. In fact, you want as many bad players as you can at your table but there will always be the weakest player.
General rule: If you cannot spot the sucker in your first half hour at the table, then you are the sucker.
Rule #9: Watch other players play
We cannot stress enough how important this rule is. No matter how well your poker game may be, don’t ever underestimate what you can learn simply by observing other players.
Whether it’s watching a real-life game or a video of a professional Texas Holdem tournament, you can always learn something new. Heck, watching bad players play can also be invaluable as you may notice new ways to tell someone is bluffing.
Rule #10: Check raise – only for the brave!
As we’ve already established, checking is considered a safe move. When a player checks they are normally sending a message saying: “I don’t have a good hand but I want to continue… if I can”. For other players, this is like a lamb coming to slaughter and they will not show any mercy. Fortunately, you can outsmart all players by using the check raising strategy.
First, let’s assume that you have a good hand but are unsure how confident the other players feel. It’s your turn and you decide to check. This ultimately makes you seem like you have a weak hand and other players start raising. Your turn comes again and what do you do? You raise! Now, you are sending mixed signals because your opponents will be confused about whether you have good cards or not.
The good news is that now more players will be invested and will be less likely to fold due to the investment. If they are still keen on keeping up with you, just raise again. It’s a risky move but the rewards are worth it.
Rule #11: Change your playstyle
If you become too predictable at the table, sometimes you may want to rock the table a little bit. If you’ve been playing it safe and other players are used to you, kick it up a notch. Start raising like crazy, even if you don’t have the best hands.
While this may not win you many hands, it will throw your opponents off their tracks, giving you a much-needed advantage. A lot of professional players like to implement a certain style of play only to change it about halfway making opponents less comfortable with their positions. We’ve seen many players fold good hands because of sudden playstyle shifts such as this one.
Rule #12: Be at your sharpest when playing Texas Holdem
It may seem like a no-brainer rule but playing poker while in a bad mood can be devastating for your wallet. Every professional poker player will tell you that psychology and emotions are a huge part of the game. Having a stomachache, feeling drowsy or sleepy can mean the difference between winning and losing.
Even if you constantly keep getting good hands, you can ultimately make poor decisions thanks to your bad mood. So, pretty much, don’t play Texas HoldEm games (at least not real cash games) if you aren’t feeling up to it.
Rule #13: Have fun!
Finally, the most important rule of them all: have fun! Way too many people take this game too seriously and ruin the atmosphere both for themselves and for everyone else. Even though there is real money involved, Texas Holdem is just a game, so treat it like one. Have fun and don’t sweat about wins or losses.
Texas Holdem Strategy Guide: Summary
Those were our 13 tips for playing Texas Holdem. Again, these won’t make you magically win every single game, but they might improve your overall win streak. Experience is the best teacher so keep playing and getting better. Most importantly, don’t forget that in the end, Texas Holdem is a game, so don’t forget to have fun too. Thank you for reading our guide!