How to Win Money at Poker
Sat 10 June 2017
One of the most important, and basic, parts of playing texas holdem, especially at fixed limit tables, is what hands you call with before the flop. By simply calling and folding correctly before the flop you can beat bad players. If you are calling better hands on average than everyone else at the table, than you have a better chance, on average, to win every hand you bet on. This is a huge edge and a good beginning step for someone who wants to learn the game. There are no rules written in stone and there are a lot of variables that you need to address when playing. For instance, if you are playing against 9 players you should play many less hands than if you're playing only 1.
However there are general guidelines you can follow while you learn how to approach different situations. The suggestions below are for full tables, 9 or 10 players, playing in a loose game such as you will find in most low limit internet games. Getting a pair dealt to you can be good, in the right situation, but also very costly in the wrong one when you bet anyway. Aces, kings and queens are almost always good and worth a raise. The others depend on the number of players in the hand and the amount of raising before the flop. If you have more than three players in the hand, you are unlikely to win unless you get three of a kind, if you don't, you should usually fold after the flop if any of the cards up are higher than your pocket pair. The problem is that someone may already have you beat and, if they don't, they will very likely have you beat by the end. They problem is that you have very little chance of improving as only 2 cards in the deck will give you 3 of a kind. Especially with low pairs, likes 2s, you need to get 3 of a kind on the flop to win the hand. Since this only happens one out of 8 times, you must be fairly sure you will win 8 times the money you have to put into the hand before the flop. Sounds complicated but basically you want a lot of people in the hand (5 or more) and no raising. Then you will get the money you need to make calling pockets 2s worth while.
Just having an ace in your hand doesn't mean you should call, the second card is just as important. If the second card is a ten or higher, you are pretty safe to call in most situations. If you call an ace with a four, the only real chance you have is to get an ace and even if you do you very well may may get out kicked by someone with something higher like ace jack. The exception is if your cards are of the same suit. Then you also have the chance to get an ace high flush. This makes a call profitable, especially if there are a lot of people in the hand and you can get in cheaply. Kings should only be played with a very good kicker - a jack or better. As for playing when you have a king and another card of the same suit, it isn't as good a play. There's a small chance an ace high flush will beat you even if you do get your flush and you are less likely to win with a king as compared to an ace even if you don't get it. Playing a king with a ten suited isn't a bad move but anything lower isn't worth it. Suited connectors are 2 cards of the same suit as well as consecutive.
For instance, the 9 of hearts and 10 of hearts are suited connectors. These cards play extremely well when there are a lot of people in the hand. The more people in the hand, the better the hand you need to win. With the 9 and 10 of hearts you might not win many hands with one pair but you will win some very big hands with a straight or a flush. These cards won't necessarily win a large percentage of the time but you hope to win very large pots when they do. If you are constantly getting 5 or 6 people in the hand, these become very powerful cards that can win a lot of money. I would suggest playing 78 or higher, maybe 67 the odd time in the right situation. It might not seem like a lot of cards when you are folding all the time, but it is how successful players approach the game. Many times you will hear experienced players making fun of beginners for playing "bingo". This is because experienced players know you won't get away with calling everything. You won't make money in the long run because poker is a game of skill, not luck.