Top Texas Hold'em Strategy
Being a good US Texas Hold'em player isn't just a case of blindly bashing the “Raise” button on your laptop and hoping the other players at the table fold.
Online poker takes months – even years - of dedication to master, but even the most basic grasp of Texas Hold'em strategy will get you off on the right foot and likely get you winning more cash.
While there have been countless books and websites dedicated to top poker strategy, a run-through of our common Texas Hold'em tips guide can only serve you well. And when you're done, why not check out of one of the great legal US poker sites we at LegalPokerc.om have recommended here, and put your new strategies to the test!
- Track your opponents
- Get a handle on position and pot odds
- Review your Texas Hold'em hands
- Never stop learning!
Texas Hold'em Starting Hands
When many US poker players start their online journeys, they are just happy to sit down and play. And that often means playing virtually every hand. After all, what sucks more than folding hand after hand? How boring!
But learning good hand selection - and sticking to it - is the best way for new US online poker fans to get a head start over their opponents.
Early Position Starting Hands
A good rule of thumb when you're looking at hand selection in Texas Hold'em is to stick to premium hands like strong pocket pairs (J-J to A-A) and suited connectors like K-Q and A-K. This is particularly true when in early position (first or second to act) when you don't know what the players coming after you will do.
Late Position Starting Hands
In late position, you have much more information on what's gone before - who's raised, who's being weak with their calls - and therefore you can consider widening your range of hands to raise with.
Therefore, in unraised pots, you can loosen up a little when sitting on the button or cut-off (the seat to the right of the button) and raise with small pocket pairs, hands like 10-9 suited and A-10, A-9, A-8 suited, etc. You want to be putting pressure on the early-position players with your raises. If someone comes over the top of you can comfortably fold, or call to see what the flop brings.
Learn Texas Hold'em Pot Odds
Whether you are playing in the biggest live games in the United States or the smallest micro-stakes cash game online, a fundamental grasp of pot odds is essential.
Is that risky draw worth it? Is the pot big enough for you to make a calculated gamble? That is where pot odds comes in. Pot odds work in tandem with hand odds, and if the pot odds are higher than the hand odds, it's sensible for you to make the call.
So, how do they work? Here's a basic example.
You are playing in a No Limit Texas Hold'em tournament with three cards on the board. You have a spade flush draw and Player A bets. The odds of hitting your magic spade and completing your flush are 3/1, but hit it and you stand to win a pot 5x your bet, or 5/1. As the pot odds are BIGGER than your hand odds, it's sensible to make the call.
Working out pot odds "on the fly" can be tricky, but for US card game players who are gambling on the Internet, it may be worth using a free odds calculator. You can find a good one at: http://www.cardschat.com/poker-odds-calculator.php
Taking Notes On Your Opponents
The beauty of online poker in the US is that you can take notes on players without them realizing it.
Does an opponent tend to fold to aggressive continuation bets on the flop? Does he have his auto-fold box clicked and therefore could be multi-tabling (hence not paying attention to the play)? There are so many nuances to online poker - and so many standard moves that the majority of Hold'em players make - that it's worth making even quick notes, so you can profit if you come against the same people again.
Invest in Tracking Software
While investing in any online poker aids may be a while off for the majority of US players (most software costs around the $100 mark, after all) it's certainly something to consider at some point down the line.
Tracking software are programs that sit on top of your cash games that provide you with stats on your opponents. Just as online players will give off the same “tells”over and over, so they will tend to stick to betting patterns pre- and post-flop; tracking software helps you keep a handle on what's happening, when. and why your opponents are doing it.
Review Your Hold'em Play
As well as taking notes on your gambling opponents, it's good to stop playing regularly and take stock of what you are doing. That could include going through hands you have played, assessing why you took a particular line in that tournament, or why you always seem to bust out short of the money in those Sit 'n' Gos.
Around 20 percent of your online gaming time should be taken up with study, so put it to good use and the profits will follow.
Ready To Go? Choose a Great US Legal Poker Site Today
With some basic strategy in your arsenal, you can confidently attack the real-money tables online and make bucks. Start your journey by picking one of the top legal US poker rooms listed on these pages.