I’m sure you’ve read Texas Hold’em strategy guides before, and you’re probably expecting me to share the same old tips again. Instead of teaching you how to play pocket queens from middle position or share a list of good starting hands, I’m going to focus on strategies that will help you in a wide range of poker situations.

1 – Starting With Better Hands Equals More Wins

On average, if you start a Texas holdem poker hand with a better hand than your opponent, you’ll win more often than him. Notice that I didn’t say you would win more money in the long run, though. Winning more overall hands isn’t as important as winning more money.

2 – Know Your Opponents

The more you know about your poker opponents the better your chances to win.

If you know a player only raises when she has a made hand you can use this information to help you make better playing decisions. If you know a player is the best player at the table you will try to avoid big pots with her unless you have your very strongest hands. When you know a player will chase flush draws no matter what, you can make them pay the maximum amount when they are drawing.

Winning the most money while playing poker requires that you find and exploit every possible weakness of your opponents and do everything you can to maximize your chances. One of the most important ways to do these things is learning as much as possible about your opponents and how they play.

3 – If You Draw, Draw to the Nuts

It’s common to see poor players drawing to poor hands. This is most often the case in multi-way pots.

I’ll give an example – if five or six people see the flop and two suited cards create a four to a flush situation, usually two players are looking at a flush possibility. Unless you’re drawing to the nut flush, you stand to lose a big hand even if you do hit your flush.

In heads up pots any flush often wins, but it can be hard to get much action after the third suited card hits. If you’re drawing to a flush with no chance of winning if you don’t hit it be drawing to the nut flush.

4 – Position is Important

I was talking to a friend the other day who plays poker on occasion but isn’t a pro. He’s pretty good, and if he dedicated himself to becoming a winning poker player I think he could do it.

We like to talk about poker and one of the things I constantly bring up is position. This guy likes to jab me over it, saying I’m obsessed with player position.

Well, I am. The reason is simple – it’s the single most important aspect of the game.

If you don’t have a complete understanding of what hands you can play properly from different positions as well as from the blinds, you’re not going to be a successful player. I know the internet is filled with wild claims and you can easily discount the importance of statements that appear to be over the top. But don’t make that mistake here.

Until you completely understand how important position at the poker table is and how to use it to your advantage you won’t be a winning player over the long haul.

5 – Ace-Nine and Worse

I think the toughest hand for a beginning player to master is ace-nine or worse.

When you pair your ace you almost never know where you are in the hand. Many times an opponent will hold an ace with a better kicker, but unless the betting gets outrageous you feel like you have to stay in the hand.

If the flop comes in nine-high and you’re holding Ace-nine, you have top pair and top kicker, but you still may be behind overall. For example, pairs of tens or higher or a set will beat you.

While suited Ace-nine or worse is a better hand, it still requires that you win from an unfavorable position. You should only play these hands from a late position. You can play suited aces from middle position in some games, but you still need to be able to fold losing hands quickly to turn a long term profit.

6 – Play Fewer Hands

This tip is closely related to the first one, but it’s so important I’m including it in its own section.

The percentage of hands you play should depend on how many other players are dealt into the hand, your ability (and the abilities of your opponents), your position relative to the button, and a number of other, lesser factors.

A good rule of thumb for beginners is to play fewer than 10% of your hands from early position and well over twice as many as that from late position. In some games you can play 30 to 40% of your hands from late position, but in others you need to be closer to 20%. In an extremely tight game you can play more hands, while in a loose game you might play close to the same percentage of hands.

Suited connectors play better in loose games and high pairs play better in very tight games.

7 – Maximizing Profit with Monster Hands

You need to learn how to maximize the profit on your biggest hands in order to make up for hands where you miss the flop or the draw.

It doesn’t do much good to hit a monster flop if all of your opponents fold when you place a bet.

When you call a pre-flop raise from an aggressive bettor with a pair, you can usually let him lead the betting after the flop when you hit a set.

If you know a player won’t call a bet on a missed flop but may try to bluff later in the hand you may check to her.

Learning how to maximize the profit on your winning hands can be the difference between winning and losing, but there’s no easy way to learn how to do it. Everything else that goes into making you a winning poker player comes into maximizing your profits. The best thing you can do is learn more about your opponents. Always watch how they play, even when you aren’t involved in a hand.


Use the Texas Hold’em strategies included in this post to not only improve your poker play but to also start getting a deeper understanding of the game. The more you think about the game, learn, and practice, the better your chances of winning.

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