The slow play basically works by acting weak in the hope of hiding the strength of your hand. However a good opponent should spot that there is a straight possibility on the flop and may be cautious. If you were to lead in and make a value bet of half of the pot, the chances are that your opponent may wonder if you have the straight and maybe fold.
If you slow play this hand and check, your opponent may think that you are scared of someone holding a straight, and try to represent that he has it by making a bet hoping that you will fold and he can take the pot there and then. You then have the option to either raise him and reveal your strength or just call and continue the slow play into the next round of betting. By making this move you have got your opponent to commit chips to the pot and increased the size of the pot in a situation where you have a very strong hand.
Now the risk with the slow play move is that you give your opponent the chance to catch up, and also run the risk of giving your opponent a free card if he fails to bet and also checks. This is why you should reserve this play for only the stronger hands, and never slow play if you think your opponent could be on a draw which would catch up with or beat your hand.
Slow play can also be used against a very tight opponent, where by you give him free cards in the hope that he might catch up a little but not overtake your hand, thus encouraging him to bet. You should always be aware if you are Pot Committed in a particular hand. In this situation it is always better to make the first move and go All-In rather than letting your opponent make a bet that puts you all in. Whys this? Because if you make the first move you have an additional way to win the pot, as you might force your opponent to fold, where as if you just call his bet putting you all in, you will have to beat him to win the pot.
The All-In bet is used a lot more in Tournaments rather than Cash games, so at the moment this bet should have very limited use in your strategy. Although I have given you approximate bet size guidelines in each of the bet types above it is important that once you are comfortable with using the above bets you start to vary the amounts of the bets.
Now that you understand the different bet types, you can start to try to spot these types of bets in your opponents actions. Against weak players you should play a very basic betting strategy with plenty of value bets when you have a good hand. Once we move onto playing better players at higher stakes we can use these more advanced bets against them. Return to the How to Win at Poker Course homepage. Objective Act weak in the hope of inducing action from opponent Bet Range Check.
Thus the first preflop poker strategy tip is to play only a small percentage of the hands you are dealt — the type of hands to play will be discussed further on in the text. The vast majority of winning poker players are relatively tight, and for the most part, losing players are loose. Therefore, the first important poker strategy tip :. Preflop Poker Strategy Tip 1: Only play a small percentage of the hands you are dealt.
So our options are now to raise or to call because our hand is too strong to fold. Limping is defined as calling the big blind instead of raising or folding. Often, new players limp to see a cheap flop with speculative hands or to trap with strong hands such as AA or KK. Good winning players very rarely limp and there are many reasons why:. Since limping i. That poses the question of how much? But first, a little more on aggression to drive home the point:. However, calling with some hands after someone else has raised is fine.
There are some situations where open limping is a good idea but they are so few and far between that never limping is a good starting preflop poker strategy — especially for a beginner. Unfortunately, when a player is passive there is only one way to win the pot — by having the best hand. This difference is hugely important and is the reason all big winners are aggressive poker players; while most losing poker players are quite passive. Preflop poker strategy Tip 3: Take the initiative and be aggressive.
So what hands should you play? There are very few premium hands in poker but when we do get these hands we should be trying to build a pot as big as possible and as quickly as possible. These hands are:. AK is considered to be a powerful hand because:. Strong hands are hands you should also always be raised when first entering the pot. These hands should be called when someone has already raised before you. These hands include:.
Large suited and connected hands such as QJs, JTs, are also considered strong hands. Suited hands derive their strength from being able to make flushes. However, do not overestimate the value of suited hands. The value of a hand is derived from the combination of the ranks of the two hole cards. You need to be careful of this hand type. Medium suited connectors such as 87s are also considered to be medium-strength hands.
If all you take from this section is these four points you will still have significantly improved your chances of winning. Postflop, there are many factors which we must take into account before we make a decision. The number of variables makes each decision quite complicated for a beginner. Secondly, we should be considering what our opponent may be holding.
Does our opponent have only strong hands if he is a tight player? But it is important as a new player to begin thinking about what your opponent may have. Postflop poker strategy Tip 1: Always consider what your opponent could be holding. Next, we should consider the board texture. For example, is the board likely to have improved your hand or your competitors? Is the board likely to change very much on the turn or river?
Another consideration is how many players made it to the flop. If the flop is heads up only you and your opponent the strength of each hand is much better than if five or even six people made it to the flop. The more players that see the flop, turn, and river the less likely you are to win a showdown with a weak holding such as one pair.
For more information on the differences between multiway and heads up pots, head over to pokernews. Before we discuss post-flop poker strategy and board composition in detail, we need to make sure the notation is clear to everyone.
In some cases, pictures will be used to show board textures, but often just text will be employed. When describing the board with text i. To take an example, the board:. It is sometimes shortened further to 5K5r. When the flop has a flush draw i. There are many types of boards, but in general, they can be broken down into two types: dry board textures and wet board textures.
Why are these boards considered dry? The most important factor is that neither of these two board has many straight-draw or flush-draw possibilities. The lack of draws means that if you have a hand like A5 on the K55 board or 44 on the board you are very unlikely to be beaten by your opponent if he is behind on the flop. Looking at the QT9s board, there are many cards which will modify the strength of many hands. Also, there are many hand types that your opponent may have hit this board with:.
On the s board, however, every Ace has an inside straight draw. Every other board type will be somewhere in between the dry K55r and the wet QT9s. Understanding how wet or dry a board is and adjusting your strategy correctly is the key skill at play in this scenario. For more information on board textures, see this excellent article. A continuation bet, as its name suggests, is when you follow up on your previous aggressive action with another bet. For example, you raise pre-flop and then continue to bet on the flop.
Continuation bets are extremely useful postflop poker strategy for two reasons:. The rate at which you continuation bet should be, on a very basic level, determined by the wetness of the board. The dryer the board, the less likely your opponent hit and therefore the more often we will want to bet so that we can take down the pot. But we should also be more prone to bet when we have a chance to win the pot when called. In other words, we have pot equity in the form of a draw or overcards.
We opened to 3bb from UTG and got one call from the Button. On the flop of 9h7s3s, we have an inside straight draw and two overcards. Thus this is a good spot for a cbet as a bluff. We expect him to fold hands which are better than ours.
However, if he does continue, we have a good chance of making a stronger hand with a J, T or 8. But in this case, it is almost a perfect situation for a bluff. Both check to us on the flop. This situation is a clear spot to value bet value betting and bluffing are discussed in the next section.
The slow play basically works by acting weak in the hope of hiding the strength of your hand. However a good opponent should spot that there is a straight possibility on the flop and may be cautious. If you were to lead in and make a value bet of half of the pot, the chances are that your opponent may wonder if you have the straight and maybe fold. If you slow play this hand and check, your opponent may think that you are scared of someone holding a straight, and try to represent that he has it by making a bet hoping that you will fold and he can take the pot there and then.
You then have the option to either raise him and reveal your strength or just call and continue the slow play into the next round of betting. By making this move you have got your opponent to commit chips to the pot and increased the size of the pot in a situation where you have a very strong hand.
Now the risk with the slow play move is that you give your opponent the chance to catch up, and also run the risk of giving your opponent a free card if he fails to bet and also checks. This is why you should reserve this play for only the stronger hands, and never slow play if you think your opponent could be on a draw which would catch up with or beat your hand. Slow play can also be used against a very tight opponent, where by you give him free cards in the hope that he might catch up a little but not overtake your hand, thus encouraging him to bet.
You should always be aware if you are Pot Committed in a particular hand. In this situation it is always better to make the first move and go All-In rather than letting your opponent make a bet that puts you all in. Whys this? Because if you make the first move you have an additional way to win the pot, as you might force your opponent to fold, where as if you just call his bet putting you all in, you will have to beat him to win the pot.
The All-In bet is used a lot more in Tournaments rather than Cash games, so at the moment this bet should have very limited use in your strategy. Although I have given you approximate bet size guidelines in each of the bet types above it is important that once you are comfortable with using the above bets you start to vary the amounts of the bets. Now that you understand the different bet types, you can start to try to spot these types of bets in your opponents actions.
Against weak players you should play a very basic betting strategy with plenty of value bets when you have a good hand. Once we move onto playing better players at higher stakes we can use these more advanced bets against them. Return to the How to Win at Poker Course homepage. Objective Act weak in the hope of inducing action from opponent Bet Range Check.
Rather than hammering that bet-pot button, take some time and think about your goal. A little finesse will improve the likelihood that your bet will get your mission accomplished. A quick note about mixing up your play: you obviously don't want to make the exact same bet in the same circumstances all the time.
This will make you incredibly easy to read. You can vary your bet sizes, while keeping your ultimate goal in mind. You've decided that the goal of the bet you are about to make is to make your opponent fold. Here's a rule of thumb:. Now I'm not opening the door for you to start min-betting every hand. What you need to understand is that you can save money while accomplishing your goal. If you raise pre-flop in position and are called, and you wish to make a continuation bet, there's no reason to bet the whole pot.
Often a half- to two-thirds-pot bet will get the job done just as well as that larger bet while risking less chips. Most opponents will fold to the smaller bet just as often as they will to a full-pot-size bet. If your opponent is dead-set on calling, he's going to call no matter what the bet size.
You're the button. The SB folds and the weak BB calls. You decide that you are going to raise his min-bet. Obviously your goal here is to get your opponent to fold. So how much should you bet? Massive overkill. A player like this is probably leading out with a weak one-pair hand or ineffectually trying to steal the pot.
The idea is that you have the better hand and you want your opponent to pay you off with a worse one. That said, your rule of thumb, like your goal, is the exact opposite of what it was in our previous example. You want to bet the highest amount that you think your opponent will call.
This means that sometimes you're better off making a bigger bet that will get called fewer times rather than making a smaller bet that will get called more often. Know your opponent.
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