The Betting Round

A good poker player is one who can recognize and exploit advantageous situations and recognize and avoid situations that are not advantageous. You can get little help toward developing the skill of a good player from page but page will help much. You require some experience. You are going to have to get in there and mix it up.

In Hold'em, the novice player should follow the basic holdem strategy of playing tight. Your bottom line is affected much as by avoiding a loss as it is winning a pot. Playing very tight is one way to avoid losses. By playing strong hands, you will avoid many of the decisions lines that require the judgment of an experienced player. Because many hard decisions require knowledge of the playing habits of your rivals, playing very tight is also preferable style for experienced player if you are unfamiliar with the playing habits of your rivals.

Simply playing tight is not an approach which will maximize your win, in many games, but it is an optimal learning strategy for players who are new to Hold'em game. However, you should not play too tight. The best learning point is to get involved in some hands and to make few mistakes. Don't commit mistakes, try what you can to avoid them, but it will happen in any case and that you have to try to learn from those mistakes.

Tight play starts with the first two cards. It is strategy based on the idea that poker is a struggle among the players for a claim in the initial money in the pot (the blinds). The focus is on the random distribution of the first two cards on the deal. It is a risk-averse approach that does not necessarily exploit any possible or observed errors that your rival might be making.


At a ten-handed table, the seats are divided into five pairs.

Playing Positions

Number of chairs to the left of the dealer button Playing Position
1 & 2 The blinds
3 & 4 The under-the-gun positions (first two players to act after the blinds)
5 & 6 Early position
7 & 8 Middle position
9 & 10 Late position and the button

Deciding to Play

If you are new this game or new to the table and haven't been able to identify the poker game conditions, the best approach is just to play tight.
Following are the three things that you should take into account when deciding whether to play a hand.
1. Your position.
2. How many players have already called
3. Whether the pot has been raised.

Depending on the three things, tight play means a different thing. It doesn't mean wait until you get pocket Aces. Tight play means that you should only get involved when the situation suggest that the hand you have been dealt has an edge over the hands the other player have been dealt.

When you are in an early position you should play fewer hands because of the lack of information you have about others' hands and the risk of a weak hand being raised. However, in late positions you can often play weaker hands even if someone has raised.

How the number of players affects your hand depends both on how many of them have called and the position they have called from. If others have called from an early position then you need the stronger hand. That's because most players who open from an early position will have a strong hand themselves. Conversely, if many players (five or more) have called then you may play many weaker hands because you are getting good poker odds on your money.

If the pot has been raised, you should play few hands. This is true if the raiser came in from an early position.
Some minimum hand requirements are given to open the pot or to call an opener under various situations. Don't memorize these tables. The cut-off hands that we suggest are that - suggestions. In many situations, you should be playing either tighter or looser than the tables suggest - depending on how well others play at the table. The better your rival plays, the fewer hands you should play. The worse your rival plays, the more hands you should play. Use these tables as guidelines and not as a set of rules about playing hands.

In cases where your rivals all play badly after the flop, then you can loosen up the game on these minimum requirements, but in many games the minimum given in these tables are possibly too loose. You should play tighter than the tables suggest. Later we have talked about a theory of starting poker hand values and some other hand groupings based on game features that give hands value. It is suggested to take the tables and adjust them for play based on hand groups. Do your own table of starting hands based on the game features and on how well you play relative to the other players. The simplest decisions are when no one else had called yet, meaning the only thing you need to consider is your position.

Continue: When you're first to call

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