Beginners Texas Holdem Poker Strategy
Texas Holdem Poker Strategy Adjustments for Beginners
The greatest poker players in the world all know how to do one thing extremely well, adjust to their environment. No Limit Texas Holdem strategy books written by professionals give proof of this statement in the constant hedging the author makes on every bit of advice he gives. It seems that the words "if" and "unless" are the most used words in the book. The reason for this is simple. When a professional plays poker the cards he plays are only one small factor in his decision making process. The other environmental factors such as type of opponents, number of opponents, position, and pot odds often hold more weight for his decisions than his hole cards. All these factors seem to make the game of No Limit Texas Holdem impossible to master.
Fortunately beginner poker players have one huge environmental factor tilting in their favor. A beginner Texas Holdem poker player will almost certainly be playing against other beginner Texas Holdem poker players. When a beginner sits down to play their first hand of Texas Holdem poker it won't be at the final table of the World Series of Poker. Most likely it will be a low buy in game that is found at a local card room or online at one of the many online poker sites. The buy ins for No Limit Texas Holdem at online pokers sites are as small as forty cents. The maximum you or your opponents can bring to these low buy in Texas Holdem tables is two dollars. These low buy ins of up to two hundred dollars dramatically change your Texas Holdem playing environment.
Dan Harrington in his book "Harrington on Hold'em" states, "No Limit Hold'em looks like a card game. But, it's not, really. No Limit Hold'em is actually a game of wagering..." I agree with him at the higher buy ins and in Texas Holdem tournaments. At the lower buy ins, Texas Holdem is just a card game, nothing more. As a beginner, if you try to make it more than just a card game you're almost certain to lose money. If you want to make money playing low buy in No Limit Texas Holdem you must resist the urge to make it more than just a card game. Adjust to your environment and you can make Texas Holdem both fun and profitable.
Beginner Texas Holdem poker players at low buy in No Limit Texas Holdem tables will most likely find themselves in the following environment. The table will consist of 10 beginner poker players who are fairly loose. These beginner players will be playing too many hands and seeing between 25% and 50% of the flops. They will be limping as much as possible, raising with mediocre hands, playing mediocre hands out of position, and calling raises before the flop with these same hands. A beginner player will often be at a table where more than 40% of the players routinely stay to see the flop and will often see six opponents after the flop. Once the flop comes too many players will be betting top pair with weak kickers, calling on a draw without the odds, and calling with a weak kicker, or even without hitting the flop. The worst thing often seen is players trying to bluff several bad beginner poker players at the table.
This environment makes it tough to make any fancy poker plays. Instead, beginner Texas Holdem poker players should focus mainly on their cards and the odds. A beginner playing low buy in Texas Holdem shouldn't waste time trying to take advantage of position before the flop or reading the other players. By simply playing better cards than the other players a beginner can tilt the odds in his favor and make money. Trying to make a bluff or fancy play at a poor player will almost certainly be met with a call. By making the following adjustments beginning No Limit Texas Holdem poker players can quickly master the low buy in tables.
- Play tight. Restrict your Texas Holdem starting hands to premium hands that can make a huge hand after the flop.
- Always stay in position. Don't play mediocre hands from early or mid position.
- Play a fairly passive game. Almost never raise pre flop, pay as little as possible to see flops, wait until you hit a monster, then get as much money as you can into the pot.
- Play within the Poker Odds. Don't call before the flop if you don't have odds to hit a Texas Holdem hand on the flop or you know the price after the flop will be too high. Don't call with a draw after the flop if you don't have the Texas Holdem Drawing odds.
- Never try to put up a Texas Holdem bluff when several people are in the pot with you. When several people stay to see the flop someone has almost certainly hit.
- Be aware that the other beginner poker players are only playing their cards. A small bet means a small hand or a draw. A big bet means a big hand.
- Fold to big bets unless you have a huge hand.
Good tight straight up poker at the lower limits is what's needed to make money. Anything more and a beginner will find his money slowly moving into the other stacks. By adjusting to the loose environment by playing tight passive poker a beginning player can tilt the odds in his favor.
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