Texas Hold’em Essentials
Life doesn’t get much better than playing a little online Texas Hold’em poker at Bodog. This is by far the most popular card game in the world. Of course, it’s even more fun when you’re winning, and there’s a lot of skill involved in this game; if you can master the fundamentals of Texas Hold’em, you can make a healthy pile of money in the long run. Here are the five most important things you should think about the next time you play Texas Hold’em online:
- Start With Good Cards
It may seem obvious, but the biggest secret to winning at Hold’em is to start with the best poker hands pre-flop. Many players are so eager to get in there and mix it up, they’ll enter the pot with just about any two cards. Don’t be one of those players if you want to make money at poker. Open-raise with your strongest hole cards from early position, then open up your range as you get closer and closer to the blinds. Even in the button, you might want to stick with something like the top 40-50% of starting hands and fold the rest.
- Be Aggressive
Once you decide to enter the pot with a good starting hand, you should usually press that advantage by betting and raising, rather than calling and checking. There are two ways to win at Hold’em: have the best hand at showdown, or get everyone else to fold. When you bet and raise, you make the pot bigger for when you do get to showdown, but you also give your opponents a chance to fold and surrender the pot right now. Calling and checking are sometimes the right plays, but you’ll have to win at showdown to take down the pot, and you’re giving your opponents more cards to make a hand that might beat yours.
- Play in Position
It’s almost always better to act last when you play Hold’em. Poker is a game of incomplete information; when you act first, you’re giving your opponent at least some idea of what you might have, based on whether you bet or check. When you act last, you’re the one who gets to respond to your opponent’s actions. This is a considerable advantage. If you’re in the button, you will always be in position post-flop, and this is where you’ll make the most money.
- Pay Attention to Your Opponents
This isn’t as easy when you’re playing Hold’em anonymously at Bodog, but if you’re at the cash tables or playing a tournament, you can still get a read on your opponents by seeing how often they enter the pot. If they appear to be playing almost every hand, you can adjust by raising them more often with your good, but not great hands – chances are you’re still ahead when they call. If they don’t seem to be playing many hands, you can avoid them when they do enter the pot.
- Have a Plan
Every hand of Hold’em is a journey. It might be a quick one, if you open pre-flop and everyone else folds. Or it might be a long and perilous journey through the flop, turn and river. Build your poker strategy so that you can respond to any actions your opponents take on any and all streets. Every move you make at the table should set you up for your next move, and every hand should prepare you for the next hand. This will maximize your potential profit playing Hold’em at Bodog – and maximize your enjoyment, too.