Your place on the table in relation to other players is a big factor when determining how to bet. If you are under the gull, which means that you are the first player to bet, your position is the weakest. The later you are in the round of betting the better, because you are learning about the other player’s cards before it’s your turn to bet (see Tells).
“20 or 21”
These are the magic numbers. If your cards add up to 20 or 21 you have a pretty good hand before the flop. Aces count as 11 and face
cards count as 10.
Playing the Ace
The chances of getting an ace down is 1 in 6, which is probably higher than you thought. So if you get an ace, there is a decent chance someone else did, which means only play an ace that is paired with a relatively high card, depending on how many players are in your game.
Playing the Pair
One of the biggest mistakes new players make is thinking that holding a pair is automatically a good hand. Yes, a pair of Ace’s is the best hand you can hold. But what about a pair of 6’s? After the flop, if no 6’s showed, the probability of someone pairing a higher card is good, and suddenly your 6’s don’t look so hot anymore.
Stealing the Blinds
This is when you bet big right off the bat in order to get a quick easy pot. It is best played in late position after everyone checks. It is also a good idea to play it with decent pocket cards, just in case most people call your bet.
An out is a card that will help your poker hand. For example, if you have two queens, and one queen on the flop, you only have one out left. However, you may be holding a possible flush/straight draw, which can give you many more possible outs. A simple way to use this knowledge is to calculate the odds of picking up a card that will help you. Once you have an idea of how many outs you have, multiply that number by 4, and you will have a rough percentage of your chances of getting that card on the flop. Multiply it by two for the turn and river cards.
The amount of money in the pot versus the amount of money you have to put into it to stay in the game is called the pot odds. If the pot has £12, and the bet is £3, then the pot odds are 4:1. If you compare this with your hand, your betting decision can become quite clear. For example, if you are looking to make a flush on the river, using the outs method (see above) you deduce that your odds are around 18%, or 1:5, and if the call on the pot is, say 4:1, you probably should fold. This also comes in handy when deciding whether or not to bluff. If you feel you have a one in four chance of pulling off the bluff, the pot odds must be greater than 4:1.
Bluffing takes on even more of an art in Texas Hold ‘em than in any other game, especially when you are playing no limit. The first thing to consider is position. Late position is best. Second, consider the pot. Is it worth the risk? Third, consider how much money you have. Bluffing is harder when you don’t have much money. Lastly, feel it. Do the other players give you the credibility you need at this moment?