- Once you have the mechanics of the game down, you must start working on your odds. Primarily, you want to understand the odds of getting the cards that you need to finish a given hand (the “outs”). You start with two cards, so you’re looking to get the best three cards out of the five that will be dealt later.
- You must factor these odds against the bet odds, or the ration of the bet you would make to the total size of the pot. A ten dollar bet toward a hundred dollar pot is 1/10. If your chance of getting the cards you want is better than your stake, it’s in your favor.
- Once you start thinking along those lines, you can begin to factor in the possibilities of further rounds — i.e., after the turn, after the river. This will prepare you for the big picture, but remember that each player and each new card will likely cause a recalculation, so don’t let that throw you.
- There are detailed analysis of all the possible pre-flop combinations (with only two cards to start, it’s a pretty short list). Do yourself a favor and get an idea of what you can expect; some seemingly bad combinations benefit you more consistently than some seemingly lucky pairs of cards.
- Position is very important, but so is paying attention to the playing styles of the people at the table. This can be tricky online when you have to rely upon a good memory for numbers and/or vague chat hints — not all online poker rooms give you the size of your opponents’ pots
- Limits change the playing field. The size of the limit changes many players’ approaches, as it should; vary your approach but also try to be aware of how the limit may be creating weaknesses in your opponents’ playing styles
- Fold more, bluff less. A simple advice pair that probably goes against everything that you think you know about playing cards when you start. Texas Hold’em rewards people who know that every hand doesn’t need them. Yes, you can win big with bad cards…but you can lose even faster when everyone else has caught on to you. Save your energy for when it’s needed most!
This is one of those games that people mistake for a game of luck or chance but when it comes right down to it, this game is purely skill. Sure, a player can get lucky. Maybe even get a bad beat… (A winning hand that is beaten by a much weaker hand out of pure luck) When it comes right down to brass tacks, the consistently correct player will always come out ahead. There’s no doubt about it in anyone’s mind but the player who depends on luck.