In recent years poker has surged in popularity and is probably the most widely played card game in the world at the moment. Texas Hold ‘em has become the most popular form of the game and most casinos, online or offline, with casino table games rather than only electronic games, will include a Texas Hold ‘em table. For any newbies and beginners here are some basic tips. They may seem simple but it’s surprising how many new players lose plenty of games before they learn to keep them in mind.
Learn the different hand strengths
I’ve played poker plenty of times with beginners, and even with people who have played poker quite a few times and they’ve placed bets thinking their hand was stronger than it was or not placed bets unaware of the strength of their hand. Pretty much everyone knows how strong pairs or three of a kind are. There are however a surprising number of players that don’t know that three of a kind beats two pairs, or how high cards work when settling two similar hands. When it comes to four of a kind, flushes, straight flushes, straights and royal flushes however, many players don’t know their exact order of strength. In most cases they don’t even realise they don’t know. They know they have a strong hand and in most cases this is enough to win. But there are occasions when the cards on the table provide high odds for more than one of the stronger hands possible in poker. In those cases it is important to be able to see that there is the possibility your opponent might have an equally strong or stronger hand and be able to judge the risk this poses accordingly in order to make informed bets.
Be patient but when you raise, raise well
An extraordinary number of poker players lack basic patience in their play. Both online and offline players want to be involved in the game and don’t like folding early, especially several times in a row. Even when their cards are weak, they often want to see the flop. If you can do so without raising more than the blind, the blinds are not high and you have plenty in the kitty, then fair enough. But don’t be afraid to fold straight away or early, even if you do so several times in a row. Don’t get lulled into just playing ‘to see’, because you’ve folded five hands in a row and you’re bored. You need to have the cards to beat another 5 players so play the odds and don’t risk it unless it’s cheap to see the flop.
Another common mistake is raising by the blind or just over. This is a waste of time. If you are going to raise make your opponents pay to stay in the game. Raising by the blind means you risk less but the chances are you will not receive due compensation for taking that risk. If you raise by a minimum of three times the blind you won’t win every hand but when you do you ensure it will be worth it.