No Limit Holdem Basics

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No limit Texas hold’em is the Cadillac of poker. But even though the basic rules of the game are straight forward to understand, the subtitles of the game make it a tricky game to play well. You could spend the rest of your days learning better ways to play casino poker for money. As they say, a moment to learn a lifetime to master. This article is a quick refresher in some basic no-limit strategy.

Before the hands starts you should be analyzing the other players. Think about each player’s emotional state, think about how they might play tonight. Sometimes you’ll notice some of them are tired, angry, aggressive or timid seeming. These table checks will give you all kinds of hints about what strategies will work best in your game.

After the community cards are dealt, keep checking out the players even when you have your cards, and there is no need to rush looking at them. Watch the other players bet a little bit before looking down at you hole cards. Try and pick up on the strength of their hands by the way they bet. That is the huge advantage of playing live poker. The body language and mannerism of the players tell you a lot about the strength of their hands.

Early Position

If you are one of the first players to act you shouldn’t play very many hands because there are so many people behind you who may have strong hands. In early position try and stick to your strongest starting hands like: AA, KK, QQ, JJ, AK, AQ and play aggressively, lean towards raising these hands and folding all others.

Middle Position

In middle position you can play a lot more hands like: TT, 99, 88, AJ, KQ, 77, KJ, QJ. Remember to remain aggressive with your betting here, usually come in for a raise and throw these hands away if someone has raised in early position already.

Late Position

In late position there has usually been some action, so you can play action hands, like big suited connectors: KT, QT, JT, T9, 98, 87 or smaller pairs. If there isn’t much action you should usually raise with any of the middle or early position hands but maybe forget about playing the action hands.

Catching Tells on the Flop

When the flop comes out make sure to check out the other player’s reactions. You might just be able to tell by the way they react and how they bet what they hold. This is the most important time in the hand to looks for tells.

Betting on the Flop

If you raise before the flop you must have a solid hand and should usually keep betting. If you have missed the flop and someone else bets, usually just fold. Sometimes if you have a draw on the flop and have raised before the flop you can raise a bettor hoping to get them to fold. If they call, well you might just hit your straight or flush on the next card and win a big pot. At least this play will have them checking the turn card which will give you a free look at the river card.

Thinking About The Hand

Just before the turn card is dealt is the time where you should reflect on everything you know about what has occurred earlier in the hand. The big bets are coming up and you want bet with as much precision as you can. Try to narrow down your opponents hands and make sure to carefully consider the strength of your own hand before the big betting rounds.

Betting on the Turn

Often the pot is pretty big by this point in the hand. If you have a good hand you should use a betting strategy that will eliminate your opponents. This is when you let it be known that you actually have a good hand or you make your big bluffs. A good time to come out bluffing is when it really doesn’t seem like anyone has anything good because they all checked the flop or are checking the turn to you.

Betting on the River

Betting on the river is usually a question of value. You have to think whether or not your hand is better than the other player’s or not. If yes, then you want to make what is known as a value bet, if not you might check and hope they don’t bet. When they do bet the river and you have a marginal hand you must often call when you are unsure, because it costs you only one bet to win an entire pot, so you don’t need a huge amount of equity for the call to be the correct play. Folding here can be a costly mistake if you did indeed have the best hand.

In summary, the game of No Limit Holdem is all about extracting maximum value with your strong hands, you have to get paid off on your good hands and lose the least amount possible on your bad hands to make money. You have to be a tight aggressive player to be successful, frequently raising to eliminate players with weaker hands and building up a good pot when you have a strong hand. Also, there isn’t much value in marginal hands, so start with only good hands and be aggressive and you will be on your way to limit holdem success.

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