Texas Hold’em Poker Strategy: Before the Flop
There’s nothing in poker quite like scooping a big pot on the river. People are all-in, there’s a pile of money on the table – these are the situations that get played over and over again on the TV shows. But here’s what they don’t tell you: Your poker strategy before the flop is far more important. The decisions you make with your starting hands are like seeds planted in the ground; do it right, and you’ll reap a rich harvest. Do it wrong, and your bankroll could wither.
Getting the right poker strategy pre-flop is even more important when you’re playing online poker at Bovada. You’re not going to have access to the same “tells” that you can pick up from live opponents, and those tells become more pronounced as you move towards that big showdown on the river. Instead, concentrate on choosing the right starting hands when you play Texas Hold’em online. It’s easy once you understand the basic concepts behind the game of poker.
Position Is Power
Concept No. 1: It’s usually better to act last when you play poker. When you’re sitting under the gun at a full-ring table, you have eight players waiting to pounce when you open the betting. The closer you get to the big blind, the fewer players you need to fold in order to take the blinds uncontested. That’s why it’s recommended to open a tighter range of hands from early position, and a wider range late.
Thanks to the power of math, we can calculate something close to an “optimal” range of starting hands (see Poker Hand Rankings here) while using a certain open-raise size. You can find hundreds of recommended ranges online; they’re not standard, but they tend to conform, especially from under the gun. Don’t worry about memorizing these ranges exactly. As long as you’re in the ballpark, it’s more important for you to understand the reasoning behind them.
Once you’ve got a feel for these opening ranges, you can work on pre-flop ranges for calling, 3-betting, 4-betting and so on. Then you can start worrying about other things you’ll run into when you play the great game of Texas Hold’em poker – flop strategy, for example. Get the simplest things correct first; work on your preflop ranges, and you’ll already be putting yourself in a better position to win those giant pots on later streets.