Texas Holdem Poker Section of Online Casinos Poker Blackjack
Home
Blackjack

Texas Holdem

Visit our Texas Holdem Poker Section, Featuring Rules, Strategies, Articles and the Best Places to play!

UK Online Casinos

Visit our UK Online Casinos review page and play in British Pounds!

Online Blackjack

Visit our New Online Blackjack Games Section!

College Poker Texas Holdem Competition

Texas Holdem Poker at Inter Poker

Join our mailing list

keno

 

Texas Holdem Poker

A BEGINNER’S COURSE IN TEXAS HOLD’EM – PART 4


by: Lou Krieger
Over the course of the next few issues this column will continue to be aimed squarely at beginning hold’em players. The goal is to introduce new players to this exciting game and give them enough background to make them feel comfortable playing casino poker.

Overcards
Should you play overcards or not? Many of your opponents will routinely call with overcards. Suppose you call before the flop with K-J, you’re up against three opponents, and the flop is 8-6-3 of mixed suits. What should you do if someone bets? Do you call, hoping the next card off the deck is a King or Jack — one of the six remaining cards in the deck that presumably gives you a winning hand? Or are you better off folding, and waiting for a flop that fits your hand?

Making a good decision involves knowing your opponents and the hands they are likely to play. Then examine the flop. Is it the kind of flop that will tend to hit one or more players? Or is it so ragged that it’s unlikely any of your opponents are holding cards the flop would have paired? You should also be aware of how many opponents you’re facing. The more opponents, the more likely the flop will hit at least one of them.

If you’re unsure what to do, err on the side of caution until you gain enough playing experience to feel comfortable in these situations.

Flopping a draw
When you flop a four-flush or a four-straight, you’ll have to decide whether to continue with your draw. Here’s how to make that decision.

You’ll need enough opponents so that the size of the pot offsets the mathematical odds against completing your hand. How many opponents do you need? If you’re facing three or more, it’s worthwhile to draw. If you’re holding two large cards, like A-Q, you’re probably favored against any lone opponent regardless of whether you make your hand. You might also win by pairing either of your cards on the turn o river. Sometimes just two big cards will be sufficient to win in a showdown.

Multiway possibilities
You’ll occasionally flop hands that offer a plethora of possibilities. Assume you hold 8h-7h and the flop is 7c-6s-5h. You’ve flopped top pair, as well as a straight draw, and you have backdoor flush potential.

A hand with more than one way to win is stronger than any of its individual components. Your pair might win by itself. Your hand could improve to trips or two pair. You might make a straight on the turn or river, or make a flush if the next two cards are both hearts.

Here’s another example. You hold A-J of clubs and the flop is Ah-9c-4c. Chances are you hold the best hand and are favored to win even if your hand does not improve. You might also get lucky and turn your good hand into a great one. A jack gives you two pair, and ace gives you three aces, and any club makes the nut flush.

With a hand this promising you want action. Get more money into the pot by betting or raising. And if you think one of your opponents is going to bet, you can try for a checkraise.

Six Tips for Winning Play on the Flop

Here are six tips that will help you play successfully on the flop.

1. If the flop doesn’t fit your hand, most of the time you’ll have to release it. The flop defines your hand.

2. When you flop a big hand, give your opponents an opportunity to make the second best hand, but avoid giving them a free card that could beat you.

3. If you are new to hold’em, err on the side of caution. It costs less.

4. When you have a hand with multiple possibilities, play it fast. It has value exceeding any of its component possibilities.

5. Be selective about the hands you plan to play both before and after the flop, but be aggressive when you have a hand that warrants it.

6. If you flop a draw, stick with it as long as the pot promise a greater payoff than the odds against making your hand.

Playing the Turn
Some poker pundits have suggested that the turn plays itself. While you can’t play the turn on autopilot, you shouldn’t get yourself into too much trouble unless you’ve already made the mistake of seeing the turn when you shouldn’t have. If that’s the case, you’re probably throwing good money after bad.

Much of the time you won’t even see the turn. You’ll have thrown away most of your hands before the flop, and released others once you saw that the flop didn’t fit. If there’s no logical reason to be in the pot by the turn, you should have folded. It’s very easy to squander your bankroll one bet at a time. Poor players do just that, calling one more bet and then another. While calling any one bet might be insignificant by itself, collectively it can break you.

If you’ve made it to the turn you should be holding a good hand, a promising draw, or believe your bluff can pick up the pot.

What should you do when you improve…
Your hand can improve on the turn in one of two ways. The first, and best, happens whenever the turn card helps your hand. But you’ll also benefit if you had a good hand going in, and the turn — while not helping your hand — does nothing to improve your opponent’s either.

If you have top two pair on the turn and an opponent bets, you should usually raise. If you are in late position and none of your opponents have acted, go ahead and bet. If you’re in early position, check with the intention of raising if you are fairly certain one of your opponents will bet. If you think your opponents might also check, forget about trying to checkraise and come out betting.

If you have the best hand, betting gets more money into the pot, and makes it expensive for anyone to draw-out on you. But it’s not a totally risk-free strategy. If your opponent has made a set or turned a straight, you can count on being raised or reraised.

…And when you don’t?
It’s unfortunate, but true: most of the time the turn card will not help you. What’s a player to do?

If you’ve got an open-ended straight or flush draw, and you’re up against two or more opponents, call any bet on the turn. However, if the board is paired, and there’s a bet and raise in front of you, be wary. You might be facing a full house. If you are, you’re drawing dead.

You might be facing a set or two pair. Once again, knowing your opponents will help you determine what they might be holding. If you’re up against someone who never raises a three-suited board unless he can beat that probable flush, release your hand.


If the turn didn’t help and there is a bet in front of you, not only has the cost gone up, but the number of future betting rounds has decreased. You have less opportunity to punish your opponents if you make your hand. Moreover, many of them will probably fold on the turn too, leaving you with fewer opponents to punish, if indeed you were to get lucky on the river.

Beginners 6 Part Texas Holdem Course by Lou Krieger

The goal is to introduce new players to this exciting game and give them enough background to make them feel comfortable playing Texas Holdem poker for real online.

Lesson 1 / Lesson 2 / Lesson 3 / Lesson 4 / Lesson 5 / Lesson 6

Now check out our recommended Poker Rooms and claim over $160 free every month!!!

 

Copyright 2004 Online Casinos Poker Blackjack