Texas Holdem Strategy for Beginners
Poker strategies come in different forms. Some are best suited for beginners while there are others that only professionals can consider. That’s because as you get a feel for the game, you’ll start to know what works for your gaming style and what doesn’t. A strategy considers different aspects. These include factors like if you’re playing on the move, how much you’re willing to spend and how well your opponents are playing.
Basic Texas Holdem Rules
Before I even looked into getting a Texas Holdem basic strategy, I had to know the rules of the game. The first rule was that all poker games have hand ranks that determine whether I or my opponent has the winning hand. Texas Holdem has 10 hand ranks that you should have at your fingertips while you play. That’s because you’re expected to create the best five-card hand from the cards you receive.
From the strongest hand to the weakest, the possible hands you can win with are the Royal Flush, Straight Flush, Four of a Kind, Full House, Flush, Straight, Three of a Kind, Two Pairs, One Pair, and No Pair.
Once I learned the hand ranks, the game rules came next. With Texas Holdem, all players receive two hole cards. These are face down cards that only you should view. The dealer will then add three community cards, during the flop, to the table. These, in combination with the two you have, will create your 5 card hand. The dealer can add two more community cards, one during the turn and another during the river. These have proven handy whenever my hole cards weren’t enough to create a good hand.
After I had the game rules down, then I started looking for a Texas Holdem basic strategy to help me get started. As a beginner, you need to learn basic strategies to ensure you keep your weaknesses as well hidden from your opponents as possible. Below I’ve outlined strategies that can help you win with different Texas Holdem variants.
Ultimate Texas Holdem Strategy
The time to use an Ultimate Texas Holdem poker strategy is during the Pre-Flop, the Turn and the Showdown stages. During the Pre-Flop, raise by 4x when you have:
- An Ace plus any other
- A pair of 3’s or better
- A suited King plus any other
- A suited J8 or better
- A suited Q6 or better
- An unsuited K5 or better
- An unsuited JT or better
- An unsuited Q8 or better
Check for all other hands. During the Turn:
- Always check if you have No Pair
- Always raise if you have Two Pairs
- Always raise hands that are greater than Trips
- If you have One Pair, check if the pair is a community card, and raise if one of the pair is a hole card
- If you have Trips, check if the Trips is a community card, and raise if one of the Trips is a hole card
During the Showdown:
- When you have Trips, raise if your lowest side card is a 9 or if the Trips consist of hole cards. If not, fold
- Raise if you have a hand that’s better than Trips
- If you have a pair then raise if the pair has a Jack or one of the hole cards. If not, fold
- If you have Two Pairs raise if the kicker is a Jack or better, or if your hand is better than the board’s hand
- Raise if the board is unpaired and you’ve got a 2nd nut kicker. If not, fold
- Raise if the board is paired and you’ve got a 3rd nut kicker. If not, fold
- Always fold if it’s a Scare Board and your hand holds less than a pair
Limit Holdem Strategy
If you need a Limit Holdem betting strategy, I find that the tips below really come in handy while I play.
- Select tables with loose games. Tight tables usually have strong players who’ll immediately read your weaknesses as a beginner
- Be quick with your decisions as Limit Holdem is known for having rounds that move quickly
- Limit bluffing to instances when you’re sure your opponent has a weak hand
- Avoid being predictable by varying your play by doing things like raising when there are only calling hands
- Avoid calling when you’ve been beaten. That way, you can fold at the right time and save your money
- Aim to get big hands like KQ as they help your hand in most cases
- Ensure you can calculate pot odds when drawing
- Keep an eye on your opponents’ playing styles so that you know when they raise, call, and check, among other actions
Advanced Limit Holdem Strategy
As my skills continued to grow, I had to switch to another Texas Holdem betting strategy that’s better suited for advanced players. If you’re the same, one of the resources I considered was getting books and videos to help hone my skills. Within these, I was able to get information from renowned poker players on:
- How to spot strong players at the table
- The importance of knowing when to fold, call and raise
- How to choose my table position for each round
- When to bluff
- When to purpose drop my poker face
You can probably tell that these are all skills I had to learn as a beginner. However, through the guidance I received, I was able to improve on them significantly. That helped to quickly move me to a level where I could consider myself an advanced player.
Best Texas Holdem Strategy
As with all card games, how the game is playing out will determine which strategy you need to put into play, and at what point. Texas Holdem’s best strategy relies on your powers of observation, in addition to your knowledge about the game’s various outcomes.
Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced player, I’ve come to realise that learning your opponent is a priority with Holdem games. Find out who the strong players are and who the fish are. From there, you can focus on getting the fish’s stake away from them, leaving you with opponents on your player level. With these, I ensure I keep an eye on their habits to give me a better chance at emerging as the winner.
Texas Holdem Strategy Chart
With all the rules worth noting to guarantee you have the ideal Texas Holdem strategy guide, you’ll need a way to memorise the important parts. I noticed from other players that a handy way to go about this is by having a chart. I’ve included one below for you.
While online, I came across a variety of strategy charts for poker games. Some lay out general rules to keep in mind while others are specific to the different strategies you can use. What you follow depends on which point of which Holdem variation you’re playing.
With Texas Holdem, the pre-flop is quite important because it’s the first round of bets during a game. Getting it right from the beginning will help you avoid issues that could affect your starting hands.
Holdem Poker Tips and Strategies
Having Texas Holdem tips and strategies is the only way I’m able to play with ease. That’s because they guide my every move throughout the game to guarantee that even if I don’t win, I also don’t incur steep losses.
I’ve given you a brief Texas Holdem strategy guide to help you start your Holdem journey. However, there are still more tips you’ll come across like:
- Playing poker when the games are good, such as on the weekends
- Choosing a table with people on the same playing level as you
- Picking a table that has limits within your betting bankroll
Texas Holdem Tournament Strategy
Have a look at an example of how you can use a Texas Holdem strategy guide while at a tournament. During my Holdem games, I try to ensure that my position isn’t among the first. That way, I get more range and time to study my opponents’ habits. If one of my opponents checks quickly, that could indicate that they have a weak hand. If another player takes too long to make their decision, that could indicate that they’re a fish worth taking out.
With such weaker opponents, raising small and often easily keeps me in the game. However, as the number of players reduces, the wider my opening range needs to start getting. Knowledge on pot odds and my opponents’ possible call hands becomes essential. That’s because I’m now left with players who are either on my level or better. Knowing when I need to bluff, raise, or fold will also determine whether I’ll lose big, or manage to win.
Limit Holdem Tournament Strategy
- In the beginning, treat the tournament like a cash game by doing things like limping behind implied odds values and re-raising premium hands
- Keep an eye on the stack size to know how many hands you can play to the end
- Check your showdown equity whenever you have a small stack with minimal chips for each street bet. A hand with favourable odds may wind up doubling or tripling
- Look out for bluffing opportunities later in the game as they will be in plenty
- Raise most Small Blind hands that Big Blind ones during the heads up stage
No Limit Holdem Strategy (Cash Games) and NL Holdem Tournament Strategy
Apart from differences like being able to leave whenever you’d like with cash games and having increased blind levels with tournaments, the strategy to play these two options remains relatively similar. (Note: this doesn’t fully apply to Bitcoin but some of the principles carry over)
- Reserve your medium-strength cards for checks as they serve you better as bluff-catchers in smaller pots
- Make more bets when you have strong hands like a strong top pair and better
- Bet when you have a hand that’s strong enough to hit either a flush or a straight by the river
- Always place 3-bets when you’ve got premium hands like a KK or QQ+ which would do better in large pots
- Minimise flop bets in multiway pots while you check with strong hands
- Depending on the board texture, consider check-raising your strong hands after defending a big blind against your opponent
2/5 No Limit Holdem Strategy
- Identify the players at the table to help you determine the ideal strategy to use.
- Prepare to play more hands with a Loose Passive opponent. Also, opt to limp behind rather than raise hands in such a situation while in pre-flop position
- With Tight Passive players, the likelihood of being profitable is difficult as they’re very selective of their hands. Opt for a different table in such a case
- With Loose Aggressive players, use fewer bluffs, fold fewer flops and have thin value bets if you’re with the variety that’s at the table for entertainment and fast wins. If you have a smart Loose Aggressive opponent, opt for a different table as these are great players
Texas Holdem Strategy Books
As I mentioned earlier, books have played a big role in helping me learn winning strategies for Texas Holdem. Within these books, you’ll learn that there’s more to a Holdem betting strategy than just knowing the rules of the game. Apart from that, you’ll also come across useful tips and strategy charts that are sure to help you be in control of each game round. Some of the titles I’ve used so far include:
- Playing The Player: Moving Beyond ABC Poker To Dominate Your Opponents by Ed Miller
- Applications of No-Limit Holdem by Matthew Janda
- The Theory of Poker: A Professional Poker Player Teaches You How To Think Like One by David Sklansky
- The Myth of Poker Talent: why anyone can be a great poker player by Alexander Fitzgerald
- Essential Poker Math, Expanded Edition: Fundamental No-Limit Holdem Mathematics You Need to Know by Alton Hardin
Texas Holdem Strategy Videos
If reading isn’t your ideal way of learning, don’t worry. There are also videos available to help you learn the winning strategies for Texas Holdem practically rather than theoretically. I’ve found that a mix of both the books and videos offers up the best results in helping me remember these strategies. Some of the videos I’ve found useful so far include: