One of the key areas where many players go wrong playing Texas Hold’em (NLHE) is not having a clear cut strategy. For some strategy is a foreign word, and a lot of guidance is necessary in clarifying and getting to grips with this area alone.
The bottom line is, if you want to have more fun playing Hold'em, getting a better understanding of Texas Hold’em poker strategy will only add to the entertainment factor.
Basic Beginner No Limit Texas Hold’em Strategy
For beginners finding a simple strategy they can use, that doesn't take away from the enjoyment of the game can be a challenge. One of the first, very simple things you can do before getting in there to play, is to assess the table dynamics.
By dynamics we mean the following:
- Is there a lot of raising?
- What are the average stack sizes?
- Is there a lot of calling pre-flop?
- How many players go to a flop?
- How many players are going to showdown?
Many players don’t do this – don't even know how to do this - and so they have little idea whether the table is good or bad for their level and style of play. Knowing if a table is right for you is a great place to start when building your poker strategy plan.
Observation is Key
By observing a poker game before sitting down, you will get a good idea of each player's style and competence level. You will also get to see which players are just having fun and which are more serious about their game.
You can get this information by looking at their stack sizes in conjunction with how they approach each hand. For example let's say that a player buys in for 100bb (100 times the big blind) and does a lot of limping. As a rule, this player is attempting to see flops cheaply in the hopes of hitting a big hand. A good basic strategy against this type of player would be to raise them with a much wider range of starting hands.
There are two reasons for doing this:
- Firstly, it makes good poker sense to deny your opponent the very thing that they want to do – this makes them unhappy and more prone to folding the hand or making mistakes.
- Secondly, it is more likely that, if called, your opponent will miss the flop completely and you can win the hand with a simple continuation bet (betting the flop after raising pre-flop).
Playing the Player
There is a saying in poker: “Play the Player not the Cards.”
Another type of strategy that you should develop involves adjusting you game to the player and table dynamics (see first section above).
So, for example, if your opponents are very aggressive in later position with a wide range of hands, your chances of making them fold increases. You can base your strategy against those types of player on exploiting the fact they raise any two cards – and playing them very aggressively pre-flop.
This is a very effective strategy especially in full ring games where it is much harder for one player to boss the table around, than it is in 6-max or short-handed games.
Not One for All
It is important to keep in mind that there isn't one correct strategy that works against every players. There are players who raise every hand they play, some never raise and others raise their button like clockwork.
When it comes to solid, successful No Limit Texas Hold'em Strategy, adaptation is key.