The most successful no limit Texas hold’em poker players make their money but not by making the normal mistakes that other players make when they hand money back to their opponents. One such area where they perform better is by not allowing themselves to become dominated.
Let us start off by looking at an example taken from $1-$2 no limit Texas hold’em. You see As-Js UTG and decide to make it $7 to reduce the field. While it is not a bad poker strategy to reduce the field so that your hand stands a better chance of being the best hand, you are still escalating the pot and your total risk at this time is $7 to win the $3 in blind money.
However your hand has several in built problems and the first is your very poor position. If you and your opponents have deep stacks then hand values normalise in these sorts of situations and big cards do not have the same value as they do when the stacks are short.
Turning your cards face up
When you raise in early position in a full ring game then you are basically telling the rest of the table that you either have high cards or a big pair. Although your poker strategy is to reduce the field, you are also in a roundabout way almost turning your cards face up. Also there are numerous players to act after you and because your hand is in such early position then some of the hands that would have raised had you folded or limped will now only call you. These are hands like A-Q and even A-K or perhaps J-J although that is more unlikely.
So if you have a flop like A-9-7 then you could be in reverse implied odds territory in no limit Texas hold’em. Good solid online poker strategy dictates that you try and win more on the pots that you win on average than in the ones that you lose. In this hand example then if your A-J is the best hand then you are unlikely to extract a lot of money from weaker hands. If you have raised to say $7 pre-flop and got two callers then this puts around $24 into the pot. If you bet say $16 on the flop then your total outlay is $23 to win $17 which although not great risk-reward is still not bad.
Be wary of bad position
However this is where you need to be careful in no limit Texas hold’em because you do not want to escalate the pot to crazy levels only having a hand like top pair with a decent kicker. So if you check then your opponents can either check behind you and take free cards or keep the pot escalating by betting hands that they think are best. If you bet and they have say A-K or A-Q then they can simply call and you are not going to be aware of where you are in the hand because two consecutive calls from your opponent basically gives you little by way of information.
So you have several problems when you hold big cards in early position in no limit online poker. This is that raising allows your opponents to know your hand strength pretty well and also if you make a pair on the flop then it is difficult to play it well when your opponents have your range narrowed down like that.