Poker Strategy: Tips on How to do the Pre-Flop Well
Poker is incredibly popular and well-known throughout the world. Some things that make it enjoyable are the ability to make real money playing it and the psychological aspect of the game. One of the biggest reasons poker is so popular is that it can be enjoyed equally by both beginners and pros. Beginner players can easily pick up and learn poker thanks to the simple rules, at least in Texas Holdem poker, the most popular variant. On the other hand, pros can still enjoy the game because no matter how much you play it, there is still more you can learn. For beginners wanting to learn more about poker strategy, this poker guide will help.
The Different Poker Rounds
In this strategy guide, we will give you tips on how to play throughout the pre-flop round of poker. However, knowing about each different round is essential for beginners as well. That is why we have a list of the five rounds in a regular game of Texas Holdem:
This is when the dealer gives everyone their two hole cards, and the blinds make their forced bets. The player clockwise to the big blind will then have to call, raise, or fold to the blind. Standard betting action then continues clockwise around the table.
The poker flop refers to the first three community cards. This round gets its name because it is the round when the flop is dealt in the middle of the table. After the cards are dealt, action starts with the player to the left of the button.
This round is when the dealer puts down the fourth community card. Normal betting then begins again in the same fashion as the flop.
This round is when the dealer reveals the fifth community card. Betting action begins again in the same style as the previous two rounds.
If there is still more than one player after the river, the showdown begins. No more betting action; instead, players reveal their cards to determine the strongest hand. The winner takes the pot.
Why is the pre-flop important?
The pre-flop is often considered the most important round, as it forms the basis for your future decisions. Good decisions pre-flop will usually net you very early advantages like getting information about the other players’ hands. Likewise, bad decisions pre-flop, like limping, can cause you to lose even with a solid pre-flop starting hand like pocket kings. With that in mind, here are some excellent tips to ensure your pre-flop strategy is sound.
Play fewer hands
A prevalent mistake for beginners; playing too many hands can hurt your game. Even the most experienced and aggressive poker players know not to play too many hands, as you will lose more often than not. Even if you think you can bluff your way to victory, as a beginner, it is best to stick to only the best poker hands. These are generally strong pocket pairs like AA and KK, and connectors like AK or KQ.
Do not limp
Another typical beginner mistake known as limping, is when you call the big blind instead of raising or folding. This comes from flawed reasoning like wanting to see the flop cheaply or to hide their strong hands. Poker pros seldom limp for several reasons. The first is that when your pre-flop hand is strong, limping allows your opponents to see the flop and outdraw your strong pair with an excellent five-card hand like a flush.
The second is that raising can give you information about your opponents’ hands. When you raise, the big blind will be forced to make a decision, usually folding if their hand is not that good. With limping, the big blind could have any possible hand, and you have no information about that. Finally, raising gives us another way to win: getting opponents to fold early. A limp will never get anyone to fold; you are simply counting on the flop, which is not the best course of action with a strong pocket pair.
Similar to the point about limping, being aggressive is generally a better idea than playing passively in poker. Instead of limiting yourself to having a strong hand during the showdown, you will want to be able to make your opponents fold early. While there is a vast difference between being aggressive and recklessly throwing around money, remember to make the most out of a strong hand.
Be aware of position
Position is often overlooked by those new to poker. A good position is a significant factor in how many hands you play and the information you get from the other players. As a general rule of thumb, you want to play fewer hands from early positions and vice versa for later positions. This is because all the other players can react to you in an early position like being “under the gun”, so you want to play only the strongest hands.
Position also determines whether you are one of the blinds. Players playing as the blinds often want to play more hands since they already have a stake in the pot. This is a terrible mindset since, most of the time, blinds play out of position post-flop.
This was a strategy guide on the importance of the poker pre-flop and tips on how to play the pre-flop well. We hope this guide helped you learn how to play poker pre-flop. If you want to practice these tips, playing poker on online sites like GGPoker, the world’s largest poker room, is a great idea. Beginners usually prefer online poker because of its ease of access, ability to play multiple games simultaneously, and specialized poker tracking software. Sign up at GGPoker today!