Texas Holdem/Texas Hold'em Strategy
Texas Hold'em Strategy:
Learn Evaluate Your Cards
The first critical decision you make in Texas Hold 'Em Poker is whether to play your 2 hole cards or not.
So how do you know if your cards are good? The general rule is that you should seriously consider folding before the flop if you have two non-pair cards that are less than 10. More conservative players fold if just one of his cards is less than 10; an aggressive player might stay in with, for example, an 8 and 9 of the same suit because they offer decent possibilities for a straight or flush.
If the big blind is low enough, it may be worthwhile to play a not so strong cards just so you can see the flop. But this is an exception to the rule and you shouldn't abuse it, especially if your cards are a sure loser. Don't waste your chips trying to get something out of nothing. Because that would be gambling. Poker is all about skills and learning how to calculate your pot odds.
Also, when you look at your cards, be careful not to reveal any tell signs -- facial or otherwise. Taking a sharp breath, no matter how quietly you do it, can suggest a lot including telling a sharp opponent all he needs to know to have an advantage over you. Remember to always keep a poker face.
At the same time, be observant and watch for tells or behaviors of your opponents that give away clues of his playing style.
Playing the Flop
After seeing the flop and you still lack a good hand, stop right there and muck your cards. A common mistake made by beginners is waiting for the Turn and River hoping they can still get a winning hand. If the cards you need did not appear on the flop, what are the odds that they will come up in the next rounds? Slim.
For example, if you don't have the high pair after the flop (e.g. if the flop is K-10-4, the high pair would be two Ks), and you have no chance for straight or a flush, muck your hand.
However, as the number of players goes down, so does the potential of a strong hand. If you're at a table with just two other players, it could pay off to be more aggressive and maybe bluff your way to winning the pot.
If you're first to bet after the flop, it's sometimes wise to check instead of bet. If your hand is a bit weak, you might be able to see one more card without having to post a bet into the pot—meaning get a free card. Now, if your hand is strong, you could slowplay convince your opponents that your hand is weaker than it really is.
Playing the Turn and the River
Also known as the Third and Fourth street, respectively, the fourth and fifth community cards that give you two more chances to either give up your losing hand or increase your winnings.
This also the time to be cautious. At this point, it's likely there will only be one or two other players still in the pot with you. After the turn, it is unwise to stay in the pot hoping for a straight or flush, unless you can do so by checking. But, again, the odds of drawing a straight or a flush at this stage of the hand, is somewhat slim.
The bottom: Don't get sucked in too far with a weak hand.