Tips for Beginner No Limit Holdem Players

No Limit Texas Hold’em Poker takes just minutes to learn the rules. However it takes a lot longer to master the game. The following are a series of tips that beginner player who is just starting out can use to instantly improve their game.

Starting Hands

The following is a list of possible starting hands and the ideal way to play them, particularly for an entry level player.

Small Pocket Pairs

Try to play small pocket pairs against as many players as possible yet see the flop as cheaply as you can. With small pocket pairs you pretty much either want to just limp in (simply call the big blind) or perhaps call a very small raise.

The idea behind this is that you are hoping to hit trips, meaning a third identical card on the flop giving you three of a kind. This becomes quite a powerful hand as nobody will suspect that the low number card on the board is of any danger. If this does happen (which it will roughly 1 in every 8 times you have a pocket pair) then you should begin to bet and raise, trying to get as many chips into the pot as you possibly can.

The logic behind playing this against many other players is that you hope somebody else has made a high pair that they are willing to lay a lot of chips on the table for. For example if an ace appears on the board and another player holds an ace than they will most likely bet big as they have the highest pair on the board, little do they know you are holding trips. Read More

Dominating Weak Players

One of the great skills a poker player can have is to be able to identify the weak players at a table, and then take advantage of them. Once you know what to look for and how to play them it is actually a pretty easy process.

How to Identify a Weak Player

Pre-Flop Play

Do they ever raise before the flop or do they simply call. If you find someone is constantly limping into games then it is likely they are a weak player.

Betting

If a player likes to bet, odds are they are an aggressive player, however if a player tends to check or call repeatedly – they are usually a weak player.

Live Play

When playing at a live game you can even identify weak players by the way they dress and speak. A conservative player will dress conservative and often speak quietly where as an aggressive player may dress more flamboyantly and speak aggressively.
So now that you know how to identify the weak players on a table, how do you take advantage of – and dominate them?
The best way to reap the benefits of playing a weak player is to get them heads up. For example you might make a raise that the rest of the table will fold too just so you can get that player one on one. Then you simply let his actions dictate the way in which you play.
So if the weak players decides to check on the flop then even if you have a 2/7 off-suit, you should raise, because they are such a weak player they have clearly shown they have a bad hand. If they raise however, unless you have a strong hand yourself you should think about folding.
The thing with weak players is they are the most predictable players in all of poker and if you can work a few of their patterns out then you will be able to play them like a fiddle.

The Turn

In Texas Holdem poker the Turn is the fourth community card, dealt face up in the middle of the table. Play begins with the first active player to the immediate left of the dealer. When the Turn takes place, the bets are doubled. At this point many Texas Holdem players complete their hands as there are four community cards on the board. Every poker player knows that there will be only one community card after the Turn and this is the Fifth Street.

In order to see the Turn, there are two possibilities for every Texas Holdem player. First, the player can see the Fourth Street if he has a strong hand after the Flop and second, the player will continue his play on the Turn if he has many outs and expects to form a very strong hand with the Turn card. If you think your opponents have worse hands than yours after the Turn card is dealt and you are first to act, the best decision in this case for you will be to bet. If you have only one pair in your hand and one of your opponents raises on the Turn, you should fold if you do not want to lose much money.

However, if you see the Turn with only two unsuited overcards and you see that it is not possible to improve your hand, you should fold. Also you should fold when there is a bet in front of you and you hold a poor hand. Do not expect very much from the last community card and remember that the best hand you can form with your two unsuited overcards is a pair. Knowing how to use the odds on the Turn will help you to improve your play and to become a successful Texas Holdem player.

In case when you are sure you have the strongest hand, the best strategy will be to make the other players at the table put money into the pot. It means that reading your opponents is very important when you are on the Turn. Another important thing to observe in the third round of betting is what kind of hands the other players have played and of course the way they play these hands. This will help you to build your own strategy and to see the Showdown.

Examine carefully your opponents before and after the Flop. It will give you useful information and will help you to make the right decisions on the Turn.

A One Way Trip To Value-Town

I am sure anybody that is serious about poker or has been playing for a while, has heard the term “Value-Bet”. For those of you who have not, here’s a quick definition.

Value-Bet: A bet made intended to extract value from a second best hand.

Why should we value bet?

We all like money, don’t we? A lot of these people at the low-limits call way too much and overvalue their hands. We need to exploit this and take advantage of them.
First when we value bet, we have to be sure we have the best hand and will be called by worse. We will also need a little bit of hand reading skills and be able to put villain on a range of hands.
value bet poker

Example of value betting:

You’re dealt XX on the button you raise and get called by the BB. The Flop comes: XXX. Here we can value bet because we most likely have the best hand and will get called by worse.
Hands we are beating and could get called by: 33-QQ, K3+, JT-QT-AT, all straight draws, all flush draws and some air sometimes. That’s a lot of hands we are beating and which will call our value bet on the flop.
We are only losing to a few selective hands: KT-K2-AA-AK-T2 and sets. We can really almost rule out AK-AA-KK as these hands should have re-raised pre-flop and K2-T2 shouldn’t even have called your raise. So we are really only afraid of KT-TT-22. That is not many hands at all.
So we can profitably value bet here and get called by worse hands. This is one of the most important concepts to beating low-limit Holdem. One of the biggest mistakes people make is not value betting and getting all fancy and tricky. And that’s why they are still playing low-limit uNL. I was one of those people. I remember learning about more advanced plays before I really learned about how to value bet right. Its one of the most important concepts you need to learn to win at low-limit poker.
I see a lot of people thinking there value betting, but are actually bluffing. Most people think value betting is continuous betting when they get a piece of the board. Well its not, that’s more a bluff or just plain spewing your money off to the loose/passive-calling stations. Remember a bluff is getting a better hand than yours to fold and calling stations don’t like to fold. A value-bet is getting a worse hand to call you. A bluff and value bet is almost opposite of each other and if you don’t understand this your going to be playing low limits forever.

How big should we be value betting?

Well that’s up to you. We want to bet enough to get maximum value, but we don’t want to bet big enough to make the villain fold. Optimum value bet sizing is usually ½ to ¾ pot. It can be opponent dependent sometimes as some opponents will call a big bet and some will only call small bets.
There is many ways to extract value from our opponents. Value betting is one of them and a very important one to beating small stakes uNL. Remember a value bet is meant to get called by second best hands. We are not value betting when we are getting called by better hands. That my friend is a bluff.
So every time before you make a decision, put your opponent on a range of hands and ask yourself this question: Am I betting for value here or am I bluffing?

Playing from Late Position

Each position at the poker table is different and being able to play from the various positions requires knowledge of what happens at these positions. You will not play the same hand from an early position as you would from a late position, in fact you might not even play the hand at all depending on your position. Being in a late position at the table is the most advantageous position that you can be in for a number of reasons.

The first reason that being in a late position at the poker table is so good is the fact that you get to see what everyone does before you have to act. This gives you a massive amount of information and having information at the poker table leads to better decisions, which leads to winning more often and making more money. It is important not to let this advantage go to waste. I cannot even explain how many poker players let the advantage of this information just slip by. Poker players have to pay attention to everything that is happening at the table before it is your turn to act. Whether you are playing online or in real life, do not think about your hands, do not even look at your cards if you are playing in real life, and focus on what every other player is doing. This will give you information on the strength of their hand. Read More