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Pre-Flop Strategy

Pre-flopThere are several factors that come into play in Pre-Flop Strategy for Texas Hold ‘Em. The first of which is your position at the table. The most unfortunate position that you can find yourself in is either of the blinds, because in that position, you have to commit money to the pot without the advantage of seeing your cards beforehand. However, in this position, you can raise when the betting gets around to you. The other possible positions are defined by where you sit in relation to the Big Blind. Let’s pretend we are dealing with a full ten handed game, in this case, the first three people on the left of the Big Blind are called early position. In this seat, you need stronger cards than you do in the other seats. The next 3 people are referred to as the middle positions. In this seat, you can get away with playing weaker cards than those in the blinds and early positions. The final two players are in the best seats at the table, as they can play the weakest of all cards and can make the most moves at the table.

The next thing you should consider is your card strength. This is outlined in the list below.

Premium Cards – These are the best possible pocket cards

  • Ace-Ace
  • King-King
  • Ace-King suited
  • Queen-Queen
  • Jack-Jack

You would be well advised to raise with these cards in any position at the table.

Highly Playable Hands – good hands but not quite as good as premium cards

  • Ace-Queen, Ace-Jack, Ace-10 all suited
  • Ace-King
  • King-Queen suited
  • 10-10
  • Ace-10, King-Jack, Queen-Jack, Jack-10 all suited
  • Ace-Queen, Ace-Jack
  • 9-9
  • King-Queen
  • King-10, Queen-10 suited

Playable Hands – somewhat strong but not as good as the cards above

  • 8-8
  • Jack-9 10-9 both suited
  • 7-7
  • 9-8,8-7 both suited
  • Ace with any other suited card
  • King-Jack, Queen-Jack, Jack-10

Kinda Playable Hands – not so wonderful, but still playable

  • Any low pair (e.g. pairs below 7)
  • Connected suited card, such as 8-7,5-4,4-3
  • Ace-10, King-10, Queen-10
  • King-9, Jack-8 both suited

All other hands apart from the above

All other hands not described above are weak hands and should be played with caution.
Finally, we offer a General Strategy based on the hands shown above. When you have any of the Premium Hands, you should raise, no matter what position you are in. The only exception to this general rule refers to Q’s and J’s which only should be raised if no one else has raised. If you have a Highly Playable Hand, you should be looking to raise if you are in the middle to late position if no one betting before you has raised If you have one of the Playable hands, only raise in the middle to late position if everyone else has folded. If you have only a so-so hand, you don’t want to chance staying in on the hopes of a miracle, but you want to make sure that you are not seen playing only the absolute best hands, this will be picked up as a tell, even in online games. The only way to really gain a feel for poker strategy is by playing, but these basic strategies are meant to give some general ideas about the strength of your pocket cards and how to play them.