poker
Poker Strategy III  Preflop Thoughs and Strategy 
Preflop Strategy in Hold emLet's say you get a mid pocket pair ... sevens, before you take off like a gambling fool, you better think about all of the factors involved in solid preflop strategy.
Number of players: In a 9 or 10 hand game, there is much greater probability that someone else also has a strong preflop hand vs. a shorthanded (6 or fewer players). In a large game, you need to be more cautious in larger games because of the grater probability of another players having a strong hand preflop. In general, if you are in early positions you want to have a stronger opening hand and in later position you can slightly weaker openers trying to catch a flop that "fits". Table Mix: How aggressive or passive is the competition. Assuming you've been playing with a few people for several hands, and you notice that seat 2 is raising every hand preflop, you'll want to play tighter. He may steal a few blinds (big deal), but wait and nail him to the wall when you have a solid hand in the pocket preflop. Risk/Reward: If you have $10 left, you'll want to carefully select one hand to bet on, before the blinds get you, hoping to get as many players involved as possible for a larger pot possibly raising and going allin before the flop is dealt. On the flipside, if you have $1000 at a $3/$6 table, you can take the highrisk, highpayout bets. Also, if you are aggressive ... and want to shoot for larger pots, and don't mind a greater chance for losing a few hands, the you will want to raise preflop, especially if you are in late position or on the button. Others tend to be more selective as possible preflop, grinding out a winning hand here or there. It all comes down to perception ... how you perceive the table, and how they perceive you ... If the other players think you are tight, and you raise preflop ... how will the react ... Now you start to see that there are two games involved ... For the most part, you want hands that have high card value, or the ability to be the best hand (the nuts) so look for high value cards (Q/K, A/K, A/Q), suited (Preferably with one high card and drawing for a flush) and connected (drawing for a straight) cards, and obviously, always play high pocket pairs (queens or better). Lower pairs, while they always have potential  might not be as strong as you think. We'll get into the odds of poker in the next few sections. Your position: If you are sitting in a late position, you have the ability to influence the size of the pot much more than those in early position. This is especially true preflop ... which brings us to:
PreFlop Strategy Based on Position Now that we have an understanding of position  and the basic preflop strategies that are not affected by position, let's look at some typical openers and how your position might affect how to play the hand. In general, the closer you are to the button  the stronger your position which means that you have more information to base your betting strategy on. Once you get over the fact that any hand can be a winner  being dealt 2c7s would be as impossible a hand to win as you could imagine ... until the flop was 7h7d7c ... but that aside, it is important to recognize that certain hands will have a higher probability of winning than others  and after the flop, you should know exactly what your potential outs are and make a determination if your hand has a chance to win the pot. There are certain hands of strength that can be dominant  by definition, a dominant hand is one where there are fewer than three outs that can beat you  Let's say you have an unsuited AK and your opponent has an unsuited AJ ... the only card that can help is a Jack to fall on the flop. You want to recognize situations like this  and just be aware ... later we'll discuss how to trap the unsuspecting. Let's look at the basic strength of your openers: Obviously, any high pair AA, KK, QQ, JJ are going to be very powerful openers. Smaller pairs, suited cards, and zero and one gap cards also have basic odds that make them favorable based on the situation.
Red: Always call  Raise (70% random)  Reraise (50% random) * You will note that on the chart above we have added a Random action  One of the biggest problems that players have, particularly online players who jump into live tournaments is being able to be predictable. Just being aware of the fact that other players might read your tendancies will make it that much more unlikely that someone will.  Looking at the chart above, you will see that having a high pair is favorable. The hands in Red are the hands you will always open on and should defend with a raise or play a check/raise strategy. The hands in bold should at least be called to see the flop. The other thing you will notice is that the further you are from the button, the higher a caliber of openers you should have. This compensates for the inherent weakness is your position as you move away from the button. In general, you will open or call in most situations where you have a pair and at least look at the flop. If you have a pair 99 or lower, and do not catch a set  look for other outs such as a flop of 6,7,8 where the odds of another player having one of the other 2 9's is only 2/47 or about 4.3%. Looking at the chart, you see that it is actually favorable to have suited overcards rather than a low pair because of the higher probability of a dominant hand such as a Ace high flush or simply drawing a high pair on the flop. This is because but you start to have suited over cards which allow you to have a possible high flush draw and possible outs for a high pair  you statistically start to have the percentages of making your hand with AK be higher than making a hand with a pocket pair of 9's or lower. This is calculated by taking the number of "Outs" or combination of cards that would give you a winning hand, so the odds of drawing a third nine would be: I determine the odds of not getting the card  so 48 cards that aren't a nine divided by the number of cards: (1(48/50)) + (1(47/49)) +(1( 46/48)) on the flop or about 12.24%  Don't worry  the next section is on calculating odds so it will be covered in a bit more depth. Then the odds of catching a third nine on the turn, since you didn't get it on the flop, would be 45/47 or about 4.3% And finally the odds of catching the third nine on the river would be 44/46 or again ... just about 4.3 % Now look at the AK. What really would kill the AK is if you hit the third Nine, which you won't 87.76% on the flop  They have several possible outs 3 Aces and 3 Kings so the odds become (1  (44/50)) etc on the flop (44 cards that aren't a King or Ace) + (1(43/49)) +(1 (42/48)) = which amounts to about 36% of the time  that the AK will catch a high pair on the flop ... Now in addition to position from the button  you hopefully have paid close attention to the players at the table. (this was covered in "position" but for those who skipped ahead its worth repeating): In one sentence, sit to the right of a tight player  to the left of a loose player.
So let's look at some situations: Example: You are in the big blind, a fairly tight player raises in middle position  What is your best play? Your Hand
Now consider a tight game where you are the small blind  action is to you  and you are against one or two tight players: What is the best play?
Here are some other situational calls in a mix of looser players  You are mid table  no positional advantage
Example: You are in the small blind after 5 loose limpers (players who call blind or seem to play anything). What's Best play?
Final thoughts  Remember  any time you have suited cards  you have implied strength. An A  7 is more likely to win on a pair of Aces than actually pull the flush  You cannot live on straight and flush draws and survive in Hold'em.
