A solid poker strategy can take time to develop, progressing through various stages of edification. It’s only proper to begin that progression with a series of beginner poker strategies. Such points of interest include player position, outs and odds, managing your bankroll and staying alert. We’ll cover each of these aspects in the following beginner poker strategies.
Player position is a basic, but very important element in poker play. In some situations, your position can turn a mediocre hand into a solid betting hand. Late position is easily the best seat to be in, particularly on the button.
As a late position bettor, you are privileged to extensive knowledge, including the confidence of all previous bettors. When early and middle position bettors choose to fold, or limp in, you can raise with the healthy assurance that they will fold. If an opponent calls the blind early, they rarely have a strong enough hand to call a follow-up raise. Late position is the easiest place in which to steal blinds.
From early position, the rule is simple enough, bearing in mind that you soon have to face a late position bettor. Either fold your hand, or raise the big blind. If you’re not willing to call a possible raise from your opponents in the late positions, don’t bother betting at all.
Outs are a poker player’s best friend, and the more you have, the better. An Out is any card that will improve your hand. For instance, a 6 would complete a Straight in a hand of 3-4-5-7. There are four 6’s in a deck, so this hand would have four Outs. Let’s say this hand also contains four Spades. There are nine Spades left in the deck, giving you nine more Outs to a Flush. Every Out you have raises your chances of getting one of the cards you need, thereby raising your chances of winning the hand.
Pot Odds are based directly on the number of Outs you have to a better hand. By calculating your Pot Odds, you can determine exactly how much you can safely risk wagering. For example, should your hand have 8 Outs (an Outside Straight for instance) after the Flop. That leaves 47 unseen cards, 8 of which can help you. We calculate that to find there’s a 17% chance the next card will be one of your Outs. The proper bet would be 17% of the current pot size. If the pot has $100 in it, you would bet or raise $17. This is called a “value bet”.
Awareness is a vital skill in poker. You should always pay close attention to how other players are betting, and how they have acted in previous hands. By observing your opponents, you can get a strong read on their behaviour. If a player always bets or raises with a marginal hand, then suddenly chooses to check, they may be attempting the classic “check/raise”; i.e. they have a monster hand. Look for any kind of patterns you can associate with a player and soon enough you’ll be able to predict their hands and upcoming manoeuvres.
As a novice poker player, proper maintenance of your bankroll (bankroll management) is crucial. Knowing what size stakes to play, as well as how much to bring to the table, will help your bankroll to last much longer, especially if you’re utilizing the above beginner poker strategies as well. There are two major bankroll rules to follow.
First, never take more than 10% of your bankroll to the table. This ensures you’ll have at least ten fair shots at a winning session.
The second rule applies to what stakes to play, according to how much 10% of your bankroll is. If you enter a Fixed Limit game, you should have at least 100x the Big Blind bet. For a Pot Limit or No Limit game, bring at least 400x the Big Blind bet.