Online Hold ’Em Strategy

The following tips and suggestions can apply to the game of poker at large, but are particularly useful for new online players at low-stakes Hold ’Em tables, whether in cash games or tournaments. Remember that these tips and observations are generally true. Particular game circumstances can change everything in a heartbeat.

Be Selective with Starting Hands

The awful truth is that, as a rule, you should be throwing away most of your starting hands in Texas Hold ’Em. What is meant by “most?” It’s impossible to say anything exact here, but a ballpark figure of 75–85 percent is not unreasonable. That means that you’d be mucking three hands out of four—at a minimum. Conservative players tend to wait for a premium hand before even getting involved in a pot. What constitutes a premium hand varies, but AA, KK, and AK are some usual suspects.
By folding junk hands early and often, you are minimizing potential losses. A couple of other points are critical here:

• The strength of your starting hand depends on the number of other players at the table. In a 10-player game, you should tighten up your criteria for a playable starting hand. In a two-player heads-up match, you obviously would loosen up quite a bit.

• Keep your position (relative to the dealer) in mind. Starting hands that would be marginal in early position may be playable in late position. Remember that the benefit of late position is the ability to act last, to see and take into account the actions of all the other players in a round of betting.

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