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7 Critical Factors You Must Know Before You Play Any Hand in Texas Hold’em Poker
Being a poker professional I receive tons of emails and questions about how to play certain hands or what I would do in a particular situation. In this article I’ve outlined seven critical factors you need to be aware of any time you play Texas Hold’em poker.
Use this article as an outline to help make the best possible decisions when playing poker. All of these factors are very important to understand if you want to be a successful Texas Holdem player.
1. Table Position.
The first thing to notice when playing Holdem is where you’re at on the table. There are good positions and bad positions.
The best position is when you’re on the button. That is the Dealer Button. The reason for this is because you get to act last and see what everyone else does before you.
The worst position in my opinion is the small blind. Since you have a little money already in the pot you may play marginal hands that you wouldn’t otherwise. Thus you get yourself into a lot more pots when you really shouldn’t be. Most of the time these come back to bite you.
2. The Read on Your Opponents
The read you have on your opponents is all important. Depending if you’re playing against real loose players or real tight players will greatly help in choosing what hands to play and how to play them. The best way to get a read on your opponents is to simply watch how they play when you’re not playing.
3. Number of Players at the Table
The number of people at a table is important mainly because it will increase or decrease the strength of your hand. If you have a full table of ten you’re A,T suited won’t be nearly as strong as if your playing at a short-handed table of five or six. All of a sudden that A,T suited is now very strong.
4. Number of Players in the Hand
This goes along with rule number two but with a slight variation. When everyone at a full table folds except for you and one opponent; immediately your hand strength has grown stronger.
However, you need to be aware of one thing. You must be aware of all the other cards that were folded. Granted you won’t know what they were but you can make an educated guess based on the read you have on other players. Most of the time your opponents folded because they didn’t catch a monster hand. Even if there are loose players at the table and they folded. You know they folded junk or they would still be in the hand.
Therefore if you have a low to middle pair the likelihood of you hitting trips on the flop diminishes. So you need to proceed with caution. On the other hand if you have A,Q suited be aggressive in your play.
5. Your Cards
What are your cards? This is important. Right? Now you will see some of the pros talk about how they don’t even have to look at their cards sometimes because they know their opponents so well. If you’re reading this my guess is you’re not one of them. Therefore, the cards we’re dealt have a dramatic impact on our ability to win. We must be patient. And when the right hands are dealt we need to be ready to pounce and win big pots.
6. Chip Stacks
The reason chip stacks are important is because people play differently when the size of their chip stack changes. For example, if you’re the short stack you may play more tightly waiting for that right hand. At the same time if you’re the chip leader you may get so aggressive and try to bully people around and steal blinds. Now I’m not saying either way is the right or wrong way to play. It’s just important to know how your opponents begin to change their play as their chip stacks change. How do you change your play when you’re the short stack or the chip leader?
7. Table Action
What’s going on before you? Does the guy to your right always lay down big raises? It’s important to pay close attention to what the action is doing before it comes to you. If someone raises, and then two people reraise and you’re sitting on QQ you may want to lay it down. You can safely assume someone if not two people have AA and KK leaving you on the short end of the stick if you choose to play.
Remember, poker takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to master. Understand and use these seven critical factors to help you master the game and win a lot more when you play Texas Holdem poker.
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