The Texas Hold’em illusion

Texas hold’ em is an illusion. It appears to be a simple game, but you have to understand all the variables and how to make the correct play.

The most important, but probably most difficult aspect of hold’ em, is to know what the best possible hand – known as “the nuts” – is, and whether any of your opponents could be holding it. For instance if the five community cards are Q(D), 9(S), 7(H), 4(C), 2(H) there is no chance any player can be holding a straight flush or full house. The best possible hand would be three Queens.

By assessing the number of players in the game, and their betting patterns, you’ll get a hint about the best hand. The more players and the more raises in a game, the better the chance that one of the players has “the nuts”. It’s important that you are able to recognize when you have the best possible hand. If you have the nuts and don’t know it, you can lose out on a very profitable opportunity. But believing you have the nuts, and you really don’t, can be much more costly to you.

For example, if the community cards are and you have an Ace-Ten, you’re almost certainly a winner.
You should get as much money into the pot and milk it for all it’s worth. But if the Four of clubs is a Four of hearts, you could lose to a flush. In Texas hold’em, the betting position is more crucial than
with any other poker game. That’s because the game is a fixed-position game, rather than one where the lead-off bet has the high hand. Since the players only see the community cards, it’s not possible to discern who has the high hand in hold’em, so the betting proceeds from the player to the left of the button. Since it is always beneficial to act last in any poker game, you should be more selective of the hands you play when you bet from an early position, rather than when you are in a position near the end of the hand.

You might want to consider seeing the flop. If you pair up one of those cards, you’re in a much stronger position, I particularly if the paired card is the highest of the flop. Beware of suited cards. While they are valuable, having two in your hand is just that; it’s only two towards a flush. It I might end up costing you significant bets chasing that fourth or fifth suited card. High cards are better than low cards. If you have two downcards like throw them away. Even if you pair one or the other, there’s very little chance no one else will come through with a higher pair.