Texas Holdem Strategy For Beginners – 15 Minutes Crash Course

texas holdem strategies skills feature imagePoker

Texas Holdem Strategy For Dummies

We use Texas Holdem (or Texas Hold’em) because Texas Hold’em is de-facto the most popular poker in all variations.

It is often described as “Texas Holdem takes 5 minutes to learn and a lifetime to master”.

All established tournaments including World Series of Poker, World Poker Tour & European Poker Tour feature the no-limit variation of this game. So, there are no online poker sites that don’t provide Texas Hold’em.

We share 3 easy but essential knowledge of Texas Holdem Strategy for beginners, which enable you to beat almost all opponents who play without knowing such essential winning strategies.

Online Poker is not a game of luck but heavily relies on skill and we will guide you on how to make real money with Texas Hold’em strategy charts, tools & advanced tips!!

Poker Texas Holdem Guide Our Objectives

Our Texas Holdem 15 minutes crash course doesn’t aim to make you become a top-level poker player but focus on providing you with the knowledge & tools related to poker strategy for Texas Holdem beginners, which enable you to achieve at least break-even in the poker room.

Why? Because given the various bonuses (both welcome & reload) poker sites offer, you can extract thousands of £/€/$ as your profits. You can achieve this objective with the following 2 guides ( plus 1 which is designed for the serious online poker player who expects consistent poker income);

best poker bonus hunting guide feature image

best crypto poker sites feature image

poker for a living feature image

Online Poker Texas Hold’em Very Basics

What is Texas Hold’em Key Rules?

If you are already familiar with Poker & Texas Holdem, just skip this section.

There are many poker variations, which can be categorised into 3 as below;

  • Draw Poker: Players deal a complete hand, hidden, and then improve it by replacing cards, the most common is five-card draw.
  • Stud Poker: Each player receives a combination of face-up cards and face-down cards in multiple betting rounds, the most common is five-card stud & seven-card stud, and these 2 variants are further played in other different formats.
  • Community Card Poker: Each player’s incomplete hidden hand is combined with shared face-up cards, the popular games are Texas hold ’em & Omaha hold ’em.

Texas Hold’em Simple Rules

texas holdem table position

Texas Hold’em is defined as Community Card Poker and as illustrated above, there is no house to compete with but competition among players.

The Dealer button moves clockwise one position around the table, which means that players take turns to be the dealer, the Small Blind and the Big Blind (these 2 players are named “blinds” because they are forced to bet before anyone even sees their cards).

If a hand of poker is played all the way to its conclusion, there will be four betting rounds during which players can commit their chips to the pot – 3 options of “Call” (matching the size of the current bet), “Raise” (increase the size of the current bet) & “Check” (not wish to commit any more chips to the pot, just passing the betting turn).

Finally, there is an option of “Fold” (just give up the game & chips you already bet) at any time.

The game sequence is;

  • The Pre Flop (1st Round): It’s played with a rotating dealer (or button). The small blind (immediate left to the dealer) & big blind (one further seat from the dealer) each post small bets to initiate the action. Every player is dealt two face-down cards called “Hole“. Players go through a round of Pre Flop betting (betting starts Under The Gun after the Blinds and finish at Dealer, and players are wagering based solely on the strength of their two concealed hole cards).
  • The Flop (2nd Round): The first three face-up community cards called “Flop” is dealt & each player checks what hand can be made by combining 2 hole cards and 3 community cards. Players go through another round of betting.
  • The Turn (3rd Round): The fourth face-up community card is known as “Turn” is dealt & each player checks what hand can be made by combining 2 hole cards and any 3 out of 4 community cards. Players go through another round of betting.
  • The River (4th Final Round): Fifth face-up community card is known as “River” is dealt & each player checks what hand can be made by combining 2 hole cards and any 3 out of 5 community cards. The final betting round ensues.
  • Showdown: Remaining players show their cards (“Hand“) to determine the winner. The winner collects all the pot chips.

BTW, just in case you’re not familiar with Poker Hand, there are only below 10 hands (Royal Flush is the strongest) that you might have heard of;poker hands ranking

As long as you understand the above basics, you can start.

Texas Holdem 3 Essential Technical Skills to Win

Then, how to win or at least not to lose big.

The golden rule is “Don’t allow the specific result to alter your decision making and you should base it in mathematics”.

We would like you to always make a call of mathematically correct, which will give you far better chances to achieve those objectives than not doing so.

From this perspective, you need to understand Texas Hold’em mathematical logics & master the following 3 key strategies to determine your actions;

  • Preflop Technical Skills: Position, Winning Rate & Hand
  • Post flop Technical Skills: Pot Odds, Equity & EV
  • Mental Technical Skills: Bluffing, Fold, Opponents & Table Selection

In the beginning, you may feel a bit overwhelmed but once you start playing, you will get used to them relatively quickly because all in all they are quite simple (suggest you do practice in free play site as explained later).

Pre Flop Skills: Position, Winning Rate & Hand

Position Strategies

Watch the below PokerStars video (PokerStars is indisputably the world largest online poker site but not recommend for the beginners.

Why? see Best Crypto Poker Sites – Latest Soft List to Prey Fishes, but the tutorial videos are good & exciting)  and understand the action you should take in each position;

Limp Strategies

Basically, you should not “Limp” (bet the absolute minimum needed to stay in a hand, namely “call at pre-flop”) rather than “Fold” or “Raise” mainly due to the following reasons;

  • You can’t win the pot before the flop like you could if you raised
  • You give the players behind attractive pot odds, making it more likely you face multiple players and thus less likely you win the pot
  • The only exception is when other players already limped, so-called over-limping, which can be good because you are getting great pot odds to join the action so you may have a chance of hitting something good on the flop.

Pre Flop Hands Strategy

Watch the below PokerStars video;

Pre Flop Hands Strategy Key Point (1)

Texas Holdem hands strategy is very important. See the below Hand Matrix. It displays all the possible hands you could be dealt preflop.

You can see which range of hands you should play from a given situation because it is the best, quickest, and easiest way to know what hands to play.

texas holdem pre flop hand matrix

This matrix is structured based on winning rate % of each combination. The winning rate of the top left “AA” the highest rate of 85% while the right-bottom “32o” is 35%.

The ranges that follow (each colour represents your current position), are the hands you should Raise First. In other words, these are the hands you should play pre-flop when the action folds to you, and you should play them by raising (see the definition of 1 – 3 number as well).

The best way to approach raise first is to pick a range of hands which you believe is strong enough to play from a given situation, then raise with all of them using raise size.
You should use a consistent size in order to give away as little information about what you might have as possible.

Using a raise size anywhere between 2.5 times and 4 times the size of the big blind when you have a hand worth playing (smaller raise seems to work best in online games, while larger size works better in live games).

Remember, following the above preflop ranges is relatively easy to do but having the discipline to keep sticking to them is difficult. Don’t allow yourself to get impatient and play a hand not worth playing.

Pre Flop Hands Strategy Key Point (2)

Never try to play too many hands. Play fewer hands (Tight) & aggressively (BTW, Aggressive is meant to be the poker players who raise more than call and are not afraid to put chips at risk, while Passive poker players tend to avoid confrontation and play with a fear of losing).

The best approach is to play a tight range of strong and/or playable hands, and you need to play those hands aggressively. Playing all of your hands aggressively, including the more speculative ones like 7♠ 6♠ or 5♥ 5♣, allows you to disguise the strength of your actual hand.

Therefore, when you raise, your opponents won’t know whether you have A-A, A-K, or 7-6, which makes you super tough to play against. Tight and aggressive often wins the game (although it also depends on the opponents’ type at the table, which we explain in the mental strategies)

You should use a consistent size in order to give away as little information about what you might have as possible. A raise size anywhere between 2.5 times and 4 times the size of the big blind is said to be good when you have a hand worth playing.

Post Flop Skills: Pot Odds, Card Equity & EV (Expected Value)

Watch the below video which concisely explains about Pot Odds Probability & Equity related to Poker EV as the parameter enabling you to make a decision on your action;

Formula to Determine Your Betting Action

As explained in the video, assuming the Pot has $80 and if you need to bet $40 to call (the total pot will become $120 by adding your bet), then;

Pot Odds = Risk vs Reward ratio = $120 : $40 = 3:1 = 25% 1 Risk  / (3 Reward + 1 Risk)

This 25% is Break-Even in Expected Value (EV), means if our “Hole” card has more than 25% “Equity” (the portion of the pot that is yours based on the likelihood you’ll win the hand or % of the time you should win a poker hand), we have Positive EV, therefore, we should “Call”, which is another way of expressing EV as;

EV = Hole Cards Equity (Outs %)  – Pot Odds %

Note: Standard EV formula is as follows, just FYI;

Standard EV “0” (break-even) = (winning probability 25%) x (win amount $120) – (losing probability 75%) x (losing amount $40) = $30 – $30 = $0

How to Calculate Hole Card Equity “Outs” – Simple 4 & 2 Rules

Then, how to calculate our hole card equity, namely your chances of completing your hand to win the pot? We count our “Outs”. An out is a term used in the after-flop betting rounds to describe any card among the unseen cards in the deck, which will substantially improve the value of your hand on the next card turned up.

See the below table showing the puts examples & equity %. Let’s take a look at Open-Ended Straight Draw example, the hole cards are 9♣8♦& the flop cards are 7♣6♥3♠,  which can be improved to be Straight with open-ended, means 5 or 10 in any suit can make it.

So, there will be 4 cards of 5 & 4 cards of 10 out of 47 remaining cards (total 52 cards – 2 + 3 known cards). The equity can be calculated as probability of 8 cards / 47 cards = 0.17 = 17%.

You don’t need to calculate in the above way, the dirty trick is to use 4 & 2 rules. After counting your outs, then multiply by four if two cards are still to come, or two for only one card to determine the equity (%).

That figure is the approximate percentage chance of hitting your drawing hand. In the above example;

On the Flop: 8 x 4 = 32% (with 2 cards to come)
On the Turn: 8 x 2 = 16% (with 1 card to come), which are close to the % in the below table.

As you may be aware this Open-ended straight draw is the identical case to Example 2 in the video.

Note: Standard EV formula using the Video Example 2 is as follows, just FYI;

EV = (winning probability 16%) x (win amount $65.5) – (losing probability 84%) x (losing amount $24) = $10.48 – $20.16 = – $9.68 (negative EV)

texas holdem outs chart

Free Tool

You can calculate equity manually but you can use Software which allows you to calculate the equity % by filling-in your hole card & estimated opponent’s concealed card.

Go to PokerStrategy.Com in Poker Tools Section, scroll down to the bottom and Download Free “Equilab” software;

pokerstrategy equilab

Watch the below video explaining how to use Equilab software;

In the beginning, calculating odds and outs seem to be difficult and time-consuming. But this process is critical to make the right decisions.

If you continually play draws without getting the right odds, you will lose money in the long run, that is the essence of EV as you know.

Mental Skills: Bluffing, Fold, Playing Style & Table Selection (Locate Fishes)

Bluffing Strategies

Watch the below video;

Semi-Bluff Aggressively with Your Draws
If you want to truly crush poker, you need to bluff effectively. But bluffing ineffectively is one of the fastest ways to lose your money at the table. So, how do you keep your bluffing frequency under control?

The most effective way to bluff is to let the cards you have dictate if you are going to bluff or not.

This means bluffing with hands that have outs to improve to the best hand on a later stage, such as straight draws, flush draws, or even just an overcard or two to the board. Think of these draws as your backup plan in case your bluff gets called.

Fold Strategies

Fold When You’re Unsure
Want to know the biggest difference between a bad player and a professional player? It’s the good player’s ability to lay down a good hand like top pair when they think they are beaten.

This sounds very simple, but it is very hard to do in practice partly because of the way our brains are built. We are naturally curious and we naturally want to win. When we fold, we surrender our chance to win the pot and we don’t get to satisfy our curiosity by finding out what our opponent has.

Calling too often and in the wrong situations is the second fastest way to lose at poker (after ineffective bluffs). Whenever you’re unsure whether to call or fold versus a bet or raise, do yourself a service and fold.

Pro Tip: When you fold in one of these situations, make sure you note down the details of the hand so you can try to figure out if you made the right fold after your session. Studying and/or discussing these sorts of hands is a great way to consistently improve your skills and fill in the gaps of your poker knowledge.

Playing Style Strategies

See the below matrix showing poker playing style, just for your summary;poker player styleIn hand strategies section, we said you should be Tight & Aggressive.  However, you also need to be flexible.

The table helps you determine your playing style which is Tight (play a small number of only the best hands as defined before) or Loose (play a wide variety of hands). Generally speaking, when the table is dominated by Lose players, taking Tight approach will bring you a better winning chance.

On the other hand, when other players are Tight, then you’d better take Lose tactics for better winning. This approach is closely related to Bluff tactics explained later.

Table Selection Strategies

Remember you generally need to be better than half the players at the table to achieve a positive win-rate. If you want a very good profit, you need to play against the worst players, so seek the good table with the following characteristics;

  • At least one player is limping regularly
  • There are many multi-way pots
  • Re-raises are either very rare or very frequent

In online poker, make the best use of the table statistics provided by poker sites. Choose an online poker table with a high average pot size and a high percentage of players seeing a flop. This is a key online poker strategy new players usually miss.

If you’re in a game with 2+ of the above points, you’re in a great position to be profitable. If none of the above points is observed, leave to find a more profitable table.

Don’t forget “If you can’t spot the sucker in your first half-hour at the table, then you are the sucker”. Besides, If you’re constantly competing against the most difficult opponents, your game/table selection skills must be poor.

See further details of how to locate easy (called soft) table (means many unskilled players), see “How to Spot Fishes” in the Conclusion section at the end.

Free Practice

In case you’re new to online poker, don’t jump in to bet your real money, but start practice with Free Play site of Pokerist;pokerist joshua interface

Texas Holdem Strategy For Beginners Warp Up

Advantage Plays

On this occasion, allow us to briefly share our Global Extra Money (GEM) site’s vision, which is “Enabling Ordinary People to Make Extra Income by Consistently Beating Online Bookies, Casino & Pokers with Advantage Plays”.

With that said, our policy is “Betting On Luck Is For Losers, Stop Gamble Betting But Bet on Only +EV To Win Reliably“, and it is effectively our way to promote Responsible Gambling under the regulation, and we strongly support GamCare & BeGambleAware being explained in about us.

We employ 6 Advantage Gambling methods. Unlike Matched Betting or Arbitrage Betting we can’t create risk-free guaranteed profits in Poker room but in comparison with casino games, Poker is pretty much skill-based game.

World Poker Tour (WPT) said there are more than 60 million poker players in the United States and over 100 million worldwide in online poker (these are old 2010 information, thus it has been much bigger by now) which indicates there are more people who play poker online than play golf, billiards, or tennis.

According to pokerplayersresearch.com, there are around 15 million online poker players from the U.S.who play for real money at least once a month;poker regular player bar chart

Although our primary objective is bonus hunting, it doesn’t mean you don’t need to miss consistent winning of poker game itself.

We assume most of the players even the above 15 million that account 25% of total players (we are comparing the different data source although in a similar period, thus such % is no way accurate, you may get some general feeling) are non-serious players who just sit & play for fun and leave when using up the money.

It’s said that well over 90% of recreational poker players (called “Fish”) lose money. Our tools are the basic but quite competitive technique to beat most of these recreational players. Unbelievably, there are always players who don’t care about odds and call too often.

These players may occasionally get lucky and win a pot, but mostly and surely they will be beaten by skilled players (called “Shark”).

The important caveat to all studies on the role of skill in poker is the length of time that you measure the results. In the short term, luck can overcome any skill you display, but over enough time, the skill will always overwhelm luck in poker.

So, we have 2 ways of making money from online poker short & long-term.

1. Online Poker – Bonus Hunting

As said at the beginning, the primary purpose of this article is Raking Online Poke Sites Juicy Bonuses with essential poker tactics. Therefore, allow me to reiterate that you make the best use of the following 2 documents;

, and make solid profits from them.

How To Spot “Fishes”

Although we cover this point in the above guides, since it’s a very important technique to achieve a consistent win, let me summarize here as well.

In Poker industry, we call “fish” as the easy opponents, means the players who may not be very skilled and can be outplayed, while “shark” refers to the skilled & tough players.

Obviously, you don’t compete with Sharks but prefer to play with Fishes as much as possible. The followings are several tips on where you can locate fishes;

  • All-in-one betting sites including sportsbook & casino such as Tiger Gaming & BetOnline.
  • Relatively low traffic sites
  • The sites where overlay tournaments are common
  • Banned HUD, restrict multi-tabling numbers & allow anonymous game sites
  • Low cash games – limit hold’em tables at $4/$8 stakes or lower
  • Low cash games – no-limit hold’em tables often at $1/$2 stakes
  • Low buy-in Sit ‘N Gos
  • Low buy-in tournaments, usually $10 or lower
  • Cash game tables near the start of a major tournament (tournament early losers try to win money back in a cash game)
  • Players who post in chats are probably fishes (grinders rarely pay attention to it)
  • Players who use poker slung in nickname using may have good basic knowledge
  • Players who rarely raises but occasionally does are most likely to be unskilled
  • Players who use auto-rebuy to normalize their stack size have often enough experiences. 

Once you realize that any of the other players at the table are highly skilled, move on to another table and take advantage of the guppies there.

Anyhow, don’t forget to use HUD (heads up display – it’s software that displays your opponents’ gaming statistical history) to spot fishes (committed reg: Holden Manager 3 & high volume grinder: Poker Tracker), just FYI.

2. Online Poker – Become Advanced Player Strategies

Levitt and Miles’s study using date from 32,000 players who participated in the 57 2010 WSOP tournaments demonstrated that “previously classified ‘skilled’ players outperformed “unskilled” players by a large margin.”

The “skilled” players achieved an average return on investment of over 30% while all others gain a negative 15% return on their results.

Despite the fact that many research proves Poker is a game of skill, players in the UK currently pay no tax on their winnings including Stephan Chidwick (at least in the British soil);

poker players all time list

Source: The Hendon Mob (the largest poker database)

Again, figuring out poker odds and probabilities look like an overwhelming task. However, a little study and memorization can make seemingly daunting task simpler & easier.

Once you learn & practice the essential strategies we cover in this article, you will be well ready to voyage your long-term poker journey which could consistently bring you extra income, which is exactly our wish.

Let me show you the video “Bankroll Management” before you start, which is actually the most important skill when you aim to be a long-term poker winning player;

Don’t forget to check Play Online Poker For A Living – The Most Practical Solution, which demonstrates how much you can really make money from online poker cash games every month.

Good Luck!!

Joshua Walker (bio)

Editor – Global Extra Money (GEM)

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