The poker bank notes that “at the core of every winning poker is good starting hand strategy.” When playing Texas Hold’em, your starting hand strategy is even more important than with other variations. Developing your starting hand strategy is crucial to playing profitable, smart poker.
There is a difference in strategy when playing at full ring tables versus playing at short handed tables. These differences, as most poker issues, involve minimizing risk and maximizing profits.
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Full Ring Tables
Full ring tables typically have up to 10 players.Winning strategies involve considering your “table position” when a hand is dealt.
- “Early” position dictates that you play your down cards when they are a pair of Aces, Kings, Queens, Jacks or an Ace/King combination.
- “Middle” position recommends that you play the above or only Ace/Queen, Ace/King combinations or a pair of 10’s.
- “Late” positions recommend you play the face card pairs or mid position combinations, but include Ace/Jack, King/Queen, Ace/Queen combinations or even a pair of 9’s.
When you’re playing at a full ring table, understand that there are higher odds that one player, at a minimum, has a potentially winning hand. Therefore, beginners and less experienced players should usually follow these starting hand strategy rules. Deviating from them adds unnecessary risk to playing hands at full tables.
Short Handed Table Strategy
Playing at short handed tables (5 or 6 players) allow you to relax the noted strict full ring starting hand strategies. You can open up your playing strategy because of fewer opponents.
However, playing at short handed tables can be more challenging than full ring situations because other players know these strategies and loosen up their rules. This results in less predictable game plays. At short handed tables you’re forced to play more hands as pots tend to be smaller than at full ring tables. But, more hands mean increased risk of loss.
Beginners benefit from playing at short handed tables, since they can develop their own personal starting hand strategies in risker environments. However, the basic starting hand rules, making sensible, smart decisions, always apply.
You’ll quickly learn that depending on Lady Luck to sit on your lap for long periods is a recipe for losing. Relying on good luck is better left to other casino games, like roulette where skill plays no part in the outcome. Winning poker depends on your skills, most of which are gained over time by playing the game, without going bankrupt along the way.
Your Strategy Rules Rule
Once you’ve developed a starting hand strategy that works, respect your rules. Do not violate the rules that prove to be successful. Let your winning rules rule. Even at short handed tables, where you can loosen your strategies, making smart decisions always results in bigger chip piles.
When you have great starting hand cards, play them with confidence. Until you’ve developed strong experience, do not violate or disregard your own rules. They have proven to be valuable to your strategy.
Discarding them introduces unacceptable risks to your poker goals and objectives. You’ve already invested in your poker education (by losing some hands you thought you’d win), treat your knowledge with respect. Committing to using your starting hand strategy at all times will maximize your wins and minimize your losses…