In Texas Hold’em, there will be four rounds of betting. For each round, the poker player will have to decide about which action he will take. Would he check, bet, call, raise, or fold? In deciding which action to take, there are five factors that must be considered. These are the cards, the position at the table, the number of players, the pot odds, and the playing styles of the opponents. Here is how each of these factors should affect one’s decision.
According to statistics, a poker player gets good cards about 10% of the time. But this does not tell when one will have the good cards. This gives the first challenge in poker. Yet, there is a way around this too few times of getting good cards. That is, the poker player need not be holding the strongest hand or the nuts. But, at showdown, his hand must be the best. After all, when the poker player places a bet, he wagers his money that he has the highest hand. If the player is still new at poker, the basic rule is this: bet aggressively when the cards are strong. Otherwise, fold.
In Texas Hold’em, the positions of the players are fixed. That is, the blind will always stay as the blind throughout the hand. Such an aspect of this poker variant affects how a poker player should play. This is because the poker player at the early position, which is one or two seats after the blind, will have little information on which to base his decision. He will not have a clue as to how much the pot size will eventually be. And the poker player at the early position cannot also predict how many players will decide to stay. Thus, a poker player will do well if he sticks to this standard technique: play only the stronger cards. With cards that need improvement, the poker player must fold.
The Number of Players
Texas Hold’em can accommodate many players, but the usual maximum number of players found in casinos is 10. With this many players, there will be rounds that everyone will remain, and there will be rounds when only two or three will stay. The large disparity of these two rounds will affect the winning potential of one’s cards. This means that the number of players that opted to stay will decide whether a certain hand will be playable or not. With one or two opponents, a poker player’s best chances lie on high pairs. But with more than six opponents, drawing hands that will form flushes or straights will most likely win.
The Pot Odds
The pot odds are determined when one compares the amount that a poker player should bet and the amount in the pot that can be won. In deciding if the pot odds are good, one must borrow the point of view of the businessman. That is, the bet will be the investment and the amount in the pot will be the potential profits. If the amount of the bet is small and the amount in the pot is large, then the pot odds are good. If the amount of the bet is large and the amount in the pot is also large, the odds are risky, but with strong hands, a poker player may go ahead. But if the amount of the bet is large and the pot money is small (twice or barely higher than the bet), the pot odds are not good.
The Playing Styles of Opponents
The playing styles of the opponents will determine the kind of poker game that one has joined. With loose players, one will be getting large pots. The opposite happens with tight players. A poker player must determine the kind of opponents that he is up against and he must play accordingly.
The above five factors may not have equal weights when determining one’s decision during the betting rounds. What the poker player needs to learn is to identify when a certain factor will have the greatest influence.