Now that this column has given you a basic grounding in card room poker, it’s time to take a look at the different variations of poker you’re likely to encounter in a card room environment. Over the next few columns, we’ll look at such games as seven-card stud, Omaha eight-or-better high-low split and several others. But for now let’s start with the single most popular poker variant on the scene today: Texas hold ’em.
In hold ’em, as you know, all players try to make their best five-card hand from the two cards they’re dealt, and the five community cards on the board. For success in hold ’em, here are some key things to keep in mind.
WHEN YOU GET THE GOODS, BET THE GOODS. Strong hands are to be prized in hold ’em. There’s very little point in slow-playing your strong hands. If you find yourself in the position of having the best hand, go ahead and bet. Controlled aggressiveness is what gets the job done in hold ’em, and that means betting with the best of it.
HIGH CARDS ARE KING IN HOLD ‘EM. Your best starting hand in hold ’em is, of course, A-A. After that, you like to see hands such as K-K, Q-Q, J-J, T-T, A-K, A-Q, A-J, K-Q, and K-J. When you start getting excited about hands like K-T or medium-to-small pairs, that’s when hold ’em starts to bite your butt. As a quick-and-dirty guide, play only high pairs and high unpaired cards and you’ll mostly steer clear of real trouble.
DRAWS NEED MANY OPPONENTS. If you are drawing to a straight or a flush, your chances of getting this result are sufficiently remote that you need a large field of opponents to justify your draw. For example, if you …