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How To Play Most Poker Hands for Beginners



 

Poker is the most popular card game in the world, but it’s quite challenging for new players to get started. Even if you know how to play, winning games can be difficult, and there’s always a lot of competition. If you want to get good at poker and develop your skill, it’s important to start off knowing how to play specific hands.

In most card games, following a specific strategy is the best course of success, and poker is no different. When you follow a strategy, certain hands should be played in certain ways, either choosing to fold, call or raise. This will be affected by the situation, too, with the four phases having an effect on your strategy. These are the pre-flop, the flop, the turn, and the river.

You can’t play every hand in poker, and as a new player, you should usually play cautiously and fold more hands than you play. Playing loose will sometimes feel better because it gives you more experience of playing in certain situations. However, you’re likely to lose money over time. Also, just because you fold doesn’t mean you’re not gaining experience. You can still watch and learn from the other players in online poker games.





Basic Poker Strategy



When you first start out, it’s wise to follow a certain strategy. As you gain more experience and better understand the game, you’ll be better off playing hands differently, so your play isn’t predictable. You should also note that your strategy will be dictated not just by your hand but also by your position on the table.


Poker Table Positions



In poker, players sit around a table and take actions in order based on their position. At the start of each round, the blinds will move one place clockwise around the table, meaning that positions move at the start of each new hand. The positions are as follows:

• Blind – The big blind and small blind are used to force players to bet, encouraging the pot to build and allowing the game to flow properly. Over time, the blind can be increased, but it will always function in the same way. Starting as blind is a disadvantage, as it means that you can’t fold before placing a bet.

• Early – The early positions are the second-worst position on the table as you have to decide on a course of action before seeing how your opponents react. This means your opponents will have more information about your hand than you have of theirs. For that reason, folding in an early position is often best.

• Mid – The mid positions are in a better situation than blind and early, but still at a disadvantage compared to the players in late. Playing in this position is best if you have a strong hand.

• Late – The late positions are the best for any poker player and give you an advantage as you get to see how all the other players react before you make your move. You can get away with a lot more in this position, and it’s best to make the most of it.


Play in Any Position



There aren’t loads of hands that you can play in any position, but there are enough of them that it makes sense to learn. Of the pairs and suited cards, pairs all the way down to 7-7 can be played in any position. You can also play A-K down to A-T, K-Q down to K-T, Q-J to Q-T, J-T to J-9, and T-9 from any position. For unsuited cards, you have fewer options, with only A-K to A-T, K-Q, and K-J worth playing from anywhere.


Play in Mid/Late Position



The mid to late positions are a little different, as you have some hands that are playing in mid/late while some are only playable in late. Here are the mid to late position hands that you can play:

6-6 and 5-5, and for suited cards, you can play A-9 to A-6, K-9, Q-9 to Q-6, J-8, T-8, and 9-8. For unsuited cards, you can play K-T, Q-J, Q-T, and J-T from the mid/late positions.

With late positions, you have a bit more leeway, with all pairs, all suited ace hands, and all suited king hands playable. For unsuited hands, you can play up to A-7 and K-9. Q-9, J-8, T-8, 9-8, and 8-7.





Unplayable Hands



As a beginner, you should always avoid playing these hands. While it’s possible to win with these hands, your chances of success are much lower, and winning will almost always require bluffing or your opponent making a mistake.

This includes anything from Q-7 down, J-6 down, T-6 down, 9-5 down, 8-5 down, 7-5 down, 6-4 down, and others further down the rankings of suited cards. For unsuited cards, there are even more unplayable hands, including A-6 down and K-8 down.


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