When it comes to poker strategies there are some things you should consider right from the beginning. You might even consider them the golden rules of poker. They pretty much apply to any poker game you are likely to play. These golden rules are:
Don’t be cheap. As a general guideline you should start out with 20-30 times the table limit.
Get out if you have nothing in your hand.
If you get a good hand make the others pay to see it.
If they have you beat, fold.
The objective is to beat the other players – not to have the highest hand.
Don’t think you can beat a better player. You might win little but you could also lose big.
These are the chances for you to get one of the following in your original hand.
No Pair – 1 out of 2
One Pair – 1 out of 2.4
Two Pair – 1 out of 21
Three of a Kind – 1 out of 48
Straight – 1 out of 250
Flush – 1 out of 510
Full House – 1 out of 700
Four of a Kind – 1 out of 4200
Straight Flush – 1 out of 72,200
Royal Flush – 1 out of 650,000
With these things in mind there are already a couple of things you can immediately conclude.
The more players there are on the table, the greater the chance for one or more players to have a high ranking hand.
You must have at least a pair or four cards to a straight or flush. If not, fold immediately.
This last advise might seem a little harsh but as said above the chances of improving your opening hand, if you have nothing, and beating the other players are rather small. This means, unless you are really lucky, you will fold most of the time after the first deal.
Now let’s say you have something to build on, like a pair or a three of a kind. What you have to decide now is whether to keep a kicker or not. A kicker is a high card most players hold with a pair or three of a kind. It is recommended you toss the kicker because the odds getting the card of the same value to your kicker is small, very small.
Another thing you have to keep in mind is you should never try to build a straight or higher out of three original cards. The odds for you on this are 1:85. On the other hand it is highly recommended you always keep four cards to a straight or any flush. As you will see below the odds here are not bad at all, considering the odds of the original dealt cards from above. The chances of completing a
Flush are 1 out of 4.5
Straight open on both ends – are 1 out of 5
Straight open on one end – are 1 out of 11
Straight open on the inside – are 1 out of 11
Straight Flush open on both ends – are 1 out of 23
Straight Flush open on one end – are 1 out of 46
Straight Flush open on the inside – are 1 out of 46
You always have to remember these odds when making your betting decision. Let’s say you have a four card flush. The first question that pops into your mind should be: What are my chances of completing on the deal? In this case they are 1 out of 4.5. If the pot is not 4.5 times the money you would have to bet, you should fold. Anything else would just be blindly risking your money to beat the odds.
In conclusion there is of course a lot more to poker than the above. Bluffing, intimidation, body language and all the rest of it makes poker what it is. If you are thinking of becoming a serious poker player you should buy yourself a good book.