The importance of hand selection

Hand Selection is by far one of the most important parts of poker. It is actually one of the first things that you should master. The problem is that many sources out there will give you the wrong idea about hand selection. This article is about hand selection in general, so not just Texas Holdem. The different games will obviously call for different types of hands, but they all have the same rule of thumb. That rule as that you should be very selective with when and how you play hands.

Good Poker Hands

A good poker hand cannot be distinguished before a hand is ever dealt. It really depends on who you are playing with, how much money is at the table, what position you are in and many other variables. Pocket aces is considered the best starting hand in Texas Holdem. Believe it or not, there are specific times in the game when you would not treat them like they are the best hand. In some cases, you will wish you did not have those cards. Without getting into too much detail, the point is that different cards have different values in different situations.

In general, you only want to play strong starting hands. A starting hand is the cards you start with before any betting takes place. Depending on the game you are playing, there will be different formats. In an Omaha game, you will start with 4 hole cards face down. That is your starting hand. In Texas Holdem, you start with 2 hole cards face down and that is your starting hand. Being selective on which cards to play and which cards to fold can be the difference between being a profitable player or a losing player.

Poker Hands Blueprint

If you know a lot about poker, you laughed at the heading of this section, because you already know there is no blueprint on poker hand selection. Unfortunately this is going to be one of those things you have to figure out on your own. The important part is to remember to be selective. You should only be playing around 20% of the hands you are dealt. Most of the time you will play even less than that.

A thing to look at when deciding whether your hand is good enough to play or not is the pot. If the pot size is big enough and there is a large difference between the pot and the size of the bet, then you probably have a good enough hand to play. You should always be looking at risk versus reward. Other than that, you always want to get as much money in the pot as possible, when you have the best hand. If you have a starting hand and you know it is better than every one else’s starting hand, then get your money in and protect it.

If you have a bad hand (and by this time you will know), then let it go. Folding is often a victory, because you know you cannot lose any of your money. If you look at it another way, you cannot win any money. That is why it is important to find a happy medium. You cannot play too many hands but you also do not want to play only the very best hands. You are looking to play hands with opportunity.

Filed Under: Poker Lessons


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