Tips for Playing NLHE
Strategies for Playing No Limit Holdem
Texas Hold’em has been increasingly popular in the last few years due to the exposure that the game has received from media coverage covering huge events such as the World Poker Tour and the World Series of Poker. Watching these events have created a frenzy of players of all shapes and sizes wanting to know how to play poker with many of them taking their game online to challenge others from all over the world.
Many of these players have a simple understanding of how the game is played including hand rankings, starting hands, maybe some betting techniques, and all know how to go ‘all-in.’
However, many players play one dimensionally. In other words, many players do not put any thought into the game outside of their own two cards and chip stack. This presents many problems because they are so many aspects to poker that players need to grasp to become break-even players, let alone profitable.
So what we have done is briefly explain what we feel are some other important aspects that players need to grasp to take their poker game to the next level.
Tips for Playing No Limit Texas Hold’em
Understand Pot Odds
One of the biggest problems that many players face is chasing draws. This will often result in a player spending way too much money to chase a hand that they really had no business being in. However, with an understanding of pot odds, this problem can be resolved.
Pot odds will tell a player how much money they are getting in comparison to their investment. For example, if a player were to face a $200 bet with $1,200 in the pot that can be won, they would be getting $1,200 to their $200 or when simplified, 6 to 1.
However, pot odds do absolutely no good if you have nothing to compare them to. What players also need to know is the likelihood that they are going to catch one of their outs. So for example, if you have 4 cards to a flush you know that there are 9 outs that you can catch to better your hand. This is put into a ratio out of 47 cards (on the flop) and when simplified, the odds of catching one of your outs are approximately 5 to 1.
Now that you know the odds of catching one of your outs, you compare these to your pot odds. This will tell you if you are getting enough money the one time you catch your out to make up for the times that you do not.
The easiest way to remember this is to compare the two and be sure that the pot odds are bigger than the odds to catch your outs. So for example, if the odds to catch a flush card is 5 to 1, the minimum pot odds you need to make this play profitable is 5.1 to 1 or higher.
Learning pot odds is very important to players as they will learn when they are mathematically correct in chasing hands and will know to fold when they are not, thus saving them money.
Reading Your Opponents
Learning how to read your opponents is one of the hardest things to do in poker. This is mostly because there are several opponents to keep track off and can be overwhelming with everything else that is going on. But as difficult as it is, it is very important to do because knowing your opponent’s tendencies will allow you to make educated decisions that will result in running bluffs, raising hands, or folding if you know you are beat. One of the easiest ways to learn how to read opponents is to focus on only one player at a time and take notes. Some of the many things that you will want to take note on is facial or body expressions such as how they handle their chips or cards when they are ahead or behind, their betting habits whether they are in position or out of position, and most importantly, you will want to know what hands they play and from what positions.
Having this knowledge will allow you to make decisions based on the actions that have taken place in the hand combined with the notes that you have taken. Once you have some notes on one player, move on to the next. As many pros will say, if you are not paying attention to your opponents, you are not doing your job.
Psychology Plays a Big Part In No Limit Holdem
Psychology is important and a skill that many players lack, both new players and pros alike. What is important to understand here is that you want to try to not only think about what cards you have in front of you, but what your opponents have as well.
To take this a step further, you will also want to think about what your opponents think that you have. And, you need to think of what your opponents think that you think they have.
This of course may sound confusing, but really, it is just making reads based on the history that you have with your opponent. If you can deduce that your opponent thinks that you have paired an ace on the flop, regardless of whether you did or didn’t, you can then use that knowledge to make a bet and get them to fold. The same can be said if you think that your opponent has a stronger hand than they think that you think they have. They will try to slow play the hand but since you know better, you can slow play right behind them causing them to lose value.
You can easily write a book on poker and how it relates to psychology, but to make things simple, just pay attention to your opponents and try to take notes on hands that you have seen them play whether you are involved or not.
Aggression in No Limit Holdem
To put this into perspective, would you want to be the bully or the bullied? While there is nothing positive about being a mean person, it is simple to see that if you are betting and raising and doing so in the correct situations, you will cause people to fold or build pots up when you have good hands and win, thus making more money.
Passive players or calling stations will have a hard time being successful because they are afraid to pull the trigger and make a bet or re-raise when they are more than likely ahead. And the few times that they do, everyone folds because they are just not aggressive often enough to give players any doubts on what they may have.
The important thing to understand about aggression is that there is a fine line between being too aggressive and not aggressive enough. Sure, you do not have to be aggressive to make money in poker, but you will sure make more and will make it faster.
Tips for Playing No Limit Hold’em
While there are plenty of articles containing information on how to get started in poker, these strategies and tips will only get you so far. Once you have an understanding of starting hands and betting techniques, it is important to start learning and get a grasp on other Hold’em tips and strategies such as pot odds, being aggressive, and learning how to read your opponents.