I was fortunate enough to be an active poker player during the poker boom, when tables were filled with new players and it was easier to make a quick profit.
Texas Hold’em isn’t quite as popular as it was during that time, but there are still plenty of profitable games available. You just have to know how to use the right strategies when you play.
This article includes 6 winning Texas Hold’em strategies that worked during the poker boom and still work today.
By the time you finish this article you’re going to have a complete picture of what you have to do to win more when you play Texas Hold’em.
1 – Understanding and Using the Information You Have
When you play Texas Hold’em, every player has access to the same amount of information. Each player knows the value of every card in the deck, the value of the cards in his or her hand, and the value of any cards that have been revealed on the board.
The thing that separates winning and losing Texas Hold’em players is how they use all of this information. You can also gather information about the other players that can help you win.
On average, when you play Texas Hold’em, how many players are paying attention to everything that happens at the table? In my experience, the number is extremely low. At some tables, I’m the only gambler paying attention all of the time.
If you want to improve your Texas Hold’em results, the first thing you need to do is pay attention and gather as much information as you can. You can’t afford to miss anything that might help you win a hand in the future.
You also need to learn how to analyze all of the information you gather and put it into use. You’re going to learn more about how to do this in the other sections in this article.
2 – How Many Hands to Play
Over the years, I’ve learned from observation that the most profitable Hold’em players enter fewer pots than most players. In other words, these gamblers play fewer hands than other gamblers.
I eventually learned why this is true from a mathematical standpoint. The fact is that Texas Hold’em players who get into the pot with the best starting hand win more than other gamblers. This makes sense if you take a minute to think about it.
The problem is that many Hold’em gamblers never learn how to do this. But the solution is simple. You simply need to fold more hands before the flop than you’re folding now.
Another issue is that every Hold’em game is a little different. You might need to play tighter to win in one game, but be able to play a little looser in another game. Knowing how to make these adjustments takes a lot of experience that you can only get with practice.
To start, make a list of the best starting hands. I recommend making a list of the top 35 starting hands. Until you start winning consistently, don’t play any hands that aren’t on your list. And you still need to fold many of these hands from early and middle position.
3 – Maximize Wins and Minimize Losses
Everything that you do when you play Texas Hold’em comes down to 2 simple things if you want to win. Of course, it’s not simple to get to this point, but this is where your goal should be.
The first thing is learning how to minimize your losses. A lot of things go into this, like not playing too many hands and folding in losing situations instead of chasing an unprofitable draw. But it also includes learning how to keep pots small when you’re trying to improve.
The second thing is learning how to maximize your return on hands that you win. It’s not good enough to win hands.
If you’re not extracting as much money as possible on the hands you win you’re not going to be able to make enough money to show a profit.
If you have a pair of aces and can get an opponent all in before the flop you’re in a profitable long term situation. But if you move all in and everyone folds, you won a small pot but missed out on the opportunity to win a bigger pot.
Keep these two important things in mind on every decision you make when you’re playing Texas Hold’em.
4 – Playing for the Long Term
Texas Hold’em gamblers tend to focus on the short term and forget that the game is a lifelong contest. They focus on the current hand or playing session and judge everything based on these short term results.
On the other hand, winning Hold’em gamblers focus on making the most profitable plays in every situation and forget about short term results.
When you make the best or most profitable decision you make money over the long haul. If you’re making strategic decisions, you’re going to make a profit, even if you don’t win the current hand.
For example, if you get all in with a hand that has a 60% chance of winning, you’re going to make a profit overall. But you’re still going to lose the hand 40% of the time. The key is that you need to make the right play 100% of the time and let the long term odds work in your favor.
Another key is learning when you make a mistake. And your mistakes need to be judges on if you made the right play, not on whether you won or lost. Losing hands and sessions are fine as long as you make the right plays.
As you continue making the right plays the profits are going to follow.
5 – How Often You Should Bluff
If there’s 1 thing that you can do to immediately improve your results playing Texas Hold’em it is to stop bluffing. I know this might sound like poor advice, but once you read this section you’re going to want to give it a try.
Bluffing is fun when it works. It shows that, at least in this instance, you’re smarter than your opponent. But what about all of the times you bluff and get called and lose a big pot?
Until you learn how to win on a regular basis without bluffing you shouldn’t bluff. The odds are that overall you’re losing more bluffing than you’re winning. Remember that winning as a Texas Hold’em gambler is a long term situation.
As you’re learning how to win, simply bet with your good hands and fold your bad hands. Eventually you can start learning how to use semi bluffs profitably, but straight bluffs need to be reserved for special situations after you’re already a winning Texas Hold’em gambler.
6 – Calling on the River
Here’s something that I see often that costs Texas Hold’em gamblers money. They get to the river and fold to a bet from their opponent too often.
The truth is that you don’t have to catch your opponent on a bluff very often to be profitable calling on the river. And you shouldn’t still be in the hand on the river unless you have a decent hand.
The key is to learn when it’s profitable to draw to a better hand and when it’s best to save your chips for a better hand. When you learn how to get away from unprofitable hands early you don’t end up with a weak hand on the river.
When you have a decent hand on the river, statistically it’s almost always the correct play to call a bet from your opponent.
This is another reason why it’s so important to learn as much as you can about how your opponents play. If you know from previous experience that an opponent is likely to bluff on the river, you know that calling at the end is a profitable play most of the time.
Playing Texas Hold’em profitably all comes down to how well you learn to use strategy. This isn’t easy, because you have to get good at multiple strategies to win on a consistent basis.
On the other hand, if you get good enough using all of the strategies, you can turn profit on a consistent basis.
It all starts with understanding and using the information you have. With the information you have you can determine how many hands you should play and how many hands you should fold.
Winning Texas Hold’em play is a long term game. As you learn how to minimize your losses and maximize your winning hands, your overall profits will soar.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. …