Guidelines for Holdem Starting Hands

Texas holdem opening hand option strategy is among the two important choices made from any deal. Do you play or do you sit this one out? That option is made without any information except from the action in front of you and what you acquired from carefully observing your challengers.


Choosing starting Holdem hands, then, is a matter of predetermined method than it is a reaction to your challengers' action. You should understand going in exactly what your range of hands you will play from any position will be, apply that variety with enough deception to make the variety appear something other than exactly what it is and trust in your checks out as the hand advances.

There are charts that recommend hand choice from many point of views, from tight through loose. I think about action from the perspective of position relative to the button.

Early Position

The basic wisdom from early position is "tight is ideal" a sentiment to which I strongly adhere. From early position I have the distinct drawback of having to act before other gamers should act. They understand exactly what I did and I should guess at what they are going to do. Not so great. From early position, under the weapon and under the weapon plus one, I play only these cards: A-A, K-K, Q-Q, and if the table is truly tight J-J. I likewise will play the following drawing hands: A-K fit or off suit, A-Q fit and once again if the table is actually tight A-J matched. Unless I am blending my play for deception, these are the only hands I play from early position.

As a quick aside, when I enter the pot from any position as the first to act I always raise the same quantity. A raise of around 2 times the big blind in early position, two and a half times from middle position and three times from late position. The real point here is that your raise needs to not suggest hand strength or weak point but be neutral.

Middle Position

I start to expand my variety of hands from middle position by including on some more speculative hands. I will add sets through 8-8 plus or minus one depending on how the table is playing. If the table is really tight I will likewise play kings that include up to 20.

Late Position

In late position you have a clear edge, specifically from the button where you are last to act upon all subsequent betting rounds. Now is the time to put that edge to work. My range expands to any ace, any king through K-9, in truth any 2 card mix adding up to 18, any pair and any fit adapter above 3-2. Much of the time when I am first to act from late position the action goes raise and take it. When I am called I will see a flop then if I do not improve I am more than likely going away but that depends on everything else I understand about what is occurring.

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