To become an expert poker player you need to learn how to approach the game in the most logical manner. One of the best ways to do this is to see each hand you play as a journey. Essentially, each move you make is like a new step. If you can think about poker in this way, it's easier to make the right moves in every situation.
If you're looking to start as you mean to go on, here's a guide to starting hands in the most popular poker game, Texas Hold'em.
In a nutshell, a starting hand in Texas Hold'em poker consists of two hole cards from a standard deck of 52 playing cards. Thanks to this dynamic, there are 169 possible starting hands, which can be further broken down in 1,326 possible combinations when you consider each different suit.
As there are so many possibilities at the start of a new betting round, you need to consider whether you want to fold, call or raise (or re-raise) with your starting hand based on the following variables:
Before giving the above variables some context, let's quickly look at the hands you should be playing from certain positions if you were in a vacuum at a nine-handed table (i.e. you were alone in isolation):
All things being equal, you should use the above list of options to guide your play. However, let's assume you're in first position with a short stack and an aggressive player behind you.
Given what has been said in the previous section, it would make sense to remove A-Js and A-Qo from your raising range. Although they are still strong hands, they aren't ones that will play well against a raise when you're out of position.
Basically, when you're out of position you always have to act first and that means you never quite know what your opponent is going to do. Therefore, because they will have the upper hand later on, you need to be more conservative with your raises, which would mean something like A-Js being removed from your range.
To keep things as simple as possible, undertake the following processes before you commit to a pot:
In poker there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to starting hands. However, if you take the advice outlined here, you should find that you make fewer missteps at the table and enjoy many more successful journeys through the world of Texas Hold'em Poker.