Basic Poker Strategy

Basic Poker Strategy

Poker strategy can be split up into two sections. Cash game strategy and tournament game strategy. They are both very different kinds of games that involve different thinking.

While playing cash games players have a lot of time to make money and wait for good opportunities. This is because the blinds are always static. Because of this the best strategy is to wait for good hands such as big pairs (TT, JJ, QQ, KK and AA) and big aces like (AK and AQ). Just playing strong hands like this improves your chances of winning as you have hands that have a lot of potential to make strong hands after the flop.

This is also a good way to exploit the biggest mistake that most amateur players make, which is to play too many hands preflop which gets them into trouble after the flop. Don’t be one of these players and instead exploit these weaknesses by only playing strong hands so when you get involved with these players you have them “dominated”.

This means that you have the same high card as them but a better kicker. An example of this would be if you play AK and another player plays A5. If there is an ace on the flop, you both have a pair of aces but you have a better kicker that they do, which means you will win.

In tournaments you cannot wait for strong hands like this for hours like you can do in cash games as the blinds increase in regular intervals so by waiting you are slowly reducing your ability to play as your stack is not worth as much now that the blinds are higher. Tournaments force you to make moves in situations that you would not have to take in cash games.

The best strategy for tournaments changes depending on the stage of the tournament you are in. In the early stages when the blinds are low compared to the chip stack you have you should play a similar strategy to what you play in cash games, so only playing strong starting hands. As the tournament goes on and the blinds become higher relative to the stack you have you have to start to play more hands in an attempt to keep up with the speed the blinds are increasing.

This difference between cash games and tournament play is great and being good at both forms of the game are two totally different skill sets that every player has to work on to become a well-rounded poker player.

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