Take control of the game pre-flop.
The first step to becoming a better pre-flop poker player is to take control. This probably means the most important thing to getting better. Once you have a hand win and you have a decision to make, most experts agree that it's usually bet or call. However, bet-call is the less popular way of playing, probably because it makes less sense in situations where you want to have the next move pre-flop.
When you bet out you have a decision to make and your opponents will be left pondering the kind of move you make. You are in full control of the game now. You decide to call, raise or fold. For all of these moves the first thing you have to consider is your position.
If you are first to act, you should generally fold. If you are not sure your cards are good enough to win the game in the position you are in, make your own decision and fold. However, once you have made your decision and you are out of position you are in the position of a trader.
In the position of a trader you are addicted to trading and you hope to make a profit before the end of the game. You must be working out what all the other players are doing and guessing at what you should have done in a certain hand. As soon as you have called, raised or folded, you must act again.
If you are playing for a straight or flush then you are hoping to connect in some way - having a royal flush is a dream, the top payoff is 50:50 but even if you have missed you have made a profit of some sort.
If you have a flush you once again need to be figuring out what the next card could be dangerous or beneficial to you. As the probabilities are less certain than the first two cards:
- you may hit the card you need for the flush
- you could have a set
- a pair could replace your missing card
- you could have some kind of a hand such as two pairs
The Third Card
This is not really as tricky as the two pairs, since you know some kind of card did what it said it would and it is unlikely to happen again.
You only have one card and you need to figure out what this means. Depending on what the other players may have, you could be thinking of a bluff, a draw, an inside straight draw or a set.
This is the time for one or more players to have to fold, or for one or more players to think they have the best hand, or for one or more players to think they don't and to bet accordingly.
Strauss on Betting
Strauss on Betting is about the psychology of betting and also has some good advice on making the perfect bets. Betting is psychology and experience.
The main idea is that you are not really betting on cards at all. You are betting on people. People are the cards in your hand and people are the cards on the table.
With practice you will be able to get a good edge. You make your bet in such a way that you will hopefully create an image or a lot of confidence in you hand. You can also bet in such a way as to make other people think you have a really good hand. This is perhaps the most important of all.
Middle cards and the suited connectors
If you have five cards of the same suit or of the same value, you should consider playing in middle suited connectors. While playing in these hands you have a good chance of being able to get the cards you need for a set. The best cards for a set are two, three, four and five.
While these hands are of course, not as good as the straight flush, you still want to play with these hands because you will be able to get a flush once in a while and also because they are relatively cheap. Occasionally, you will be able to get the cards you need for a royal flush even when you have not seen a royal flush.
There are many things to think about when you are the dealer and the cards come out. While you are aware of what the banker's hand is, and while you are working out what the players hands are, you have a lot more cards in play when you are the banker.
Because the banker has so many cards in play, you will be more likely to get a card that helps you rather than a card that doesn't help you. The Index of Permutations
The game of Vegas88 is one of permutations of a set of cards. Each card has an associated number in the sequence 1-2-3-4-5-6.