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Hold'em Poker Strategy

Pre-Flop Strategy in Texas Hold'em

Before you start betting like a madman when you get two eights in the pocket, you need to carefully consider all factors involved in solid pre-flop strategy.

The factors to consider are the number of players, how aggressive/passive the players at the table are, your bankroll, your position, and how much risk you are willing to entail.

Number of players: With 10 people in the game, it's much more likely that someone else has a strong hand in the pocket than in a short-handed game. Also, you'll need to be more cautious in larger games, as the chances of someone's pre-flop hand fitting the flop will be much better. More competition means stiffer competition.

How aggressive the players are: Assuming you've been playing with a few people for several hands, and you noticed some jackass is raising every hand pre-flop, you'll want to play tighter. Let the guy win the blinds (big deal) and nail him to the wall when you have a solid hand in the pocket pre-flop.

Your bankroll: If you have $2 left, you'll want to play extremely carefully and select one hand to bet on, hoping to get as many players involved as possible for a larger pot. You'll want to be all-in before the flop is dealt. On the flip-side, if you have $1000 at a $1/$2 table, you can take the high-risk, high-payout bets.

Your position: People in late position have the ability to influence the size of the pot much more than those in early position. This is especially true pre-flop.

Your tolerance for risk: Depending on your playing style, you may want to play more or less aggressively pre-flop. Players who shoot for larger pots, but don't mind a greater chance for losing a few hands will want to raise pre-flop, especially if they are in late position. Some players prefer to be as selective as possible pre-flop, grinding out a winning hand here or there. It really depends on your own style of play