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Pre-Flop Strategy

Before you start betting like there is no tomorrow with pocket eights, it is recommended that you define a solid pre-flop strategy.

There is not just one pre flop strategy. Every player can have his own strategy, and two top players may play rather differently pre flop, and both be profitable.

In particular a very tight versus a very loose player will have quite a different opening range. But there are a number of guidelines that most players should follow, and overall opening ranges are quite well defined. Only each player will add his own variations to what are otherwise well-known guidelines

Generally speaking, the most important factors are the number of players at the table, your position, your bankroll, how aggressive the players at the table, the risk you want to take, your table image, etc.

Number of players: In a full ring game with nine or ten players, it is more probable that a player has a strong hand than in a short-handed game with five or six players. In addition a lot of caution is recommended as whatever their hole cards, there is a better chance that a player connected with the board by the flop.

Your position: Position is one of the most important factors. The earlier your position, the tighter you should play. As you get closer to the button, open up your range. In late position if first to act, you can almost raise with any two cards (this is called blind stealing).

Your bankroll: In other words, this is the size of your stack. A short stack is when you have 25 big blinds or less, a deep stack is 200 BB. You should play tight with a short stack and go all in, hoping to double up. With a big stack you can play looser, as should attempt to take your opponent's entire stack with an unexpected hand.

How aggressive the other players: Each table is different, some are very tight, others very loose, some are just average. If most players are tight, you can play a bit looser and try to steal and bluff. In a very loose table, play tighter to try to get the big pots where everyone is involved. Your poker edge is to adjust to each table.

Your risk appetite This is how you playing style is defined and its depends on your personality and taste for risk. Tight players prefer to only play the strongest hands pre flop in order to enter the flop on a solid footing. Other players are more willing to take some gamble preflop by playing looser. They take more risks, but the potential reward is to win bigger pots because of the image they project at the table. So your opening range will vary along your tightness/looseness.

Of course your hole cards are the most important factor. AA is the best to start with, followed by KK, AA and AKs. So a strong tight range is defined as {QQ+, AKs}. It helps if your hand is suited or if you have connectors, or even suited connectors like King Queen of diamond.

It's important to understand how your two cards hold up against other combinations of cards. For example AKo versus a pair of jacks have about the same strength preflop, this is called a coin flip.

Play, play and play. The best way to develop your pre flop strategy is to play, test and improve it. Set precise rules and see their results.




What's new in poker


Patrik Antonius Wins Largest Pot in Poker History
Nov 23 2009 8:16AM EDT

Patrik Antonius has been recently seen battling a new high stakes poker player at Full Tilt Poker under the nickname Isildur1. This still unknown player has created an unbeliveable momentum by breaking records after records of the largest poker pots ever wagered, and yesterday was a new record again: $1,356,946. A truly amazing amount. Patrik won the PLO pot with a wheel, contributing to amazing profits online this year for the Finn player.


 
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