You’ll frequently hear players say that any two cards can win. While that’s true as far as it goes, it doesn’t go far enough. The whole truth is this: While any two cards can win, they won’t win enough to warrant playing them. Like all forms of poker, you need starting standards. Players who lack starting standards take the worst of it far too often.
Position, position, and position
There’s an old real estate bromide that says the three most important features of any property are “…location, location, and location.” In hold’em, it’s position, position, and position. It’s so important that some two-card holdings, which can’t be profitably played from early position, are cards you might raise with when you’re last to act.
In a typical nine-handed game, early position includes both blinds and the two players to their left. The fifth, sixth, and seventh players to act are in middle position, and the eighth and ninth players are in late position.
The flop should fit your hand
No matter how sweet your first Cheri Casino two cards may appear, an unfavorable flop can render them nearly worthless. A key concept is that the flop must fit your hand. If the flop doesn’t strengthen your hand or offer a draw to a very strong hand, you should probably release it.
Suppose you called on the first round of betting with Ad-Jd and the flop is Qd-5d-3c. You don’t have a strong hand at this point. What you do have, however, is a hand with extremely strong potential. If another diamond falls on the turn or the river, you’ll make a flush. Not any flush, mind you, but the best possible flush, since your ace precludes any of your opponents from making a higher one.
Even if you don’t make a flush but were to catch a jack or an ace instead, that might be enough to win the pot.
Beyond the flop
As a general rule, you shouldn’t continue beyond the flop without a strong pair and a decent side-card or kicker, or a straight or flush draw with at least two opponents to ensure that the pot is big enough to make it worthwhile.
Game texture — the relative aggressiveness or Cheri Casino passivity exhibited by the players is also important in determining whether to call bets or raises. But a feeling for the game’s texture and how it should influence your play can only be obtained with experience. In the absence of that experience, err on the side of caution. It costs less.
Success at hold’em demands that you be patient, pay close attention to position, and take comfort in the knowledge that good hands are run down less often than the best seven-card stud hands.