Many new poker players think the end of a hand is where you win or lose, but the fact is, a good portion of the winning or losing is done when the hand starts. Perhaps the most important thing for new players to learn is how to enter a hand. Many players simply call all opening bets so they can see the flop and others believe that receiving a hand with a face card makes it worth seeing the flop. Top poker players will see a limited number of flops and the number of people playing and entering the pot will affect this outcome.
You must pay attention to not just your own hole cards, but to the actions of your fellow poker players as well. There are hands out there that are borderline and the action of the other poker players and your position at the table determines if you should fold or go in. Let’s take a look at some random hands to get a better understand of what to play and what to fold. I must forewarn you, the following advice is considered somewhat conservative (tight). New poker players should play the game as tight as possible while they learn the ropes.
Generally you want to raise when it’s your turn. If the pot has been raised, re-raise it. Knowing the habits of those at your table is a must. Now and then, you might want to limp in with your hand, which simply means calling the current bet to facilitate action. If you want to play it tight and quick raise and re-raise.
Hole Cards: AK, suited or not (aka Big Slick)
This is another great hand to have and when it’s your turn, you must raise the pot. Unlike the AA and KK hands, it’s not recommend to limp around unless you are playing heads up.
Hole Cards: A (2,3,4,5,6,7,8, or 9 off suit)
Many new players see an ace and immediately start to grab their chips to enter the hand. However, a moment of pause is needed here. This hand is not that hot, especially at a full table. The smarter play is to simply fold and wait for the next hand. As with any hand, the number of players you are in the pot with matters. An A-9o (off suit) can be a good hand to go into the pot with if you were going heads up with someone like Tournament play. Another instance that might warrant going into the pot would be if you were in the dealer position and only the blinds where in the pot.