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Poker is the sexiest game out there today. All the celebs are playing it.

Poker is a complex game.

The math element is obvious but it is complicated by the psychological aspect. In blackjack where the math has been throughly researched the experts will agree on the answer to any question. In poker experts often disagree. In this section I will try to give you some of the basic strategy of Texas Hold'em and more specifically to playing it online.

Hundreds of books have been written on poker. You could read all of them and still not know how to play. You will learn how the author thinks when playing. To learn poker you have to play. But by reading and knowing a few of the basics you will shorten your learning curve. In this section I will give you a few tips that will get you started. Be clear that this by no means covers all there is to learn to become an expert but it will allow you to get an edge in some online games.

Internet poker is an inexpensive way to learn poker skills compared to live poker. As in live poker the casino makes it's money from the rake or percentage of the pot. Online rakes are half of live games. The cheapest live game is usually $2.00. Online you can find $0.05 games. You don't have to tip the dealer on your winnings and last and formost is that online casinos will give you bonus money.

In blackjack the casinos know that an expert will play perfect basic strategy and their edge is less than 0.5%. They could not stay in business if every player did that. But the casinos know that people are lazy. Very few bother to learn all of basic strategy and the casinos have a nice edge of about 4.0%. That is your edge too. Very few people will bother to learn the basics of poker. They just want to play and get lucky. If you work you can get an edge over them. In today's world of televised professional play a great many of the new stars practiced their skills online. Many won their entry fees to the big tournements by playing online.

The first thing you need to do is download poker software from a reputable poker site. Of course any poker room shown on this site is reputable and recommended. They also allow you to play for "FREE". Unfortunately free games do not teach you to play winning poker. With no real money at risk people play recklessly. The value of free games is that you learn the software.

You need to learn the mechanics of buying in at a table, betting, calling, raising,folding etc. Go to the help screen for other features like chatting with other players, sitting out a hand without giving up your seat, automatic check/call or check/fold feature, automatic blinds or manual blinds, watch without playing, taking notes on other players, review your play history, review the play history of others etc.
Play the free games until your are comfortable with all the features

Pre-Flop Texas Hold'em requires three considerations:

Betting Position, Hand Ranking and Playing Style of Opponents.

If you can learn these principals you will have a big advantage and you should make money in most low level games.

Betting position is the first thing any professional considers. By this I mean where you sit in relation to where the betting starts. It changes every hand, rotating clockwise around the table.

If you are among the first three to bet, early position, you must have a strong hand. There are seven players to bet after you. There might be some big hands betting behind you and you must be careful.
Middle position gives you some information. You know if early players bet, then you should only play strong hands. If no one bets then you can play weaker hands.
Late position is best. You have a lot of information. If some players bet you need a strong hand. If no one bet you can play with a weaker hand.

Early Position Play Pre-Flop

Raise and reraise:   AA, KK, QQ, JJ
Raise:   AKs (means suited) AQs, AJs, AKo (means off suit) AQo, KQs
Call: TT, 99, 88, 77, KJs, QJs, JTs, ATs, A9s, KQo
Fold: Everything else

Middle Position Play Pre-Flop
Up to four callers played in front of you:

Raise:   AA, KK, QQ, JJ, TT, 99, 88, AKs, AQs, AJs, ATs, KQs, KJs, QJs, AKo, AQo, AJo, ATo, KQo
CAll:   77, 66, 55, JTs, T9s, 98s, QTs, J9s, AXs (X means any card) KTs, K9s, K8s, KJo, QJo, JTo
Fold:   Everything else

A raise in front of you:
Raise:   AA, KK ,QQ, JJ, AKs, AQs, AKo, AQo
Call:   TT, 99, KQs, QJs, KJs, AJs
Fold:   Everything else

An aside: In the above rankings you might ask why is a QJs ranked higher than AJs? It is because it is easier to make a straight with QJ. Both sides are open. With an AJ you must fill in the exact middle two cards.

Late Position Play Pre Flop
Up to five callers in front of you:

Raise:   AA, KK, QQ, JJ, TT, 99, 88, AKs, KQs, QJs, AQs, KJs, AJs, ATs, A9s, A8s, AKo, KQo, AQo, AJo, ATo, A9o.
Call:   77, 66, 55, JTs, T9s, 98s, 87s, 76s, 65s, 54s, AXs, KXs, QJo, JTo, KJo, QTo, KTo
Fold:   Everything else

A raise in front of you:
Raise:   AA, KK, QQ, JJ, AKs ,AQs ,AKo ,AQo
Call:   TT, 99, KQs, QJs, KJs, AJs
Fold:   Everything else

Play the good hands. It will keep you out of trouble and if you play them agressively you will make money. Avoid trash hands and dominated hands. I'll give some examples:

Trash Hands:

Suited faces: KXs, QXs, JXs, etc., except where specically mentioned.
example; K3s, J6s
Two and three gaps: Q8, J7, etc., except where mentioned elsewhere.
Pseudo high cards: KX, QX, JX, TX
Random suited cards: 83s, T5s, etc.               
Random cards: T3o, 82o, etc.

When playing online you can have a print out of the above hand rankings by your side. After awhile it will become second nature for you.

Lastly you must study the other players at the table and try and categorize their playing style. You will be playing only the good hands so you will have time to do this.


This player believes he can win with any two cards. He plays most every hand. Never raises. Just calls. In fact he can be described as a calling station. You want your table filled with calling stations.

Loose- aggressive

This player plays a lot of bad hands but bets like a maniac. He raises and re-raises. This player will loose his money in the long run but he can cause big fluxuations in your bank roll. He can be good for you if you have a good hand because he will do all the betting for you. A couple maniacs at the table makes for big pots.


He plays good hands. Nothing fancy. He gets a good hand and bets it. You won't make much money off this predictable player.


Hopefully this is you. You don't play many hands but when you do you take control. You raise with good hands and cause weaker players to make mistakes. With a lot of players in the pot you always have a strong hand and are in the running to be a winner. It is best if you are the only solid player at your table.

Knowledge of these three simple concepts, position, hand rank and opponents playing style, will make you a dangerous player in low level Texas Hold'em.