Texas Holdem Preflop Strategy
One of the most important changes you can make in your hold 'em game is your preflop strategy. The biggest mistake amateurs make is simply playing too many hands. At a table consisting of good players, the number of people seeing the flop should be between 20 and 30%, or roughly 2-3 people each hand.
Before you determine what the weakest hand you are willing to play is, you must figure out what position you are in. Here are a few terms to help you understand.
- Dealer - has the 'button' in front of him. This will be the last person to bet during post-flop play
- Big Blind (BB) - This person sits 2 seats to the left of the dealer. This person has one bet already committed to the pot, and will be the last person to bet in pre-flop betting
- Small Blind (SB) - This person sits directly to the left of the dealer. He posts half of the bet to start, and may call it when his turn comes
- Under the Gun (UTG) - This is the person to the left of the Big Blind. He is considered 'under the gun' because he will be the first person in this game to be able to make a bet
In pre-flop play, early position consists of the UTG player, and the two people to the left of him. The next 4 players would be considered mid position. The final 3 players (includes the blinds) are considered late position.
After the first round of betting, however, the person directly to the left of the dealer becomes the first to act, and all positions rotate accordingly. (the dealer becomes the last to act instead of the BB).
One extra note: These starting hands will vary depending on the type of game you are playing. In general, position is MORE important if you are playing no-limit, since it is much easier to 'buy' the pot or 'steal the blinds' with a big bet.
If you are in EARLY position, you can play only these hands:
AA, KK, QQ, KK, AKs
TT, AQs, AJs, KQs, AK
If you are in MID position, you can play all of the hands above, plus these. However, you should probably not call a raise in front of you with these.
99, JTs, QJs, KJs, ATs, AQ
T9s, KQ, 88, QTs, 98s, J9s, AJ, KTs
77, 87s, Q9s, T8s, KJ, QJ, JT, 76s, 97s, Axs, 65s
66, AT, 55, 86s, KT, QT, 54s, K9s, J8s, 75s
If you are in LATE position, you can play these hands as well. Again, you probably do not want to call a raise in front of you.
44, J9, 43s, T9, 33, 98, 64s, 22, Kxs, T7s, Q8s
87, 53s, A9, Q9, 76, 42s, 32s, 96s, 85s, J8, J7s, 65, 54, 74s, K9, T8