OK, just a few short, easy posts, trying to list some key ideas for players at a few different levels.
Top 10 for beginners:
- Avoid limping pre flop. Yes, there are spots where limping is the best play, but as a beginner, you’ll stay out of a lot of trouble by never limping.
- Pick some really strong hands for each seat (picking fewer if you are first to act pre flop, and more as you get closer to the button), and raise with them. Decide on what these will be before you sit down to play, and try to mostly stick to that.
- Pick a smaller list of really strong hands for each seat for if you have a raise in front of you, and 3 bet (raise again) those, and fold the rest.
- Don’t make min raises. You’ll normally want your raise to be 3 to 5 times the size of the bet already made. Min raises are kind of like limps: there are spots where they are great plays, but the vast majority of the time a normal sized raise will serve you better.
- When you have a lot of opponents, you need a much stronger hand to be ahead.
- Generally avoid making small bets with hands that are close to the best possible. Your goal in general should be to try and get all of your chips into the middle of the pot by the river (though be sure to remember #8).
- Be tighter about calling if there are players still to act behind you.
- Remember to re-evaluate how strong your hand is after every street. Many hands can start out feeling very strong, and switch to being behind to most of your opponent’s range by the river.
- Avoid making big bets with slightly strong hands. You mostly want to make your biggest bets with your best hands and your weakest hands. Doing the same with a more marginal hand largely means you are turning your hand into a bluff: weaker hands you would have been able to get money from will now mostly just fold, and the hands that will call will largely shift to the hands better than yours.
- Bluff sometimes, but try to keep it under control. Bluffing too much tends to be more disastrous than not bluffing enough. Straight draws and flush draws are often good candidates to bluff with, but you generally don’t want to do this with these hands every time, or you will probably be bluffing too much.