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Poker Strategy, Starting Hand Ranges : Flop or Fold?

Poker Strategy, Starting Hand Ranges : Flop or Fold?

by @bethalea

Hello Steemy Poker Peeps! Beth here with a little poker strategy for you. I wanted to write this post to help those of you out there who may not understand why an opponent keeps saying that you’ve "sucked out", or are playing "hot garbage". This is a pretty complex question to answer, but we need to start with your hole cards, the first two cards you are dealt in a Texas Hold’em Poker game.



Basics of Poker

Understanding poker is not super complicated. From least to best hand, you have: high card, pair, two pair, three of a kind, straight, flush, full house, four of a kind, straight flush and the highly coveted Royal Flush. You can see them here if you need a visual.

What is more complicated is answering the age old question: Do I pay to see the flop or do I fold? With 169 different two-card combinations, which ones do you keep and which ones do you throw away?


Keep ‘em

For now, we will not be discussing what to do on the big or small blinds. Being on a blind makes things different, of course, because you already have money in the pot. Maybe I’ll do another post about blinds but not now… for now, you are in middle or late position and we are ignoring the blinds. This is what I mean about table position :

There are a number of things to think about when you get your hole cards. First, do you have a pair? Is it a high, middle or low pair? If you don’t have a pair, are your cards suited? Do you have connectors? The general consensus for hole cards hierarchy is pair (best), followed by suited connectors, unsuited connectors, suited non-connectors and finally unconnected cards, also known as ‘hot garbage’.

Here is a chart of the top 10% hole cards. Depending on your table position and the players you are up against, these are a fairly good place to start. 



There is your first strategy lesson: make sure you have cards worth playing. Tournaments are like marathons, you have to pace yourself if you want to win more than once. Know your hole cards are good before you put any money into the pot. 



As for your position on the table, the later your position, the 'worse' hands you can play. In early position, you'll want to play only the top 10% hole cards. In mid-position, you can play the top 10-15% and in late position you can open up and play the connectors (suited or not) and your favorite hands.

Here are a few articles and websites I found to help if you want even more information. Until then, come and try out your theories and strategies at! Its free, most of the people are really friendly and helpful to newcomers AND you can win some SBD’s, which is always nice. 


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