Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Early Position Holdem Strategy

These are the top 10 hands in Holdem:  AA, KK, QQ, AK, JJ, TT, 99, 88, AQ and 77.

What to play in Early Position:

In the first 3 seats there are not many hands you should play.  You need a strong hand to enter the pot from an early position.  The reason for this is that someone may raise further down the table, and you want a hand strong enough to call a raise with.  So, here is the list of hands you can play in Early Position:

If nobody has raised before me:

I should RAISE with AA, KK, QQ, AKs, AKo, AQs, AQo, AJs.

I should just CALL with:  JJ, TT, 99, AJo, ATs, A9s, KQs.

If one other person has already called in EP then I can CALL with these hands too:  88, 77, A8s, A7s, KJs, QJs.

If someone has raised before me:

I should RAISE with AA, KK, QQ, AKs, AKo.

I should just call with:  JJ, AQs, AQo, AJs.

As you can see, this means that if someone raises before you, there are not many hands you can call with.  This is to ensure that you are not going to be spending a lot of money with an inferior hand that may be dominated.  If you hold A9s, for example, calling a raise would be a mistake as your opponent could easily have AT, AJ, AQ or AK.

As a beginner, once you play one of these hands you should call any number of raises from further down the table, before the flop.  These are strong hands and you don't mind paying more, if necessary.  So if you call and then someone raises, you should go ahead and call the raise.
*Some judgement is obviously required here:*  If I called with A9s in EP and it got raised and then re-raised further down the table, I would probably throw my hand away - as the evidence would be quite strong that my hand was beaten.

You will win money by playing this strategy on Pokerstars or Pacific Poker.

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