Poker hand strength

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Mark | Poker Articles, Poker Strategy

Submitted by Matthew Tonge this article about poker hand strength belongs to the Poker Strategy Series.

Matthew recently submitted an article series about 5 key steps  to go from beginner to winner in poker. The second step is all about mastering the concept of poker hand strength

Overview of the entire article series

  1. Which starting hands to play in poker
  2. Poker hand strength
  3. Bet sizing in poker
  4. Aggression in poker
  5. Position in poker

Poker hand strength

Summary: Don’t fall in love with your hands. Some look nice at first, but if the action gets too hot, throw them away!

The strength of your poker hand is relative to the strength of your opponents’ hands. You are on the button and are dealt Ace-Jack. That’s a good hand. If it is folded around to you, there is a good chance that your hand is best. But let’s say that a player in early position raises, and then a player in middle position re-raises. Now, do you still think your Ace-Jack is strong? Remember what we said about needing a stronger hand the earlier your position. The player who raised in early position probably has a strong hand. Then the person who re-raised said “hey, I know you probably have a strong hand, but my hand is even stronger!” A good player will probably not re-raise here with a hand worse than yours, like Ace-Ten or King-Queen. In other words, your hand is almost certainly behind! It is a slight underdog to a pair of tens or lower, is a big underdog to Jack-Jack, Queen-Queen, King-King, Ace-King and Ace-Queen, and is a huge underdog to Ace-Ace. The beginner would still want to play the Ace-Jack. The intelligent player will realize that it is no longer good enough, and fold.

So, be more selective about which hands you play, try not to play too many hands out of position, don’t be passive – be aggressive, bet an amount that will achieve what you want to achieve, and pay attention to the strength your opponents are showing. If you can do these, you will be well on your way to becoming a competent poker player.

Matthew Tonge

For free poker tutorial videos, please visit my youtube page at you

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