Obviously, one of the keys to playing Texas Hold em is which starting hands you choose to play. This subject is always one of much debate by poker pundits everywhere. Of course, there can be no hard and fast rules for picking which to cards you will play, because selection is always dependent on a wide range of factors. Position, chip stack, point in time of the tournament, all have great bearing on whether or not you should play your hand or fold it. While I am certainly not an advocate of the loose, reckless, style (or lack of style!) played by many online players, I do believe that you have to play MORE hands in internet poker games than you would in a live casino.
The reason for this is simple: the players you are playing against will play A LOT more hands. If you continually wait for only premium cards, you may not get them, or worse, you may find your A-K beaten by some moron play 9-2 suited. The odds tell you that you will win this type of confrontation more often than not, but you will lose it sometimes too. Remember that, because I see an awful lot of internet players ONLY playing premium hands and then becoming upset when they take a bad beat.
The way to combat this is to simply play a few more hands. You do not have play them all super strong. There is no need to come out with guns blazing, with big raises every time pre-flop. But, you should at least see a few more flops than you normally would. You need to pick up some pots that you wouldn’t have normally been involved in, to even out some of the hands that you shouldn’t have lost, but did.
This may seem contradictory, like I am telling you to play as loose as the people around you, but I am not. I am telling you to look for spots to sneak into a hand that you would maybe tend to fold otherwise. You will hit some flops and be able to pick up pots, or trap other players playing big over cards.
If you do not do this, you will find that your pocket K’s are called by somebody with A-8 more often than not and when that Ace comes on the flop, it can be very frustrating. You need to build up your chip stack so that these bad beats don’t hurt quite so bad.
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