What Percentage of Poker Hands Should I Play?
Many beginners at the real or online poker tables wonder how loose or how tight they should approach the game, more particularly the percentage of poker hands they should play before the flop comes? There is no simple answer, simply because poker is a game that is always in flux. When you are playing, you will hit opponents who have different tendencies, which means that you will often need to vary your strategies to compensate. However, there are some rules that you can take into just about any situation. So let’s review the strategy you must apply whenever you’re ready to make the transition from free poker to the real cash poker tables.
Did you call? Then raise.
Has the action folded to you, but you want to play your hand? Then it’s time to go for some aggressive poker strategy and raise. If you’re not holding a raise-worthy hand, then you just fold too. That means your opponents won’t know that you had a weak hand (and won’t get the satisfaction of knowing how things look when you limp, and the players also have to add more chips into the pot before the flop if you have a strong hand.
Starting your poker hands in early position.
Are you in a 9-handed cash game? If you’re one of the first three to act, you are in early position (EP). Here you will be going with at least six more players to act after you, so you will need a solid hand if you want to play. Generally, solid players raise triple the big blind when they have something like 77+ or AK+. This might seem like a tight strategy, but you are putting three big blinds at risk with the reward of just 1.5 big blinds coming back if all six of your opponents decide to fold. Also, you might find yourself out of position after the flop if someone calls you. Because of all of these potential problems, if you’re going to play, you need a strong hand pre flop.
Starting your poker hands in middle position
If you are in the second and third positions to the button’s right, then you are in middle position. There are fewer people behind you waiting to act, so if a call comes, you find yourself still playing in position more of the time, so you can play a bit looser. The key players now are the ones between you and the button, because you will have to face them out of position after the flop, if they decide to call. If they are playing tight, though, you can play more poker hands. If the people on your left are loose, though, you need to stay tight.
This might seem like a drawback, but you will end up making more money with the poker hands that you decide to play. As you develop confidence in your post flop strategy, you can add poker hands such as QJ/A9/KT/J9/QT/K9 to your range of poker hands that you will play. Remember that when the players to your left are quite loose, you will need to tighten up a little more. However, if someone has position on you but only folds rarely, you don’t want to add to the pot with something marginal, as you are likely to lose.