Poker Starting Hands

A Texas Hold’em hand of Jack Jack, called “Hooks.” Check out more Poker images here.

Whether you are playing poker online or in a face to face combat, there are two questions you need to ask yourself when you first look at your cards. Most players know these questions but don’t place the proper importance on them. The biggest way to improving your game is knowing these questions and understanding why there are so important.

The dealer had just dealt you, your two cards, you look at them and are deciding whether to play or not. The first question you ask yourself is what they are. Most players will look at their cards and base their decision on whether to play in the hand or not, on this question alone. You can not answer this question before first asking yourself, “Where am I sat?” This may sound obvious, however, there are three positions you could be sat in early, middle, or late. You must know which you are in before you can consider what you have in your hands. So the two questions are: “Where am I?” and, “What do I have?”

“Where am I?” you should have considered this even before the cards are dealt. The dealer is the best position to be in, otherwise, know as on the button. This is because you will be able to watch all the action before you come to bet. In a table of ten players, going clockwise from the dealer. The small blinds and the person to their left are said to be in early positions, the next four in middle positions, and the last three in late positions. The reason why where you are sit is so important is because the players in late positions can play weaker hands than the players in the other two positions.

Why is that? Well, say you are dealt pocket sevens. If you are in early potions and bet, then the players in later positions raise and re-raise. Are you going to double or triple your bet on such a weak hand? Sure this might not be the case and everyone could fold or call, but how often does that happen. In the long run, playing hands that you would normally play in late positions in early ones, will ultimately lead to you losing bets equivalent of the big blind which will add up to more than you could ever win off that one lucky hand. Even worse you could become pot committed, i.e. when you have put so much in you can’t walk away. If this happens you could find yourself all in, in this example praying for another seven.

Too many players, get their cards and see an opportunity to play, without thinking about where they are sat on the table. Don’t fall into the trap of playing cards that look good, they are only good if you are sat in the right seat.