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Publication: Hold'em or Fold'em
Poker Preflop Mistakes pt. 1

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HOLD 'EM or FOLD 'Em                        January 20, 2006
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Comment The Post Below...

Hello Poker Players, 

I've been playing a whole heck of a lot of Hold'em in the
past few weeks. From online games to neighborhood games.

This weekend I'm going to what I'll call a semi-professional
game.

There are going to be about 75 people in this tournament.
It's at a friends house and he's gone all out and even
hired a bunch of dealers to come in for the evening.

It's a $100 buy in and first and second place win something.
I'll let you know how I do.

Should be fun.

Ante Up,   
Austin	   

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 


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                             ***


POKER PREFLOP MISTAKES Part I
courtesy of cardschat.com

I was at the local card club the other night playing $4/$8 limit 
Texas Holdem and I noticed something about one of the players 
there. He claimed to be a good player, but I noticed that he made 
a lot of mistakes while he played. One of the largest leaks in 
his game was his preflop play. After studying this player I began 
to notice that he was not the only one at the table making these 
mistakes and that's when I thought to myself that there are many 
people who simply do not know how to play their hands preflop.

I learned Texas Holdem from the books. "Play tight, but be 
aggressive," David Sklansky says. "Play tight and also play 
aggressive," Doyle Brunson says. "Play the top hands and be 
aggressive," Phil Hellmuth says. All of these authors have 3 
things in common. They are all professional level Texas Holdem 
players, they all suggest playing tight and they all suggest 
playing aggressive. Let me teach you the lessons that I have 
learned from these authors and use their strategy with the example 
of the players at my $4/$8 table.

The first hand I noticed the first player, we'll call him John, 
make a big mistake on was when he was under the gun. My general 
strategy for under the gun play is "If it's good enough to call 
with, it's good enough to raise with." You must play very tight 
and very aggressive when you are under the gun, but this player 
called with A7o. If you want to win at Texas Holdem in limit 
games such as these you should only be raising in this position. 
The hands you should be playing are AA, KK, AKs, QQ, AK, JJ, AQs, 
AQo, or AJs, any other hands you should fold. The first position 
is the most critical position at the table and when you are first 
deciding whether to get into a pot you have no information about 
the hands your rivals could have in their hands.

Continued below...


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                             ***

POKER PREFLOP MISTAKES Part I cont'd...

Just as in any situation, this strategy can be changed a little 
bit depending on your table. Sometimes it is okay to just call 
rather than raise. The only time this is okay is when you have 
AA, KK, QQ, and sometimes AKs and the table is a loose aggressive 
game. Call from under the gun and let some other chump raise the 
pot for you. When the action gets back to you, reraise! Make it 
two more bets for the next person to call you if they want to see
a flop. The purpose of your just calling under the gun was to get 
these fish to limp in and let the aggressive fish raise you preflop. 
This way you get the extra money in the pot with the best possible
 hand and you win more bets. I usually outright raise with AKs, 
there is no need to backraise with your hand if you do not have a 
pair already.

John had made a big mistake calling with A7o. It would have been a 
better move for him to raise. Why? Because if he would have raised 
I would have folded my A10o in late position because I would have 
given him a little bit more respect and less players would have 
entered the pot. Four players saw the flop in this particular hand 
and the flop came down Ah Js 4s. The small blind checked and the 
big blind bet. John was faced with the decision of whether to call 
or to raise, but he just called with his ace. The action was on my 
and it was 1 small bet to call, but I wanted to find out exactly 
how strong the big blind's hand was (since the big blind can have 
just about any two cards) so I raised the bet. The small blind 
folded, the big blind called and John called. The turn card was 6d 
which I knew didn't help anybody. I put the big blind on a flush 
draw after he checked to John. But then John bet out into me. Being 
the aggressive player that I am I made a quick raise in hopes to 
eliminate the big blind and get heads up with John, which is exactly 
what happened. John just called me again so I was pretty sure he 
didn't have two pair and was just trying to buy another card or 
making another mistake. The river came As and John checked to me. 
I bet out with my AAAJ10 and John raised me. I know it was pretty 
obvious by the way he played the hand that he had an ace in his 
hand so I reraised him and he called. He laid down his hand and 
said "Trip aces," so I layed mine down and said "10 kicker." John 
lost and I picked up a nice size pot.

John was upset that he had lost, but if he would have followed the 
correct preflop strategy from the start, he would not have lost 
the $52 that he had lost ($4 preflop, $8 flop, $16 turn, $24 river). 
Now if he played his strategy right he would have won a $120 pot. 
He would have won $68 rather than losing $52. So if you look at it, 
this preflop mistake not only cost him $52, it really cost him 
$120 because if he would have played an AJ or better in the same 
situation I probably would have gone until at least the turn and 
he would have won. Now you can see why your preflop strategy for 
playing under the gun is so important. There are always a few good 
players and sometimes a shark like me observing every move you make 
and every tick you make at the table. Once we pick up on the way 
you play and the mistakes you make we exploit it to the fullest 
extent that we can and before you know it you've lost $200 in less 
than 3 hours just like John did.

Continued below...
          
                             ***



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                             ***


POKER PREFLOP MISTAKES Part I cont'd...

Preflop Strategy
There are many mistakes being made preflop. To fix the leaks in 
your game I suggest you follow the following preflop strategy 
until you get a feel of the game and the players that you are 
playing with.

First position / under the gun: Raise with AA, KK, AKs, QQ, AK, 
JJ, AQs, AQo, or AJs.

Call: NONE.

Early position: Raise with same hands plus 1010, AJ, KQs.
Call:KQo

Middle position: Raise with same hands plus KQo, KJs, QJs
Call A10s, A10o, KJo, QJo, K10s, 99, 88

Late position: Raise with same hands plus A10s, K10s, KJo,
QJo, 99, 88
Call with 77, 66, 55, Q10s, Q10o, K10o, J10s, J10o, J9s

Remember that this is also subjective. Sometime you don't raise 
exactly as this chart says. You are only raising as this chart 
says when you have no raises before you and few players calling 
before you. This chart represents the raises you should make if 
you have 1-3 players calling before you. 


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Discuss Strategy, Ask Questions and more at the Hold'em
Fold'em Blog: http://blog.gophercentral.com/poker.html

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