7 Ways To Improve Your Poker Preflop Strategy
The preflop stage of a poker game is very important as it sets your momentum for the whole hand. That’s the reason why you really need to properly strategize and know the ins and outs of the game before playing it.
If you’re new to poker, the preflop round is when each player is dealt with two cards, face down. It literally means “before the flop” and is probably among the most important stages of poker. However, some people may make poor decisions in playing this game.
To help you improve your poker preflop strategy, here are 7 strategies you should implement..
1. Planning your strategy ahead
As they say, failing to plan is planning to fail – that’s also true to poker. You should have a clear idea of what you should do, as a loosely constructed plan – or not having a plan at all – can lessen your chances of winning the game.
You should know what hands you’ll open-raise when folded to you from every position, what hands you’ll raise – or should you limp, which range of hands you’ll continue when the player in front raises, and whatnot.
Knowing and working out your potential weaknesses in preflop ahead of time will put you in the upper hand of the game.
2. Don’t limp
Open limping in preflop is a very bad strategy.
It’s when you’re the first to enter the pot and call for the big blind. It’s a passive action that won’t allow you to win the pot immediately. Dead money in the pot is already there from the small and big blind, but calling won’t help you claim it.
Also, open limping will put the other players behind you in a good spot and therefore will make their lives easier. Having a bigger blind in the pot, they’ll be encouraged to call (or raise) and play the pot against your weaker range.
Your limps may also face aggression from the players after you. They may exploit your deemed weak range or draw out the value they would raise.
Even when you counter this with your strong hands in an attempt to balance your limp, it will just result in a lower expected value. So you may want to squeeze the value from your strong holdings preflop.
3. Don’t play your strong hands passively
Passive playing may be one of the common mistakes you’ll usually notice or commit in low-stakes games.
You must always take advantage of your strong hands by placing as much money as possible so you can extract as much value as you can.
Meanwhile, if your opponent also carries a strong hand, then you should extract the largest value by increasing the pot. Conversely, if your opponent folds and has nothing, simply carry on to the next and forget about the hand. You can do nothing if they don’t really have any.
Remember, failing to bet with strong hands will be a wasted opportunity.
4. Always consider your position and range’s relationship
The range of the hands you’re willing to play should be influenced by your position in a hand. With that, you’ll be able to take into consideration the relationship between your position and range.
Your range should be tighter when there are more players behind you to act. That’s because of the increased probability to come up against a strong hand with more players left to act. You may also fail to defend your range and thus be exploited easily when you’re opening too wide in the early positions. Rather, widen your range as you move to the button closer.
5. Attack your opponent’s weakness
Players usually play by their hand’s strength. Thus, observing how your opponents play will give you hints of whether they have weak or strong hands.
For instance, if someone plays passively, such as checking and calling, he could have a weak hand and is therefore eager to just see the next street cheaply. It’s also the same when a person doesn’t bet big enough and would just fold and not commit to too many chips during the process.
Observing these things should help you decide on your next move.
6. You should be flatting enough on the Button
Not flatting enough is also a common mistake among players with their tendency to frequently fold the button. With the last postflop’s value of acting, you may justify if you take a flop with a wide range of hands if it’s the right price.
This strategy is especially useful to live poker where live players don’t usually play too aggressively from the blinds.
7. Don’t play too tight in the big blind
Many players may be too tight in the big blind and will therefore not call enough, particularly in versus opens from the small blind.
So if you’re the last player to act pre-flop and be offered good pot odds to flop, you may play looser from the big blind than other positions.
While there are more ways to improve your Poker Preflop strategy, those are some of the most important things you should take note of. Applying those strategies to your next game will surely help have a head start against your opponents and will increase your chances of winning.
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