Here’s an Easy Exercise to Improve Your Texas Holdem Play

Many beginning Texas Holdem players develop a playing style that is tight but weak. Maybe they have learned the value of playing only a select few starting hands. Tightening up their starting hand requirements has the effect of improving the beginning player’s results. They typically improve from a losing player to a break even or slightly winning player at the lower limits.

The problem is that the tightness the new player has grown with more discerning starting hands bleeds over into their flop and post flop play. Such tight-weak play causes them to fold too often during the latter betting rounds. They tend to see «monsters under the bed» whenever an opposing player bets or raises. Such a timid approach can spell disater especially when the pot has grown large.

We all know how hard it’s to get a great strong hand in Texas Holdem. However we may often overlook that it is just as hard for our opponents to draw a fantastic hand. We may be rolling along with a good but not great hand and get stopped in our tracks when a scare card comes along. Sure, our competitor may have only drawn out on us. Or, they may just use the scare card to represent a big hand.

There are many factors that will enter into your response to your opponent’s action. Those actions are beyond the scope of this article. Butif you realize you are backing down to heat all too frequently; try this simple exercise. It can be really eye opening. Here’s the exercise: get a pack of cards and deal a round of Texas Holdem face up. Notice how few hands are actually great starters. Notice how many are crap.

Now think back to all those games you have played four or five players were always in the bud. There was a lot of crap being played, wasn’t there? There was a good deal of chasing happening, wasn’t there? Turn over three cards to the flop. How many hands missed the flop completely? Play through the hand. Occasionally a good but not great hand holds up, sometimes it does not.

Also, notice how frequently or how rarely that scare card matches up with any of those starting hands. You’ll find a great idea of how hard it’s to fill a straight or flush. After you play around with this exercise for a little, you will probably realize that there have been many times in your past play that you ought to have stayed with a hand. You may also see that there have been occasions where you might have successfully represented a big hand to your opponents.

Playing a couple of face up rounds of Texas Holdem can really be an eye opening exercise. It may help drive home some courses that you already knew but never really applied. Needless to say, there are still situations where you will want to lay down that hand. However, if timid play is the downfall, this easy exercise can help improve your play and aggressiveness.

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