Poker Hand Selection

Hand selection with chart
The game of Poker requires many things from its followers. There are many ways to play the game and many subtle nuances that make the game the great pastime and lucrative profession that it has become. However, what it ultimately comes down to is who is holding the best hand at the end of the game and who played their cards right. As a good Poker player you have to be able to, in a way, predict the future, or the possible outcomes of what cards you might receive for what cards you are discarding. If this sounds complicated, it sometimes is.

Community Cards
Another critical skill in determining hand selection in a community card game, such as Texas Hold’em, is the ability to use those community cards and read what you will be able to do with them. Some players swear by rote memorization of hand charts and lay their hands accordingly in almost a machine like manner. While statistically this type of play is sometimes advantageous it fails to take in the very human aspect of hand selection against varying opponents.

What Hands to Play
In Texas Hold’em selecting which hands to play and what to do with those hands is extremely important and sums up pretty nicely what the game is about. For example hand selection and hand strength at the Flop, the Turn, and the River each require their own separate analysis of hand strength determination. To let your judgment lapse at any of these crucial turning points can cause dire circumstances for future hands.

Position and Hand Selection
There is a significant correlation between your hand selection strength and the poker position that you occupy at the table. If for example, you are dealt a very strong hand; an A-A, for example, your hand strength is far stronger to play that hand from the early position than a 7-2. In fact if you are dealt a 7-2 in the early position odds are very likely that you will not be playing this hand and should wait. This is how you determine hand strength.

Chart It
This is a beginning chart (with explanation) to demonstrate exactly what hand strengths might be able to be played from any of the three positions.

Cards to play from the Early Position
-Generally consider raising with any of the following cards; an A-A, a K-K, and an A-K. These cards are all very strong from any of the positions including the early position.
-Generally consider calling with the following cards; an A-K, an A-Q, a K-Q, a Q-Q, and a J-J.

Cards to play from the Middle Position
-Consider calling with any of the following cards; a 9-9, a 8-8, a A-J, a Q-J, a A-Q, or a K-Q.

Cards to play from the Late Position
-Consider calling with any of the following cards; an A-and any other card, and small pairs.

Read More Into It
These aren’t every possible card combination that you will be find, nor should they be memorized as the only possible method to attack any given scenario. You have to read player’s weaknesses and strengths as much as the cards themselves. However, understanding starting position hand strengths will certainly give you an advantage and a game plan for the long haul.