texas holdem advice for beginners

I had an interesting conversation with a poker beginner recently. So I thought I'd blog about it.

It's rather interesting to watch new poker players... they tend to lay down "good cards" early or, more often, they tend to hold on to bad cards until the end. Almost every new beginner I meet tends to play out the hand until the end in the beginning - waiting for the magical river card. In the process, the more experienced players take all their money. :-)

The most common example I've seen, sometimes even with experienced players, is playing suited cards. That is to say, if you get 2 cards of the same suit. Playing two good cards of the same suit, or even connectors, is usually a good idea depending on your position. However, playing two "average" cards with the same suit that you normally wouldn't have played if they weren't suited - bad idea. Basically, playing a hand -just- b/c the cards are suited is not a good idea... unless you're big blind/small blind with nobody raising.

Many players play bad suited cards because they're hopeful for a flush.... the reality is that the probability of ending up with a flush (post flop+turn+river) starting with 2 suited cards in the beginning is actually pretty small. To be precise, it's 8.6%. So... next time you start putting money in the pot pre-flop with some average/sub-average suited cards, you may want to re-think your position! :-)

Another little poker tip ---- your probability of getting a pair, straight flush, flush, full house, et cetera when playing holdem is the SAME when you're playing with 2 players or 10 players. It is *exactly* the same. Here's the catch though: your probability of having the best hand is less when playing with more people... two very different things.