ONLINE POKER TOP10 Beginner’s Tips No Limit Holdem – Part IV - Betting Before the Flop
The biggest question for new No Limit Hold’em players is which hands to play and how much they should bet.
As we said before, when playing the Short Stack Strategy, you never just call, when you decide to play a hand, you always raise. But the question is, how much should you raise?
The size of your bet or raise will depend on whether another player has already bet. The easiest scenario is when another player bets before you - you go all-in. If no one has raised, then you will raise an amount equal to four (4) Big Blinds (BBs), adding the amount of one BB for every player that has already called. This formula is known as 4+1. If a player raises before or after you however, then you go all-in.
First you have to decide if your hand is strong enough to play. Whether or not you play a hand depends on your cards and your position. These are the hands you should play, what positions you should be in to play them, and how much you should raise. When you hold these hands and no one raises before you, you should raise to four (4) BBs + 1 BB per caller:
• Early Position play: J-J, Q-Q, K-K, A-A, and A-K
• Middle Position play: 9-9, T-T, J-J, Q-Q, K-K, A-A, A-Q, and A-K
• Late Position or the Blinds play: 7-7, 8-8, 9-9,T-T, J-J, Q-Q, K-K, A-A, K-Q, A-J, A-Q, and A-K
If a hand is not on this list, then it is considered too weak to play and you should fold it. When playing hands like 7-7, pay attention to your position. Hands in the Late Position or the Blinds category should not be played in early positions. An easy way to remember what hands to play is: Earlier positions require you to have a strong hand, while weaker hands can be played in later positions.
Let’s look at some examples of what to do when you have a playable hand:
You are playing in a NLH $0.05/$0.10 game where the Big Blind is $0.10.
• All players before you fold - you should raise to $0.40.
• One player calls before you - you should raise to $0.50.
• Three players call before you - you should raise to $0.70.
• Your minimum raise should always be four (4) Big Blinds, plus one (1) Big Blind per player in the hand.
• If someone raises in front of you, then you go all-in if your hand is strong enough.
Now we will look at examples of hands and how you should play them according to Short Stack Strategy guidelines.
Hand 1: You are in early position with pocket queens – raise if no one has raised before you.
Hand 2: You are in early position with pocket tens – fold. Only play pocket pairs higher than tens in early position.
Hand 3: You are in late position with pocket tens – raise if no one has raised before you. In late position, play any pocket pair of 7-7 or higher.
Hand 4: You are in middle position with AK and one player has raised before you – you go all-in.
What to do when someone raises before or after you.
The situation changes when one or more players show strength by raising before you or re-raising after you. Most hands you will fold when you are raised or re-raised. The exception is when you have a strong hand.
In these situations when you hold one of these hands - you will go all-in:
One player raises before you – J-J, Q-Q, K-K, A-A, and A-K
More than one player raises before you – K-K and A-A
One player re-raises after you – T-T, J-J, Q-Q, K-K, A-A, and A-K
To recap the basics of this section remember: