Holdem Pre-Flop Chart and Tips
Texas Holdem poker is essentially divided into four consecutive sections – “pre-flop”, “on the flop”, “on the turn”, and “on the river”. The pre-flop section of the game is the simplest and precedes the reveal of the community cards. This means that players must make decisions based solely on their own two private hole cards.
In order to assist them in making decisions according to this and other information, players may consult a Holdem pre-flop chart. Holdem pre-flop chart info sheets are readily available all over the internet and it is perfectly acceptable for players to keep them on hand while they make their pre-flop decisions.
A Holdem pre-flop chart considers the cards in hand as well as the player position and the number of players at the table, hand quality, whether or not the pot has been raised, and players’ pre- and post-flop skill levels.
Player Position and Number of Players
Ideally, Holdem poker games should feature about 10 players and a Holdem pre-flop chart generally applies to games of this size. Small pairs and suited connectors – two consecutive cards of the same suit, e.g. J-Q hearts – are ideal for large games, whereas big aces are recommended for games against only one or two opponents.
The Holdem pre-flop chart indicates that a late position is the most advantageous place at the poker table. That’s because late positions allow players to watch their opponents’ reactions and give them time to make better decisions. In general, the Holdem pre-flop chart recommends that the earlier the position, the tighter the play should be – i.e. players should play only very strong starting hands.
The Strength of your Hand
Obviously, the stronger the hand, the more likely the Holdem pre-flop chart is to advise you to play it. However, hand quality is mediated to some extent by other factors such as opponent skill, pot status, and player position. And the Holdem pre-flop chart does bear some of these in mind.
Status of the Pot
Whether or not the pot has been raised yet is also a major factor considered in the Holdem pre-flop chart. Opponents who have raised probably have strong hands, making it more difficult for you to play lesser hands like low-value suited connectors and small pairs. Sometimes folding is the best option in these cases – as the Holdem pre-flop chart shows.
Opponents’ Skill Levels and Your Post-Flop Game
Poker is not a one-man game. It is played against at least one opponent and generally involves some degree of bluffing. That means that the value of your hand does not exist in isolation. A major principle underlying the Holdem pre-flop chart is opponents’ skill levels. The better you know your opponent to be at poker, the more wary you should be of playing weak hands.
In terms of your own skills set, if you know your post-flop game to be particularly strong, then pre-flop games take on less significance and you may be able to afford to take more risks. However, playing tight on weak hands throughout the game and consulting your Holdem pre-flop chart before playing your starting hand is really the best way to go.