Pre-flop is the stage where it all starts, where you have to make crucial decisions depending on your starting hand, position and bets from other players in the hand. It is important to make a good decision pre-flop, as it will set the tone for the rest of hand and will give you a chance to win big a pot. However, if you make a bad decision, it will cost you lots of chips by putting you into risky position.
After you have been dealt cards, it is always important to take time to evaluate all your variables. Don’t just consider your cards, but also keep in mind your position and the types of opponents you are going play against. Here are a few must-read tips about how you should start in a tourney before the flop:
1. Select Correct Starting Hand
Choosing which hand to play and which to fold is what sets the foundation for a profitable hand. Some of the best starting hands in Texas Holdem Poker you can raise or reraise with include the followings:
- Big Pocket Pairs: AA-KK-QQ-JJ-TT
- Big Suited Connectors: AK-AQ-AJ-KQ-QJ
- Big Connectors: AK, AQ, AJ, KQ
All the hands mentioned above have more chances of winning than the rest of hands you play in Online Ppoker Tournaments. So if you stick to these hands, you will find yourself in a more profitable situation in the after-flop game.
2.Understand Your Position
What many players fail to understand is their position in a hand. Yes, your position is an important variable you should always be aware of. The dynamics in pre-flop play are little bit different and if you are in the small blind or big blind, you will be last ones to act, whereas your opponents will be first to act.
You should avoid playing too many hands in blinds. Play only when you have a strong holding. While you can play big pocket pairs, big suited and off suited connectors from any position, you should avoid playing in blinds with average hands. Here some tips on how you should play in various positions:
- Call with ATo/AQo/KJo and KQo and raise with AQo and AKo in blinds
- Hands like A9o or worse should be dumped irrespective of a position
- Try to avoid playing out of position unless you have a premium hand
- Be a little loose in late positions to apply pressure on weak opponents
3.Learn Pre-Flop Bet Sizing
Before flop, you will be often faced with a decision to fold, call or raise. If you have a good holding and there has been no raise before you, there is no need to limp in. If you are limping in a hand, you are either entering the pot with a weak hand or you are playing your strong hand too weakly, which you should avoid to do. If you have a strong holding, start with a raise or re-raise. The idea of pumping it up preflop is to get calling stations or limpers out of the hand, as they often tend to see flop by limping. Here is how you should bet:
- Raise 3 BB or 4 BB with hands like AA & KK to increase the pot size
- Increase your bet if others are limbers or calling stations before you
- Avoid limping with poor hands as this way you are losing your chips
- Only limp only if other opponents at the table have limped before you
- If others limp, call with KT/KJ but raise with KJs/KQs in a hand
To sum up, the majority of your time, you should follow ‘pump it or dump it’ strategy before the flop. It is simple- fold all your mediocre hands or raise with premium hands but always consider your position & opponents before acting.