Get the Edge at Hold’em

    Bill Burton, author of “Get the Edge at Low Limit Texas Hold’em,” offers these quick tips to improving your poker game.

    • The old adage “Know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em” holds true for Texas Hold’em. Don’t get in the habit of playing hands that are not going to pay off in the long run.

    • If the flop does not fit your hand by giving you the top pair or better, a straight, or flush draw and there is a bet in front of you, fold. If you played a small pair from late position and you do not flop a third to make a set, you should throw the pair away if there is a bet.

    • If it’s your turn and you hold only two unsuited overcards (two cards higher than any card on the board) with no flush or straight draw, fold if there is a bet in front of you. Too much money is lost by players who hope to catch a miracle card. The best hand you can make with two unsuited overcards is a pair, which will probably lose anyway.

    • Your ability to read the board will help make you a winning player, and it is not hard to learn. Since Texas Hold’em is played with community cards turned up, you can easily determine the best possible hand that can be made from the board cards and two unseen cards. It is extremely important to learn how to determine how your hand stacks up against the other possible hands that your opponents may hold. There are some situations that should send up a red flag when you see them. If there are three suited cards on the board, then someone can make a flush. If a player raises when the third suited card is turned over, you should be wary of continuing. If there is a pair on the board, a player can make four of a kind or a full house.

    • Never show your hand if you don’t have to. If you win because the other players folded, you are under no obligation to show the other players your cards, so don’t give away information about yourself.

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