Texas Holdem Poker Strategies and Overview

Poker, especially texas holdem,  is popular game that gives players an opportunity to make lots of cash. The popularity exploded after cable tv showed the games and winnings. And there is the Chris Moneymaker effect which in effect brought millions of new players, spectators, and  wanna be players to the game.
Chris Moneymaker was an accountant who played online at PokerStars. He won a seat to the 2003 Main Event from an $86 satellite tournament and won the 2013 WSOP for $2.5 million dollars. He was the face of many players. A part time poker player who dreamed of the big payday and he got it! He became the best advertisement for poker players around the world.
Since then poker has taken off. The 2014 WSOP Main Event jackpot was $5 million dollars, then $7 million, peaking at the 2006 WSOP jackpot which was $12 million. While it hasn’t reached that level in a while, the 2018 Main event jackpot was $8.8 million.
The “Moneymaker Effect” is evident not only did it bring more players into the game, but all things related to poker bloomed including strategies.
There are many strategies for poker some better than others. Tournament play strategy varies from cash game strategy. Live strategy varies from online strategy.
Tournament Play Strategies
In any one tournament, you might have to employ various strategies to reach the final table. All the strategies center on getting more chips. That’s the bottom line – more chips and creating a large chip stack. Early tournament strategy varies from mid level and later periods of the tournaments.
Early Stage Poker Tournament Strategy
Early tournament strategy is basically the same strategy you want to use throughout the tournament. The main difference is you can take more risks. This is the time to play hands you have a hunch might win. Your suited 5-6 might make a straight or 5-5 might lead to a four of a kind. In general it’s easier to take a risk and often very profitable especially when you win major chip stacks with those harder to come by hands.
It’s important not to be extremely loose but loose enough for speculative hands to win. And if you enter a tournament early enough you’ll see you often don’t have to. You can build an extremely nice chip stack by staying open to the possibilities and you don’t even have to bet a lot. Just assessing the hand against the flop .
This period you also want to fold in some cases when very aggressive bettors re-raise. Don’t through caution to the wind. Stay loose enough to raise a hand but unless it’s ace-ace or high pair hole cards you will still find great results. Enough to take you beyond the early stage and bring you beyond the bubble.
Bubble Strategy
If you enter the tournament early enough you should have enough chips to take you beyond the bubble. But the bubble is a period when you can make more chips. The blinds are rising and you don’t want to be caught with low stack as they rise. I like to wait beyond the bubble to bet but will bet ace-ace or cards that tend win more than lose. Of course, you don’t always get great cards like that at the bubble. But waiting will give you a chance to cash and then resume the climb. Entering early enough in the tournament will often give you enough winning hands to make through the bubble with a great chip stack too. I say this often enter your tournaments early.
Post Bubble Strategy
You need to assess your chip stack and your betting at this point. If you got a major chip stack boost with earlier wins, it’s good to wait to play around the blinds. If you didn’t and need to increase your stack, play according to the rules above. The same things go a suited 4-5 could be a straight or flush. Don’t over bet but don’t miss out on a chip increasing stack either by folding either. There is an implied odds for each player and holding out for say and ace-ace pair while it could win it could also lose to a three of kind, flush or straight as well. Don’t hold out for those extremely rare high pairs that seem rarer when you need them. Play loose but don’t over bet. You should still see winning hands to make it through the tournament.
Final Table Strategy
Congratulations on the final table, a choice place for all players. Guess what? The same strategies that got you there will be the same will get you through to heads up. There are usually some players with more chips than others. They will often re-raise and many people will fold. This only increases their stack while other players wilt. A good thing to do here is re-raise if you stack is high and force players to fold if they think they don’t have a winning combination or play the blinds for great hands while folding the rest of the time. You still have nine or less players here who can have great hands. Unlike heads up, where there are only two players.
Heads Up Strategy
Heads up is the best place to be. The odds change here dramatically only because finally, you don’t have nine players at the table just two. Odds increase dramatically by having any pair or high card and you always play these because they win more often. Simply put, you worked hard to reach the final table but it’s usually much easier at this point because there are only two players and fewer potential hand combinations.