It’s easy to be confident with straights and flushes but not so much with anything else. And in poker, you won’t always get these kinds of hands, and knowing how to play other hands is easier said than done. To help you out, here are some solid strategies for various poker hands that you need to try:
If you have a pocket pair (two hole cards of the same rank), you should almost always raise at pre-flop because you have an excellent chance of making a set (three of a kind) or quads (four of a kind).
If there has been a lot of betting and you don’t think you can win with just a set, then you can try to bluff by betting big and hoping that everyone else folds. However, this is a risky move and should only be done if you’re confident in your abilities.
Small Pocket Pairs
If you have a small pocket pair (e.g., 2-2), you should only play them if the pot is small and there aren’t many people in the hand. The reason is that you’re only going to make a set (three of a kind) about 12% of the time.
If you hit a set, you should bet big and try to get as much money in the pot as possible. However, if the board is suited or there’s a straight or flush possibility, you should be more cautious and just call instead of raising.
If you have a two pair, you should bet if the board is safe or if you think your opponent has a weaker hand. However, if the board is dangerous (e.g., a possibility of a flush or straight), you should just check and hope to make your full house on the river.
Ace with a Small Card
If you have an Ace with a small card (e.g., Ace-2), you should be careful of playing this hand. If the flop comes out and there’s an Ace, people might think you have a set (three of a kind). If the flop doesn’t have an Ace, you can try to bluff by betting.
Two High Cards
If you have two suited high cards (e.g., Ace-King, Queen-Jack), you should raise pre-flop most of the time because you have a good chance of making a flush or a straight. If the flop comes out and you don’t hit your hand, you can always try to bluff by betting big.
However, if there are already many people in the pot or you’re up against tight players, you might want to just call instead.
If you need a guide on how to play specific two high card combos, check the following:
Ace-King is a great hand to play, especially if you’re up against tight players. It’s because it’s tough for people to call your bets when they have a lower pocket pair. If the flop comes out and you don’t hit your hand, you can always try to bluff by betting big.
Ace-Queen is another good hand to play, but you should be careful if the board is suited or if there’s a straight possibility. You can win a big pot if you hit a pair or more. However, people might call your bets with a lower pocket pair if the board is suited or there’s a possibility of a straight.
Suited connectors (e.g., 9-8 of Hearts) are a great hand to play if you’re getting good pot odds. Only play them if you’re confident that you can win with a flush or a straight.
Unsuited connectors (e.g., 8-7 of Spades and Hearts) are a riskier hand to play, but they can be profitable if you’re getting good pot odds. However, if the board is suited or there’s a straight possibility, you should be careful of playing these.
In poker, one-gappers are two cards that are one number apart (e.g., 7-5 of Spades). They are a riskier hand to play, but they can be profitable if you’re getting good pot odds. It’s better for them to be suited gappers because then you have the possibility of making a flush even if you don’t hit your straight.
Three of a Kind
If you have three of a kind, you should always bet big, as it’s unlikely that anyone else has a better hand than you. You should be careful only if there is a flush or a straight on the board, as someone might have a higher hand than you.
Flush And Straight Draws
Flush and straight draws are when you’re one or two cards short of completing either combination. You should always bet if the board is safe if you have a hand like this. However, if the board is dangerous (e.g., there’s a different straight or flush possibility), you should just check and hope to make your flush or straight on the river.
It’s All In The Hands
It’s one thing to memorize poker hand combinations and their rankings and another to play them properly. Hopefully, this guide will help you do the latter. So, what are you waiting for? Try out what you’ve learned and play those hands like a true hustler.