Preflop in poker

Preflop in poker: Strategies and tips

The preflop in poker is a decisive moment of the hand, and it is even something that will give clues -at the beginning- about the development of the game or tournament. It is a very personal moment, which gives many clues about the style of play. The most experienced take advantage of the cards in their hand, and the novices complain about the bets: “If you still don’t know what will come out!”. Which do you want to be?

So… what is the preflop in poker? The preflop in poker is the state of the hand before the first three community cards are revealed, known as the flop. With two blinds, each player must make a bet to see the first three cards and/or try to win the pot already.

Knowing what this phase is… How should we play the preflop in poker? Depending on our hand, we will aim for several different things. We can have the intention of obtaining information to read the rivals, trying to win the hand directly, adding as many opponents as possible, isolating ourselves against one or a few, or simply we will have an unplayable hand.

Will our preflop strategy depend (exclusively) on the hand we have? No, the position will also be very relevant, and it will also be determined by our style of play and time of the game, chips we have, etc. The more players remain to speak and the more bets have been placed, the more the bar for hands to play will rise. If we want few rivals, we will be aggressive, if we want a hand with many ‘fishes’ more passive.

Preflop strategy according to the hands we have

Preflop strategy

Probably, our hand will be decisive in the preflop strategy. As extracted from this article, there is not a single important element, but there are several axes that determine the decision:

  • Premium hands: We are talking about AA, AK, KK, AQ (and little else ‘suited’). With these hands we will play from any position and in any circumstance, and our objective will be to isolate ourselves against few players if it is not even. If necessary, we will ‘all-in’.
  • Semi-premium hands: Any ‘ace’ of the same color, any pair over 10, any combination of figures ‘suited’ or with the K (KJ and KQ) would enter here. They are not premium hands as such, and we must think very carefully about going with everything ‘preflop’. Normally we will raise, but if we find a re-raise, we will have to analyze the opponent’s previous moves.
  • Interesting hands: we will take into account connected cards of the same color, always better than 6 (6-7, for example), any A, any combination of face cards and a pair in hand. The preflop strategy with these hands will consist of having few opponents with A, and looking for a hand with many ‘fish’ with connectors or pocket pairs. We will look for a low entry barrier, usually calling to go looking for a higher draw or hand, which allows us an easy exit on the flop.
  • Medium Hands: Disconnected or one-figure suited hands have little play. We will try to avoid them unless we are in a very good position or fighting for the blinds.

In our preflop poker strategy, we will avoid any other combination of cards, unless the situation of the game forces us to play.

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