In this strategy series, CoinPoker’s Chief Community Manager and pro poker player Isabelle “No Mercy” Mercier walks you through the basics of the game. Each No Mercy Monday comes with expert advice on how to play, and it all starts with starting hands.
Knowing how to play your starting hands is part of the very basic strategies in No Limit Hold’em Poker. Over the next few weeks, we will examine the best options regarding premium hands, hands with potential, risky hands and mediocre hands.
How to Play Premium Poker Hands
When we talk about premium hands, we are mostly looking at AA, KK, QQ, JJ, AK and AQ. Those are very strong hands, especially in 6 handed games, and you should definitely try to get as much value out of these hands as possible.
Very often, novice players will tell me that they don’t want to raise, as this will scare everyone off the pot. Well, there are two major problems with that statement:
- If everyone folds every time you raise, it is because your game is too passive and you are not raising often enough.
- If you let too many players in, your premium hand loses a lot of value; AA vs 77 is an 80% favorite, but AA vs five players is a very different story!
Most of the time, your goal will be to play these premium hands in a heads up spot, as this is where you will be a large favorite to win the pot. Do not forget that it is better to win a small pot than to lose a giant one, which often happens when you are holding a premium hand, because it is so difficult to let it go.
In conclusion, you should almost always raise with those hands, aiming at achieving two goals:
- Eliminating too many opponents
- Building the pot to get value out of your premium hands
Don’t forget to join me twice a week in the Hubble Bubble tournaments to practice your skills and try to win my 2,000CHP bounty!
– Isabelle “No Mercy” Mercier