To get a good start in Texas Hold'em you need to know which starting hands (hole cards) to play from different positions.
And how much to bet or raise with them depending on what other players have done.
In general you should play very few hands from early position and a lot more hands from late position.
When you start out with this you might find that it gets boring, since a lot of the time you are not involved in the hands.
In general most winning players play few hands, even professional players. Be very careful so that you do not all of a sudden play a lot more hands than the recoommended, and this takes a lot of discipline.
The reason why good players generally play few hands, especially from early position is that it is so much easier to win when your starting hand is better or at least as good as your opponents a lot of the time.
If you start playing a lot more hands, you will find that you are often at a disadvantage against your opponents from the beginning.
There are a couple of things you can do to make it more interesting:
- Play more hands - generally only recommended when you know what you are doing, or playing for money that does not really matter to you
- Play on higher levels - poker is basically a game about money, and when you are past the very first step I think you should play on a level that makes you care if you win or lose. But not on a level that impacts your life if you lose.
- Play with deeper stack - when you have more money in the stack, you face much more interesting decisions
- Play more tables at the same time - when you feel that you have the basics in place and can make quick decisions I recommend that you play more than one table.
For most players, only playing one table becomes boring in the long run.
In the following; if the hand you are holding is not in the recommended hands for opening or raising you should fold.
When it says raise to 3 BB or 3 BB + 1 for each limper or 3 times their raise an option is to just raise the size of the pot which is available in most poker rooms (Full Tilt has it).
The advice applies when opponents have done a normal size raise, i.e. 2-5 times the big blind do the following. If they have done a larger raise you have to think for yourself.
Betting has not been opened
General: always open with a raise that is 3,5 times the big blind. At Full Tilt you can click "Pot" and "Raise".
Do not limp, i.e. just call the big blind.
Early and middle position
Open with AA-TT, AK
Late position and Small Blind
Open with AA-77, AK-AT
One or several limpers
Regardless of your position:
Raise with AA-TT, AK
Raise to 3 BB (big blinds) + 1 extra BB for each limper. At Full Tilt you can click "Pot" and "Raise".
That is, if you play $1/2 No-limit and there are 2 limpers you should raise to $10.
Early and middle position:
Reraise with AA-TT, AK
Raise to 3 times their raise (but see Rule of thumb below). At Full Tilt you can click "Pot" and "Raise".
That is, if you play $1/2 No-limit and one player raise to $8 you raise to $24.
Late position raiser:
From blinds and late positions: Raise to 3 times with same hands that you open with from this position (AA-77, AK-AT)
Someone raises and is raised or called
Move all in with AA and KK, otherwise fold.
Someone reraise your raise
Move all in with AA, KK, QQ and AK.
Fold the rest.
Move all in with AA, KK
Call with QQ-77, AK
Rule of thumb
If you start the hand with a tiny stack (12 BB or less) and it is good enough to open or raise with, you should move all-in.
If betting or raising an opponent will mean that you are betting more than 1/3 of your stack you should also move all-in.
Example: you are playing $1/2 No-limit and one player raise to $8 you should raise to $24. But if your stack is less than $72 you should move all-in instead.