Preflop fundamentals for beginners
In poker, the value of good preflop play is often underestimated.
Here is why it is important:
- Played in every hand: Since preflop is the initial round of betting, it’s the one stage that’s played in every hand.
- Sets up postflop play: The decisions made preflop shape the way the hand unfolds in later streets.
- Foundation for hand reading: You need to understand the hands villains play preflop to be able to hand read well postflop.
- Biggest leak for many players: Mistakes made preflop can result in serious consequences later on, making it a common weakness for many players.
Here are some basic tips:
- Understand position: In early position with lots of players acting after you, you need to play tight (few hands). In later positions you can play significantly more hands and try to steal the blinds. Being in position (act after opponents) postflop is valuable.
- Play aggressively most of the time: Being aggressive gives you a chance of winning the pot immediately and avoiding rake. This is especially important at lower limits with high rake. It also gives you a better opportunity to bluff postflop, since you have shown strength.
To improve your preflop skills we strongly recommend practicing preflop ranges in the preflop exercise. This will help you commit them to memory and get feedback on mistakes.