Most players who struggle at Texas Hold’em don’t realise what their problem is. They have their way of playing and have difficulty implementing new strategy and changing their mindset. The most obvious leak losing players have comes from their inability to choose the right hands to play. Hand selection is a key element to becoming a winner in poker. That’s why this article is focusing on the importance of hand selection, so you can play more careful in the future.
1) Kicker Problems
The low stakes games are filled with weak players that overplay hands due to their kicker. The kicker is the second card that forms part of the five-card hand. So, if you have ace king and your opponent has ace three, the chances are your kicker is going to play at showdown.
Hand selection is important because if you play disconnected cards and weak kickers you will find yourself getting beat by players playing stronger hands. To avoid this, play more conservatively before the flop and throw away disconnected cards like king three. I recommend putting all the hand combinations in a poker spreadsheet to understand all the possible starting hands.
Ask any poker expert what position does to hand selection and they can lecture you to the end of time. The position you are playing from is possibly the biggest factor when deciding what hands to play. The earlier the position you are in, the tighter you need to play. This is due to the fact there are more players yet to act and the fact you will be out of position post-flop.
Conversely, the later position you are, the wider the range of hands you can play. If it’s folded to you on the button, there’s only two opponents left. Secondly, you will be acting last after the flop so you can control the pot better. This allows you to play far more speculative hands, knowing you can try to extract value or bluff with accuracy.
3) Ace Rag
We’ve covered kickers in general but we must give attention to the biggest foe to a beginner in ace rag. This hand is basically any ace that contains a low card. Beginners see an ace in their hand and get excited. They seem to forget the other card with it and the fact there are 3 other aces in the deck which another player can have and with a greater kicker.
If you are new to online poker, I recommend folding hands like ace two up to ace nine altogether if an opponent has raised. These hands will make you very little and cost you a lot. As you gain experience you will get a feel for when they’re profitable.