Choosing the right pathway in No Limit Hold'em

Poker is fundamentally a game about finding the optimum route to the end of a hand. Sometimes that involves cutting your journey short before it even begins - such as folding pre flop - and other times it involves trying to go the whole way in one - such as going all in pre flop. Between these two extremes are an infinite combination of more subtle routes; min betting flops and checking turns, flat calling pre flop and folding to big bets on the river - the options are endless. The skill of poker (and what separates good players from bad) is in what routes you decide to take, and then executing the choices you have made well. A player unable to think about poker in terms of getting to the end of the hand in the best possible way puts themselves in a very tricky position from the outset, as they will be making serious blunders with weak and strong hands alike. As an example, players not thinking about getting to the river tend to play weak hands too strong, and strong hands too weak when playing deep stacked, and picking up on this in others and avoiding such mistakes is crucial to success. As pots need to be built up gradually in poker, it is critical that you nearly always bet your big hands early to try and give yourself the best chance at winning a big pot. Weak players often fail to do this, as they are not really thinking about the best route to the end of the hand (it is much harder to build a big pot on one street than it is over many), instead focussing on the frequent red herrings of deception and trapping. Conversely, with hands like top pair, they tend to come out all guns blazing, building large pots with hands that frequently play very badly in deep stacked poker. Players thinking about the hand in totality don't do this on the whole, instead opting for pot control and bluff catching with hands like single pairs that have medium showdown value. Always try and think about the hand in terms of its whole. Getting to showdown can often be a very expensive business in big bet poker, and thinking clearly about your hand, the board, the relevant stack sizes, how big the pot is and how far there is to go in the hand is crucial to long term success. Join Betfair Poker Now View our Latest Promotions

The skill of poker (and what separates good players from bad) is in what routes you decide to take, and then executing the choices you have made well.

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