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Probabilities and Odds Table

Watch this video for information on the relationship between odds and your respective probabilities.

 

If you haven’t already done so, definitely read the following pages first (in the order listed below), as the information provided there is crucial for properly understanding the big-stack strategy (BSS): starting-hands ranges and respective percentages for Texas Hold ’em, equity and expected value (EV) and many other fundamental concepts you’ll need to become a card shark in the shortest amount of time:

  1. Texas Hold ‘em (cash games)
  2. Advanced Texas Holdem Strategy Article #1: Short-Stack Strategy (SSS)
  3. Advanced Texas Holdem Strategy Article #2: Poker Betting Strategies

 

General Big-Stack Strategic Considerations: Cash Game

The big-stack strategy (BSS) is what you will be playing at the beginning of most poker tournaments as well as when you buy in at the cash tables for the typical table maximum of 100 big blinds (BBs). For definitional purposes, we’ll define your stack as “big” when the effective stack size is between 80 and 120 big blinds. However, there is a lot of overlap between stack-based strategies and places where you can and should deviate from the general and specific advice provided for “normal” situations.

If you are relatively new to Texas Holdem, I would recommend using the short-stack strategy (SSS) starting-hands ranges detailed here, even when you’re big or deep stacked (over 149 BBs). The reason for this is that if you play the SSS ranges when big stacked, you will usually be ahead of your opposition pre-flop with regards to your longer-term probability of winning the pot based on the strength of your hand vs. your opponents’ ranges and you also won’t be “bleeding chips” with looser play in the wrong spots. In other words, the SSS ranges are much “tighter” than what most of your opponents’ big stack ranges will be, and you will therefore be playing stronger pre-flop hands (on average) than they are.

Never forget that big and deep-stacked play is almost always a post-flop game! Do not justify your post-flop calls irrationally by assuming that your opponents made a mistake by calling your tight pre-flop raising range with their small or middle pocket pairs (22-TT or JJ-QQ if they put you on a 3% PFR), suited connectors or even small Ax suited hands.

Poker and especially Texas Hold ’em is one of the most complicated strategy games of “imperfect information” (i.e., you don’t know what your opponents hold and you also don’t know with certainty what cards will come on the flop, turn and river). For this reason, the only strategy that can be comprehensively covered on a few pages and relatively quickly mastered by complete novices and recreational players alike is the SSS above. Again, please start there.

Ready to further expand your understanding of Texas Hold ’em? Read on!

Initially I had planned to provide you with the essential knowledge for all table sizes when playing Holdem cash games, which includes 6-max (you and a maximum of five other players) and heads-up tables (you and only one opponent or “villain”), but I decided to postpone this because even experienced recreational players need to get solid in the much “tigher” full-ring environment before playing shorter handed. However, below, you will find a typical tighter “6-max” starting-hands table to get you started.

For now, please completely avoid the heads-up cash game tables. Don’t worry, we’ll get there in the future, but for now let’s focus on surfing somewhat smaller waves with a nice long board before hitting the tougher short-handed breaks that require a lot of experience, flexibility, adjustments as well as a markedly larger bankroll.

As opposed to short-stacked play, when big stacked you’re strategy is largely determined by the “implied odds” you’ll have post-flop. Be mindful of “player types,” your relative table position, effective stack sizes (the smallest stack size involved in a hand), and general statistics, and always keep the following points in mind, even before you make your first move in the hand:

  • The “PIP Principle”: position + initiative = profit! Keep the initiative & fold/fear equity on your side. When out of position (OOP), you should tend to decrease aggression and bluffs; play more fit-or-fold poker postflop, often for pot control. When in position (IP), if it’s good enough for a call, it’s often good enough for a raise (except when playing speculative hands after many cold callers).
  • Always mind the pot-to-effective-stack ratio! The effective (smallest) stack size may be the stack size of your opponent(s), not your stack size. Put the final question to your opposition! The bigger you bet/raise, the greater your “fold equity” will be. “Pushing/shoving all-in” = maximum fold equity and nullifies postflop skill differences (“edge”). In other words, going all in preflop takes away the edge a more skilled opponent would have over you in postflop play.
  • Any time a bet or raise => 50% of your stack or will make you “pot-committed” in the next betting round (i.e., pre-river, where your stack <= pot size), you should either push all in or fold. With effective deep-stacks, you’ll be committed at the latest when your stack is 1/3rd of the pot size, but in general you don’t want to bet, call or raise only to fold on the next street.
  • Almost never limp preflop (and rarely cold-call) with JJ+ & AK (i.e. the ~top 3.0% of possible hole cards). Open raising the ~top 6%: 99+, AQ+, AJs+ & KQs is often advisable in middle position (MP) or later.
  • Sometimes it’s best to fight fire with fire, but in general, fighting fire with water is the optimal approach. Play a style opposite to the table’s standard, and then skillfully deviate or even drastically change your play when your opponents (i.e., “villains”) start to adjust.
  • If the table is loose, tighten up your preflop range, but do not play “nitty” (i.e., so tight that everyone folds as soon as you finally make a move). Make your preflop bet and raise sizes larger, and look to trap on “dry boards” (i.e., non-connected, non-suited) with your flopped monsters (2 pair or better). “Set mining” with small/mid pocket pairs is your most-lucrative friend vs. LAGs (loose aggressive players) and maniacs (& bluff-inducing lines w/ top pair or better).
  • If the table is tight, loosen up, increase aggression and decrease bet size. If tight/passive players bet or raise, fold weak Ax, Kx & Qx hands, but call IP with speculation hands when big stacked since you have huge implied odds vs. TAGs when you flop 2 pair+.
  • The most-lucrative tables & players are “loose” preflop (i.e., they call with very wide ranges of hands) & passive postflop (i.e., they like to see showdowns & normally bet/raise only when strong).
  • On passive tables, (over)limp/(over)call much more preflop when in middle position or later with your speculative hands (i.e., small/mid pairs, Ax suited, “max-stretch” and one-gap suited connectors).
  • On loose/aggressive tables, look to trap postflop; tend to fold weak Ax hands and connectors “OOP”; flat with small/mid pocket pairs, especially IP.
  • Against calling stations and fish, generally value-bet them to death with any flopped top-pair good kicker or over-pair. They will normally let you draw cheaply postflop, so take the free card against them, since they won’t fold anyway! Be careful if they bet.
  • When short-stacked, avoid speculation and play “big cards” & “big pairs.”
  • Postflop: play small pots OOP & with small hands and “big pots” IP and with big hands (i.e., 2-pair+) or with strong nut-draws. TPGK is a “good hand,” Not a big hand!
  • Playing with effective “deep stacks” (150 BBs or more) is a postflop game! Playing with effective “smaller stacks” (~10-60 BBs) is a preflop and flop game!
  • When deep-stacked, preflop speculative hands go way up in value, and flopped over pairs and top pair good kickers (TPGK) are very dangerous hands you should play for pot control in many cases.

Crucial Information for Increasing Your Big-Stack Profits

  • Play full-ring games (7+ players) until mastery: play 5K+ hands prior to moving up a limit.
  • Table selection: high VP$IP stats (voluntarily put money in the pot) and low PFR (pre-flop raise percentages) with passive/weak players post-flop. (these stats are given in online poker programs like Holdem Manager)
  • When playing online, determine your optimal win-rate per # of tables: 4 of fewer tables if big-stacked for most players.
  • “Big hands in big pots (i.e., two pair or better using both of your hole cards!), small hands in small pots.”
  • At the low/middle limits: bluff less & value-bet more.
  • Avoid “strong players” in general unless looking to improve your game.
  • Avoid two-card draws (“runner-runner” or “backdoor draws”), over-card draws and gut-shot draws to the inside straight without lines of play that allow you to (semi)bluff your opponents off their hands on later betting rounds (“streets”).
  • On passive full-ring tables, over-limp and over-cold-call more with speculative hands in late position.
  • Be hyper-aware of and closely observe the players at your table, even when you’re not involved in the hand; constantly put them on hand ranges to hone your “reading skills.”
  • In live play, never watch the board or look at your pocket cards when the cards are being dealt … watch your opponents!
  • Against “unknowns” (players you have little to no information on) sit to the left of the player with the most chips.
  • Sit right of weak TAGs (tight-aggressive players) and left of LAGs (loose-aggressive players) and maniacs and typically good/savvy players, and diligently take (mental) notes on your opposition and determine their “baselines” and styles of play.
  • Don’t check your pocket cards immediately when you’re in the blinds or middle/late position, especially when among “fast company.”

Starting-Hands Ranges

Full-Ring No-Limit Texas Hold ’em Cash Games

Your hand is listed in the starting-hand ranges below per position. That means that if you check the hole cards you’re dealt from early position (EP), middle position (MP), late position (LP) or the blinds and you don’t see a hand on that list, in general, you fold. The percentage listed after the range indicates the amount of all possible Texas Hold ‘em hands that range comprises (Ex.: JJ or better, and AK comprise 3.02% of all possible Holdem hands).

Check the following pages for more detailed information on bet types and bet sizing, pot manipulation and lines of play.

Note: The following recommendations are general guidelines for playing a small-stack strategy at full-ring no-limit Texas Holdem cash-game tables and must always be adjusted and sometimes markedly altered according to table conditions, the respective limit, effective stack-sizes, player profiling, respective positions at the table, etc. If you would like ALL the details on starting hands for Texas hold ’em cash games, including 6-max and heads-up games, click the button below.

Get the Comprehensive Starting Hands Charts for Texas Holdem Cash Games Here

Big-Stack Strategy (~80+ BBs) “Tighter” Starting-Hands Ranges

“Broadway” in the ranges below means ATs+, KTs+, QTs+, JTs = AT, AJ, AQ, AK, KT, KJ, KQ, QT, QJ, JT of the same suite.

Open-raise size in general should be 3-4 BBs + 1 BB per limper; 2.5-3 BBs when on the button

Early Position (EP = UTG, UTG+1, UTG+2): TT+, AQ+ (4.68%)

Middle Position (MP = UTG+3, UTG+4, UTG+5): 77+, AJ+, KQo+, suited broadway (10.3%)

CO:  55+, broadway, A9+, A7s+, J9s+, 78s+ (19.6%); 2.5-3.5 BBs “steal”: o-Raise CO, BU, SB

BU: 22+, broadway, A2+, K9+, Q8s+, T8+, 98+, 54s+, 64s+ (36.3%); tighten vs. aggressive re-stealers

SB: 22+, broadway, A9+, A2s+, K9s, Q9s, T8s+, 54s+ (24.3%); BU range adjusted to Villain’s style and aggression from the BB in “blind-battles.”

(Generally) 3bet all open raises with JJ+, AK (3.02%); adjust markedly for a 3bet or SQZ vs. steals!

(Generally) raise all limpers when you are in later(er) position with:  TT+, AQ+, AJs (5%)

Over-Limp and (sometimes) Cold-Call or make an isolation raise (when in doubt, raise/fold!) in LP with: TT-22, ATs-A2s, suited broadway, 64s+, 54s+ (11.9%). See below for the speculative details.

3bet raise size = 2.5-3x open raise + 1 per cold-caller (i.e., “flat caller”)

4bet(5bet) raise size = 3x 3bet(4bet) + 1 per 3bet(4bet) caller (OFTEN A DIRECT PUSH!)

Note

  • Adjust the suggested ranges above (especially 3bets and 4bets & 5bets) in accordance with your opponents’ stats and playing style, as well as your and their table images.
  • Have a plan for the entire course of the hand to the river and the session at any given poker table, before making your first move.
  • Change it up; put pressure on your opponents; put the final/difficult questions to them.
  • Keep them guessing, and have them adjust to your game … not the other way around.

The “Call 15x” Rule

When you’re holding “speculative hands,” which are hands that aren’t necessarily strong hands preflop with respect to the equity you have vs. other ranges when pushing all-in, they could become monster hands or big “nut draws” postflop.

Your position, implied odds and number of players involved in the pot are the decisive factors in your decision to call or fold with the following preflop pocket cards. In general, you want your implied odds to be at least 15 times the amount you have to call, best case scenario when you are in position (IP) after two or more limpers or callers, when you are dealt max-stretch or 1-gapped suited connectors (e.g., 54-JT or 64-J9) or Ax suited.

Instead of only calling (“flatting”) with these hands, consider the following:

  • Especially vs. limpers, you can opt for making an isolation raise or 3bet vs. looser open-raisers (as a pre-flop bluff that you intend to continuation bet on high-card flops).
  • 3bet-squeeze a lot with these speculative hands vs. loose open-raisers from middle or late position and one or more calling stations — you know, the guy who “always has to see the flop or the river card.”
  • The benefit of raising or restealing from the blinds from time to time instead of calling when IP is that you can represent high cards, which is not the case very often when you only call. This is always an opponent-dependent decision!

Example: You are dealt 9sTs in the cut-off position (CO) in a full-ring NL200 game, which means the small blind is $1 and the big blind is $2. You and most of the other players at the table have around 100 BBs in their stacks. A player in early/middle position makes a 3x open raise to $6. Two players “flat” (i.e, call, which is also referred to as “cold calling” or “smooth calling”) making the pot $21. You decide to over call the $6 getting pot odds of of 21 : 6 or 3.5 : 1 pre-flop.

It is always a bit tricky when you are not “closing the betting round” because if the player on the button or in the blinds 3bets big, depending on the effective stack sizes, you’ll probably have to fold you speculative connector. So this is a spot where on aggressive tables, you might decide to open fold (especially in the later phases of tournaments) in order not to bleed chips. But if you think there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to see the flop with your call, it’s not worth calling for direct odds, but if you hit the flop hard, your speculative 9Ts in relatively late position can be worth it’s weight in gold post-flop due to the “implied odds” you probably have, i.e., what you expect to get paid when you flop 2 pair or better (2 pair+) or a strong draw, independently of also being able to “buy the pot” IP with a skillful post-flop bluff or two.

You apply the 15x Rule in this case by multiplying your call ($6) by 15, which is $90. Preflop you should of course subtract the $21 that’s already in the pot before the action gets around to you, so in order to make the call, you have to make up a total of $69 or around 35 BBs post-flop from one or all of the opponents in the hand. In order to know what the likelihood is that various pre-flop hands will flop high-equity flops see:

Stats on Flopping High Equity Hands in Texas Hold ‘em With Ax & Connectors

Flopping High Equity Hands in Holdem With Suited and Off-Suited Connectors

Note: The main difference between the following 9x rule for small and middle pocket pairs listed below and 15x (or 20x) rule for the speculative hands listed above — smaller Ax suited hands and connectors — is that when you connect well with the flop, more often than not, you will still be on a draw when holding suited baby aces or connectors. When you hit your set with a pocket pair, you normally have a monster hand with more than 90% equity!

The “Call 9x” Rule

Another, arguably more lucrative, speculative hand is the small and middle pocket pair: 22-TT. You can profitably call with these hands pre-flop for “set value,” and also occasionally with JJ-QQ vs. very tighter open-raisers or many cold callers before you, when you are getting at least 7.5 : 1 implied odds. I’ve increased the rule to be 9x, since you will hit the third card to any pocket pair you’re dealt or a better hand, e.g., a full house or four of a kind, approximately one time in 8.5 flops (see stats below).

Again, the difference between this speculative hand and the connectors or Ax suited hands above is that when you hit your set or better on the flop, you’ll have a monster, whereas you’ll often be on a draw with connectors and baby suited aces when you connect with the flop.

Concrete Examples: You over flat IP with 5c5h. On a “two-suited” flop (which will be approximately 60% of all flops you’ll see) of 5d 9d Kh, vs. a random hand in a heads-up pot, your equity is 92.76%. On the same flop that is “rainbow,” e.g., 5d 9c Kh, your equity is 94.9%. And even on a “monotone” flop (all three cards of the same suite), 5d 9c Kh,, your equity vs. a random hand is 82.8%! In the later case, even if your opponent holds AdQd and has flopped (not knowing your cards) the miraculous 118 : 1 nut flush, you still have a 34.4% chance of improving to either a full house or four of a kind to win the hand.

Assume that you know your opponent in EP who raised first in holds AdKs. On the rainbow board 5d 9c Kh you have 98% equity, which is also your probability of taking down the pot. Even when he has a flush draw in addition to his flopped TPTK, e.g., vs. AdKd on a 5d 9d Kh flop, you are still the 69.9% favorite.

Conclusion: Even on “scary” 2-suited or monotone flops, when you have a set on the flop, you are almost always the huge favorite, and even if someone has the flush, you will take it down more than 1 time in 3 by the river in the long run!

Below I’ve listed the general stats for these speculative holdings. Note that the odds of flopping (exactly) a set with a pocket pair and flopping either an open-ended straight draw (OESD) or flush draw with the other speculative holdings is around 8 : 1 against, making the probability of that happening at around 11%.

6-Max No-Limit Starting Hands Chart

General (tighter but not “rock” tight) no-limit 6max starting-hands ranges when big-stacked. Please check back for the blogs and advanced-strategy articles that cover 6-max play specifically, or get the book linked below.

Open-raise: 2.5-4 BBs+1 per limper; 3-bet=3-Timin’ the previous raise

6-Max No Limit Open-Raising: raise size = 3-4 BBs + 1 per limper

EP: 77+, AJo, ATs, KQs, QJs, JTs+ (8.4%); many players oR any pair or limp/over-call with 22-66

MP: 22+, suited broadway,A9o+,A7s+, KQ (15.2%); 3bet EP raiser with JJ+, AK (3%)

CO: 22+, broadway, A5o+, A2s+, K9s, 54s+, T8s (27.6%); 3bet MP oR w/TT+, AQ+ & some speculation

BU: 22+, broadway, A2+, K7+, Q8+, J8+, T8+ 54s+, 64s+ (41.2%); 3bet: 99+, AJ+, KQs (6.6%) & bluffs

SB/BB: (see BU range adjusted to Villain’s style in “blind-battles.”); Re-steal Squeeze 30+%;

Adjust markedly when 3betting or squeezing vs. steals! 4&5-bets (vs. re-steal): ~99+, AQ+ (5.1%)

Note

  • Adjust the suggested ranges above (especially 3bets and 4bets & 5bets) in accordance with your opponents’ stats and playing style, as well as your and their table images.
  • Have a plan for the entire course of the hand to the river and the session at any given poker table, before making your first move.
  • Change it up; put pressure on your opponents; put the final/difficult questions to them.
  • Keep them guessing, and have them adjust to your game … not the other way around.

6-Max no-limit cold-calling (CC) ranges. Again, either “call with 15x” the amount in implied odds with suited connectors & baby Ax suited, or 3bet; “Call 9x” with 22-TT for set value; these are always opponent-dependent decisions.

Calling ranges from Holdem Manager:

Very Tight: TT-22,QJs-54s = 6.5%;

Tight: TT-22,QJs-54s,QJo-T9o = 9.2%

Average: TT-22,QJs-54s,QJo-76o = 11.9%

Loose: TT-22,KJs,QTs-J9s,QJs-54s,A9s-A8s,QJo-76o = 13.4%

Very Loose: TT-22,ATs-A4s,KJs+,QTs+,J9s+,T8s+,97s+,86s+,75s+,64s+,QJs-54s,KQo-76o =17.0%

 

Heads-Up

Stay tuned for future blogs and advanced strategy articles that cover heads-up play specifically. Here are a few general pointers to keep in mind:

Small Blind (SB) in heads-up is always the Dealer Button: first to act pre-flop and in position (IP) post-flop.

Big Blind (BB) in heads-up is always second to act pre-flop and out of position (OOP) on all post-flop betting rounds. NOTE: This means that the BB has an enormous post-flop positional disadvantage, which however can be nullified by a push pre-flop or on the flop!

 

Types of Pre-Flop Hands

The following hand vs. ranges match-ups were produced using the program pokerstove. Your hand is in the left column, and your (one) opponent’s estimated preflop raise (PFR) ranges are in the top row expressed as a percentage of all Texas Hold ’em hands and as the specific hands that comprise that percentage.

Get the Comprehensive Texas Holdem Equities vs Preflop Ranges Here

Key Probabilities for “Speculative” Pre-Flop Hands

Download the Texas Hold ‘em comprehensive stats tables for the details

Use the following equity and EV calculators for cash games to increase your profits today!

Get These Calculators for Texas Holdem EV, Equity and Pot Odds

When You Hold AKs (1 in 332 preflop hands you’ll be dealt: 0.302%),

Here are the odds of what you’ll see on the flop:

1 in 3.5 (28.96%) flops will pair exactly one of your hole cards

1 in 3 (32.4%) hits at least an A or K (49% by the river)

1 in 29 (3.47%) hits 2-pair+ (two pair or better)

1 in 49.5 (2.02%) hits top two pair

1 in 74 (1.35%) hits trips (AAx or KKx)

1 in 9 (10.9%) hits a flush draw

1 in 119 (0.84%) hits a flush

1 in 311 (0.30%) hits a straight

1 in 1,089 (0.092%) hits a full house

1 in 9,800 (0.01%) hits a 4-of-a-kind

1 in 19,600 (0.005%) hits a royal flush

Flop Odds With Pocket Pairs (1 in 17 of your pre-flop hands will be any pair, approximately 5.88% of the time.)

1 in 8.5 (11.8%) flops a set or better

1 in 9 (10.8%) flops a set

1 in 5 (19%) hits the set by the river

1 in 6 (16.16%) flops 2-pair

1 in 137 (0.74%) flops a full house

1 in 408 (0.25%) flops a 4-of-a-kind

Ergo: Flatting for “Set Mining” = 9x amount to call

Max-Stretch Connectors (i.e., 45-TJ = 45, 56, 67, 78, 89, TJ)

1 in 9.57 (10.449%) flops open-ended straight draw (OESD)

1 in 76.5 (1.31%) flops a straight

Find Out the Probabilities of Hitting Strong Flops in Holdem with Connectors and Ax Hands Now

My Big-Stack Strategy Notes From Years of Online Poker Experience in the School of Hard Knocks

Before we get into postflop play when big stacked, please review the following notes that I took from my own play over years and hundreds of thousands of real-money, no-limit hands (primarily middle and low stakes cash games and tournaments).

  • In full-ring BSS play, if you run around 4-10 BBs/100 hands played, you’re doing really well. Don’t expect returns bigger than this in most playing environments.
  • Beware that the average, general skill level of players even at the low/middle limits has greatly increased in Texas Holdem. If you’re an expert player in other game types such as 7-Card Stud, 5-Card Poker or Omaha Hold ’em, you’re general edge will probably be markedly higher than at the Texas Holdem poker tables.
  • Do Not justify bad calls post-flop just because you were way ahead pre-flop!
  • Call speculation hands (almost) only when closing the betting (and IP as often as possible).
  • Rarely flat call with weak Axs OOP, not even when short-handed; If OOP either fold or raise!
  • Be very mindful of reverse implied odds on flush draws without the ace and when drawing to the bottom side of a straight.
  • Expect any range from opponents in limped pots on semi-passive tables; only play on with 2-pair or better.
  • Rarely donk bet into the preflop aggressor without a flopped 2-pair+ at the low stakes! Top pair top kicker (TPTK) is often way behind a flop 3bet in full-ring multi-way pots.
  • When big or deep-stacked against other semi-aggressive big or deep stacks, calling behind IP w/AK is often the best play. See the deep-stack strategy page next week for perfect ways to lose your entire stack with top and over pairs!
  • Be able to fold TPTK and over pairs against a lot of action. If a scare-card hits, believe all bets made by passive players. Flopped 2-pair or better are often floated on dry boards!
  • If someone check-raises the flop and then checks the turn — check behind most of the time (especially with over-pairs or TPTK or dry boards)!
  • Call behind when IP after 1 raiser and 1+ cold-callers or 1+ limpers (raise if their limp/call stats are low) with low-mid pairs, and also occasionally with Axs or max-stretch suited connectors. You have great implied odds against tight raisers when you flop 2-pair or better.
  • Flush draws are simple to spot, but many straight draws are not very obvious and can end up costing your stack. Ex. board: 74T rainbow (opponent 89s/56s); Ex. board: JA8 rainbow (opponent QTs); board: 9J5o (opponent 78s).
  • Always have the possibility of flopped sets and flopped 2-pair+ hands in your mind.
  • Always be mindful of players’ key stats and especially their stack sizes and images; trust “high-N” stats!
  • Generally avoid players who have stacks of 150%+ of the maximum table buy-in, especially when OOP.
  • Playing more than 4 tables using the BSS is often –EV for many players.
  • Focus. Play cards without other distractions. No multi-tasking when at the tables!
  • Run stats reports. Examples: cold calling (CC) in EP/MP = -EV; calling 3bets flat OOP = -EV; Squeeze 3betting IP = +EV; etc.

Weak/passive player bets post-flop = You fold without the nuts or very close to it.

  • Do Not call weak/passive players’ river bet if scare card hits.
  • Believe the turn/river bet when the weak/passive float!
  • Vs. Calling Stations: Don’t pay them off when they bet on the river on scary boards … especially if the third card of a suit falls.
  • Limp/call OOP (often) = small/mid pocket pair, suited Ace, suited connector or maybe a broadway hand.
  • Min raises pre-flop (often) = QQ+ in EP/MP first-in — occasionally AQ+
  • Check/raises = Almost never a bluff or a draw at the lower limits. Normally this means flopped 2-pair+!
  • Min bet OOP on the turn, after check/calling the flop Cbet, is often a strong, already-made hand!

BOARD PAIRS = Think “TRIPS”, think “Full-House”, think “Quads”!

Paired boards with effective big-stacks are always extremely dangerous!

On Semi-Aggressive, Full-Ring Tables

  • Do Not open-limp/cold-call and seldom PFR with broadway and other speculative hands in EP/MP; if you’re going to limp call, have a small or middle pocket pair.
  • Money is slowly bled away in the long-run by limping in EP/MP with speculative hands against too few limpers and/or too few passive opponents. This is especially true on semi-aggressive tables.

 

  • Switch tables if the competition plays too tightly or too aggressively.
  • There are enough fish, so go fishing!

 

 

Post-Flop Play

Flop

Play small pots OOP and with small hands: i.e., with only top pair good kicker (TPGK) or an over pair.

Play big pots IP & with big hands (i.e., 2-pair or better) or with huge “nut-draws” (12+ outs as a minimum)

The flop: consider shoving monster draws on the flop, especially when you think your opponents can fold.

Note: At 12 clean outs, you’ll have just under a 45% of hitting by the river. With 14 clean outs, you are a slight favorite at 51% probability of completing your draw. But don’t forget that when you make the last aggressive move, you can add the probability that your opponent will fold, which is your “fold equity.”

Turn

Turning point: yes or no? Could action die on the river? If so, consider value betting on the turn.

River

The river: “Can they call with a weaker hand?” If not, opt for the cheap showdown: don’t bet/raise.

 

Strategy Recap and What’s to Come for Our Members

The big-stack strategy (BSS) is the strategy you will encounter in most online and live card rooms. Review the list above on how to improve your win rate, and if you’re new to this style of play, use the short-stack strategy ranges and incorporate set mining and flatting from late position with Axs and suited connectors after four or more limpers or callers. Especially when playing online poker where you can play multiple tables, begin with no more than four tables at a time, focus on player profiling and in-position play. When using the big-stack strategy, if you don’t buy back up to 100 BBs per table, you will be in situations where your stack size drops, which decrease the implied odds you can expect when playing speculative hands. In tournaments, you stack size will necessarily fluctuation, which is why understanding the short-stack strategy and the upcoming hybrid strategy is crucial for optimal play in various phases of poker tournaments.

For our members, the next e-mail you’ll receive will be for how to play when deep stacked (over 150 BBs). Keep an eye on your inbox, and feel free to comment to this page below and drop us a line in the meantime if you have any questions.

 

Other Useful Tools for Maximizing Your Profit

 

Poker Tracking and Equity Analysis Software for Online Play

Holdem Manager (My personal favorite online poker-tracking software for Texas Hold ’em)

Omaha Manager (My personal favorite online poker-tracking software for Omaha)

Sit-and-Go Wizard (a must-have for all serious SnG players and very useful for MTT pros)

 

 

The SitNGo Wizard

 

Other General Texas Hold ’em Key Statistics

Click on the button below to get all of these stats and much more (include flop, turn and river “board texture” probabilities, real-money EV results for all 169 preflop Holdem hands, your equity vs. ranges, etc.) in one printable, easy-to-use file that you can study on the road to your local casino or card room or on your flight to Vegas.

Texas Holdem Key Stats at a Glance

5-Card Hands (High) in Seven Cards:

5-Card Hands # of Hands in Seven Cards Probability (as a %) Odds Against
Royal Flush 4,324 0.003% 30,939 : 1
Straight Flush 37,260 0.028% 3,590 : 1
Four of a Kind 224,848 0.168% 594 : 1
Full House 3,473,184 2.596% 38 : 1
Flush 4,047,644 3.025% 32 : 1
Straight 6,180,020 4.619% 21 : 1
Three of a Kind 6,461,620 4.830% 20 : 1
Two Pair 31,433,400 23.496% 3.3 : 1
One Pair 58,627,800 43.823% 1.3 : 1
No Hand 23,294,460 17.412% 4.7 : 1
Total 133,784,560 100.0%

Source: www.durangobill.com/Poker_Probabilities_7_Cards.html

 

Hole-card combinations 1,326 with a two-card hand
Pair 6 combinations X (13 pairs) = 78
Non-pair * 16 combinations x (78 specific ranks) = 1248
Non-pair suited 4 combinations x (78 specific ranks) = 312
Non-pair unsuited 12 combinations x (78 specific ranks) = 936
* Note : When dealt AK, you are 75% more likely to have it off-suited than suited.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poker_probability_%28Texas_hold_%27em%29

 

The probability of being dealt… Probability Odds
AA (any specific pair) 0.45% 220 : 1
AA, KK, or QQ 1.36% 72.7 : 1
AA – TT (i.e. TT+) 2.26% 43.2 : 1
TT – 22 4.07% 23.5 : 1
AK (specific non-pair) 1.21% 81.9 : 1
AKo (off-suited cards) 0.90% 110 : 1
AKs (specific suited) 0.30% 331 : 1
AKs, KQs, QJs, JTs 1.21% 81.9 : 1
Suited Ten or higher 3.02% 32.2 : 1
Connected T or higher 4.83% 19.7 : 1
Any 2 cards rank Q-A 4.98% 19.1 : 1
Any 2 cards rank J-A 9.05% 10.1 : 1
Any 2 cards rank T-A 14.30% 5.98 : 1

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poker_probability_%28Texas_hold_%27em%29

 

The probability of being dealt… Probability Odds
ANY pair 5.88% 16:01
ANY ace (not including AA) 14.48% 5.9 : 1
ANY pair or ace 20.36% 3.91 : 1
ANY pair or 2 cards T or higher 18.00% 4.4:1
Pair of 77+ or 2 cards T or higher 15.70% 5.4:1
ANY A2 – AJ (suited or offsuited) 10.85% 8.2 : 1
ANY two suited max-stretch cards 2.11% 46.4 : 1
ANY two offsuited max-stretch cards 6.33% 14.8 : 1
Suited connectors (any) 3.92% 24.5 : 1
Connected cards (consecutive rank) 15.70% 5.38 : 1
ANY two cards suited 23.53% 3.25 : 1
Not connected or suited, with one 2-9 53.40% 0.873 : 1

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poker_probability_%28Texas_hold_%27em%29

 

Probability of being “out-kicked” when holding: Against 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
AK 0.25% 0.49% 0.73% 0.98% 1.22% 1.46% 1.70% 1.94% 2.18%
AQ 1.22% 2.43% 3.63% 4.81% 5.97% 7.13% 8.26% 9.39% 10.50%
AJ 2.20% 4.36% 6.47% 8.53% 10.55% 12.52% 14.45% 16.33% 18.18%
AT 3.18% 6.27% 9.25% 12.14% 14.94% 17.65% 20.27% 22.81% 25.26%
A9 4.16% 8.15% 11.98% 15.64% 19.15% 22.52% 25.75% 28.84% 31.80%
A8 5.14% 10.02% 14.65% 19.04% 23.20% 27.15% 30.90% 34.45% 37.82%
A7 6.12% 11.87% 17.27% 22.33% 27.09% 31.55% 35.74% 39.68% 43.37%
A6 7.10% 13.70% 19.83% 25.52% 30.81% 35.73% 40.29% 44.53% 48.47%
A5 8.08% 15.51% 22.34% 28.62% 34.38% 39.69% 44.56% 49.04% 53.16%
A4 9.06% 17.30% 24.80% 31.61% 37.81% 43.44% 48.57% 53.23% 57.47%
A3 10.04% 19.07% 27.20% 34.51% 41.09% 47.00% 52.32% 57.11% 61.42%
A2 11.02% 20.83% 29.55% 37.32% 44.22% 50.37% 55.84% 60.71% 65.04%

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poker_probability_%28Texas_hold_%27em%29

 

Probability of facing a larger pair when holding: Against 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
KK 0.49% 0.98% 1.47% 1.96% 2.44% 2.93% 3.42% 3.91% 4.39%
QQ 0.98% 1.95% 2.92% 3.88% 4.84% 5.79% 6.73% 7.66% 8.59%
JJ 1.47% 2.92% 4.36% 5.77% 7.17% 8.56% 9.92% 11.27% 12.59%
TT 1.96% 3.89% 5.78% 7.64% 9.46% 11.24% 12.99% 14.70% 16.37%
99 2.45% 4.84% 7.18% 9.46% 11.68% 13.84% 15.93% 17.95% 19.90%
88 2.94% 5.80% 8.57% 11.25% 13.84% 16.34% 18.73% 21.01% 23.18%
77 3.43% 6.74% 9.94% 13.01% 15.95% 18.74% 21.38% 23.87% 26.19%
66 3.92% 7.69% 11.30% 14.73% 17.99% 21.04% 23.89% 26.51% 28.90%
55 4.41% 8.62% 12.63% 16.42% 19.96% 23.24% 26.23% 28.92% 31.29%
44 4.90% 9.56% 13.95% 18.06% 21.86% 25.32% 28.41% 31.09% 33.34%
33 5.39% 10.48% 15.26% 19.67% 23.70% 27.29% 30.40% 33.00% 35.03%
22 5.88% 11.41% 16.54% 21.24% 25.46% 29.14% 32.22% 34.64% 36.33%

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poker_probability_%28Texas_hold_%27em%29

 

Probability that an Unpaired Flop Won’t Match Any of Your Opponents’ Hole Cards if They Have Random Hands: Probability that a Paired Flop Won’t Match Any of Your Opponents’ Hole Cards if They Have Random Hands
# of Opponents P(missed flop) Opponents P(missed)
1 65% 1 80%
2 41% 2 63%
3 26% 3 49%
4 16% 4 38%
5 9% 5 28%
6 5% 6 21%
7 3% 7 15%
8 1% 8 11%
9 1% 9 8%

Source: www.poker-tomorrow.com/poker/probability/texas-holdem/flop/

 

Texas Hold ’em Draws: Outs, Completion Probabilities and Odds Against Completion

Drawing To (examples): # of Outs Make on turn Make on river Make on turn or river
Prob. Odds Prob. Odds Prob. Odds
Inside straight flush; Four of a kind 1 2.130% 46.0 : 1 2.170% 45.0 : 1 4.260% 22.5 : 1
Open-ended straight flush; Three of a kind 2 4.260% 22.5 : 1 4.350% 22.0 : 1 8.420% 10.9 : 1
High Pair 3 6.380% 14.7 : 1 6.520% 14.3 : 1 12.490% 7.01 : 1
Inside straight; Full house 4 8.510% 10.8 : 1 8.700% 10.5 : 1 16.470% 5.07 : 1
Three of a kind or two pair 5 10.640% 8.40 : 1 10.870% 8.20 : 1 20.350% 3.91 : 1
Either pair 6 12.770% 6.83 : 1 13.040% 6.67 : 1 24.140% 3.14 : 1
Full house or four of a kind (see note) *;Inside straight or high pair 7 14.890% 5.71 : 1 15.220% 5.57 : 1 27.840% 2.59 : 1
Open-ended straight; Double-barreled gut shots 8 17.020% 4.88 : 1 17.390% 4.75 : 1 31.450% 2.18 : 1
Flush 9 19.150% 4.22 : 1 19.570% 4.11 : 1 34.970% 1.86 : 1
Inside straight or pair 10 21.280% 3.70 : 1 21.740% 3.60 : 1 38.390% 1.60 : 1
Open-ended straight or high pair 11 23.400% 3.27 : 1 23.910% 3.18 : 1 41.720% 1.40 : 1
Inside straight or flush; Flush or high pair 12 25.530% 2.92 : 1 26.090% 2.83 : 1 44.960% 1.22 : 1
13 27.660% 2.62 : 1 28.260% 2.54 : 1 48.100% 1.08 : 1
Open-ended straight or pair 14 29.790% 2.36 : 1 30.430% 2.29 : 1 51.160% 0.955 : 1
Open-ended straight or flush; Flush or pair;Inside straight, flush or top pair 15 31.910% 2.13 : 1 32.610% 2.07 : 1 54.120% 0.848 : 1
16 34.040% 1.94 : 1 34.780% 1.88 : 1 56.980% 0.755 : 1
17 36.170% 1.76 : 1 36.960% 1.71 : 1 59.760% 0.673 : 1
Inside straight or flush or pair;Open-ended straight, flush or high pair 18 38.300% 1.61 : 1 39.130% 1.56 : 1 62.440% 0.601 : 1
19 40.430% 1.47 : 1 41.300% 1.42 : 1 65.030% 0.538 : 1
20 42.550% 1.35 : 1 43.480% 1.30 : 1 67.530% 0.481 : 1
Open-ended straight, flush or pair 21 44.680% 1.24 : 1 45.650% 1.19 : 1 69.940% 0.430 : 1

 

Your Bluff Size & Fold Equity Needed to Break-Even Villain’s Pot-Odds & Equity (e.g., the probability of completing a draw) Needed to Make the Call
1/4 Pot 20.0% 5 : 1 16.7%
1/3 Pot 25.0% 4 : 1 20.0%
1/2 Pot 33.3% 3 : 1 25.0%
2/3 Pot 40.0% 2.5 : 1 28.6%
3/4 Pot 43.0% 2.33 : 1 30.3%
1 Pot 50.0% 2 : 1 33.3%
2 Pot 67.0% 1.5 : 1 40.0%
3 Pot 75.0% 1.33 : 1 43.5%
4 Pot 80.0% 1.25 : 1 44.4%

Board consisting of:(19,600 3-Card Combinations) Making on flop Making by turn Making by river
Prob. Odds Prob. Odds Prob. Odds
Three or more of same suit 5.177% 18.3 : 1 13.522% 6.40 : 1 23.589% 3.24 : 1
Four or more of same suit 1.056% 93.7 : 1 3.394% 28.5 : 1
Rainbow flop (all different suits) 39.765% 1.51 : 1 10.550% 8.48 : 1
Three cards of consecutive rank (but not four consecutive) 3.475% 27.8 : 1 11.820% 7.46 : 1 25.068% 2.99 : 1
Four cards to a straight (but not five) 3.877% 24.8 : 1 18.991% 4.27 : 1
3+ cards of consecutive rank and same suit 0.217% 459 : 1 0.869% 114 : 1 2.172% 45.0 : 1
Three of a kind (not a full house/four of a kind) 0.235% 424 : 1 0.935% 106 : 1 2.128% 46 : 1
A pair (not 2-pair or three or four of a kind) 16.941% 4.90 : 1 30.417% 2.29 : 1 42.450% 1.36 : 1
Two pair (but not a full house) 1.037% 95.4 : 1 4.716% 20.2 : 1