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Poker for Dummies - Harroch R.

Harroch R. Poker for Dummies - Wiley publishing , 2003. - 314 p.
Download (direct link): pokerfordumm2003.pdf
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Success at Hold’em demands that you be patient, pay close attention to position, and take comfort in the knowledge that good hands are run down less often than the best Seven-Card Stud hands.
Chapter 4: Texas Hold'em
Hold’em in Depth
Combinations of poker hands number literally in the millions; in Hold’em, however, there are only 169 different two-card starting combinations. That number, of course, assumes that ahand like K>Q* is the equivalent of K*Q*. If three diamonds were to appear on the flop, the K>Q* would be significantly more valuable than K+Q*. But the future can neither be predicted nor controlled, and these two hands have identical value before the flop.
Each one of these 169 unique starting combinations fits into one of only five categories:
i* Pairs
v" Connecting cards v* Gapped cards Suited connectors v" Suited gapped cards
That’s it. Five categories. That’s all you have to worry about.
If you are not dealt a pair, your cards will be either suited (of the same suit) or unsuited. They also can be connected (consecutive) or gapped (unconnected). Examples of connectors are K-Q, 8-7, and 4-3. Unconnected cards might be one-, two-, three-gapped, or more, and would include hands like K-J (one gap, with Q missing), 9-6 (two gap, missing 7-8), or 9-3 (five gap, missing
Small yaps make more straights
Generally, the smaller the gap, the easier it is to make a straight. Suppose that you hold 10-6. Your only straight possibility is 9-8-7. But if you hold 10-9, you can make a straight with K-Q-J, Q-J-8, J-8-7, and 8-7-6.
Every rule has exceptions. A hand like A-K can make only one straight. It needs to marry a Q-J-T. An A-2 is in the same boat and needs to cozy up to a
5-4-3. Although connected, each of these holdings can make only one straight because they reside at the end of the spectrum.
Other exceptions include a K-Q, which can make a straight only two ways, by connecting with A-J-10 or J-10-9; and 3-2 is in a similar fix. The only other limited connectors are — yes, you guessed it — Q-J and 4-3. These two holdings can each make three straights. The Q-J needs A-K-10, K-10-9, or 10-9-8. It can’t make that fourth straight because there is no room above an ace. The 4-3 is
Part I: How to Play the Games
similarly constrained because there is no room below the ace. But any other connectors can make straights four ways, and that’s a big advantage over one-, two-, or three-gapped cards.
Unless you are fortunate enough to wrap four cards around one of your four-gappers, there’s no way these cards can make a straight. But don’t worry about that. If you take our advice, you will seldom, if ever, play hands that are four-gapped or worse unless they are suited — and then only under very favorable circumstances.
Gapped cards
Gapped cards, in general, are not as valuable as connectors because of their difficulty in completing straights. But if you were to make a flush there’s no need to be concerned about the gap. After all, a flush made with Av6v is just as good as an AvKv flush. But A-K is more valuable for other reasons. Suppose that flush never comes. You can make a straight with A-K; you can’t with A-6 (unless four cards come on the board to help your straight).
You might also win if you catch either an ace or a king. If an ace flops, you’ll have made a pair of aces with a 6 side-card, or kicker, and could easily lose to an opponent holding an ace with a bigger companion. But any pair you’d make with the A-K would be the top pair with the best possible kicker.
Acting last is a big advantage
Acting later in a hand is a big advantage, so you can afford to see the flop with weaker hands when you’re in late position. If you’re last to act, you’ve had the advantage of knowing how many opponents are still in the pot and seeing how each of them acted on the current round of betting. That’s a big edge, because some starting hands play better against a large number of opponents, while others play better against a smaller field.
In late position you’ll also know which of your adversaries are representing strength by betting or raising. The later you act, the more information at your disposal. And poker is a game of information — incomplete information, to be sure, but it’s a game of information nevertheless.
Starting Hands
Some starting hands are so strong they can be played in any position. You don’t get these hands very often, but when you do, you are generally a favorite from the get-go to win that pot.
Chapter 4: Texas Hold'em
The following table shows that we recommend playing any pair of 7s or higher in early position, as well as the twelve suited and six unsuited card combinations.
Playable hands in early position
Pairs 7s through aces
Suited Aces with a king, queen, jack, or 10
King with a queen, jack, or 10 Queen with a jack or 10 , Jack with a 10 or 9
10 with a 9 4
Unsuited Aces with a king, queen, jack, or 10
King with a queen or jack
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