Playing Texas holdem, at first glance, is not very difficult. In fact, if you have played any poker at all, it is really just very much like five card draw or stud. In fact, it is so much like these games, that experienced players of these games will likely have caught on to Texas holdem within the first couple hands.
However, just because you know how the game goes, don’t go thinking that you have what it takes to win the poker world series… there is one crucial element that Texas holdem brings to the table that can really turn the tide for any experienced player… it can throw a monkey wrench into your plans, causing you to lose hands you should have won… and that is your opponent. More than ever, in Texas holdem, your opponent may influence your ability to win by a vast margin.
It is absolutely critical in Texas holdem to know your opponents. Create a profile of every player at the table in your mind as you play. Watch every bet… every raise… every hand. Watch which players play aggressively. Watch which players only play aggressively when they have a good hand. Try to notice which players are willing to bluff their way out. Also, take now of players that come out of the gate really strong. Is it because they have a good hand? Or, do they simply anticipate a good hand after seeing the flop? Take note of the weaker players, because you might be able to bluff or buy them out if it comes down to just the two of you.
It is absolutely crucial in Texas holdem for you to know your opponents, so never stop paying attention. Just because you folded this hand doesn’t mean that your work for this hand is over…