Texas Holdem Poker Skills

Top Five Texas Holdem Poker Skills

When you play Texas Holdem poker there are definitely a few skills that you will want to have and others you will always want to work on.

Let’s look at each one of these and give you an idea of which ones are the most important.

1. Table Selection

There may not be anything more important than selecting the right table when it comes to playing Texas Holdem. You can play extremely good poker, but if excellent players surround you, your win rate is going to be less. Conversely, if inexperienced players surround you, your chances of making money are better, even if you make a few mistakes. You can make a great deal of money against bad poker players, but you can lose a lot against the great ones. Picking the softest table may sound gutless, but you would rather be smart in selecting a table you know you can beat.

2. Hand Selection

The biggest mistake most players make when playing poker is playing too many hands. If you have the discipline only to play strong hands, your chances of making money are much better. Patience is definitely a virtue in poker and waiting for strong hands is a good idea. When you do get the strong hand, make sure and raise accordingly.

3. Reading Opponent’s Hands

It is always important to try and put your opponent on a hand. You are not always going to be right, but if you really work at it, you might be surprised how often you are correct. Every action a player takes gives you information about the hand they hold. You make guesses based on the actions they take.

4. Pot Odds

Always be aware of pot odds. The professional poker player always knows if the odds are worth it. You can count the number of “outs” you have to estimate and decide if calling is a positive play. It is a calculation based on your outs, the money you have to lay out, and the money in the pot.

5. Analyzing Your Opponent

You want to be aware of what you opponent is likely to do. There are the maniacs, the calling station, the tight player, etc. You want to be aware of each of these tendencies in regards to your opponents. The more you can put your opponent on a particular type of player, the better chance you have to predict how they will play.

The Gap Concept

You need a better hand to call a raise with Than you do to make a raise with (For example, if I was first part, I will raise pairs with 9, or I would raise with it rather than call).


See how opponents act before my turn to act.

Have the last opportunity to bluff.

Extract more money from opponents.

Five Reasons to Raise

  1. Get more money in pot.

  2. Limit the competition.

  3. Take control of betting.

  4. Make opponents define hands.

  5. Steal BLINDS and ANTES.

Odds and Outs

Step 1 Counting Outs.

Step 2 The Rule of 4 & 2.

56s for example

Flop: Qs3h7s

Rule of 4:

Odds: (9 + 3) * 4 = 48%

Turn: 8c

Rule of 2:
(9 + 3 + 3) * 2 = 30%

Step 3 Calculating Pot Odds

Pots: 400
Bet: 100
Odds: 100/(400 + 100) = 20%

Step 4 Make Winning Decisions

5 Outs 

5 * 4 = 20%

Implied Odds

Take Time to Think

  1. Opponents playing conservatively or aggressively ?
  2. What hands are my opponents likely to hold ?
  3. What do my opponents think I have ?
  4. Am I in good position or bad position ?
  5. Should I bet or raise ?
Best hand?
Bet or Raise

Force weak
opponents out?

Should I check or fold?

Worst hand ?
check or fold

Take Time Out After Significant Changes

  • How has my image changed?
  • Who may be on tilt?
  • should I change gears?

Common Mistakes

Bad players make the same mistakes over and over.

Poker players who exploit bad players and their mistakes will win.

Common Mistakes

  • They don’t bluff enough.
  • They over-value top pair.
  • They don’t bet enough.
  • They call too much instead of folding or raising.
  • They play too timidly.
  • They telegraph the strength of their hand with tells.
  • They go on tilt.

Steal the Blinds

  • No bad beats.
  • No big suck outs.
  • No big desisions.


  • Target the Average Stacks.
    • Average Stacks can afford to fold.
    • Big Stacks are likely to call because they can afford to take risk.
    • Small Stacks are likely to call because they’re desperate.


  • My opponent believes I’m playing tight.
  • My opponent hasn’t witnessed a bluff from me recently.
  • My opponent isn’t likely to have a great hand or a great draw.
  • My hand can’t win without a bet.
  • My oppenent isn’t anywhere near pot committed.
  • My oppenent is likely to think the last card helped me.
  • Bluffing effectively is a part of Selective Aggression.
  • Pick your spots carefully then play them aggressively.

Make the Big Laydown