Premium poker hands are the ones that give you the highest chance of winning a pot. But having premium hands doesn’t always mean you will be able to maximize your wins with them. Worse, you could even lose. So, to get the most out of these powerful hands, here are some tips and strategies that
Raise or Fold Depending on the Situation
One strategy is to raise when you have a premium hand and fold when it’s not strong enough. Raising pre-flop allows you to gain more information about your opponents and build the pot size to win more money if you do go on to make the nuts.
If your opponents have weaker hands, they may fold and take the pot with minimal effort. Conversely, if your opponents are strong and you feel like you don’t have the best of it, folding is a better move to avoid losing more money than necessary.
An excellent way to know whether you should raise or fold is to consider the pot odds. If you have a good enough hand that gives you decent pot odds, it’s probably worth raising so you can build the pot and potentially make more money with later streets.
Another is to have a good guess on what your opponents’ hand ranges are. Doing so lets you know if your hand is strong enough to take down the pot. If their range is stronger than yours, it’s probably better to fold pre-flop to save money.
Pay Attention to Your Position
Position is always essential at the poker table, and especially more so when playing premium hands. When you’re in late position, such as the button or the cutoff, you get to see what your opponents are doing before making a decision.
Being in position allows you to make more informed decisions and potentially take down more pots because you have better information on hand ranges. If everyone folds to you, check and keep the pot small. That allows you to move on to the next hand with minimal losses if your opponents have a stronger hand than yours.
Be Aggressive After the Flop
Once you’ve seen the flop, calling and hoping to hit your cards can be tempting. However, if you have a strong hand and want to maximize your winnings, being aggressive is the way to go. Betting and raising after the flop will help you build up the pot size so that more money goes into the pot when you hit your hand.
It would help if you also considered whether or not you have position on your opponents. As said, betting with position can be a great way to increase the value of having a premium hand and make it easier to extract the maximum value after the flop.
Know When to Slow Play
While being aggressive is often the best way to play premium hands, there can be times when slow playing is the better option. If you have a strong hand and think your opponents are likely to call, check-calling or check-raising can help you trap them into putting more money in the pot.
It’s important to remember that slow playing should only be done in certain situations, as it can often allow opponents to outdraw you or even call with a weaker hand.
For example, if you have top pair with a weak kicker and your opponents are likely to be drawing, then it’s usually better to take the initiative and bet out so that you can build the pot size.
Be Prepared to Bluff
Even though premium hands are powerful, they don’t always guarantee you a win. If you get into a situation where you’re up against strong poker players, you may need to bluff to win the pot. Bluffing can be risky, but it can be an effective way to make the most out of your premium hands if done correctly.
What makes bluffing a great move when you have a premium hand is that it can give your opponents the impression that you have a much stronger hand than you actually do. By properly setting up this deception, you may be able to take down the pot without ever having to show your cards.
Don’t Forget to Value Bet
Value betting is when you bet with the best of it to maximize your poker game winnings. It’s important to remember that value bets should only be made if you have a strong hand, as it can often give your opponents the wrong impression and cost you more money than necessary.
For example, if you have top pair with a strong kicker and you think your opponent has an inferior hand, then betting out can help you extract the maximum value from that hand. On the other hand, if you have a weak draw or your opponent is likely to call with a weaker hand, it’s usually better to check and give them a chance to catch up.
Bet Accordingly When You Have the Nuts
If you have the nuts, don’t bet high or low. Rather, bet according to what the situation demands. If your opponents are weak or passive, betting a smaller amount can help you extract more money from them without scaring them away.
On the other hand, if your opponents are strong and aggressive players, betting larger amounts can force them to fold and help you take down the pot.
Great Hands Require Great Play
Having a premium hand in poker can be one of the most profitable situations. Still, they don’t ensure that you win. That means you still need to strategize when playing them.
If you raise pre-flop, be aggressive after the flop, know when to slow play, bluff if necessary, and value bet correctly, then you’ll be able to maximize your winnings with premium hands and make the most out of every situation. Plus, you’ll be able to avoid poker tilt.
With a bit of practice, strategy, and patience, you can become an expert at playing premium hands in no time!