Preflop is a crucial round for players. This is where they need to establish their strength in relation to their opponents and set a course for the hand.
Having a sound preflop poker strategy is essential. Many players often commit various mistakes that should be avoided to play a winning game.
In this article, I discuss how to avoid preflop mistakes:
Common Preflop Pitfalls and How to Avoid Preflop Mistakes:
Open Limping refers to a situation when the first player to enter the game after Big blind calls. E.g. if the small blind is $10 and the big blind $20, then the next player to play Calls $20. This is a mistake that novice players commit. Limping refers to the low confidence of a player on their hand. Pro players can easily take advantage of this by playing aggressively.
#2 Not 3-betting
Some players play meekly after a raise has been made. This shows both in one's game and demeanour, at times. A player with a strong hand shouldn't call against a Raise in the pre-flop.
They should 3-bet aka re-raise the raise. This leads to a few advantages—others with weaker hands fold, the player who raises is cornered while you can see the Flop, and you may enter a showdown with the player who Raised, increasing your chances to win.
Don't make your 3-betting predictable. Bluff at times, so that your opponents are not able to guess the strength of your hand when you 3-bet.
Wile 3-betting, ensure that you do not go overboard. Do not place very large 3-bets, as it will put you in not so favourable pot odd situations. This should be done only if you have very strong hands, but even in that case, you'd want other players to not fold so quickly.
#3 Lack of knowledge of your position
Some players display lack of knowledge of their position in the hand. They need to consider how close or far they are to the left of the Dealer button. This defines the kinds of hands you can play in a game.
If you have a number of players left to play after you, your game needs to be tighter, and you can play with only good hands, and if you are towards the end of the tail and there are few players to play after you, then you can play freely. Some players play loose when they are close to the button from its left, and consequently, get exploited.
In short, as you move closer to the button from its right, your range of hands to play with widens.
#4 Playing tight at Big blind
The Big blind position gives you the maximum advantage in the preflop, as you're the last to act. You can choose to play very loose from this position. It is always better to defend your big blind, as you have the least to lose.
Should you always raise in preflop? No, if your card range is just not going to cut it, then you can at times call or fold, too.
#5 Playing tight at Small Blind
If you're at the Small Blind position and it's your turn to play, then you should try to raise, as that will give you the opportunity to win the dead pot or it will also give you another chance to play at your advantageous position.
If you play passively at Small blind, the big blind might consider you weak and be aggressive. You might even put yourself against a player who is stronger, while you are out of your advantageous position.
#6 Overvalue offsuit broadway cards
If you have broadway cards like KJ which are not suited, then do not play aggressively, as these good-looking cards may often not reap the kind of results you are looking for.
So, What is the best hand in poker preflop? You have to evaluate your cards as per the position you are at, and as per the play of the players before you.
#7 Button position strategy
a) Too much Button raising
As the Dealer button is the last to act in all the rounds after the pre-flop, the button can take advantage of its turn in the pre-flop to play smartly.
Often button raises in pre-flop are met by 3-bet by the blinds, and if it happens too often, then the button is at a disadvantage. However, if the blinds are not likely to 3-bet, then the Button can easily play aggressively and raise.
b) Too much folding
Button position players often tend to fold pre-flop. They can try to stay in the game, as this will give lead them to the flop round, where they have the last move advantage.
You should prepare your preflop poker strategy for each position in situations of calls, raises and folds before you. Define the hand range you will be willing to play in each situation. This will keep you prepared when you enter a game, and even improve your strategy over time.