The pre-flop game is a very important part of every poker hand. A good pre-flop strategy is one of the most important things you need to master to become a successful player. A successful strategy is usually a rather aggressive strategy.
Every pre-flop strategy contains two different variables. Which hands you should choose to play and how hard you should bet said hands. Both variables are directly tied to each other. If you adjust one variable you usually have to adjust the other as well.
Lets start by looking at what cards you should play. I recommend that you are very conservative with which hands you choose to play. Only play premium hands. Do not play hands that have little chance of winning. You can choose to play more hands when you are in a late position. Especially if you have established a solid table image. This is due to the fact that it often is possible to buy a hand when you play in a late position. Do not go completely crazy and start playing all hands just because you are in a late position.
We recommend that you start out playing only very strong hands such as high pairs and high connectors. High suited connectors can be played a little more aggressively than regular connectors. Do not fall in love with your pre-flop hand. A high pair is a strong pre-flop hand but can be next to worthless after the flop. QQ, JJ and TT are among the hands that are often overestimated and that cost less experienced players a lot of money.
Once you have decided which hands you are going to play you need to decide how to play said hands. If you choose a strategy where you only play good starting hands then you should combine that with aggressive pre-flop betting. It is usually good to bet at least 4BB in all hands that you choose to play.
An aggressive pre-flop strategy brings a number of benefits. It forces people with poor hands out of the pot and reduces that risk that anyone hits a rag flop. The players who choose to stay in the hand will usually have good cards.
By betting aggressively pre-flop you take control over the hand by projecting strength. This will cause most players to allow you to control the hand after the flop as well. By betting pre-flop you increase the chance that you will be able to take down the pot with a continuation bet on the flop. If your opponents don’t hit the flop then they are likely to get out of your way. This is due to the gap. The fact that it takes better cards to call than it does to raise. Google the gap concept if you want to know more about this phenomena.