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Hold'Em Strategy For Any Number Of Players

by Hal Marcus

poker cards

Hal Marcus, who is an actuary, developed the popular Blackjack 6-7-8® Strategy Cards which have been a big seller in our online store. Last year he produced the unique Poker 6·7·8™ Hold’Em Strategy Cards, a set of two cards that any player can use right at the poker table to play Texas Hold’Em like a pro. Now Hal has created, in the form of two sets, the ultimate Hold’Em strategy cards; unique and easy-to-use cards that cover all numbers of players from 2 thru 10. Read the article to learn about these extremely valuable tools to guide you to winning at Hold’Em, especially if you play online. CLICK HERE to buy these cards at 10% off retail, only for BJI readers.

Poker experts recommend that you adjust your strategy at Hold’Em when the number of players’ changes, but up until now the strategies for doing this simply did not exist (to the best of my knowledge). These strategies can now easily be used by players who have the new Poker 6·7·8 Hold’Em Strategy Cards. These laminated, six-panel, "tri-fold" cards (with rounded corners) devote a total of 35 panel sides to covering Pre-Flop strategy. The other 25 panel sides contain the equivalent of 37 pages of book-sized text. The 3.5" x 5" panel size makes possible much larger, easier-to-read text than on the smaller, "credit card" size strategy cards, yet these larger cards still slip easily in and out of one’s pocket, purse, or fanny pack. The panels are designed to fold in any direction and to lay flat no matter how the card is folded. I conducted research and analysis of public and private sources for over a year in developing these strategy cards. A strong endorsement from Doyle Brunson, ten-time World Series of Poker champion, appears right on the Hold’Em cards: "A powerful shortcut to Hold’Em success right in your pocket."

Let’s begin by looking at some typical situations. Imagine that you’re playing online at a 10-person table and that a total of 10 people are playing — that is, 10 people are getting cards. It does not matter how many people actually call to see the Flop; since 10 people are each being dealt two cards, there are 10 players playing. On the Internet, players leave and enter tables on a regular basis. Suppose at your table someone leaves and now 9 players, instead of 10 players, are playing. A little bit later another player leaves (and no new players have come to the table), leaving a total of 8 players playing. You’ve been playing with three different numbers of players: 8, 9, and 10. Have you been adjusting the starting hands you play as the numbers of players were changing? For example, in middle position with 10 players, did you fold K8 suited? And with 8 players playing, did you then call in middle position with K8 suited? If not, you should consider whether you’re making sound starting hand decisions for the various numbers of opponents that you’re facing. In addition, are you making adjustments for when you may raise with a hand Pre-Flop with 8 players that you would just call when 10 players are playing? Consider 88 in late position. With 10 players this is a calling hand (shown on the strategy card as CC, which means Call, and Call 1 Raise), but with 8 players playing, you should raise some of the time (CC1 on the strategy card. CC means the same as just mentioned. The superscript 1 refers to a footnote below the table that says: Play as RC to be aggressive; also when >= 4 players usually call to see a flop.)

Thru diligent research and reading of various books on Hold’Em, one can find material that discusses starting hands when 10 players and 9 players are playing. Even if you were to read and understand the material, it’s very difficult to internalize the strategies and apply them at each hand while playing because of how the material is typically presented in the literature. Yes, you know to raise with pocket aces and to fold 72 offsuit; it’s the in between hands with which we all need assistance, like the K8 suited mentioned above. Also, it’s not always apparent which hands we should raise and which hands we should reraise. Stickysoft’s Hold’Em cards, with their easy-to-read and quick-to-use strategy tables, give you the information you need to adjust your strategy for the number of players getting cards.

Now, to call anything revolutionary is a pretty bold statement — good reasons should be given to back up such a claim. The main reason the Poker 6·7·8 Hold’Em Strategy Cards are revolutionary is because they provide Pre-Flop strategies for all numbers of players from 2 thru 10. A studious person could amass a collection of poker books (costing hundreds of dollars) to find strategies for 2, 9, and 10 players, although these strategies, unlike our strategy cards, are absolutely not presented in a format that’s easily useable while one is playing. The Pre-Flop strategies for the other numbers of players, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8, are not available anywhere else to my knowledge. Set I of the Hold’Em cards contains a basic Pre-Flop strategy for 7-10 players (these are full tables), and Set II features a basic Pre-Flop strategy for 2-6 players (tables with 2-6 players playing are known as short tables).

There are a number of other features of the Hold’Em cards that contribute to them being revolutionary. The strategy tables have color-coded decision cells in addition to displaying a short abbreviation for each decision (a legend below each table explains the abbreviations), so players have two different ways to read the decisions. Three strategy panels cover players in Early Position, Middle Position, and Late Position. A fourth panel, called Late Position — "Aggressive," provides an alternative to the regular Late Position strategy to allow more variation to help the player mislead his opponents. Also, each Pre-Flop strategy panel provides every possible two-card starting hand, which allows users to quickly find any Pre-Flop hand. Each Pre-Flop strategy panel is divided into three separate sections: suited hands, unsuited hands, and pairs. This helps to ensure you will use the right part of the table. Other panels contain a discussion of the blinds, the button, and the positions to help new players learn how to play the game. Examples guide players on using the cards. A large black number on each Pre-Flop strategy panel indicates the number of players playing so you can quickly switch cards when the number of players changes. 3 red numbers below the large black number on each strategy table panel help players identify whether they are in early, middle, or late position.

As an example of using the 3 red numbers, consider Card 7, which is for 7 players playing. Below the large black 7, 2 – 1 – 2 appears. These numbers refer to those players who are not in the blinds. Reading from left to right, the 1st red number tells you how many players are in Early Position. The 1st red 2 means that 2 players are in Early Position. Moving clockwise, these are the first two players from the big blind, and they are commonly known as player number 1 and player number 2. Then 2nd red number means that only 1 player is in Middle Position. This player is player number 3. The 3rd red number informs you that there are 2 players in Late Position. These players are the button and the cutoff (the cutoff is the player who acts just before the button acts). Since the button is the first player counter-clockwise from the small blind, you could also use the 3rd of the 3 red numbers to count backwards (counter-clockwise), beginning with the button. The 3rd red number is never greater than 2. In this example for Card 7, the 3 red numbers of 2, 1, and 2 add up to 5 players. Add the 2 players who are in the small blind and the big blind to get the total of 7 players for this card.

When playing online, usually there is a choice of tables with regard to the maximum number of players that can be playing at any particular table. The most common variations of maximum number of players are 2, 6, 9, and 10. Since there is less information in the poker literature on short table play (2-6 players), with the Poker 6·7·8 Hold’Em Strategy Cards, you might have an even greater advantage when playing at short tables compared to playing at full tables. Although you should see more flops at short tables than at full tables because the average winning hand at short tables is not as strong as the average winning hand at full tables, so many players make the mistake of playing too many hands at short tables (even more players play too many hands at full tables). Based on following the strategies in the Hold’Em cards, you will raise with more hands at short tables. Just like at full tables, many players will see The Flop with ace anything from any position. Sometimes it is correct to see a flop at a short table with Ax when it is not correct to do so at a full table, but it’s still sometimes incorrect to see a flop with ace anything at a short table, depending on your position. With A4 suited and A7 offsuit in early position, for instance, you should fold when 6 players are playing. As an example of a major difference between a full table and a short table, in early position with A 10 offsuit, fold when 10 players are playing, but raise when 6 players are playing! In general, as the number of players goes down, high cards take on greater value and middle suited connectors take on less value. With 8 players and A6 offsuit in late position, the decision is fold. But this hand in late position with 4 players is a call and call one raise; also, 45-67% of the time you should raise if you’re on the cutoff or button and no one has bet (this potential raising stra tegy is shown in a footnote to the strategy table). Suppose you have 87 suited in late position. With 8 players, using the Late Position – Aggressive table, you would call and call one raise. For 4 players with 87 suited, the decision in the Late Position – Aggressive table is fold! When you have a suited connector, you don’t get a straight or flush too often. For all the times you don’t complete your hand, you need a fair number of people who are in the pot to pay you off when you do complete your hand in order to make up for the losses you have incurred when playing this hand and not getting the straight or flush. At short tables, you won’t get a high enough payoff when you complete a hand with a middle suited connector like 87 suited to make it worthwhile to play. An exception to the discussion of playing middle suited connectors at short tables (along with exceptions as how to play many other hands) is when you’re "heads-up" (2 players are playing), as Card 2 in Set II shows.

The Hold’Em cards also contain suggestions for play on The Flop, The Turn, and The River. Some of the suggestions differ on Set II from Set I since the average winning hand is not as strong at short tables and also because people play differently at short tables compared to full tables. The Hold’Em cards, while geared to limit play, are still very useful for deciding which Pre-Flop hands to call or raise with, but they do not address the critical issue of how much to raise in those games. Set II contains a table of Outs and Odds to help you decide whether to continue with the hand. Many players are probably uncomfortable playing with an inside straight draw, but it’s about the outs and odds. With an inside straight draw on The Flop, the outs and odds table shows that there are 4 outs to make a straight, a 16% chance of hitting the straight on The Turn or The River, and the odds are 5.1 to 1. This means that if the pot odds are greater than 5.1 to 1, you should call. A pot of $24 when you must bet $4 to call offers pot odds of 6 to 1, which would merit a call on The Flop when you have an inside straight draw.

Conclusion. Instead of just stating the price, I want to discuss its ramifications along with the ramifications of having and not having the Poker 6·7·8 Hold’Em Strategy Cards cards when you play. Each set is priced at $29.95 (thru this site you can get the strategy cards at an introductory price of $26.95 per set). Some will think this is a reasonable price, some will think the cards are underpriced, and others will think the price is too high. One must consider what these packages of cards contain. Not only are you getting complete, easy-to-use Pre-Flop strategies, but you’re getting these strategies for all numbers of players from 2 thru 10. Up until now this information has not been available to the public (to my knowledge). In this sense, you would have at your fingertips strategies not available to your opponents unless they too were using these Hold’Em cards. How much is this worth when you’re playing for your hard-earned real money? One could easily make the case that the Hold’Em cards should sell for $50 per set because of their value. We didn’t price them that high (at least not yet) because we thought too many people would decide to not get the cards because of the price and would not give the appropriate consideration to their value. Recently I won some small entry fee no-limit sit and go tournaments where the prize was $72 for each win. I used the Hold’Em strategy cards, without which I don’t think I would have won. Winning just one prize of $72 more than covers the cost of both sets of cards.

Compared to other poker books and strategy cards, the Poker 6·7·8 Hold’Em Strategy Cards are incomparably easier to use due to the table design and overall card design, and yet they provide much more strategic information with greater accuracy and clearer explanations than what one would have thought possible in such a compact package. As previously stated, a diligent person could amass a collection of poker books (costing hundreds of dollars) to find strategies for 2, 9, and 10 players, although these strategies, unlike the Hold’Em cards, are absolutely not presented in a format that’s easily useable while one is playing. The cards provide specific, easy-to-use Pre-Flop strategy for all numbers of players from 2 thru 10. There is simply no practical alternative to the Poker 6·7·8 Hold’Em Strategy Cards. Todd Brunson, World Series of Poker champion, has stated that, "The biggest difference between winning & losing at limit Hold’Em is your starting hand selection." The primary benefit of these strategy cards lies in providing sound starting hand choices every time. For online play, these cards are so valuable because your opponents don’t know you’re using them, and you can quickly switch from one card to another as the number of players changes. If your opponents are using these cards, and you’re not using them, then you are playing at a disadvantage.

Note: Set I and Set II are available at 10% discount in the BJI store. Click here for details.

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