'Improving' your Hand

A player is said 'improve' when he catches cards to make a stronger hand than he had originally. The objective of any poker game is to make the best poker hand as the best hand will win the pot.

The basis for a players hand is their starting hole cards, cards which are private and not shared. From the time that these cards are dealt, players will have to choose whether to get involved in the hand or not. In Texas Hold'em, If a player chooses to play the hand, they will be hoping to improve, as the best they could hold is a pair. As a pair is towards the bottom in the ranking of hands, a stronger hand will often be needed to take down the pot.

Good players are able to work out the chance they have of improving based on the number of outs along with the cards left in the deck. If there are 30 cards left in the deck and you have 10 cards that could make you your hand, then you have a 30% chance of improving, or making a potentially winning hand. This is used in conjunction with the pot odds to determine whether it's right to get involved (if the pot odds are greater than the odds of winning the hand - a player should make the call).

If there is $90 in the pot and a player bets anywhere under $30, it would be the right call, anything over and it should be a fold. Whilst the aim is always to improve so we have the strongest hand possible - having the best hand isn't a pre-requisite to win the pot. Get every other player to fold, and the pot is yours.


Important Beginners Guides..

Read this no nonsense guide on how to play poker - covering the basics and game play. Perfect for those starting out.

A no nonsense guide on how to play poker. Ideal for beginners looking to learn how to play Texas Hold'em.

Check out this set of rules. It's as close to universal as you will get! Most card rooms use a variation of these.

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Before you start playing real money games, be sure to read up on these tips by the professionals.

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