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Evaluating Your Hand Strength

An important basic skill

by Matt Matros |  Published: Jun 25, 2010

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The beauty of poker is that sometimes ace high is a monster, and sometimes a full house is worthless. Knowing how to tell which situation is which is the essence of the game. Beginning players who don’t learn the skill of basic hand evaluation are likely doomed. Conversely, an experienced player who learns how to assess the relative strength of his hand with greater and greater accuracy is on his way to becoming an expert. This column attempts to give a slightly different take on hand evaluation, one that will hopefully push a few readers into that next level of thinking. Most any competent no-limit hold’em player knows the rules of thumb for hand strength. Top pair is pretty good on the flop, watch out for the draws that come in on the turn, and tend to slow down on the river if your one-pair hand hasn’t improved. How can ...


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