No Limit Hold'em Advanced Strategy - Creating a Story

Your early no limit Texas hold’em experiences are generally spent on free texas holdem sites, just to get a feel for the game. You’ll learn to understand bet sizing and how to interpret the actions of your opponents. You’ll learn the different reasons to bet, check or fold. Then you move up to the lower limits, and hopefully, you should begin to become comfortable with the play of the game.

At some point, you may find that you are not improving enough. Either you are not winning consistently at your current level or you would like to move up to higher limits. At this point you will need to implement some more advanced hold’em strategies.

Higher Level Thinking in Poker

A novice poker player typically thinks only about what they have. He or she looks at their cards, compare them to the board, and bets, checks, raises or folds based on the objective strength of their hand. Once players gain a greater understanding of the game, they start to think in terms of what their opponent is likely to be holding and how strong his hand is likely to be relative to the board. This allows plays like continuation bets and bluff-raises to be effective in winning pots. A professional player thinks about not only what he holds and what his opponent likely holds, but about what his opponent is likely to think the pro holds based on the action. This is called higher level or third-level thinking and it provides the greatest opportunity for success in no limit Texas hold’em.

Creating a Story in Texas Hold’em

Whenever you are trying to represent a hand in no limit Texas holdem poker, you want to make sure that your bets make sense for the hand you are representing. This is called creating a story. It requires that you be skilled at thinking several moves ahead in your poker games. For example, let’s say you hold TsJd and the flop comes Ah Js 8s. Your opponent, who bet before the flop, bets again and you raise. He flat calls. The turn is the 3h. He checks and you check. The river is the 2h. He checks. You move all-in, representing the heart flush. He calls immediately and shows AQ to take the pot.

What happened here? What happened is that you did not tell a convincing story. For you to have made a heart flush, you would have had to raise the flop with nothing but a running flush draw, meaning both cards would have to be a heart to win. Once a heart comes on the turn and he checks, most players would semi-bluff here, hoping to win the pot outright without having to hit, but you checked. Then the heart comes on the river and rather than making a callable bet to try to get action on your disguised heart flush, you make a huge overbet. This is not credible. On the other hand, if the 2s came on the river, you do have the story of someone who has made a flush. You semi-bluff raised when you hit four spades on the flop, then checked when you missed the turn, and bet on the river. Your bet on the river may still be too big but you could be making an overbet figuring you will only get called by a large bet that looks like a bluff. A thoughtful player may well fold top pair to your bet in this situation.

Notes on Stories in No Limit Texas Hold’em

You should always be thinking about what story the action is telling for both you and you opponents. This will help you make the best decisions and give you the widest range of options in your no limit online Texas holdem games.