When PokerStars introduced the concept of the “pocket book” in 2020, they also provided us with the reason why any experienced online player should consider playing a game of Texas Hold’em from a site that offers tournaments. The concept is simple: rather than focusing on winning the “big blind” and the pot itself, we can move on to figuring out which “street” is the best to play from.
In poker lingo, the term “street” refers to the left side of the table. A good street is one that is also near the card table. If you know the type of hand you want to play, move on to that side.
This means that if you’re playing a flop (meaning that the top card is either a 10 or a pocket pair), stay in the pocket while the flop comes in, and see what your best street is (the flop cards). Should the flop come in high, it’s still best to stay in the pocket, even if the pot is small because the big blind has likely played. It will be likely to turn around and return to the pot, even if it doesn’t cover all of your chips.
However, if the flop comes in low, then it’s best to get out of your opponent’s pocket and into his or her. This makes sense because the big blind’s bet usually isn’t very much compared to what you’ll lose in the event of the flop coming in low.
In fact, this strategy only makes sense when the top card is a low and it’s pocket. You should avoid playing flops and pocket pairs and focus on dealing and re-dealing cards. The flop cards are often the most profitable card.
So, once you’ve seen what’s in an opponent’s pocket, decide that his or her “street” is. And you’ll often find that you are better off with another street if the other one is also safe. The safest streets include tight hands (J- or Q-cards) and the next best streets are three-card-strong hands.
If you make a call, and your opponent calls, it’s best to go for the raise because if he doesn’t make a raise and you have the “money” to get ahead, it’s best to do so. If your opponent raises and you have the money, it will be to your advantage to continue to lay down the money until you have a small stack.
I like to think of the early stakes pot as our starting bank, which you don’t want to start thinning out, especially if you’re on the road. We usually always prefer to lay down the first few stacks until we have a good number of stacks and when we have it all we can handle, especially because of the strength of our opponents.
In the main, the bottom four streets of Texas Hold’em are the ones we focus on. The first three streets are all good, but it’s always best to be two, three, or five up. In case the flop comes in a tight one, it’s best to play the three cards a strong hand (or four-handed riffle with a blind).
In the table setup, you can find yourself comfortable at any street when you learn about how to use your tables. However, your chances of winning may improve when you use your tables appropriately. The rules for playing Texas Hold’em are the same as other games.
By understanding the “zoning” of your tables, you can narrow down your choices in playing the proper hands for each table. More importantly, it allows you to play against a more knowledgeable opponent who won’t underestimate your abilities.
Don’t be afraid to learn about the ins and outs of Texas Hold’em, and if you’re playing on a home site, join one of the many Texas Hold’em forums. You’ll find plenty of valuable information on strategy, Texas Hold’em, playing etiquette, and the correct way to win, even when playing against a pro.