Ultimate Poker Cheat Sheet for Beginners

Dennis  «Dennis_Stets» 
29 May 2024
Holdem Poker Basics
29 May 2024

Texas Hold em is the most popular card game. Like in football or any other popular kind of sports, here we have large international tournaments with big prize funds and a lot of participants every single year. It’s not surprising that its fan base is growing and every day many newcomers register in the online rooms, planning to succeed in the future.

But to play successfully, first you need to learn a lot of theory and poker math. For this purpose we have prepared some of Texas Hold’em basics, collected in various poker cheat sheets.

Texas Holdem Cheat Sheet — Basic Rules

Therefore, first we will briefly tell you the rules of Texas Hold'em, because at this moment it’s the most popular poker discipline, with which almost all beginners start. The essence of the game is to win the bank, which is formed by participants during the game. You can make it in two ways:

  1. Collect the strongest combination among the opponents;
  2. Forcing all participants to fold their cards.

The hand starts with two participants at the table in the small blind (SB) and big blind (BB) positions making mandatory blind bets. Then all participants receive two closed cards (pocket cards) and the first street of bidding begins. It’s called preflop. 

The first move is made by a player in early position (UTG). He makes a decision based on his own pocket cards. Main available actions are next:

  • Call — equalize the bet;
  • Raise — raise it at least 2 times;
  • Fold — discard current hands and refuse to participate.

The right of the next move is passed clockwise. The last decision is made by the player on BB. He has the same actions as the others. The exception is a check. This is a confirmation of the size of the bet if no one has previously made a raise. 

If there was a raise during the betting round, the player to the right of the raiser is the last to go.

When the participants have come to an agreement, three common cards (the flop) appear on the board. They are used by all to make combinations. After that the bidding resumes. 

The first move is made by the poker player in SB position or the closest one to his left. The last decision is left to the button (BTN) or the closest to his right. The available actions from the flop onwards are slightly modified:

  1. A check can be used by any player if there were no raises;
  2. A bet appears — the first bet on the street.

Following the flop are two more streets — turn and river. On each street one more common card is placed on the poker table. The turn order and available actions are the same as on the flop.

The flop, turn and river together are called the postflop.

At the end of the last street comes the showdown. This is where the remaining players show their pocket cards and compare their combinations. The winner of the strongest takes the entire bank.

These are the basic rules of the discipline. In fact, Texas Hold'em is much more complicated. Therefore, it is recommended to read other poker articles on this topic, which are published on our website. For convenience there are different filters, such as discipline or category.

Poker Hand Cheat Sheet — 10 Combinations to Learn

The main objective of the game of poker is to collect the best combination among the opponents. According to the rules for this you can use two of your own cards and 5 cards that are generally available on the table. 

At this stage it is enough to learn all the game combinations, as well as to determine which of them is older or younger than the other one. You can learn more about it from the detailed article about Hold'em combinations. 

Also via the internet you may find many training materials showing a picture of poker combinations, without bothering to explain the content of each in detail. It may be called poker hand ranking. So, let's start with the weakest combinations and move on to the strongest ones:

  1. The high card.
  2. Pair. 
  3. Two Pairs. 
  4. Three of a Kind. 
  5. Straight. 
  6. Flush.
  7. Full House. 
  8. Four of a Kind. 
  9. Straight Flush. 
  10. Royal Flush.

About Professional Approach in Simple Terms

Poker is not made by combinations and cold calculation. Although they are an impressive part of the process. The key role is played by poker psychology, which prevents many players from properly developing a hand with strong cards.

When studying poker combinations, the chances of their occurrence and other nuances, refer to poker books written by professional players, which describe the ways of behaviour. The peculiarity of such materials is that they convey emotionless and emotional advice, practitioners in the business, where it is quite difficult to control yourself in tournaments and at high stakes.

Your own strategy of the game will be developed on the basis of constantly replenished experience and the desire to learn new aspects of Texas Hold'em.

Do not forget about the psychological component of any poker discipline. Each of the opponents at the table behaves differently than gives the mood and vector of behaviour in every hand. The ability to read your opponents will allow you to go much further than the traditional game of poker and become a poker pro.

Poker Terms You Need to Learn

Now let’s move on to the common poker terms, which can be used as a perfect poker cheat sheet. They are the following:

Ante — a mandatory blind bet from each player before the start of the hand.

Buy-in — poker room fee / the amount of money required to participate in the tournament or a cash game.

Bankroll — the entire amount of funds allocated by a player for the game.

Bankroll management — a set of actions for managing the bankroll.

Backdoor — a combination that is collected by the necessary cards on the turn and river.

Blind — a mandatory bet that is placed before the start of each blind hand.

Board — a space in which 5 common cards are laid out.

Board texture — a set of cards laid out on the board.

Call — calling an opponent's bet.

Check — a betting option that allows you not to invest money in the pot and do not to fold cards.

Equity — a measure of how much of the pot, on average, a hand or range of hands will win if the cards are revealed in the current round of bidding and the remaining cards are dealt without bidding.

Flop — the second betting round when there are 3 common cards on the table.

Fold — a pass action after which you don’t participate in the current hand.

Fold equity — a measure of the increase in equity due to the cases when the opponent passes.

Raise — a raising bet.

Rake — a commission charged by the online room or game organizer.

Rakeback — a refund of a part of the previously paid commission to the player.

River — the fourth and final round, when 5 common cards are laid on the table.

Solver — a computer program that calculates solutions for poker hands according to the specified parameters.

Turn — the third round of betting when there are 4 common cards on the table.

Kicker — a card that is included in a hand of 5 best cards, but does not determine its type.

Limp — the first preflop action when a player matches the mandatory bet in one big blind.

Pot odds — the ratio of the size of the pot to the amount needed to continue the game.

Preflop — the first round of trading when players use only two cards in their hand to make decisions.

Overlimp — a preflop action when a player calls a mandatory bet in the big blind after one or more players.

Orbit — a full round of hands when a player has played 1 hand in each position at the table.

Value — the value of a particular hand, action or other poker event in terms of increasing the profitability of a poker game.

Variance — the difference between the expected and actual outcome of events.

Winrate — it’s a measure of a player's profitability in the game.

Theory or practice?

Most professionals hold the view that the most important thing in poker is constant learning. So it’s necessary to know a lot to get regular profit. And not only theoretical knowledge is important, but also practical consolidation of the learnt material.

In many countries, poker is considered a serious sport. It requires incredible stamina and patience. At the same time, you need to be psychologically able to read your opponents to win. 

Many people study poker for years and still haven’t learnt all the subtleties and nuances yet. Professionals study different poker strategies and develop their own unique tactics, which will be difficult for other opponents to understand. 

The most important rule in poker is to constantly learn and develop your skills.

How to learn the game properly:

  • Read thematic books about poker. There is a lot of literature on poker math, psychology and strategy. You need to read and develop yourself in each of these areas.
  • Communicate with other players. This allows you to gain experience and keep up with the latest news in the poker industry. For example, at poker forums or specialized websites. It is common for players to share their knowledge and strategies.
  • Analyzing mistakes. After each played session, you need to carefully analyze your hands and identify your poker mistakes. The next games should be devoted specifically to working on such flaws in the game. For this purpose you can use poker HUD / software.
  • Attend online schools. Nowadays there are many online poker courses and schools. For example, on our website we provide a lot of free material for training to help you understand the specifics of the game. Also there's a full list of poker coaches in case you want to get individual training lessons with a pro.

Top 5 recommendations for players

Usually the first hand and even the first few days of active poker play confuse beginners: what is the right thing to do, whether or not to bet / raise / call / fold, and in general, how to remember hand rankings / winning card combinations? Even more often there is a situation when a beginner simply does not have enough time to make any correct decision. 

That's why, besides the Texas Holdem cheat sheet for beginners, you should know the basic aspects of strategy — so that there won't be an overabundance of information, let's describe top-5 actions.

#1: Don’t often enter the game from an early position

Early position is a player's position at the preflop. It includes the first 3 participants sitting to the left of the big blind when (against 9-10 participants), and 1 player against 6 or less participants.

There is a reason why the early position is called Under the Gun (UTG in poker slang). A beginner can get himself into a trap: play poker with weak cards against more experienced opponents and at the same time have the first word on all the streets, which means giving more information about his pocket cards.

Therefore, at first it’s better to play fewer cards (up to 10% of all possible starting combinations), but watch how the other players behave, get used to the tempo of the game, try to see and remember how certain combinations are played by the opponents. In time you’ll understand why, when and how to play poker right.

#2: Create a table of cards to be played for each position

The idea was probably borrowed from the multiplication table: first you peek — then you gradually memorize. If you want, you can easily learn it.

Poker fans could only dream of such a lot of educational material 10 years ago.

There are specialized videos, articles, and ready-made poker hands cheat sheet, etc. With its' help player can watch, read, discuss with friends or coaches and create his own tactics anytime. 

Even some experienced players take notes during the game: from what position they played and exactly what hand, how they played it and what it led to. When it comes to online poker, professional software will compile this information for you. Find out more about it in this article.

#3: Don’t waste chips on unnecessary calls

Poker is a very progressive game that is constantly changing and evolving. Success is all about keeping it as simple as possible. Only the following hands should be played from early position:

I. 88 to AA (Aces).
II. KQs (King-Queen; s — suited).
III. KJs and QJs (King-Jack and Queen-Jack suited).
IV. AK-AQo (Ace-King and Ace-Queen; o — offsuit).
V. ATs (Ace-10 suited).

Note: not counting pairs, most starting combinations are made up of one-suit cards because they have about 5% more chance of being strengthened on the flop. That said, many beginners try NOT to play even combinations such as King-Jack or Queen-Jack from early position. Don't complicate your decisions — try to play with cards that are more likely to be stronger than your opponent's cards.

Calling station refers to a player who doesn't bet, but responds to any bets regardless of his or her own cards and those of the opponent, hoping to strengthen his or her combination on later streets of dealing. And there's only one reason to love such opponents — they don't think (or rather, they think only a single thought of their own), meanwhile giving away their chips left and right. 

Most of the time autocallers are very weak players, but you should remember one rule: there is no point in bluffing against them — sooner or later you will be exposed.

#4: Learning additional techniques

For example, defence / stealing blinds or bluffing. Despite the fact that these techniques have already become mandatory in the arsenal of even a mediocre player, try not to get carried away with them at first, because experience is a very important factor. More experienced players can recognise a bluff, and easily steal your bet, realizing that you feel insecure. 

So make the decisions that are most comfortable / profitable for you. Every starting hand is unique in some way. Feel the situation.

It's best to read a couple of articles first, and then start honing the above techniques on passive or even more insecure players.

#5: Learn to play aggressively

This is one of the most important poker lessons — how to be the aggressor. For example, if someone is just limping (betting the size of the big blind), then raise. Let your opponent now get a little flustered and now make a tough decision. 

More often than not, you will take his chips without a fight. But keep in mind that in some situations you may get rebuffed and get knocked out of the hand. After all, even a limper can have aces in his hand, so always be on the watch!

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