The first stage of Hold’em is the pre-flop where a betting strategy exists that will help you to better your game. There are several factors you need to consider, such as the number of other players at the table, their personalities such as aggressive or passive, the size of your own bankroll, your position on the table with repect to the dealer and finally how much you are willing to risk.
The more players at the table, the higher the likelihood there will be a player with a strong hand in the pocket. Also with larger games there is a greater chance of a player’s pre-flop hand fitting the flop.
When there is an aggressive player at the table who delights in raising every hand pre-flop, you need to play much tighter by letting him wind the blinds but nailing him when you get a strong hand in the pre-flop pocket.
Your bankroll will often decide your course of play. If you have a large bankroll you can take more of the high risk and high payout bets. If your bankroll, on the other hand, has dwindled to almost nothing, you’ll need to be very careful and select only the strongest hand to bet on. Be aware that other players will be studying each other’s bankroll for just these tactics, so if you’re really down to your last few dollars, you need a lot of luck.
Position alters your ability to influence the size of the pot. If you occupy a late position, you have much more influence than if you occupy an early position and is more especially valid pre-flop.
Be comfortable with what you are willing to risk. If you want to be more aggressive and shoot for larger pots you should be prepared to lose a few hands to compensate. If you want to be more selective and only take on more comfortable hands with a better wining chance, you should be prepared for a long session taking the odd winning hand every so often. The style of other players will influence you to some degree, but you must be careful not to let the game carry you away to where you don’t want to be.