I am looking for easy to spot key factors for a pre-flop decision making - right before one either folds, calls or raises. The settings is 9 players table, No-Limit Hold'em Cash Game.

The factors I am considering so far are:

Starting hand


Pot size

Am I missing something with a good easy-to-spot/value ratio? Is it necessary to decide based on which position player raised or is it reducible to simple "Pot size on a table" there is prior to the decision? Thank you for your insight!

1 Answer 1


Nice question and I think the factors you are considering are by far the most important ones to remember. However I'd also say remember, as you also mentioned, the position of players who raised before, as often that can be used to some degree to infer strength.

Other factors to consider could also be (please note I know you said cash game, but I'm also including some points about tournaments as I feel this is a nice question and it can be expanded to help not just cash game situations):

  • Other players past actions (i.e. do they always raise a hijack that has limped or folded to them no matter what, etc)
  • Other players position and their actions in those positions.
  • Your table image, essentially when we bet or act we're telling a story and whether true or not, how the table perceives you can matter. A good example of this is you could just be card dead all night, get a reasonable hand to finally open and people give you credit for a monster. Same visa versa where you're always raising and then get aces, don't be surprised of not getting credit.
  • Stack size vs other players stack size
  • What are you hoping to achieve by playing - I.E. are you there to have a good time, play for a few hours, or are you ok with playing for stacks, it going wrong and leaving soon.
  • How are you feeling? This is something I rarely see people mention but it's important, but ask yourself how are you seriously feeling. I'd argue you won't make good decisions when you're upset or pissed about something.
  • Game vibe/atmosphere, is it a friendly game, people having a good time, maybe showing cards having a few drinks, not playing too seriously. Is it a very serious game, people giving it their all.

Side points for tournaments:

  • Type of game you're playing, is it a cash game, is it a re-buy tournament, a turbo, freezeout, etc?
  • If it's a tournament the stage of the tournament matters, are you near the bubble, is there a break about to happen, is there a pay jump nearing, etc.

I think in general a good thing to remind yourself when you play, is poker is a game of incomplete information where you attempt to make the best decisions with the information you have. The more questions you ask yourself and factors you consider, the more information you're giving yourself to better make decisions.

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