As a new poker player, what information should I memorize? Odds for making common hands? Odds for a given number of outs? Other information?

  • What do you play exactly? Odds is a must for a starter ASAP but if you're playing cash games you might as well memorize hand requirements, which are different for 6-max or 9-max. If you play tournaments you should try memorizing / noting other people tendencies and push/fold situations.
    – user1165
    Dec 27, 2014 at 21:06
  • I'm getting started with online NL Hold'em cash games (micro-stakes to start, of course) Dec 28, 2014 at 5:01

3 Answers 3


The first thing to learn is some basic hand requirements, sorted by position. Say, you've been dealt Q♥J♠ and since it's face cards it should be good to play no matter what. No! You need to memorize (and do it quickly) your relative position to the BTN (dealer) and play these cards according to your current position.

Memorize the hand rankings and especially order

A flush is stronger than straight. Don't try to get all-in with Q♣J♣ if the board looks like 4♥K♥5♥9♥T♠ Memorize the order.

Learn / Memorize your position (fast)

You're going to memorize hands that can be played in first positions (UTG,UTG+1), the same cards and some more on middle position (MP,MP+1) and the rest of playable cards in later positions. The biggest damage (overtime) is not to lose a hand, but to play a hand you should have folded. Cash games, regardless the level is all about position.

Aces pre-flop

Say have A♠A♥ preflop. You're going to open-raise or re-raise another raiser or shove another raiser who did raised the initial raiser. This is basic to memorize; Try to place all your money before the flop. Simple. If the flop comes, you follow another approach since you have just a pair, yet the strongest one. But still a pair. Memorize it, don't fall into the illusion (or love) you hold the strongest hand after the flop. People in these stakes like to slow-play (that is, play slowly AA/KK etc.), then busted by a million ways.

Set mining

Try to see a cheap flops eg. by paying 5,6 BB at most by just limping / calling a small raise, for the purpose of hit your set, for example:

Having 4♠4♥

on 4♣9⋄A♠

Gotcha! you're going to win a nice pot if the initial raiser has an A

Don't get fancy

If an opponent continues his aggression, betting and betting again, just believe him. In these stakes bluffing is not really that popular. Just stay out of trouble. Memorize to not giving in your ego. Just fold that hand. Plenty of chances to come.


Memorize this simple, yet profitable move. This is a bet on the flop you're making, regardless if you made a hand or not. Most of the time your opponents will fold. Since your opponents are looking into you on how much you're cbetting try to confuse them by that very typical bet. Just do it. It's profitable. If you're not doing it, your opponents will know whether you have a hand or not.

The blinds

These position (SB and BB) are the very worst in NLHE, not only you're first to act for 3 streets (flop,turn,river), but you're forced to give money for any heck hand you dealt. Memorize you should most often than not fold in these positions. Statistically, you're going to lose money from these positions no matter good you are. Do not overplay them, you just have no position eg. always acting first, thus knowing nothing about opponents hands. Until you're more experienced, just try to avoid them and - play only your monsters hands from there - raise more than usual to overcome your positional disadvantage

Betting size

On NLHE you're raising in what is called Blinds (BB). If you're first to act, raise 3 blinds to start. If another has limped before you eg. just called, increase by +1 BB your open-raise.


Just avoid them as a starter. This concept is for experienced players who know how to play, especially after the flop. You may heard that you should 3-bet but in micro-stakes isn't really necessary. But it's a nice way to lose a lot of stack eg. having T♥T♠ and flop comes A♠K♥3⋄. You're toast most of the times. Just avoid them will save you the money. Try to be aggressive with your best of the best cards.

All the above is pretty basic and you'll find most players are following them. Although you asked for something to memorize, you'll find that most things to memorize in poker have nothing to do with numbers, merely with a typical approach before dive into more exotic strategies. gl


You've been given a very good answer above by @vlzvl in fact, I upvoted it.

So, I'm going to go in a different direction and just give you some "meta" advice that I think you will find helpful. This is just in brain-dump format, choose as you see fit:

1 - You are not special: At core, there is still a lot of math & randomness in poker. You will NOT get pocket Aces more frequently than your opponents, they will get them just as often as you do. So you must learn to play the game and play it aggressively. It does NOT pay to just sit back and wait for your pocket pair.

2 - It is very, very hard to make a pair in hold-em: Yes, you're going to miss a lot of flops. But there's good news! Your opponents are going to miss a lot of flops too! So this is where you "play the man, not the cards". When I first realized this, it made me change my entire view on poker and made me a better player.

3 - The flop is not a slot machine!: I always know I'm up against a terrible player when I hear "I want to see a cheap flop". That's the wrong approach to poker. You should be pot controlling and bet-sizing appropriately. Tell a story with your bets - if you want to represent Aces, then play like Aces. Ed Miller is a good read for this kind of stuff. To paraphrase him:

Plan A is to take the pot pre-flop

Plan B is to take the pot on the flop

Plan C is to take the the pot on the turn

Plan D is to actually make a hand :-)

Never make Plan D your first approach - if you're trying to make a hand in hold-em, you're going to have a tough go of it.

4 - Only you know your cards suck: When a friend asked me how I do well in tourneys, my completely organic answer off the top of my head was, "only you know that your cards suck!". And I truly believe in that. As a beginner, it's easy to think, "oh, my cards stink and he probably has pocket Kings". NO! Act as if! If you want to represent a hand, then act accordingly - only you know your cards suck.

5 - Read Harrington On Cash: If you're going to invest in a book, get Harrington On Cash. If anything, it's been the "cash bible" for a while, so you can get a feel for how people approach the game from a general perspective. It will give you a good base to start from.

Good luck in this maddening game!

  • 1
    also a very good answer +1. Recent Harrington on 6-max cash games is really a good book (if you don't mind the math side which Action Dan loves :) ) and for full-rings i really enjoyed Crushing the microstakes by Nathan "Blackrain" Williams.
    – user1165
    Dec 29, 2014 at 5:46

memorize ed miller's short stack opening strategy. buy in for the minimum and play online in the microstakes for a while and use a poker tracker tool. then memorize a few odds.

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