Learn to play Texas Hold'em Poker like 007 with these tips and strategies which will help anyone defeat the likes of Le Chiffre...

Poker Tips
16th December 2006

When James Bond is sent to the Casino Royale to defeat Le Chiffre, a villainous banker to the world's terrorists, the dual is not with the usual guns and gadgets, but with hands of cards. In an update to Ian Fleming's original 1953 novel where the action took place over a game of Baccarat, the 2006 film features the popular game Texas Hold'em Poker.
Click here to read the previous MI6 Training manual on the rules of Texas Hold'em Poker

General Strategy
Hold'em is basically high card game. The players holding two good high cards have the best chance at the best hand or a draw to the best hand after the flop.

  • Only play strong hands, that will stand a raise or multiple raises, from early betting positions.
  • Play medium strength and other playable hands from the later positions if you have a good chance of seeing the flop at a reasonable price.
  • Play strong high hands most of the time, and play them very aggressively.
  • Take all the raises you can get. If you don't thin out the competition, you reduce your chances of winning. Plus, your aggressive play before the flop can add credibility to any strong play you might want to use on the next round if a garbage flop falls and you want to try a steal.
  • Be ready to fold your high pair if you get a lot of action with a threatening flop.

Above: Official Casino Royale poker cards and chips produced by Carta Mundi

HIGH CARDS - A thru 10 (Aces, Faces and Tens)
MEDIUM CARDS - 9 thru 7
LOW CARDS - 6 thru 2
SUITED PLAYER HAND (S) - Both cards of the same suit.
SET - Three of a kind with two of the three in your hand. (One in your hand and two on the board is "trips".)
NUT HAND - An unbeatable hand. Sometimes called a "lock".
FLOP, TURN. RIVER - The community cards in the order of distribution. See top illustration.
FAST PLAY - Bet, raise and re-raise to get as many other players out as possible.
SLOW PLAY - Just check or call along to keep other players in the game to increase the pot odds.
CHECK-FOLD - Check when you can and fold if you are bet into. Gladly accept all free cards offered.

Starting Hold'em Hands
The starting hands shown here are in general power order groups with names that are easy to remember.

The Strongest Starting Hands:

Medium Strength Starting Hands:
FACE TEN SUITED - K10(S), Q10(S), J10(S)
MEDIUM PAIRS - 99, 88, 77
TWO HIGH CARDS - AQ, AJ, A10 (ace king ranks higher, above), KQ down to J10
ACE and MEDIUM SUITED - A9(S), A8(S), A7(S)
MEDIUM SUITED CONNECTORS (No Gap/One Gap) - J9(S), 109(S), 108(S), 98(S), 97(S) down to 75(S)

Other Conditional Starting Hands:
LOW PAIRS - 66, 55, 44, 33, 22
ACE and LOW SUITED - A6(S), A5(S), A4(S), A3(S), A2(S)
LOW SUITED CONNECTORS (No Gap/One Gap) - 65(S), 64(S), 54(S,) 53(S) (lowest)

Above: Official Casino Royale poker cards and chips produced by Carta Mundi

Strategy Tips

  • Fast play high pairs and very strong hands before the flop. This puts more money in the early pot and encourages weak and garbage hands to fold that could get a lucky flop and beat you.
  • Do not draw to the low end or both ends of a straight. If a 9 8 7 flops, you want to be playing the J 10 and not the 6 5 or the 10 6. (The low part is commonly called the "ignorant" end of the straight.)
  • Unconnected Medium and Low Cards are Usually Unplayable. This includes suited cards that can't flop a straight. Both ends of a straight such as 9 5 fall into this very weak category.
  • Play starting low pairs cautiously. 66 down to 22. Usually not from an early seat and from the late positions, only when the price is right. If you don't flop a set or quads you should usually fold.
  • Play aggressively when you have a two way draw after the flop. If you can make a straight AND a flush or trips etc, usually bet/raise your hand.
  • Bet an Ace or two high overcards after a garbage flop (a three suit "rainbow" with unconnected medium and low cards). Usually fold if someone raises.
  • Watch out for uniform flops, like 8 7 6, they can easily turn into straights that can overtake your high pair or other good hand.
  • Check the raisers chips. Players that are close to all-in often rush the betting just to get all their chips in a sink-or-swim last hand.
  • Beware of Suited Flops that can make a completed flush. In this case, you should usually hold the nut in that suit, or have trips or two pair that can fill up..
  • Get caught bluffing once in a while. It is a way to vary your play and not be too predictable. You win pots that you do not deserve when your bluff works. You lose a few chips when it does not work but it will get you calls from weaker hands down the line when you have a strong hand and need the action.
  • Study your opponents, especially when you are not playing hands and can pay careful attention. Do they find more hands to play than they fold? Do they bluff? Can they be bluffed? Do they have any "tells" (give away mannerisms) that disclose information about their hands?

Above: Official Casino Royale poker cards and chips produced by Carta Mundi

The Numbers

Flush Probabilities
Probability of being dealt suited cards 23.5%
Probability of flopping a flush when holding two suited cards 0.8%
Probability of flopping a flush draw when holding two suited cards 10.9%
Probability of hitting a flush draw (both turn/river, needing one card to hit) 35%

Straight Probabilities
Probability of hitting an open-ended straight draw (i.e. 4 straight cards, need one on either end to hit on turn or river) 31.5%
Probability of hitting a gutshot draw (inside straight draw) on turn or river 16.5%

Pocket Pair Probabilities
Probability of being dealt a pocket pair 5.9%
Probability of hitting a three of a kind or quads at the flop when you hold a pocket pair 11.8%
Probability of being dealt AA 0.45%

Unpaired Hole Cards Probabilities
Probability of making a pair with one of your hole cards (example: hitting an ace or a king if you hold AK) 32.4%
Probability of hitting two pair on the flop with each of your hole cards (example: hitting both an ace and a king on the flop, when holding AK) 2%

Ace Probabilities
Probability that at least one of your hole cards is an ace 14.9%

Probability of no one holding an ace, assuming you do not have an ace. Note: this can be used for any card.

# Players Probability
2 84.5%
3 70.9%
4 59%
5 48.6%
6 39.7%
7 32.1%
8 25.6%
9 20.1%
10 15.6%

Probability someone else does not have an ace, assuming you do have an ace, by total number of players:

# Players Probability
2 88.2%
3 77.5%
4 67.6%
5 58.6%
6 50.4%
7 43%
8 36.4%
9 30.5%
10 25.3%

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