Published on September 15, 2003, 2:07 am EST

Q. Poker King, I'm interested in playing in the World Series of Poker next year. Do you have any details about the tournament yet?

A. Keep an eye on for entrance fee info and the date of the actual tournament. Due to the surge in popularity of poker recently stemming from Chris Moneymaker winning the 2003 WSOP and the World Poker Tour becoming a very popular show on TV, I would expect that the number of entrants in this year's tournament will top 1000. Going to be very competitive, so start practising now.

Q. Which hole cards should you raise on in the first round of betting in texas hold'em?

A. Here is my strategy, which has served me well, though it differs from person to person:

Raise on: Ace/Ace, Ace/King Suited Ace/Queen Suited, Ace/Jack Suited, King/King, King/Queen Suited, King/Jack Suited, Queen/Queen, Jack/Jack, Ace/King Unsuited, 10/10, 9/9.

After the flop, you can determine how strong you want to bet, but this is a good betting strategy if you are just starting out. Pairs give you good full house and three of a kind opportunities.

Q. I am having an argument with my friend. If you are dealt two similarly suited cards, such as a 7 and 5 of hearts, should you immediately fold the hand or pay to see the flop?

A. For me, I have a fairly ironclad system. In this situation, I'd pay to see the flop. If I don't see at least two hearts show up in the flop, then I will immediately trash my hand. With two cards left to hit the table, the odds are decent that you'll see at least one more heart, to complete your flush. I will bet aggressively after the flop has landed if I have at least 4 cards needed for the flush; if my flush hasn't been completed when the river card is shown, then I'll fold my hand. In my opinion, the risk is well worth it. Ideally, you are looking for two similarly suited hole cards and three suited community cards; if there are 4 similarly suited community cards, then the odds are good that someone else will have a flush as well. Keep that in mind, and temper your aggression, unless you have an Ace/King or Queen hole card that will add to the strength of the flush.


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