Why Are The First Two Cards Critical in Real Money Texas Hold Em Poker?
The first two cards which are dealt to a player in Texas Hold Em poker are of crucial importance, and for many players the strength of these two cards will define whether they continue with this particular hand or fold and wait for a hopefully better starting pair next time. This is because these two cards are the only ones which can be used exclusively by the player to make up their five card poker hand, as the eventual five community cards in the middle of the table can be used by anyone. So if a player gets dealt two poor starting cards and the five in the middle of the table are strong ones, chances are that somebody else sat at the table is going to make a better hand come the showdown at the end than the player with the two poor cards.
The Importance of The Flop
The flop, i.e. the three community cards which are dealt after the opening round of betting has concluded, is what can make or break a hand usually. It can turn what may have appeared a strong starting hand into a not-so-strong one, and can transform a weak start from someone brave enough to continue with them into a potential straight or flush for example. For this reason there are many Texas Hold Em poker players in the world who will always wait until after the flop before folding their hand, no matter what two personal cards they are dealt.
Should I Only Proceed with Strong Starting Cards?
A large number of Texas Hold Em strategists and tip givers are likely to be firmly against the strategy of seeing the flop come what may, believing that the strength of the starting cards are everything. But it is really up to the individual player to practice and determine what works for them. The game would be boring if everybody played the same way like a machine according to perfect strategy and never deviated from it. It would also take away important elements such as bluffing, just as playing video poker according to a pure mathematical strategy may squeeze the most money from the casino in the very long term but lacks the thrill of going with your gut feeling and gunning for that elusive royal flush and the big payout that would come with it, even if mathematically it may not be the "right" thing to do.
Learning From Others
Of course it is important to try and learn as much as you can from experienced poker players, and to research and gather as much advice, strategy and methods of playing as possible. But it is also necessary for any poker player to develop their own way of playing and determine what works for them, as different people are likely to have strengths in certain areas than others. For example, a confident player full of bravado is likely to be able to bluff their way to winning a pot when they actually held a weak hand. Similarly, a more analytical person who is able to read opponents well can base their strategy around what they can pick up from them, i.e. having a good idea of whether they are bluffing or not.
Whatever works for you, remember that the best poker players are continuously learning and refining their game to make them an even better player next time.