When I was learning the game I studied the table of starting hands and I thought a graphic representation would be easier to understand. I started to draw out some ideas on graph paper. I wanted a design that would help me understand the hands in relation to the dealer button.
I continued drawing out different configurations of the starting hands. I finally thought of a linear design. I drew a dealer button on the right side of the sheet. I then started drawing the pairs on the line next to the button. Since the player to the left of the dealer acts first, I put the pair of aces to the immediate left with the rest of the pairs in descending order with the deuces being the farthest hand on the dealer's left side. The hands closest to the dealer's left would be the early position hands. Since a table is circular, as you get closer to the right side of the dealer button you would be in later position. These would be the hands toward the left side of the sheet.
I proceeded to fill in the other starting hands. I placed the suited cards on the top of the line of pairs and placed the unsuited hands underneath. When I finished I noticed that the chart looked like an arrow. The shaft of the arrow contains the pocket pairs. The hands on the top of the shaft are suited and the ones on the bottom are unsuited.
It also showed how the number of starting hands increased in the later positions. I found this chart helped me visualize the hands in the order I was looking for. I color-coded the hands for early middle and late positions. Hands designated by red, are early position hands can be played from any position. Middle position hands noted in yellow, can be played in middle and late positions. Late position hands in green should only be played from late position or the blinds.
Click here to see a larger picture of the Arrow Chart.
Using the chart as I played I could adjust the hands on the border of each position depending on the type of game. These positions are not written in stone and can be adjusted for the type of game I am playing in. For example, in a very loose, passive game I might consider playing the pair of nines or eights in early position instead of the middle position. In an aggressive game, the suited Queen-Ten may move to middle position.
This chart is published in my book Get the Edge at Low Limit Texas Holdem. If you would like a 3x5 copy of the chart all you have to do is send $1.00 to cover the postage and handling.
Holdem Arrow Chart
PO Box 310299
Newington, CT 06131-0299
Plese remember to include your dollar for the prining and postage.
Until Next time remember:
Luck comes and goes.....Knowledge Stays Forever.