Unlike other games, Poker has its own unique and detailed theory .
Theory is an applied side of mathematically arrived conclusions based on available information. Unfortunately in Poker, unlike a game like chess, not all information is available; consequently, many of the best mathematical calculations are not rewarded by a win, at least in the short run.
In Poker it is not unusual to see a player acknowledge his superior intellectual capacity and knowledge of poker game theory to all who will listen and then get beaten soundly by a player with considerably less brain power.
This leads us to the question of intellectual ability as a factor in poker. While there is no denying that there is probably more brain power collectively in poker than any other popular sport and that it is very unlikely any top professional could survive without superior intellect; there is obviously more to a true poker professional than mere intelligence. So what are the other qualities you need as a top poker player? Some of the top players have often defined the most vital quality to achieve top player status is "courage." or "having Heart." We quite agree with this as we have seen many an intellectual giant fall prey to bad beats or been bluffed away from a pot by someone with a few less I.Q. points, but a lot more heart. We don't mean to undervalue the many other significant qualities you need to stay on top; but, Heart or courage certainly is the critical ingredient of a top player.
Some important theoretical elements are:
Pocket Pairs also turn more powerful in later positions.
These hands though can be raised in practically every position if you are a good post-flop player. If you dig up a lot of callers you can hope to catch a set and double up through someone and if you get just one or two callers you can most likely play them off a hand.
Value Your Poker Hand
The most important aspect of poker is to know the value of your hand. Understanding whether or not to raise a given hand in a certain position can be real tricky. A number of factors come into play and any strategy can only be generalized since every game is different based on the players at a table.
Power of Position
As you get closer to the dealer button, marginal hands become stronger and more profitable to raise pre-flop. For instance, raising with a hand like A-J or K-Q as the first player to act is by and large a poor decision because it is likely that someone behind you has a better hand, and even if they don't, you lack a positional advantage to see how they will act when the flop comes. However, on the button, as the last player to act, these hands become very strong and we consider, should always be raised. With a hand like this you rarely want many, if any callers. You'd be simply happy to just take down the pot of a few big blinds. Preferably, you'd want someone with A-X or a low pocket pair to call so that you can get them off their hand easily. What you don't want to happen is someone with A-K or A-Q call you with either of these hands because then you'd have serious kicker problems. Luckily, in most cases, someone with that strong a hand would raise before you and you can let your hand go.