Texas Hold’em or just plain Hold’em is possibly the best known form of the poker. This is due to it being the game played in the World Poker Series at Binion’s Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas. The World Poker series has been televised since 1980 which increased the popularity of Texas Hold’em even more. Hold’em is also the game played in two series that is broadcast in the UK.
New to Texas Hold’em? Don’t worry it is one of the best poker games for a beginner. Texas Hold’em is an easy game compared to Omaha Hold’em and 7 Card Stud where there are many more possibilities when trying to calculate the odds or even trying to count cards.
Texas Hold’em is played with a standard 52 deck of cards. In theory it is possible for up to 22 people to play the game but it is seldom played by more than 8 people. As with other poker games players can check, raise or fold.
The object of the game is to make the best poker hand using the two cards that you hold and the five common (community cards) cards in the middle of the table. A player can use either one or both of their hole cards or use the community cards for the hand, this is called playing the board but it can never be a winning hand as all the other players will have the same hand.
Online poker casinos have play money poker rooms where you and other players can practice and familiarise yourself with Texas Hold’em.
Maximum and minimum bets
The betting structure of the game can vary from game to game. For instance Empire Poker offers three types of betting structures; Limit Hold’em – there is a specific betting limit applied in each game and on each round, Pot Limit Hold’em – a player can bet what is in the pot, No Limit Hold’em – a player can bet all their chips at any time.
An example of Limit Hold’em is; the small blind being one chip and the big blind being three. Each bet and raise would be in increments of three therefore three chips is the minimum bet and ten chips (if so decided) would be the maximum bet in the first round and 20 chips once the cards have been exposed.
Pot Limit Hold’em makes the limit for the pot the size of the pot, so if the pot is 25 chips the maximum bet would be 25 chips at that particular time in the game.
No Limit Hold’em is just that no limit, you can bet what you have. This is the type of betting structure at most televised games, great for bluffing.
Texas Hold’em has no conventional ante, but players to the left of the dealer need to place two bets known as the “blinds”. There are two types of “blinds”, a “big blind” and a “small blind”. The first blind, “small blind”, is a percentage of the minimum bet, usually a third or a half while the second blind, “big blind”, is usually the table minimum.
How to Play Texas Hold’em
The two players to the immediate left of the dealer have to post (push the bets to the center of the table) the blinds.
The dealer shuffles the cards and burns (discards) the top card, to prevent cheating. The dealer then deals each player two cards face down, the players then examine their two hole (down) cards and now the betting begins.
The first player to bet will be the one to the left of the big blind, he can either call, raise or fold but not check as a blind bet has been made. Once the betting has gone around the table the blinds may also raise, fold or call. The small blind will need to increase his stake in order to call. The big blind may also be required to increase his stake if there has been a raise.
This round is known as the pre-flop.
When the initial round of betting has been equalized, the dealer burns the top card on the deck, then deals three cards face up into the center of the table, these are community cards and they are known as the flop.
Players asses their cards and the three communal cards to see if they have the makings of a good hand. Betting follows, players who feel they have no cards of any value will at this stage fold.
After the betting concludes the dealer burns another card and deals another card (the turn) onto the table.
Betting is initiated by the player to the left of the dealer after the turn is dealt.
After the betting has been completed the dealers burns another card and deals final community card (the river).
Players can now use the five community cards and their two hole cards to create a five card poker hand.
Once again more betting occurs, after the betting has been completed all the cards are turned face up and the winner is decided.
Texas Hold’em Tips
There are some things to take into consideration when playing and these tips apply especially to online poker players.
The way in which a player is betting can indicate what types of hands they have.
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The two cards that are dealt to you can also be used to determine if you are going to have a good hand. Ideally you should have a pair (high or low), consecutive cards, cards in the same suit or consecutive cards (fairly high) in the same suit.
After the flop players may know that they have the best hand possible, called nuts. When this situation occurs you need to tread carefully, by increasing the stakes to quickly the other players will catch on and fold. Under these circumstances you need to keep the other players betting for as long as possible so that you can increase the pot.