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Texas Holdem Poker

Learn how to play Texas Holdem poker games at online poker rooms and local poker spots.

A Beginner’s Guide to Texas Hold’em Poker

Play Texas Holdem Poker for Real Money

Texas hold’em is a great poker game, but how can you play? This beginner’s guide to Texas hold’em poker explains what you need to know.

In 2009 Viktor ‘Isildur1’ Blom won $1,127,955 in the biggest online poker cash win of all time. He did it playing Texas Hold’em, the most in-demand variant of poker in the world.

Made famous by the stylish casinos of films and novels, more people than ever are getting into this easy-to-learn poker game. Many of them on online gambling sites.

Do you want to join their ranks and potentially pocket some winnings of your own? If so, you need to learn the tricks of the game.

If learning Texas Hold’em Poker interests you, then read our short guide below and learn how to master this popular online poker game.

What Is Texas Hold’em Poker?

Texas Hold’em Poker is a variant of the standard five-card draw poker game. It is played in all of the major poker tournaments around the globe. 

It is a straightforward game to pick up and can be quick and enjoyable to play. However, like many gambling games, it is easy to learn but challenging to master.

Numerous outcomes can develop from a starting hand, and the sheer number of possible situations creates the game’s complexity. Understanding and calculating these many different outcomes or “outs” from the game is the secret to mastering it.

The objective of Texas Hold’em Poker is to outplay your opponents and finish with the highest five-card poker hand. To do this, you will be using a combination of your own hand and up to five community cards played on the table.

How To Play Texas Hold’em

To start a game of Texas Hold’em, each player at the table receives two cards dealt face down into their hand. These are the “hole cards”. Players will then place bets on their current hand or fold and withdraw from the round.

Once all bets are in, the dealer will deal the first three community cards onto the table. These cards belong to everyone and now form a part of everyone’s hand. 

This draw of community cards is called the “flop” and is the first stage of the game. Based on what they can now see on the table and what they have in their hand, the players bet again.

After betting, if there are still players in the game, the dealer will draw the fourth community card, commonly known as “the turn”. Players bet again, trying to make the best five-card hand from the available options. Then the dealer draws the fifth community card or “the river”.

Once the river is on the table, players must make a final round of bets. With all cards on the table, players can make a hand using three, four, or all five community cards. Bear in mind that a hand made of all five community cards is shared by all the players at the table, so it is unlikely to win outright.

If the final bets are called, players must reveal their hole cards, and the player with the best five-card hand wins the pot. Called the showdown, this is the final stage of the round.

If all other players except one fold their cards, then the winner takes the pot without having to display their hand.

This way, players can “bluff” or lie their way to the pot with a lousy hand by making the other players believe they have the best one.

Texas Holdem Rules & Terms

Play always moves clockwise from the dealer. The button starts at the dealer, so the play starts with the person sitting left of the button. Left of the dealer come the two blinds. To the left of the dealer is the big blind and to the left of them is the big blind.

These are forced bets that behave a little like an ante in other card games. They help keep players financially committed to the game.

At tournament level, the blinds increase after a fixed amount of time or hands. However, in cash games, the blinds normally stay the same throughout the game once agreed beforehand. Small blinds are traditionally half the big blind but may change from location to location.

Once the blinds are in and the dealer has dealt the hole cards to the players, there are four “streets” or moments of betting action. They are Preflop, Flop, Turn & River. 

The first player to make a Preflop bet is the person to the left of the big blind. This position, called “under the gun”, has to move first.

The three moves a player may make are to Raise, Call or Fold. Calling means making a bet that matches the big blind. Raising means placing a bet inside the limits of the game. Folding is to surrender your cards and step out of the round.

In a limited game of Texas Hold’em you can only raise the stakes a certain amount. However, in a no-limit game, you can go “all-in” and bet your entire stack of chips. If you lose, you are out of the game.

In the later rounds, you can also “check” which is to pass the action to the next player in the round. If everyone in the round checks, then the betting round also ends.

Winning Poker Hands

There are many different winning hands you can achieve in Poker, Texas Hold’em being no different. They are, from lowest to highest:

High Card – A single card with Ace being the highest (A)

One Pair – A matched pair of the same rank (A,A)

Two Pair – Two matched pairs of the same rank (A,A & K,K)

Three of a Kind – Three cards or the same rank (A,A,A)

Straight – Five consecutively ranked cards (2,3,4,5,6)

Flush – Five cards of the same suit (5 x hearts)

Full House – Three cards of the same rank and a pair of the same rank (A,A,A & K,K)

Four of a Kind – Four cards of the same rank

Straight Flush – Five consecutively ranked cards in the same suit (5 x hearts – 2,3,4,5,6)

Royal Flush – A straight flush at the top of the rank (5 x hearts – 10,J,Q,K,A)

The odds of getting a Royal Flush are 649,739:1. You are statistically more likely to be struck by lightning at the table. The most common hand is One Pair, for which you have a roughly 50/50 chance of acquiring by the River card.

The best strategy is to try and outplay your opponent’s Pre-flop. Try and convince them to leave the game before more cards are shown. Remember, the more cards on the table, the better your odds AND theirs of drawing a better hand.

Practice Makes Perfect In Texas Hold’em

As we said earlier, Texas Hold’em Poker is easy to learn but difficult to master. You need to learn not only how to play the game but also to calculate the odds. 

Many players fall foul early on going “all-in” on a weak hand, forgetting that the other players are using the same cards as you. Learn to calculate all the possible outcomes that the cards could make from the cards on the table, and you will become a master of the game.

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