If you are planning to visit Las Vegas make sure that you learn something about Texas Hold’em, so you don’t get confused when you get to some poker tables. Luckily, we live in the era of Internet where you can find all kind of information just in few clicks, so it won’t be difficult to learn the rules of Texas Hold’em.
While there are many other versions of poker, Texas Hold’em is easily the most popular of them. Due to its’ popularity you will find many videos and other educational materials that eventually will help you to become a better player and win more money which makes it a good reason to choose Texas Hold’em over any other variant of poker.
Next reason why Texas Hold’em is a good choice is because being the most popular poker game it may be found practically in any casino. Simply put, if you know how to play Texas Hold’em you know how to play poker. And even if someday you will decide to try out different versions of this great game it will be much easier for you to switch since by that time you will know all the hands and possible combinations. Therefore, if you have never played poker before Texas Hold’em is a great option to start with.
Why Texas Hold’em is such a popular game?
Today Texas Hold’em is undoubtedly the most popular form of poker in all kind of casinos. One may be surprised but it wasn’t always like that. In matter of fact, originated in early 1900s nobody really heard about this game until there was a tournament of it announced in Las Vegas in 1967. That was a finest hour for Texas Hold’em. The man behind it noticed that Hold’em has more thinking aspect than other previously known forms of poker.
Another thing that changed the card game landscape in American casinos so drastically was the level of TV exposure that Texas Hold’em eventually got. With nineties and Internet knocking at the door first online casinos started to appear making poker shift to virtual space along with pokies. It became a super popular game in new environment considering how fast paced it is. Even if someone would lose his connection which was quite common thing back then due a to poor Internet connection, he wouldn’t lose much time.
During that time the World Series of Poker (WSOP) gathered even more attention thanks to an already mentioned TV. It had some mind-blowing ratings on cable making people curious about the poker. Viewers loved that in Texas Hold’em there is some skill involved, unlike many other forms of poker where it’s more about how lucky you are. It brings them feeling that everything is under their control and allows to make profit in the long run.
Relatively simple rules is another reason what makes Texas Hold’em such a popular game: you can learn basics and start playing the same evening. Finally, it’s a social game that can be played with your friends. There aren’t many games of chances where you could play against each other. Most of the times you will find yourself playing alone or trying to beat the dealer. Though it’s not the thing when it comes to Texas Hold’em and this is what makes it so popular.
Texas Hold’em rules
As we wrote above, rules in Texas Hold’em are simple as they can be and it takes only one evening to learn the game. There are five rounds total that makes Texas Hold’em a really fast-paced game. Before the first cards are dealt, two players who are sitting to the left side of the dealer must place so-called blind bets. They are called blinds because players who are placing them didn’t receive their cards yet, so they really don’t know their odds.
There are two bets – one small and one big. Small one is called small blind (SB) and big one big blind (BB). Usually SB is twice as less as BB. Considering that the dealer’s position moves around the table in a clockwise manner, everyone eventually will get to be a small or big blind. Then each player receives two cards. Unlike the Blackjack, you will have to stick with cards that you got during the first round in the game.
You won’t be able to get another cards, so the only thing you can do if you think your cards aren’t good enough is to throw them right away by choosing to fold. As soon as everyone decides what to do with their cards, all the bets will be collected and pot will be created. Who wins the game – gets the pot.
In order to win you need to have a hand that would beat the hands of other players. You can make a hand using cards that were given to you during the pre-flop – first round of the game – and five other cards that will be put in the middle of the table during the following rounds. While these cards will be shown to all the players, your own cards will be visible only for you. And that’s the most interesting part of the game: trying to figure out is your opponent’s hand strong enough to make you fold?
Texas Hold’em hands
In order to be efficient in this game you need to know what kind of hands there are. This not only will make it much more fun to play Texas Hold’em, but also will let you to make strategy-wise decisions, thus increasing your odds of winning. Luckily, there aren’t many combinations, so it won’t take you much time to remember them all. Specially for you we will list all the hands starting from the strongest one to the weakest ones.
This is the most powerful Texas Hold’em hand. It consists of five cards of the same suit that go from Ten to Ace. Royal Flush is extremely hard to catch. Some professional poker players had it only once or twice during their whole career.
This is the most powerful Texas Hold’em hand after the Royal Flush. In order to get it you need to have five cards of the same suit come in sequence.
It’s the hand that James Bond (Daniel Craig) had in the movie “Casino Royale”. This combination granted him as much as mind-blowing $115 000 dollars!
Four of a kind
As the name suggests four of a kind is simply four cards that have the same rank, like four Queens.
Is the hand that consists of pair and three of a kind (read below what is pair and three of a kind).
Your hand is considered a Flush when you have in your hand five cards of the same suit. It’s like a Straight Flush, but simpler one.
Thi is when you get five consecutive cards on your hand.
Three of a kind
This is a hand that consists of three cards that have the same rank.
Means two pairs.
Is two cards that have the same rank.
If you can’t make any of the mentioned combinations with your and community cards (the ones that are visible to everyone who is sitting at the table) your hand will be evaluated by the individual cards that you got.
Best hands in Texas Hold’em
While you can’t control what kind of cards you will get at the very beginning, you still have option to make things better. But in order to be able to do that you have to understand the hands and know what’s playable and what’s not.
So the best hand to start with would be pocket aces since it’s the strongest starting hand in Texas Hold’em. Also it’s one of the rarest ones considering that you will get it only once per two hundred twenty one hands. Two kings on your hand during the pre-flop round is also a great luck.
But if an ace will come up during the flop you are in trouble, since even relatively weak aces like A-9 may demolish you. As for pocket queens or how some people call them, ladies, this is also very powerful hand. Moreover, if you get yourself ladies you can be sure that only eight overcards are left in the deck.
It’s a great hand to raise or re-raise from any position most of the times. Then there are pocket jacks. If you get those you should be very careful. While it still is a premium hand it can be easily beaten by pocket aces, pocket kings and pocket queens.
Free Texas Hold’em
There are many reasons why people choose to look for some free Texas Hold’em on the Internet. Most common reason for that is because people are afraid to lose by playing real money poker.
But the funniest thing is that they losing it already by deciding to play Texas Hold’em for free. First of all, they aren’t really playing poker. Players who are using play money have nothing to lose, so you never know what to expect from them. They will make such decisions that they would never make if at least a single dollar would be on the table.
Think of it this way: how players who are risking nothing to win nothing can teach you something? Secondly, by playing Texas Hold’em for free you are wasting your time. Even if you will win thousand of games in a row it won’t make you any good at poker.
It’s the same if you would try to master martial arts by fighting with some Bob-Box. Therefore, playing Texas Hold’em for free is simply a waste of time. The only positive thing about it is that it’s less stressing to play this kind of poker game since you actually don’t risk anything. But it’s also not rewarding at all and that’s what you should keep in mind when deciding to play free Texas Hold’em or no.
If you are afraid of losing, chances are that you will never learn anything. Michael Jordan once said that he missed more than 9 000 shots and has lost almost 300 games before he became a Michael Jordan that we know.
There is nothing bad in losing as long as you got the right mindset: treat every loss as if it would be a lesson for you. Why we are talking about the losses right now is because it’s extremely important to have the right attitude in order to succeed in the long run.
How to play on Texas Hold’em
There are many ways how one can play Texas Hold’em and that’s one of the reasons why so many people are in love with this game – it offers flexibility. You can choose any strategy you like depending on how many players are at the table, what cards you have and what your opponents are doing. Thus, Texas Hold’em can be really deep game despite its’ simple rules.
The best way to play it is to use bankroll management. This will allow you to make some profit in the long-term. The core principle of bankroll management is an idea to win more than you lose. You can actually do it if you will stick to the rule of buy-ins.
Buy-in is how much money you exchange for chips before you start the session. So, if you will join tables that have too high limit for your bankroll, you will become an easy target for more experienced players.
The key idea that you have to remember here is that no matter how well you will be playing you won’t be able to make a long-term profit by joining the high limit tables when you aren’t really ready for them. How you can determine if you are ready or not? It’s actually quite simple. You can move to the next highest limit only when you have at least 25 buy-ins for that. In case if you only have 25 buy-ins for the next lowest limit, you have to move little bit down.
Best Texas Hold’em strategy
Such a diverse game like Texas Hold’em offers many strategies to apply. But before we start it’s crucial to have the right mindset in order to make poker a profitable thing over the long term.
First and foremost, you need to see your money as an investment. So far the most profitable way of playing in Texas Hold’em is the tight-aggressive strategy (TAG). There are three key principles to it. First, you play tight. In our case tight means that you are quite selective about the hands that are coming to you. Not every hand that you are going to get is worth playing. Sometimes you might get hand that looks strong, but in reality is not.
A great example of this would be King Jack. Second key principle is to play aggressively. Playing aggressively in our case means that instead of simply calling and checking, you are raising the bets.
You don’t go with the flow. Instead you are making other players to sweat a little bit. Finally, you play position. Playing position means that you are elective not only about the hands that you play, but also the position from which you play.
If your opponents are the ones who go first, you have position on them. As soon as it happens you have a distinct advantage over them because you will be able to get the necessary information about their hands before you make your own move.
Using this information will allow you to make a more weighed decision. Additionally there is a loose and passive poker play, but it’s considered to be a weak play. By loose players are called people who are jumping into just about every pot on the table. Playing loose is pure gambling since people are playing every hand they get. Although, sometimes it might be hard to play against such folks because it’s hard to tell what cards they got.
As for passive players those are the ones who almost never raise their bets in Texas Hold’em. Instead of that they simply call or bet only as much as it’s required to stay in a hand. Due to their play nature they are an easy target for more experienced (read: aggressive) players. Therefore, if you don’t want to miss some great pots out there – don’t play lose or passive. Although, keep in mind that your aggression shouldn’t be mindless. Always make your actions based on what is going on at the table.
If there are lots of passive players who are constantly folding to raises, then it’s a great opportunity to show some aggression. But if there are several highly aggressive opponents sitting at the table as well, you should play more cautious, so you don’t start the war.
Real money online Texas Hold’em
Without any doubt poker is one of the most fun and exciting casino games. While there are some options how one can play it for free we strongly recommend you to invest some real money in this game. First of all, poker was originally designed to be a game that is played for money. All other forms of Texas Hold’em that do not involve money can be called anything but poker.
Why it’s like that? Well, reason number one is because there is almost no thrill involved when you risk nothing. Now, we don’t say that you necessarily need to place all your salary in the pot.
You can play even with a dollar and it still will be hundred times more exciting than if you would gamble using the play chips. Another reason why we don’t consider free Texas Hold’em as a poker is because people who are playing it can afford themselves to make dull decisions.
After all, what they are going to lose? Chips that they did got completely for free?
But it’s a different story when we are talking about real money online Texas Hold’em because every decision in this game eventually will affect its’ outcome: are you going to increase your bankroll after the game will end or will you watch how it’s going down the drain due to some bad decisions that you made?
People who are playing it for free will always play completely different than if there would be some cash involved. Secondly, free Texas Hold’em doesn’t teach you anything. It’s the same if you would try to learn how to tango with a partner who doesn’t even know the steps!
Thirdly, playing Texas Hold’em without any real wagers is time-consuming yet very ungrateful activity considering that you get no reward for that. While most of the people are afraid to lose some cash and prefer to go the safe route, losing time should be the thing that should scare them.
You always can win some money even if you had some bad streak (trust me, every poker player had it – even the most skilled ones went through it). All you have to do is to stick to the strategy that we listed for you above.
But while winning money is a matter of practice, you will never be able to get back your time. Therefore, do not waste it: choose real money Texas Hold’em over other options any day and leave free poker only for the times when you are offline and can’t access the Internet (during the flight, for example).[toc]