Texas Hold’em is one of a loose family of ‘community card‘ poker variants derived more from stud poker than draw poker. This means that everyone gets to use some of the same cards to make their final hand, as well as keeping a few cards to themselves.
The popularity and drama of Hold’em stems mainly from the strategic level of gameplay; the luck of the draw is secondary to the skill of the players. This level of strategy draws from the number of bets — four total (following the turns, or streets, called pre – flop, flop, turn, and river).
Pre – flop, each player gets two cards, face – down.
Flop is when the first three community cards are dealt — face – up, so all players can get a pretty good idea of the strength of their hand.
Turn is the next community card, face – up.
River is the final face – up community card, the last round of betting. After this, any player who has not folded ends up at the showdown. The pot can be split if two or more hands tie (after applying kickers, of course), using standard poker hand rankings.
Position is very important in Texas Hold’em; the later you need to act, the more information you have. At the start of a hand, the first two players after the dealer post the blinds (which, among other things, rule out checking in Hold’em). Big blind is usually equal to the minimum bet, and small blind half of that.
The next position is called “Under the Gun” because that player has to make the first bet with the least information. After the flop, the worst position is directly after the dealer. The strategic value increases with every further seat around the table; the final seat before the dealer is known as the “Cutoff“.
In tournament play the game continues as long as need be to set a final table, this time can vary dramatically according to how many initial players there are. It can take hours or even days in some large scale competitions… If you are dealing with a limit / no limit game, you will likely have one full table all of the time (depending upon player availability) because when one player busts out of chips, another will simply be offered his chair… This allows for a fresh player to bring more chips to the table and join without other players having to do anything but continue to play.
Either way you decide to play, you are in for one hell of a ride.
Now that you have the basics of Texas Hold’em, we will examine a little strategy and offer some tips, as well as recommending the best places online to try out our advice.