Texas Holdem Poker
Texas Holdem is the most popular poker game around. One of the reasons for this is that it’s a fairly simple game to play. However, the simplicity is deceptive since it is an equally difficult game to master. Here’s a basic outline of how a hand of Texas Holdem is dealt.
The dealer shuffles the deck of 52 cards. Then two different players post the big and small blinds. The small blind is half the big blind with the big representing the basic wagering unit of the contest. The most common big blind is $20. Blinds go up in a game after a specified amount of time has passed. Blinds start to the left of the dealer and move around the table.
Once the deck is shuffled and the blinds are posted, it’s time to deal from left to right. In a casino, the dealer always deals the cards, but the dealer button moves from left to right, which means that the blinds move from left to right with each new hand. In a hand, prior to each time the cards are dealt, the dealer “burns” the top card by simply taking it from the deck and placing it to the side. In a casino, the dealer never plays.
Two hole cards are dealt to each player face down. After the cards are dealt, the wagering starts with the player immediately to the left of the big blind being first. That player may fold, bet the amount of the big blind or raise. The betting continues clockwise with a total of three raises being allowed.
Once the first round of wagering is complete, the flop is dealt. The flop consists of three community cards all of which are dealt face up. All players share these cards. Each player makes the best five-card hand they can from their two hole cards and the five community cards.
After the flop, another round of betting occurs. The wagering starts with the small blind or if the small blind has folded, the next player still in the hand to the left of that player. This time players can check, bet, fold or raise. When a player checks, they are waiting to see what the other players will do. If everyone at the table checks, then the next card, the turn, is dealt without any money being bet. If one person bets, then any player who wants to stay in the hand must match their wager.
The turn is where the next to the last card is revealed—the fourth community card. The same sequence is followed as after the flop and the same betting choices are involved. Often at a table of nine to ten players, three will be about three left in the hand after the turn.
The river is when the final community card is dealt. Once again, the wagering follows the same exact pattern as the turn with the final moment of the hand being the showdown. If there is just one person left in the hand after the river, then they do not have to reveal their hand. If two or more people remain, the winner must show their hand and the others, those who lost, can fold or muck their hands. The winner takes the pot for that hand. If there is a tie, then it is split.
Winning at Texas Holdem
There are a few keys to winning at Texas Holdem. The first is knowing when to bet and when to simply fold. Too many new players play too many weak hands. The second is being able to read what others have in relationship to what you’re holding. The third is knowing how and when to be aggressive and when to be passive. Each of these is defined by your position at the table, your chip stack, and what you’ve been dealt,