Any hardcore Poker players consider Texas Hold ‘em the game of games. It has had a surge of popularity in recent years as the official game of the World Series of Poker and many other tournaments. Home poker players should be aware that the tournament games are usually played as “no limit” games and have very different betting strategies.
Texas Hold‘em is a community card game in which you try to construct the best five-card hand from three of the five community cards (known as the “widow”) plus the two cards dealt to you. (It is possible that only one of your pocket cards will be used, say to make a pair with a full tilt poker full tilt poker card from the widow, and the other will function as the kicker.) The two cards dealt to each player are placed facedown or in the hole or pocket; the five community cards are placed facedown in the middle of the table. After each player is dealt his or her two hole cards and the community cards are laid facedown, the first round of betting begins with the player to the dealer’s left. That person begins the bet each time. You are not allowed to check in the first betting round; you must either bet or fold.
Once the first round of betting is done, three community cards are turned over—this is called the flop. After the flop, another round of betting takes place. The fourth community card is then flipped—the turn, or fourth street and players bet again.
However, if you want to stay in for this round and the last (the “river” or fifth street in omaha), you must bet double the minimum bet. For instance, if $1 is the minimum bet for the game, you must bet at least $2 on the turn and on the river.
After the river card is flipped over, there is one last betting round and then the showdown. It is sometimes possible that a tie will occur, in which case the pot is split. The betting in Texas Hold ‘em usually starts with “blinds” rather than antes. However, if you are at home, and playing several different games in an evening, it is recommended that you use antes in Hold ‘em just as in Omaha poker and in 5-7 card Stud poker.
With antes, everyone contributes to the pot before the deal, but with blinds, it is only the two people closest to the dealer’s left. So if you are playing several different games, it is better to keep the ante consistent, so everyone has anted the same amount in the end.
Tips & Strataegy
• In Hold ‘em you definitely need to know when to “fold ‘em.” If you are dealt pocket cards that have no chance, it’s in your best interest to either fold right away or, if the bet is low enough, stay in one round to see the flop. An example of a hand that offers little hope would be low unconnected (two cards not in sequence) and full tilt poker unsuited cards, say the 2 of clubs and an 8 of diamonds. Immediately you see that there is no possibility for a straight or a flush, and the cards are very low.
• If you are new to Hold ‘em and are playing with more full tilt poker experienced stud poker players, you should get out early if you have weak pocket cards, or if you are uncertain about your hand’s worth. Otherwise, your losses will add up quickly. Since Hold ‘em games tend to be fast, it’s okay to fold often; you won’t have a lot of down time.
• The best kind of hole cards you can get are high cards (ten or higher) that are paired (ex.: Q-Q). connected (ex.: J-Q), the same suit, or offer more than one “out” or way to win the hand (such as cards that could contribute to a straight or a flush). Ideal hole cards would be a high pair.
• Remember, you are sharing several cards with the table, and the hand can be decided by just one of your pocket cards. This means that you’ve got to full tilt poker have cards that can knock out other hands in more than one way. A pair of low pocket cards, such as 5s, will probably not take you very tar, since if there is any card higher than a 5 in the widow, it is likely that someone will have a higher pair than yours.
• Your position at the table is crucial in Hold ‘em. If you are dealt weak pocket cards, and you are in early position (one of the first players to bet), you should probably get out right away. However, if you are in late full tilt poker position (one of the last to bet) , you have the benefit of seeing how many people fold and how others bet. With a late position you can get away with playing a less-than-perfect hand and perhaps employ your poker bluffing skills, particularly if the previous bettors don’t appear overly aggressive. For instance, if you are dealt a 5-8 and the betting is light, you can figure that other players probably also have weak pocket cards, and a low pair, two pair, or low straight might take the pot.
• Sometimes your pocket cards and the flop will immediately reveal a strong hand, or a potentially strong hand, such as three or more suited cards, a high pair, or better. The direction you should take will be clear—you should stay in and bet accordingly, taking into consideration the cards and your opponents’ betting.
• The problem with “over cards”: Over cards are pocket cards that are higher than any cards in the widow. Let’s say the flop is full tilt poker generally lousy for you, and the whole table, because it doesn’t offer many potential hands. Should you stay in with your high cards and hope that you get a match to pair one of your pocket poker cards? Or should you see if you can win simply by having the high card? It can be a hard call. If you’re in early position, you should check and wait to see if anyone makes an aggressive bet. If you’re in late position, you can see how others have played and then decide whether to call the bet. If it looks like the other players don’t have much, you can take a chance and stay in, but if the bets are aggressive, you should probably fold.
• Most hands are defined on the flop, so if you have stayed in, you should start to be more aggressive. By deciding to stay in for the turn and then the river, you should have a hand that is a true contender, If you don’t, there is not much point in continuing, since it’s going to cost you to stay in. Most full tilt poker players who stay in for the later rounds have got something—you need to be able to beat them or at least be confident that you can bluff them into folding.
• After the turn, and especially after the river, the game may be down to two or three players and you should be using all of your poker skills at this point. Ask yourself some questions. What is the likelihood that your opponent has the full tilt poker particular card to win? Is your opponent exhibiting tells? How well do you know this opponent? How has this player been betting — aggressively by raising and re-raising, or just calling? Examine the widow carefully and make sure you are seeing all of the possible winning hands. If there is the possibility that you are both going for a flush, what is the probability that you will have the higher flush?