Beginner's Guide to Texas Holdem

Beginner's Guide to Texas Holdem

While poker is a game of incomplete information, is here to ensure that you have all of the information you need to get started at the tables. The most popular game variation of poker today, No Limit Texas Holdem, is generally played at a table with 9 players, also known as a ‘Full Ring’ game. To start, one player is designated ‘the dealer’ and a marker (known as the ‘button’) is placed in front of him denoting his position for that hand. The player to the left of the dealer is known as the ‘Small Blind’, and is forced to put out a small bet. The player that sits to the left of the small blind is known as the ‘Big Blind’, and is forced to put out a bet that is double the amount of the small blind. For every hand that is played, one player will be the small blind and one player will be the big blind.

The cards will then be dealt starting directly to the left of the dealer with the small blind. Each player will be dealt one card in a clockwise motion around the table until each player has two cards. After everyone has their cards, the first of four rounds of betting known as ‘preflop betting’ begins. The first player to act on his two-card hand is the player to the left of the big blind; this is known as ‘first position’ and is sometimes referred to as being ‘under the gun’. The player in first position now has three options: fold – give up on the hand and push it into the muck at no cost to the player. Call – place a bet equal to the Big Blind, or Raise – place a bet that at least doubles the amount of the Big Blind. If a player chooses to raise, all of the other players at the table would need to either call (match the raise) or put in a raise of their own to continue with the hand. Once every player has acted on their two card hand by either calling the largest bet that was placed, or folding, the chips are pushed into the middle of the table and become what’s known as ‘the Pot’. Any chips that are put in play via a call, bet, or raise become a part of the pot, and the eventual winner of the hand will win all of the chips in the pot.

After the preflop round of betting is concluded, the dealer will turn three cards face up across the center of the table; these three cards are known as ‘The Flop’ and are the first cards that make up the board cards.  Each player now uses the two cards in their hand in addition to the three board cards that make up the flop to make a five-card poker hand . This begins the second round of betting, and the player closest to the dealers left now has two options; Check – not betting, and allowing the other players in the pot to act, or Bet – place a bet of at least the amount of the big blind. The other players remaining in the hand have the same options, although they can also raise if a bet has already been placed, or fold if they do not want to continue with the hand.

Once the action has been settled on the flop, the dealer then turns a fourth community card face up in the center of the table known as ‘The Turn’. Players now have a total of 6 cards to make their best five-card hand. They can use any combination of the two cards in their hand in addition to the four cards on the board to make this hand. The third betting round (the turn) is conducted in the same manner as the flop with players checking, betting, raising, or folding.

When the round of betting has finished on the turn, the dealer will reveal the fifth and final community card, known as the river. The five community cards spread across the center of the table are known as ‘The Board’, and players now have a total of seven cards, two in their hand and five on the board to make the best five-card poker hand that they can. The fourth and final round of betting then begins and the remaining players exercise their options to either check, bet, raise, or fold. If there is more than one player that does not fold, there is what is known as a ‘Showdown’ and all of the remaining players reveal their hands. The player that has the best five-card poker hand wins the pot, and the other player’s hands are discarded, or ‘Mucked’. After the hand is over, the dealer button moves one spot to the left, the two players to the dealers left post the blinds, and a new hand is dealt.

Like most games, the only way to get better at No Limit Texas Holdem is to practice! While it is a game that could never be perfected, playing as many hands as you can and studying your play will put you on the road to being a profitable poker player. Many poker rooms offer No-Limit Holdem tables that are labeled as ‘turbo’ or ‘fast’ tables. At these tables the cards will be dealt faster and players will be given a shorter amount of time to make their decisions. These two variables will drastically decrease the amount of time it takes to play a hand, and will allow players to expose themselves to more hands and more situations – experience is very important at the poker table! Playing more hands will also help clear bonuses and other promotions at a faster rate, adding more to your expected value.

The world of online poker has grown immensely over the past few years and offers player’s dozens of options, ensuring that all players can find the games they want to play. For example, No Limit Holdem cash game players can play in “full ring” 9 handed games, short-handed 6 player tables (aka 6-Max), or even 1 on 1 “heads up” tables. Players can choose to play with a shorter stack of chips (roughly 20 big blinds) or many sites offer tables that cater towards deep stacked play, allowing players to buy-in for 250x the big blind! Players that prefer tournaments will find multi-table tournaments of all buy-in ranges from just a few cents to thousands of dollars. Many poker rooms offer full ring, 6 – max, heads –up, or even bounty tournaments where you earn a prize every time you knock out a player! Explore the world of online poker, find the games that you want to play and most importantly…. have fun!