Texas Hold’em is played with a standard 52-card deck. Usually, the dealer never plays in a Texas Hold’em game. Instead a round disc called a “dealer button” move clockwise among the players with each hand. The button marks the player who is treated as the dealer, although that player does not actually deal the cards.
Most Texas Hold’em games start with the two players on the left of the dealer button putting a predetermined minimum bet into the pot. This ensures that there is a pot for every hand. This is called posting the “blind.” Typically, the first “blind” puts up half the minimum bet while the second “blind” puts up the full minimum bet. Each player is dealt two cards (hole cards) face down. At this point the first round of betting takes place, beginning with the player to the left of the two who posted the “blinds.” Players can call, raise or fold when their turn is up.
After the first round of betting, the dealer “burns” (discards) the deck’s top card. This ensures that no one saw the top card during the deal. The dealer now flips the next three cards, face-up, on the table. These three cards are called the “flop.”
After the flop, a second round of betting takes place, beginning with the player to the left of the dealer button. Again players can check, call, raise or fold when their turn is up. Once the round of betting is complete, another card is burned and the next is placed face up from the deck, this fourth community card is known as “fourth street.” Next, the player to the left of the dealer button begins the third round of betting.
Once the third round of betting is complete, the dealer burns yet another card and places the final face-up card on the table. This card is called the “river” or “fifth street.”
Players can now use any combination of seven cards, using the five community cards and the two hole cards in their hand, to form the best possible five-card poker hand. The fourth and final round of betting begins starting with the player to the left of the dealer button. After a final betting round, all players who remain in the game reveal their hands. The player who made the initial bet or made the last raise, shows his hand first. The player with the best hand wins.
To be a truly great Texas Hold’em poker player, you must be able to read your opponents and avoid falling for any bluffs. However, learning basic strategies will help you to succeed with Texas Hold’em.
In Texas Hold’em it is important to remember that the two cards you hold are the only cards that will set you apart from your opponents and all of the face-up cards are community cards, shared by you and every other player. This is important to keep in mind throughout the game, because the two cards in your hand are the cards that will make or break the game for you personally. Always watch the community cards while assessing the possibility that your opponents may be hold the keys to a straight or a flush.
Be sure to be sly when assessing your own two cards, never giving your opponent a hint about what you are holding. Depending on how many players are involved in the game, the best bet is to fold before the flop if you have two non-pair cards, both less than 10. Conservative players may opt to fold even if just one of the cards is less than 10. Aggressive players may stay in the game if they have two sequential cards of the same suit, opening the possibility for a straight or a flush. If the big blind is low enough and you have a decent hand, you may want to buy in so that you can see the flop.
The bottom line, however, is that the strategy of this game lies in the two cards you hold in your hand. You must be patient and do not be afraid to fold. You may go through many “bad hands” before finally getting a win, but if you stay consistent, it will pay off in the end. After the flop, even if you have put chips into the put, don’t be afraid to take the loss. Never stay in the game because you have already put money in. You can’t make something out of nothing.
With seven players at a table, two pair or better will generally result in a winning hand. After the flop, if you don’t have the high pair and you’re not in good position for a straight or a flush, you should fold. However, as the number of players at the table goes down, you can be more aggressive.
If you represent the first bet after the flop, consider this a blessing and consider the “check.” If your hand is weak, this may give you the opportunity to see another card or, if you have a strong hand, give you the opportunity to bluff your opponents and increase the size of the pot. Of course the fourth and fifth community cards also give you the opportunity to either get out before losing more money or increase your winnings, depending on your hand and your strategy.
Be cautious at this point in the game. After the fourth community card is revealed, don’t stay in the game hoping for a straight or a flush. If you haven’t secured it yet, your chances are slim. Of course, if you have the opportunity to continue without a bet (check) than, by all means, take the chance. The bottom line is, don’t get caught wasting your money on a weak hand.
Texas Hold’em is the world’s most popular online casino game!
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