Texas Hold`em

The most popular form of poker played in card rooms

In a few years, Texas Hold’em has grown in popularity to the point where it has overtaken 7-Stud as the most popular poker games. It is the most popular form of poker in the UK and is the form of poker played on Late Night Televised Poker.

Poker Experts claim that Texas Holdem is the most complex of poker games.

There are five community cards in Texas Hold ‘Em, all on board and seen by all the players. The Complexity is that if you hold a good hand, the chances are so does your opponents. And you can use both of your pocket cards originally dealt to you, or one of them, or simply use the board without making use of any of your own cards to create your best hand.

Many players find the game more relaxing than 7-stud. The only thing you have go concentrate on are the players’ actions and the board, whereas in 7-stud you must follow each player’s cards as they are dealt on the various streets.

This is not the case in Hold ‘Em. The board is dealt to the middle of the table, clearly visible to all players, and the players at either end don’t have to lean forward to see what the player’s hands at the other end look like.

It is also a good action game. Whereas a player in 7-stud needs only 40 times the minimum bet to stay comfortably in the game, in Hold ‘Em, it’s more like 100 times the minimum bet. There’s more betting, more action, more raises and re-raises thus more excitement. Ultimately there’s more money to be won alternatively lose if you have bad luck.

How To Play

Hold ‘Em can be played with only two players or as many as twenty-two players (there willbe no more carsdleft in the deck). In practise, Texas Hold’em is rarely played with more than twelve players.

The first round is structured slightly differently from draw or stud poker. Usually there is no ante put in by every player. Instead, the two players on the dealer’s left each put in small initial bets, called ‘blinds’. These bets are entered before the cards are dealt, hence the name `blinds` As the deal goes around the table a differnt 2 players put in the `blinds`. Over time each player will enter the same number of `blinds`

MOst casino games have a house dealer, to ensure that every player has a chance of sitting in the dealer’s position a small disk or ‘button’ is moved around the table. The dealer always deals the first card to the player on the left of the dealer button. The player with the dealer button is always the last to act on every round of betting, with the exception of the first betting round where the blinds are ‘live’, meaning that the players who posted the blinds have the option to raise.

The game starts. Each player receives two cards face down. Once they have all looked at their own cards, there is a round of betting. Since the first two players two the dealers left have put in bets, it is the third player on the dealer’s left who is first to act, and because a bet (blind) has already been made he cannot check. He must call the blind, raise or fold. If the game proceeds all the way around to the players who posed the blinds, without being raised then these players have the option to raise themselves.

Once the first betting round is over, the dealer discards the top card in the deck. It is dealt face down on to the table, this card is a ‘burn card’ and it’s not used in the play of the hand. This is to ensure that cheating is very difficult or impossible to achieve. If the top card wasn’t burnt then players might be tempted to mark particular cards and try and spot them on top of the deck. If cards are marked, players will be able to read the backs will know what the top card is. For instance, is a player had 7-7 in hand and knew that the first card dealt would be 6 then that player could bet and raise with impunity.

After the first betting round, three cards are put face up in the middle of the table. These are called the ‘flop’. After a further round of betting, a fourth card, (‘turn’ or ‘fourth street’) is turned. Another round of betting is followed by a final face-up card (‘river’ of ‘fifth street’). The five cards in the centre of the table are collectively known as the ‘board’. After the last round of betting the players reveal their cards.