Texas Holdem is a form of poker that has taken the world by storm in recent years. Its popularity is due to exciting game play which is a mixture of skill and luck. As you are not playing the casino but the player, there is no one correct way to play Texas Holdem and winning players styles can vary drastically. The key is to stay one step ahead of your opponents by constantly adjusting your Texas Holdem poker strategy and by becoming as unpredictable to read as possible.
Texas Holdem poker unsurprisingly originates from Texas. There are records of Texas Holdem first being played at the beginning of the 20th century but apart from that there is little information about how or who first created the game that has since become one of the most played card games in the world.
Texas Holdem poker really kicked off in 1967 when a group of card players from Texas descended on the gambling Mecca Las Vegas. The group of players included legendary hall of fame poker players Doyle 'Texas dolly' Brunson and Amarillo slim who amazingly are still beating the games to this day. They introduced Texas holdem poker to Las Vegas casinos and it was love at first site. Texas holdem poker spread through the casinos like wildfire and was quickly one of the most popular card games available.
Since the early 2000's Texas Holdem poker's popularity once again exploded due to increased exposure on Television and also the introduction of the online casino and internet poker which have since turned into billion dollar industry's. The spark that caused the second poker boom was when an unknown insignificant accountant from the USA won the biggest prize in poker, the Poker main event. Chris Moneymaker was ironically his name and he took home a whopping $2.5 million dollars. He qualified for the Texas holdem poker tournament in an online poker qualifier costing him only $40 and in the process creating a great story which captured the imagination of gamblers all over the world.
Texas holdem poker also gained notoriety by being a constant feature on the television where real poker games are televised with exposed hole cards for the viewer to see. Texas holdem poker is easy to follow and with exposed cards it is interesting for the viewer to see players battle it out with the hindsight of knowing the players cards. Epic films like James Bond's Casino Royale and Rounder's have also featured Texas Holdem poker portraying the game in a glamorous light and further spreading knowledge of the game.
The rules for Texas Holdem poker are more simple then they may first seem. Each player is dealt 2 cards each. A round of betting then takes place where players take it in turns to bet, raise, call, fold or check depending on their perceived hand strength. Three community cards are now dealt (known as 'the flop') and placed In the middle of the table. All players still in the hand will use these 3 cards to make their best possible hand. After the flop another round of betting will take place. Another community card is then dealt (known as 'the turn') and of course another round of betting. Then the fifth and final community card is dealt (known as 'the river'). One last betting round and then if there are more then one player still in the hand their hands will be exposed and the highest poker hand wins. As you can see the rules for Texas holdem poker are fairly simple, I will now try to clarify a few of the options available when its your turn to act.
Bet - When its you turn to act and no other player has previously bet you can make the first move by making a bet. Once you have bet other players left in the hand will either have to match your bet or fold but of course they can raise which will bring the action back to you.
Raise - When one player has made a bet you can raise them which puts the pressure back on them.
Call - This is matching a players bet so you can see the next community card. Or on the river you should call if you think you have the best hand.
Check - When the action comes to you and no other player has bet you can check if you do not want to commit any more chips to the pot.
Fold - When you don't want to match a players bet or raise you can throw in the towel and fold. All chips committed to the pot in that particular hand will be lost.
The hand values for Texas Holdem Poker are easy to learn. I have explained the hand rankings for Texas Holdem poker in order of strength below:
5 card straight flush from Ace to 10. Example:
This is the holy grail of poker, the best hand possible. The chances of getting a Royal flush in Texas Holdem Poker is an incredible 1 in 649,739 and personally in 5 years of Texas Holdem poker I have only had 1!
5 card straight of the same suits
Four cards of the same value
5 cards of the same suits. Order irrelevant
5 cards in a row. Suits irrelevant
Like four of a kind but with 3 instead of 4
In Texas Holdem poker there is not one way to play the game, you should adjust your strategy depending on your opponents tendencies. You are not playing the casino but the player and its important to constantly adjust depending on the other players strategy and even the mood they are in which can affect their play. If you only have one style then a good Texas holdem poker player will figure you out and potentially exploit you.
Now lets move on to position and hand selection which are massively important part of any Texas holdem poker game strategy. Get these two right and you will find yourself exploiting the weaker players and leaving the casino a winner time and time again.
A player who is aware of positional play in in Texas Holdem poker will always have an advantage over a player paying no attention to position. In Texas holdem poker the last person to act will have an advantage. This is because you have observed how every one else at the table has played their hands and you can use this knowledge to adjust your strategy. If you are last to act and the other players have all either folded or limped you know a strong raise has a good chance of taking down the pot right there, whereas if there has been a raise , re-raise and a call you know you can safely fold your king-ten without donating any chips to the pot.
If you are new to Texas holdem poker I would advise playing premium hands only until you have a good understanding of the game. Premium hands are pocket pairs from nines to aces and ace-queen/ace-king. Once you have developed a good feel for the game you can start loosening up and playing picture card hands like king-queen/king-jack/ace-jack and smaller pocket pairs. After many hours of experience I would advise even raising weak hands in position in an attempt to put pressure on your opponent to make him fold the potentially better hand although I would rarely if ever try this out of position.
Well why not both? Online casinos allow you to play from the comfort of your own home but some players prefer the atmosphere of a live casino. Both offer completely different game play experiences but I personally prefer playing Texas holdem poker in an online casino as it allows me to play more then one table and if I don't like my table I can simply get up and join another one which isn't always possible in a live casino. Also many online casinos offer great bonuses which are a great kick-start for any beginners bankroll.