Texas Hold'em - hold on to win
- High quality poker rooms for Holdem players
- Course of the Holdem game
- Standard poker moves
- All-In - berserk or genius?
- Short history of Texas Hold'em
In a game of Texas Hold’em Poker, up to ten people can be seated at the table at a time. One of the players is marked as the dealer by the so-called "dealer button," a small, round disk labelled with a D. After each round the dealer button is moved clockwise to the next player and thus marks the player who is – in theory - supposed to deal the cards for himself and the other players. In many online poker rooms, there is a virtual dealer whose sole task is to deal cards to the players.
Usually, he or she is seated on one side of the table, behind a box of chips and does not actively participate in the game. Players generally try to create the best possible hand by combining their "pocket cards" with the "community cards" that are placed on the table. There are four rounds of betting, during which players can wager money, taking into account the strength of their hand and what the odds are that, combined with the community cards, it might be the winning hand. The player who has the best hand at the end of the game (this is determined during the "showdown") or in some cases, only one left after all others have folded their cards and thus left the game, is rewarded with the pot. The pot is made up of the so-called "blinds" and all players’ bets. You will find some of the most well-frequented Texas Hold’em tables on the internet at the online poker room PartyPoker, one of the best online rooms. Thanks to BonusBonusBonus, when you use upon registration, you will receive a exclusive welcome bonus.
At the beginning of each game, the two players sitting next to the dealer (the person marked with the dealer button) have to place their blinds. This happens before the cards are dealt. The blinds are there to make sure there is money in the pot so every winning hand can actually win money. Since the dealer button moves clockwise from player to player with each round of the game, every player has to pay a blind at some point during the poker game. The player to the left of the dealer places the small blind; the player to his left has to place the big blind, which is usually twice the amount of the small blind.
Pocket Cards/Hole Cards
After the blinds, the first cards are dealt. Each player, starting with the one to the left of the dealer (the small blind), is dealt two cards face down. These cards are called "pocket cards" or hole cards.
First betting round
The first betting round is started by the player to the left of the big blind, using poker language, this player is under the gun, since he is the one who has to act first. Now this player may fold his cards, call or raise.
- Fold: This means the player discards his hands and may also lose any bets he has already made.
- Check: This means a player does not make a new bet, nor do they fold their cards. He or she passes the action to the next player (this is only possible as long as no player has placed a bet yet).
- Call: To place a bet equal to that of the last remaining player before you.
- Raise: To place a higher bet than that of the last remaining player before you.
After the first betting round, the first three of a maximum of five community cards (these cards are the same for all players and players can use them to build their hand) are dealt face up on the table. These three cards are called the flop.
Second betting round
Now the first remaining player to the left of the dealer button (i.e. a player who has not already folded before the flop) starts the second round. The second betting round follows the same rules as those of the first.
Another card is dealt face up next to the flop, this card is called the "turn." Now there are four community cards on the table and another betting round begins, starting with the first remaining player to the left of the dealer button.
Third betting round
Depending on whether you are playing a game of Texas Hold’em limit, pot limit or no limit, the rules may change now. Detailed explanations for each specific game type can be found below.
The last community card is dealt face up next to the flop and the turn, making a total of five community cards. A final betting round begins; again, the first remaining player to the left of the dealer button has to begin.
Fourth betting round
The last betting round works just like the one before.
As soon as all the betting rounds are over, the "showdown" begins. The showdown is the final phase of a game, during which remaining players have to show their cards. The player who has managed to build the best hand out of his two pocket cards and three of the community cards is the winner of the pot. Should two players have the same hands, they share the pot. In the rare case that the best hand is made up entirely of the community cards, all players that are still in the game share the pot. Should you, upon seeing one of your opponent’s cards, note that you have the losing hand, you can choose to discard it face down ("muck"). Of course, you can always reveal your cards to the other players in order to make a comparison with those of the others. The last player who bet or raised during the last betting round has to be the first to show his cards, should there be no player who bet or raised during the last round, who has to show his cards first depends on the rules of the poker casino.
The next round
After every hand played, the dealer button is moved clockwise and the next hand can start.
The first player to act in every round – after the cards have been dealt or revealed – is always the first player to the left of the big blind, or in the first round, the player to the left of the dealer. All of the other players may then decide on how much to bet, based on their cards. Depending on the number of players whose turns come after yours, this can get complicated. If you have a rather mediocre hand and five other players follow you, the decision whether you should bet, raise or rather fold would undoubtedly be a difficult one.
If you do not like the cards you were dealt, you have the opportunity to discard (fold) them and thus leave the current round of the game. Should you be big or small blind or should you have called someone’s bet already, you will forfeit that money. Apart from that though, since you have folded, you will not be able to lose any more money during this round.
If you want to keep your cards and stay in the poker game, you can, for example, check. This means that nobody before you has placed a bet yet and that you do not either. Now the player after you has the opportunity to check himself, or to bet. If any of the players in the round bets, you need to decide – as soon as it is your turn again – whether you will fold, call or raise.
To call means that in case a player before you has placed a bet, you bet the same amount as he does; you call his bet.
Bet and raise / re-raise – according to the limit
If you find you have been dealt decent cards, you can bet a certain amount of money on your hand being the winning hand. Should a player before you have already placed a bet, you can raise the bet. Depending on the betting structure, the amounts you can bet or by which you may raise are fixed.
- Fixed limit: On a $ 5/$ 10 table you may bet $ 5 in the first two betting rounds and up to $ 10 in the last two. In each round, players may bet once and raise three times (bet, raise, re-raise and again re-raise or "cap"). After three rounds of betting, the so-called cap is reached, meaning in this betting round, no more betting can take place. In this case, the next card is dealt – or if it was the last round – the showdown begins.
- No limit: Here the betting structure follows these rules: Each player may bet all the money he has on the table, regardless of the size of the pot. As a rule, the minimum bet has to at least equal the amount of the big blind.
- Pot limit: In a pot limit game, a player may bet a sum between the minimum bet and the total size of the pot. In a $ 5/$ 10 pot limit game, the small blind is $ 5 and the big blind $ 10. The first player could call the big blind (i.e. $ 10 in this case) or raise to any amount up to the total pot size. The raise has to either equal or exceed the previous bet. So in this case, the maximum possible raise would be $ 25 ($ 5 small blind, $ 10 big blind and $ 10 the call) which means that player #3 may actually bet a total of $ 35. So should player #3 raise the pot limit, the total amount in the pot would then be $ 50.
Now if the next player (let’s say player #4) wants to continue playing, he has to at least call the $ 35, i.e. the bet player #3 has made. Should player #4 want to raise to the pot limit, he would have to put $ 120 into the pot. That is the total pot size ($ 50) plus the maximum raise of $ 70 ($ 35 call + $ 35 raise). The number of betting rounds per hand is not limited and in each round, calling and raising continues until every player has either called, or folded his cards.
Often, players go all-in, when they have a particularly good hand. This is because when one or more other players call this move and the player who went all-in wins anyway, his winnings in this round increase considerably. Another possibility would be that a player goes all-in to bluff and merely signal that he has a good hand, in order to make the other players fold and win himself the pot (the precise rules for an all-in situation are described in the following paragraph).
Apart from the situation described above, players could also go all-in for the following reason: in case a player lacks the necessary amount of chips to call or finish a hand but has nice cards and wants to stay in the game anyway, he does not have to fold. The player can also go all-in; and bets all of his chips in doing so (even if they are not sufficient to cover the sum he would actually need to call) and can stay in the game without being able to act any further though. All the money that is in the pot up until the point when he goes all-in is what the player can win. All money put into the pot after he went all-in is put in a separate pot (side pot). Should the player who is all-in win the showdown, he wins the main pot whereas the side pot goes to the player with the second best hand. When a player goes all-in and his fellow players decide to call his bet, they only have to call the sum he bet.
Learning by doing
Even after the best of all explanations, you still need to practice playing at an online poker table. We have created reviews of the best online poker schools to show you where you can practice your play. At the beginning of your online poker career, we recommend you to use some external player aid to avoid mistakes at all those really fast online tables and get the hang of the poker hand probabilities - we have tested and summarized a number of great poker strategy programs just for you!
Today, it is unfortunately impossible to name a precise time or place when and where Texas Hold’em was created. However, the state government of Texas recognizes the city of Robstown as the official home town of Texas Hold’em Poker. The game has probably been played since the beginning of the 20th century and first started spreading in Texas. In Las Vegas, Texas Hold’em was introduced in 1967 by three poker players – namely Crandell Addlington, Doyle Brunson and Amarillo Slim. Crandell Addlington had first seen the game in 1959 and had been interested in it ever since, especially because – contrast to draw poker – you get to bet at least four times and thus have the possibility of applying tactics to a large extent.
For quite a while, Hold’em (the name of Texas Hold’em was only created later) was only offered in one of the less glamorous casinos of Las Vegas, the Golden Nugget Casino, and did not get the chance to become known in the world of professional poker players. They preferred to play in casinos where a lot of rich customers passed by, making an easy target for them. Only after a few professional players had been invited to a game of Texas Hold’em at the Dunes Casino in 1969 and had profited from it by playing against rich hotel guests, did Texas Hold’em start to become popular. Only a few years later, Texas Hold’em was made the main event of the newly established Word Series of Poker and has maintained this position ever since.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, Texas Hold’em Poker has seen a massive boom. The reasons for this boom are probably the introduction of online poker, live televised broadcasts of poker events and perhaps the fact that Chris Moneymaker, the winner of the main event of the World Series of Poker in 2003, had won his seat there in an online tournament.