An introduction to Texas Hold’em.
There are multiple card games available to play, but by far the most popular one is Texas Hold’em. Whether you have played it or not, chances are you have probably heard of it. It can be seen on TV, online, in poker rooms, and in pretty much every casino.
It is a fun and challenging game, one that does not take much time to learn, but can never be perfected. Even the best players in the world make mistakes from time to time. If you have never played the game of hold’em before, this article should be very helpful to you, as it will cover all of the basics.
Let’s start off with the simplest of things, the deck. Every card deck has 52 cards, with four suits of 13 cards each. In Texas Hold’em, only one deck is used during play. The decks are changed periodically throughout the game, but only one deck is used at a time.
The chart below illustrates the percentage chance of winning a hand based on starting cards. As you can see AA is the strongest starting hand in poker, followed by KK, QQ, JJ, 10 10, etc.
Chart courtesy of cardschat.com
- Royal flush – A, K, Q, J, 10, all the same suit.
- Straight flush – Five cards in a sequence, all in the same suit. 5d 6d 7d 8d 9d
- Four of a kind – All four cards of the same rank. 4 4 4 4 9
- Full house – Three of a kind with a pair. 7 7 7 2 2
- Flush – Any five cards of the same suit but are not in a sequence. 3h 8h Jh 4h Qh
- Straight – Five cards in a sequence but are not of the same suit. 2 3 4 5 6
- Three of a kind – Three cards of the same rank. 9 9 9 5 2
- Two pair – Two different pairs. J J 6 6 4
- Pair – Two cards of the same rank. A A 5 6 K
- High Card – When you haven’t made any of the hands above, the highest card plays. K 2 4 9 8
Position in poker refers to where a player is sitting in reference to other players. The dealer is where the button is placed, this is the best position at the table since you will be last to act after the flop comes out. This allows you to see what everyone does before making a decision. When you are on the button, assuming the action is light, you are able to open up your opening range of hands. Position is very important in poker, as it plays a part in your decision making,
Next to the dealer (left of the dealer) is small blind. This is the player who will post the first ante which is half of the big blind. Let’s say you are playing on a $1/$2 no limit hold’em table, the small blind is $1. You have to pay that dollar whether you like your hand or not. If you choose to fold without seeing a flop (we will get there soon), you lose your dollar. Small blind is the second to last person to make a decision pre-flop, but the first to make the decision after a flop (this is assuming there are no raises).
Left of the of small blind is the big blind who is automatically forced to post the big blind even before seeing his hand. In $1/$2 stakes, he is automatically in for the $2 and will have the option to check (assuming nobody raises), raise, or fold (if someone raises and the big blind does not like his hand). Regardless of the decision, the player must invest the big blind in that hand. Big blind is the last person to make a decision pre-flop, but the second to make the decision after a flop (this is assuming there are no raises and small blind is still in the hand).
Left of the big blind is under the gun. This will be the first player to act pre-flop and will not be invested in this pot before the hand is dealt. He or she will have the option to call, fold, or raise. Normally you want to play strong hands from an early position like this one because all other players on the table are still left to act.
The closer you are to the blinds is considered early position and the closer you are to the button is consider late position. A player in the best position will always be the player last to act in a hand.
Every player gets dealt two cards face down, called the hole cards. Under the gun will be the first to act as explained above, he/she will have the option to call the big blind, raise, or fold at no cost. This action will continue across the table until betting has stopped and then we get a flop.
Once all the pre-flop betting has stopped, the dealer will take the top card on the deck and will place it in the un-dealt cards pile called the burn. He then will flop three cards face up in the center of the table. This will be the first of five community cards to come out. After the flop, the play begins from the left and continues until each player has checked, folded, or bet, and the latest bet is called.
The turn of fourth street as some refer to it is the fourth community card that is dealt face up. The dealer burns the top card on the deck, then deals the following card face up. Once again, the play begins from the left and continues until each player has checked, folded, or bet, and the latest bet is called.
The last community card dealt is the river, also known as fifth street. Once again, the dealer burns one card and deals one face up in the center of the table. Now there are five community cards and the remaining players have their two hole card in hand. The action will once again begin from the left and continues until each player has checked, folded, or bet, and the latest bet is called.
A showdown occurs when more than one player remains after the last betting round, remaining players expose and compare their hands to determine the winner. This can also occur in any street before the river if a player has bet all of his chips and gets called.
You should now have a basic understanding on the game of poker. There are so many other dynamics involved in the game, which our team will dive into in future articles. For now, you should have a better comprehension of online poker with Jesse’s online poker handbook and Texas Hold’em after reading this article.
Our Elite Sports Betting & Elite Fantasy poker club on PokerStars is now live, and we will be running games with prizes for our subs. For more information, reach out to myself on twitter @Armando_Marsal or Jesse Waller. We will get you squared away.
Good luck on the felt my peeps!
Stay tuned, this handbook is going to get a LOT bigger in the coming days, weeks, months, and years!