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Texas Holdem

Texas Hold’em is a form of poker that involves players creating their hands from cards dealt to them combined with community cards that are dealt faced up and shared. The way Texas Hold’em hands work is different from other forms of poker since the object of the game isn’t to win each individual hand but instead to make mathematically sound decisions about how much to bet, raise, call or fold. 

What are the Texas Hold’em Rules?

Before we can explore the Texas Hold’em rules and strategies, let’s look at the important terms of the game.

Texas Hold'em Terminology 

  • All-in: When you put all of your remaining chips into the pot.
  • Blinds: Blinds or blind bets are the forced bets you make before the cards are dealt. In the case of Hold’em, blinds are done instead of the classic ante.
  • Button: The player who is acting as the dealer for the current hand.
  • Call: When you match the current amount that the previous player bets.
  • Check: When you call without betting any money. If there is no raise before the flop, the big blind can check.
  • Flop: The first three community cards that are dealt.
  • Pre-flop: Anything that happens before the flop is dealt is called the pre-flop.
  • Pot: The sum of money that each player wagers during Texas Hold’em hands.
  • River: The final community card dealt, also referred to as fifth street because it is the fifth card.
  • Showdown: When the players reveal their hands to determine the winner of the pot.
  • Turn: When the fourth community card is dealt, also referred to as fourth street.

Now that you know the terms, it’s time to learn the Texas Hold’em rules. The game can be broken down into three stages: setup, betting rounds and showdown.

Texas Hold'em Rules

1.    Setup: Each player is dealt two cards face down. These are your hole cards. Then you can either check, bet or fold depending on what your cards are. Once everyone has laid their bets, three shared cards are dealt face up (the flop).

2.    Betting rounds: Next, you’ll have to do another round of betting before a fourth card (the turn) is dealt. More bets are placed following the turn (the river) and a final round of betting is done.

3.    Showdown: Texas Hold’em hands can end in two ways: the showdown or everybody folding. The showdown occurs when everyone shows their hands and whoever has the best one wins. Or, someone will bet enough so that everyone else folds and the bettor wins.

Texas Hold’em Strategy

When it comes to Texas Hold’em strategy, it’s important to keep your emotions in check, especially if you are a beginner. Whether you’re playing in a Texas Hold’em tournament or having fun with friends, poker can be stressful and cause the best of us to lose our cool (and minds). So, base your decisions on what’s going on with your cards, don’t be afraid to fold and don’t play too many hands before the flop.

The generally accepted Texas Hold’em strategy is to raise before the flops with:
•    any pair of 3s or higher
•    any ace, any suited or unsuited king with at least a 5
•    a suited queen with a 6 or higher
•    a queen with any 8 or higher
•    a suited jack with an 8 or higher 
•    an unsuited jack with a 10

The raise after the flop should be made with any two pair or better, 4 to a flush with at least a 10 or better in the hole and any pair of 3s or better with at least one card from the pair in the hole. Make the raise after all five community cards are dealt with at least a pair with one card from the pair in the hole or better. 

Know your Texas Hold’em Hands

In Texas Hold’em, hands are made up of five cards. The goal of the game is to have the best hand based on the cards you’re dealt.

Texas Hold'em Hands

•    Four of a kind: When you have four cards of equal value.
•    Flush: When you have any five cards of the same suit. 
•    Full house: When you have a set of three cards of one value and a pair of another value.
•    High card: Whoever has the highest cards. Should two or more players have the same high cards, the kicker will determine who wins. The kicker is a side card dealt to break ties.
•    Pair: When you have two of the same cards, especially face cards.
•    Royal flush: When you have all face cards of the same value and suit falling in succession. 
•    Straight: When you have five cards of sequential value. All straights will contain a 5 or a 10.
•    Straight flush: When you have five cards of the same suit in sequence.
•    Three of a kind: When you have three cards of the same value.
•    Two pairs: When you have two of the same cards of one value and another two of a different value. 

History of Texas Hold’em

As you may have guessed, Texas Hold’em originated in Texas. The city of Robstown is officially recognized as the place where the game made its debut during the early part of the 20th century. Who invented the game and why has been lost to the history books but we do know that Texas Hold’em was introduced to Vegas in 1967. Fun fact, before it became a staple in Las Vegas, the game was simply known as Hold’em. The Texas part was added to the name later on. 

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