Poker is one of the most popular casino games of all time. The game requires sharp analytical skills and you must be able to outwit your opponents. Texas Hold’em is currently the most popular poker game played in land-casinos, online and card rooms across Europe and North America.
How To Play Texas Hold’em
When you play this variant you will be dealt two cards known as ”hole” cards. The best starting hands are Aces, Kings, Queens and Jacks. Five community cards are then dealt face up on the board in three stages: the ”Flop”, ”Turn” and the ”River”. Along with your 2 cards you must make the best possible five-card poker hand. The more players there are at the table the difficult it becomes at winning.
Three common variations of Texas Hold’em are played at online casinos. They are:
- Limit Texas Hold’em: In each game betting limits are restricted to predetermined values and on each round of betting.
- Pot-Limit: The player may bet the value of the pot.
- No-Limit: A player is allowed to wager his or her entire bankroll/chip stack at any time.
Poker Hand Ranking
- High card: If you don’t have anything the next best hand is the highest card. It can be an ace followed by a king etc.
- Pair: It can be any two cards of the same suite; a pair of threes, kings or queens.
- Three pairs: Also known as three of a kind like three fives or three jacks.
- Straight: 10,J, Q, K, A of any suite.
- Flush: Any five cards of the same suit (diamonds, clubs, hearts or spades).
- Full House: a pair and 3 of a kind. It can be 2 aces and three kings.
- Straight Flush: 7,8,9,10, J or the same suite (hearts, diamonds, clubs or spades).
- Royal Flush: 10,J, Q, K, A of the same suite (diamonds, spades, clubs or hearts).
You’ll often find that when you play Hold’em you are one card away from a straight or flush. To play the best hand depends on a lot of things: the amount you can win and the amount you must wager when it’s your turn. If you’re not sure how to calculate a pot’s odds, divide the amount in the pot by how much it costs to call. If there’s $40 in the pot and you must call $4 to continue, the odds in your favor are 4 to 1. It’s mathematically profitable to call if the odds in your favor are at least 1-in-5. In this case it’s 1-in-4.
Common hands where pot odds come into play are flushes and straights. Pot odds are normally the best starting point to make your decisions. Let’s assume you have the ace of diamond and another diamond. The flop has two diamonds. If $20 is in the pot and the bet is $5, must you call? The ratio of the pot bet is 4, this is greater than the 1.86 required. Therefore, the pot odds indicates that calling is profitable.
To illustrate my point I’ve drawn up a table that indicates the pot odds after the flop (first 3 cards).
|Hand||Hand Probability||Pot odds|
|4 to a flush||34.97%||1.86%|
|4 to open-end straight||31.45%||2.18%|
|4 to inside straight||16.47%||5.07%|
Quick Tips For Online Poker Players
Playing poker in a land-based venue differs from the one that’s played online. Reason being you can’t see the faces of your opponents which makes the game slightly more interesting and complicated. Here are some tips that will help you:
- Don’t be hasty: In online circles, betting too quickly normally indicates that the player is bluffing. Bet on high pairs and other strong hands. By doing this you’ll encourage players with moderate hands to fall into your trap. At the same time players with weak hands will fold before the Flop.
- Watch out for suited Flops: If the Flop comes 7,8 or 9 watch out for a straight. Be careful of Flops that contain two or three suited cards. Most online players hold any two suited cards.
- Bluff: It’s easier to bluff because your opponents can’t see your facial expressions. Every now and again let your opponents catch you out bluffing. This prevents them from predicting your play.
- Keep your eye on the high-end straight: If an unsuited 6,7,8 flops and you’re holding a 9,10, watch out for players who are bluffing. Ten to one they have nothing or the might have a 4, 5-keep on raising them.
- Make notes: Be observant about the players you’re up against whether you’re in the hand or not. Online poker rooms have a ”notebook” where you can pen your observations about specific players on paper.
- Play as the opposite sex: If you’re a male player and you choose to play as a female player this can be advantageous. As a rule of thumb the stereotype is that woman are less aggressive and don’t normally bluff. Female players on the other hand, by selecting a male avatar project a threatening and more imposing image.
- Be patient: Be selective about your hands, attack players with weaker hands and keep track of the cards played.
In summary. Texas Hold’em is a fun game to play and it’s easy to learn. If you want to become good at this poker variant you must master your own skills and those of your opponents too. To become a successful player aside from studying the various game strategies, you must learn to go with your gut feeling too.