Texas Hold ’em is the most popular version of the poker game. Learning the game can be very simple as the basics are straightforward. However, becoming a real master in it takes a lot of work. It can be very challenging and many players end up losing more than winning even though they have been playing for years. The gameplay of Texas Hold ’em looks something like this. Two cards, known as hole cards, are dealt face down to each player, and then five community cards are dealt face up in three stages. In the 1st stage, 3 out of those 5 cards are turned face up. In the 2nd stage and 3rd stage the 4th and 5th card are flipped up.
The objective of Texas Hold ’em is exactly the same as regular poker. Players are looking for the best 5 card poker combination out of the 7 cards. 2 that the players hold in their hand and the 5 community cards. However, keep in mind that the players are allowed to place bets between all the rounds. What seems to be a losing hand at the initial draw in this card game could be a winning hand by the end of the last round. This is why it’s one of the most exciting table games out there.
History of Texas Hold ’em
There is very little information about the invention of this card game. However, according to Texas Legislature, Robston, Texas is recognized as the birth place of Texas Hold ’em. It’s inception dates back to the early 1900’s. It took several decades before the game spread through the state of Texas. In 1963, the game was introduced to the California Club by Corky McCorquodale. It spread quickly from there because the game became very popular. In 1967 a change was made were aces were turned into the highest card. Before that, Texas Hold ’em was played as a “aces low” table game.
The reason why it quickly became popular is that this poker version was more of a thinking game, contrary to regular poker. There, you are dealt cards, you pick the ones you don’t want and discard them and then you ask the dealer to deal you the same amount of cards that you discarded. This means that a large portion of the game is based on luck. In hold ’em, you can place bets between all the round which is how you can win even if you have a weak hand.
With time, tournaments in this game started to appear all over the USA. It became a very popular table card game in Nevada where the biggest gambling city in the world, Las Vegas is located. A lot of no-limit hold ’em tournaments were organized in Vegas. They were so popular that people from all over the world traveled there to be a part of those tournaments. Interest in hold ’em outside of Nevada began to grow in the 1980s as well. After a trip to Las Vegas, bookmakers Terry Rogers and Liam Flood introduced Texas Hold ’em to European card players in the early 1980s.
Texas Hold ’em Table
The table setup on this card game is very simple. Each player receives 2 cards while 3 cards are put in the middle, on the initial round. Players then place bets and the 4 card is shown in the middle. At that point, most of the players already know how good their hand can turn up to be. So, some of them might raise, check, or simply fold. As soon as the 5th hard is placed on the table, each player shows their hand and the best hand wins all the money. A “push” is also possible if players have equally strong hands. In Texas Hold ’em when this happens those players share the pot.
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Hold ’em is normally played using small and big blind bets— forced bets by two players. Antes (forced contributions by all players) may be used in addition to blinds, particularly in later stages of tournament play. A dealer button is used to represent the player in the dealer position; the dealer button rotates clockwise after each hand, changing the position of the dealer and blinds. The small blind is posted by the player to the left of the dealer and is usually equal to half of the big blind. The big blind, posted by the player to the left of the small blind, is equal to the minimum bet. In tournament poker, the blind/ante structure periodically increases as the tournament progresses. After one round of betting is done, the next betting round will start by the person in the small blind.
There are several different versions of Texas Hold ’em. The most popular ones are limit hold ’em, no limit hold ’em, and pot-limit hold ’em. Televised tournaments mostly show no limit hold ’em because it’s the simplest form. There are no limits to the pot and the bets as players can bet as much as they want. Online hold ’em works in the similar way because there, you play against a computer dealer. This allows you to bet any amount you want. The only limit you will find is the casino betting limit.
Play of the Hand
Following a shuffle of the cards, play begins with each player being dealt two cards face down, with the player in the small blind receiving the first card and the player in the button seat receiving the last card dealt. (As in most poker games, the deck is a standard 52-card deck containing no jokers.) These cards are the players’ hole or pocket cards. These are the only cards each player will receive individually, and they will (possibly) be revealed only at the showdown, making Texas hold ’em a closed poker game. This is how we divide the play:
- Compulsory bets – These bets are made before the cards are dealt.
- Pre-flop – Each player is dealt 2 cards; they see the cards and can then place additional bets, check or fold.
- Flop – The dealer discards a card from the deck and then places 3 community cards on the table. Bets can be increased in this phase as well.
- Turn – Another card is discarded by the dealer and then 1 more community card is placed on the table. Players can increase their bets, check or fold.
- River – After discarding one more card, the final community card is dealt. At this stage players either go to the showdown or simply fold.
- Showdown – Players show their hand and the best hand wins the pot.
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