Hold Em Poker – The Game in Focus

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It’s only natural for any new card player to ask how to play hold em poker. What most people really want to know however, is how do you play texas holdem well? We’re going to cover the basics in this post, and then I’ll show you some of the quickest ways to go from being a fish at the table to holding your own on the felt.

A hold em table usually seats 9 or 10 players. Play proceeds clockwise. One player is designated as the ‘Dealer’. The first player to the left of the dealer is the ‘small blind’ and the second player to the left of the dealer is the ‘big blind’. The blind is a bet similar to an ‘ante’ which is made before players see (or even get dealt) their cards, and is designed to stimulate betting later in the hand.

Pre-Flop

The players are dealt two cards face down at the beginning of the hand. Dealing starts at the small blind with each player recieving their first card before then recieving their second in turn. The cards in each players hand are called ‘hole cards’. After seeing their cards, the player to the left of the big blind commences the first betting round. That player and subsequent players can fold, call, or raise the blind. If no raise is made when betting reaches the big blind, that player can either bet, or check (neither bet nor fold).

The Flop

Once the first betting round is complete, the dealer places one ‘burn’ card facedown, and proceeds to deal three cards face up in the middle of the table. These first three ‘community cards’ at the centre of the table are called ‘the flop’. All cards in the centre are known as community cards as any player can make use of them to make their best 5 card hand.

Another round of betting then occurs, noting of course that if a player bets, or raises, a subsequent player can only fold, call, or re-raise and cannot simply check.

The Turn

The forth community card is called the ‘turn’. After it is dealt, another round of betting commences.

The River

The fifth and final community card is called the ‘river’. The final round of betting follows the river. Once the river has been dealt, players know the strength of their own hand.

The Showdown

After the final round of betting, if there are two or more people remaining in the pot, those players must show their cards. Note: players in texas holdem may use any of the community cards and their hole cards to make the best hand. They may use one, both, or neither of their hole cards. The player with the strongest hand using the five strongest cards available wins the pot.

At the completion of a hand, the dealer button, big and small blinds move one seating position clockwise and the players now on the small and big blinds must make their forced bets. A new hand then commences after shuffling.

If all save one player folds their cards, that player wins the pot and is not required to show their hand.

This covers the basics of how to play hold em poker. Want the answer to the second part of that question…how to play hold em poker well?

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July 24, 2014: posted in Poker No Comments

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