Texas Hold’em Poker is the most common variant of poker played in the entire world. Each player is dealt two hole cards. The betting starts from the dealer (also the button). The dealer posts nothing. The next player posts the small blind, and the person sitting right next to him in a clockwise manner posts the big blind.
The player sitting on his left has the first opportunity to bet, and so the first round of betting takes place, ending at the big blind, who can check (not betting anymore), or raise. After the first round of betting, the flop (three cards) is opened face up on the table, after the top card is burnt (placed face down, and not used in the game). Then the next round of betting takes place. The turn card is opened, thereafter, after burning another card. The third round of betting takes place before the river card is opened (after burning the third card). The final round of betting then takes place. The showdown takes place, where a player’s best five of the seven cards (that are open and available to him) are taken into account and compared with the rest of the players at the table. The comparison takes place as per the hand rankings.
There are connotations to each round of betting, which may also allow the other players to guess what cards you have. If you raise high on the pre-flop, then either you have face cards or suited high cards. However, you may call a high raise, then either you are looking for good cards on the flop, or you have good cards in your pocket. Then, the number of players who call a high raise, or raise the stakes further still determine the number of face cards or good cards already dealt. This will reduce the probability of good face cards, like aces or kings to show up in the community.
Then, the number of players still playing will decide the next round of betting. The flop is opened. There are three open cards on the table. The first one that raises is either bluffing, or awaiting a good turn, or actually has a hand from the five cards available to him. The bigger the raise, the better the chances of the hand being good, or extremely bad. Now the number of players reduce to a large extent after the post-flop betting. The post-flop betting gives players three choices, as per their hands. Either your hand is extremely mediocre, and you would not lose miserably, but you’re not winning either. That is when you fold as soon as someone raises. Or your hand is actually pretty good when you can either call or raise. The amount of money you raise will also be a tell for the quality of your hand.
It is not unusual to see the entire table checking on the turn. The turn card is almost a decider. Six of the seven cards are open. You have either got a good hand or not. There is little chance for the inside draw. Be it straight, or flush. So, if you’re raising, you have got a good flop. Or you’re checking to see whether the other players have a good hand after the turn. So, one generally checks this round of betting.
As soon as the river card is turned, the entire table is uncovered. Probabilities turn to certainties. This is the round of betting that can make, keep or break your game.
Basic starting hands in Poker -
The first step towards improving the game starts Pre-flop. Usually, beginners like to see a lot of flops and be in the mix of the action. But choosing the wrong hands to play pre-flop can compound into multiple mistakes post-flop and result in a big loss. So what should a solid starting hand strategy look like? Let's find out.
Hands a player should play with–
1. Pairs (AA-22)
Pocket pairs are rare and it is okay to let go of the bottom range (22, 33, etc.) if a player faces raises or 3bets. This is because small pocket pairs will quite often not win at showdown.
2. Broadway Hands
Broadway Hands are any two combinations of A-K-Q-J-T. These hands make decent top pairs and two pairs. They have good playability post-flop given that you have blockers in your hand.
3. Suited Connectors
Suited connectors like 78s, 9Ts, 67s are great hands to play because they don't run the risk of being dominated by a better kicker often. They also do well to balance your range.
4. Suited Gappers
Hands like 79s, 9Js are decent hands to play because they make concealed straights and flushes.
5. Medium suited Aces
Medium suited aces can be decent hands to play. Just be careful that you are not getting value-toned by a better ace.
Hands to avoid
1. Dominated Hands
Hands like weak unsuited Ace (A6o, A7o, etc) or King both suited and unsuited are bad hands. They make weak hands post-flop and run the risk of being dominated
2. Unsuited Connectors/Gappers
Hands like 78o, 9To, 79o, 86o look like decent candidates to take a flop with. But, the odds of making strong hands with these are quite low.
3. Two-Three Gappers
8To, K9o, 7To, etc. - these are bad hands to play with. They don't make strong hands often and a lot of the times, you will lose a bet or two on flop/turn trying to make a hand with them.
28o, J5o, T4o - these are hands you just shouldn't play.
Tips to play online Texas Hold’em
Texas Holdem is an intriguing poker game that is rewarding if you know the poker rules and play it right. Here are five easy tricks to play Texas Hold’em Poker online.
Position is important -
- Are you betting first or last? Position matters a lot when it comes to playing Texas Hold’em. If you are on the Button, then you are at the best position because you’re the last person to act after the flop, turn, and river. Being last has its own advantage. You know well how many other players are still in the hand. This helps you to make a better decision of how much to bet if you’re planning to bet.
Don’t show your flop for free -
- Don’t let your opponent’s see the flop if you think you have a strong hand. At least don’t let them see it for free. You may want to raise the minimum bet to do so. For example, if your hand has an A-K and say the other players have 10 – 5 and 7 – 4, then you should get them out of the hand before the flop. But it could be dangerous if you let them see the flop just for the price of the big blind. In such a scenario, the worst that could happen is 10-9-8. Your opponents have an open-ended straight draw while and pair of 10s while you have nothing!
Opening hands are crucial -
- The hands that you open with are crucial in Texas Hold’em. Having said that, remember that starting hands are just a part of the game. As we discussed above, position is more critical while deciding which hands to play. You can widen your starting hand range the closer you get to the Button.
Limping is not allowed! -
- It is common to see that most of the pro online poker players tend to open raise whenever they enter the pot. They will either call the raise when someone else has open-raised or 3/bet or fold. It all depends on their take. However, it should be noted that limping is the correct strategy once in a while. If the game you are playing is super – passive and if you’re about to see the flop for free with a speculative hand which can be implied to good odds.
Know when to fold -
- A critical part of winning a poker game would be a strategy that includes know how of when to fold. Not knowing when to fold can make you a weak player. To keep it simple, make the right folds and thus increase the share of your profits.
Also remember to:
- Play smart, especially on the turn and river. While doing so, pay attention to your opponents’ hands
- If needed, get out after the flop
Common mistakes while playing Texas Hold’em
Texas Hold’em Poker is a game that heavily depends on a player’s stack size, his hand strength and his position. Thus, one of the most common mistakes Texas Hold’em Players make is to play out of turn. Further, playing a lot of hands also burns their stack size, and results in winning a very small percentage of them. The players who keep betting in the same pattern lead to being extremely easy to read. Their pattern then becomes a tell. A player, moreover, who calls a lot tends to deplete his stack. Some hands should be let go, even if they are bluffs, if they have not bet much on the hand. Value betting is an art, but avoiding value betting is a mistake a lot of Texas Hold’em players make.
Now that you are familiar with how to play Texas Hold’em, give it a try by playing our cash games or tournaments.