© QiPoker 2012
How To Play Texas Hold’em Poker For Beginners
No Limit Texas Hold’em is the most popular form of poker game played today by miles, including online games, live poker tournaments and home games. So here’s how the games played: Poker tournaments or cash games are divided into hands, at the beginning of each hand every player is given two playing cards face down, these are known as the players hole cards. Players then bet based on how much they like what they got after which three cards are dealt face up in the centre of the table, this is called the flop. A second round of betting takes place followed by a fourth card being dealt face up in the middle of the table, this is known as the turn. Then you get another betting round before the fifth and final card is dealt known as the river, collectively the river, turn and flop are known as the community cards because all the players can see and use them. They are also referred to as the board. After the river is dealt there’s a final round of betting.
The aim is to win the pot by either making the best poker hand using any five card combination from your two hole cards and the five community cards or by betting to make all your opponents fold their hands. Therefore you’ll notice unlike other games, in poker you don’t necessarily have to have the best hand to win, this is where the skill factor comes in and poker becomes great fun!
Here is a good video by Phil Gordon from Expert Insight which explains the basics of playing No Limit Texas Hold’em poker:
After the blinds have been posted the players are each dealt their two hole cards face down so only they can look at them, once they have looked at their cards the players choose whether to fold, call or raise. Player 1 (the player directly to the left of whoever is the big blind, known as under the gun) acts first then 2, 3 etc around to 10. To stay in the hand 1 must either call (match) the $1 big blind bet or raise it (put in more). If they don’t like their cards and wish too bet no money in this hand they can fold (return their cards) and sit out the rest of the hand. Each player has the same options but if someone raises then everyone else must at least match that amount to remain in the hand. If nobody calls or re-raises that player then they win the pot right there and a new hand begins. If after all the preflop betting there are still two or more players left active in the hand we move onto the flop.
Three cards are placed face up on the board (table) known as the flop, the players still active are looking for cards that combine well with their hole cards to make a strong five card poker hand, better than their opponents. As with preflop there is now a round of betting this time starting with whoever is closest to the left of the button (not including the player on the button if they are still active, they would act last) and working around clockwise. As there are no blind bets after the flop, if no one has already bet in this round players have the option to check (choose not to bet but stay in the hand). If a player bets or raises and all the other active players fold they win the pot on the flop and the next hand begins, if there’s still more than one active player it’s time for the turn card.
A fourth card is now dealt to the right of the flop, this is called the turn. Once again the active players will be hoping for a card that improves their hand and not their opponents. Then there’s more betting which follows the same structure and rules as on the flop. If no one has managed to win the pot after this it’s onto the river card.
It’s now time for the fifth and final card to be placed on the board known as the river. After the rivers dealt the players have their last opportunity to bet, this is done in the same method as on the flop and turn. If after this we still have two players or more who haven’t folded it goes to a showdown.
Once the players have done battle all those who have made it to the end without folding but couldn’t force all the others to relinquish their holdings must now face the moment of truth, the showdown. Each player will have made a five card poker hand using any combination from the seven (their two pocket cards plus the five on the board) available. Now its time for these competitors to reveal their pockets cards to the table of curious players and see who’s made the best hand, the player who has managed this then wins that hand taking all the money in the pot.
So there you have it, you now understand how poker is played. All you need to learn now is the poker hand rankings (in other words what beats what) then you’ll be ready to begin playing.
How To Be A Winning Poker Player
Right now you’ve learnt how to play poker the next thing you probably want is to become a skilled winning player, basically your classed as a winning player once your making a profit from playing. When you first start playing it’s almost inevitable you’ll lose a little bit, even the greatest poker players in the world didn’t win right from the start. This is why you should start off playing for small amounts of money then work your way up as you become better. So how can you start winning quickly? By following this simple strategy guide that has been proven to work over and over again:
Basic Winning Strategy
It can be surprisingly easy to win money playing poker and it doesn’t take loads of study or practice to get there. By a million miles the biggest mistake most new poker players make which causes them to lose money is playing too many hands, they bet money with hole cards they should have simply folded preflop. As the goal is to make the best five card hand you can, statistically the better your starting hand (your two hole cards) the better chance you have of making the best five card hand. If you are regularly playing better starting hands than your opponents then it’s just simple maths that over time you will regularly make better five card hands than them. Play with the maths on your side and you’ll do just fine, bet the good stuff and fold the rest.
Best Starting Hands To Play
Ace Ace (AA) Pocket Aces are the strongest starting hand in Texas Hold'em, a big favourite over all others.
King King (KK)
Queen Queen (QQ)
Jack Jack (JJ)
Ten Ten (TT)
Ace King (AK)
Ace Queen (AQ)
Nine Nine (99)
Eight Eight (88)
If you stick to only playing these hands you will have a statistical advantage over your opponents who are frequently playing weaker cards. As you become more experienced and understand poker strategy better you can start to add a few extra hands to your arsenal such as AJ and smaller pairs and suited connectors. If your playing this strategy online and finding it boring and hard to stick to why not try opening up a second or even third table. By playing multiple tables at once you have to wait less time for your next cards making it easier to be patient and stick to the strategy. Don’t get carried away though, only play as many tables as you can comfortably manage, especially when your still new to the game. Once you have become a skilled and experienced player though, multi-tabling or mass-tabling can dramatically increase the amount of money you make playing online poker.
Multi and Mass Tabling in Online Poker
In the beginning you may find it a bit too much playing any more than one or two tables but believe it or not, in extreme cases some experienced online players regularly play up to 40 tables at a time, this is truly mass-tabling. Now that is truly pushing the workload the human brain can deal with to the limit but it shows what can be achieved. We certainly don’t recommend you try 40, even if you are used to playing more than one table at a time but more realistically many people play up to ten tables at a time. The reason some players are able to do this and still play well is because they have played thousands of hands and gained a great understanding of how to play in various situations that the vast majority of the decisions their faced with can be made virtually instantly. Like everyone else, these players who seem to have a near superhuman ability started out just playing one or two tables at a time while they were learning. It was only once they’d developed their strategy and become winning players that they started adding more tables. It’s very important to note that if your currently not making a profit while playing two or three tables, increasing to four or five won’t change that. Multi-tabling effectively magnifies your profits or losses, if someone consistently loses money playing one table online then adding more tables will simply increase how much they lose. On the flip side though, if your a winning player then adding more tables should increase your profits providing you do it gradually. If you get to the point where your making mistakes or feel like you need more time to think then just close a table or two, you can always play more later on when you’ve gotten better at it. It takes time but you will adapt, it can make online poker even more exciting and a lot more lucrative.
Full Guide On How To Play Texas Hold’em Poker
At the start of each hand two players must put in bets known as the blinds, called this due to the fact their made before anyone sees their cards. One player posts the small blind and the player directly to their left posts the big blind, the size of the big blind bet is usually double the small blind. The purpose of the blinds is to ensure there is money in the pot at the beginning of every hand for the players to try and win. If there were no blinds and the players only had to put money into the pot when they wanted to they could simply sit and wait for great cards like AA resulting in little action and a very boring game.
Once the blinds have been posted the dealer deals out the hole cards to all of the players. In online poker the cards are dealt automatically but there is still a dealer button which is passed from player to player each hand moving clockwise around the table. After each hand the button moves to the next player on the left, the player directly to the left of the button must post the small blind and the one to their left posts the big blind. This is shown in the picture below of a game at Titan Poker where player 8 is on the button, player 9 is the small blind and player 10 is the big blind.