Texas Hold’Em – An Overview
Hold’em Poker has, in a few short years, exploded into the most popular poker variation of the game and Texas Hold’em is a game that started some time in the early twentieth century. However, it is only in the last five or six years that Texas Hold’em has mesmerized poker players and taken over poker rooms just about everywhere poker is played.
No-Limit Texas Hold’em is the mainstay of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) which is the highest profile event in the history of the game and is televised around the world. Texas Hold’em is the main game played in the World Poker Tour (WPT) that promotes worldwide poker tournaments. Celebrity tournaments particularly as held in Las Vegas, feature Texas Hold’em and are extremely popular with spectators. In fact, Texas Hold’em tournaments have become highly popular spectator sports and are televised to enthusiastic audiences.
Assuming you are acquainted with traditional poker, here is the basic Texas Hold’em play:
You are dealt two personal cards face down and five cards are placed face up in the center of the table for use by all the players. These are the community cards.
You make the best five card hand using your two personal cards and any combination of the five community cards.
There are four betting rounds. Unless you are in a no-limit game, the first two bets will have a set limit – for example, two dollars. The next two bets have a limit of four dollars. Betting or raising for each round cannot exceed the pre-set limits.
The first two bets are called “blind” or “posted” bets. The first player to the left of the dealer places a “small blind” or minimum bet which is half the maximum – or $2. The next player to the left of the minimum blind poster places the “big blind”. The maximum allowed in this case is four dollars. No other bets are made. Once play begins, the deal rotates around the table and each player, in turn, will act as the small blind, big blind and eventually as dealer.
The game starts with the first small blind player receiving the first card face down and the deal revolving around the table with the last card taken by the dealer. The deal revolves around the table again with each player receiving the second card face down.
The first round of betting begins with the player to the left of the big blind either calling or raising within the pre-set game limits. Betting, calling or folding goes around the table until the small blind poster is reached. The small blind poster can call the bet since a blind was already posted. The big blind then has the option to raise or to “check”.
Three community cards are then dealt face up in the center of the table. In Texas Hold’em terminology, this is known as “the flop”. Bets are placed.
Next comes “the turn” or “fourth street”, which means the dealer places the fourth community card among the first three cards. Again, bets are placed.
The fifth and final community card dealt is called “the river” or “fifth street”.
To play Texas Hold’em well, basic strategies should be learned and practiced and for the serious player, extensive study of advanced game strategies is a must.