Texas Hold Em Poker
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If you are completely new to Texas Hold'em, it is a poker variation that will seem strange at first. People with little knowledge of poker usually have a familiarity with board and draw variations of the game because of their portrayal in popular culture. Board games—Seven-Card Stud is the most popular version—deal hands that are a mix of cards known only to the holder and cards seen by everyone. As cards are dealt and bets placed, only the player has complete knowledge of his or her hand, but others make guesses based on partial knowledge from the exposed cards. For draw games—Five-Card Draw is the most popular—there are no exposed cards. Only betting patterns and the number of cards drawn for improvement provide information to the other players.
Texas Hold'em is in a completely different class of poker variants known as flop games. Flop games have elements of both board and draw games. Also like draw games, the cards dealt to the players are not exposed and are known only to them. Like board games, hands are improved through exposed cards. The twist is that the exposed cards belong to everyone. The use of shared (or community) cards to complete a poker hand is the defining characteristic of flop games. Some of the other flop variants (Omaha and Omaha High-Low Eight-or-Better) are described in the Appendix. Of the flop games, Texas Hold'em is the most intricate and challenging to play. The annual World Series of Poker uses Texas Hold'em to determine the champion. My book specifically addresses Texas Hold'em. While some of the information presented is relevant to the other flop games (and poker, in general), the correct strategy and tactics for a game such as Omaha are different from Texas Hold'em, even though on the surface, the games look remarkably similar.
Brick and Mortar Poker Rooms
Opportunities to play Texas Hold'em are more widespread than most people realize. Aside from the obvious locations (Atlantic City and Las Vegas), there are public cardrooms throughout California and the Northwest, on Native American reservations throughout the United States, and on riverboats up and down the Mississippi River system in the country's heartland. Our page Texas Hold Em in a Cardroom describes what to expect in a public cardroom and how to conduct yourself. To locate a public cardroom near you, or near a place you plan to visit, check the listings in within this site for public cardrooms in the United States and Canada. The listings are sorted geographically and include locations and contact information for more than 200 cardrooms.
The Internet has provided unlimited opportunity to play Texas Hold'em because of the growth of online poker games in which you can compete for real-money. Our online section explains the nuts and bolts of playing online, and later provides advice on how to choose an online poker site. Be aware that the legal issues surrounding online gambling are murky. Discussion of online poker is for informational purposes only. In no way should anything in this site be construed as legal advice or an endorsement or guarantee of any online services. It is the reader's responsibility to know the appropriate laws governing any activity undertaken and to consult with a lawyer when unsure. Online poker play is covered in this book because the Internet— and the opportunities and risks brought by the Internet—are here to stay. It will become increasingly difficult for the government to regulate online activities. Therefore, it is more important than ever to be informed and responsible when online.
- All-In- All In in No Limit Texas Hold Em Poker
- Poker Ante The big and small blinds in Hold Em.
- back door poker hand An unlikely draw made by two runner runners on the turn and the river when the player stays for another reason
- Bicycle: a five-card hand consisting of A, 2, 3,4, 5, of different suits. In high poker this is a 5-high straight. In low poker this is a 5-high low, which is the best low-hand possible. Also known as a wheel.
- The Poker big blind-is the player two seats to the left of the button, who must make a pre-flop bet before receiving pocket cards.
- bluffing- betting on a weak hand in order to convince others the hand is strong
- board- the face-up cards on the table (see community cards).
- board games- poker variants in which a fraction of the cards dealt to each player are exposed. Popular board games include Seven-Card Stud, Five-Card Stud, Razz, and Seven-Card Stud High-Low Eight or Better. Variants such as Omaha and Hold'em are not board games because only the community cards are exposed on the board. The cards dealt to each of the players are known only to them (see also stud games).
- boat- alternate term for full house.
- brick- a card dealt that does not improve the ranking of its hand.
- bring-in- a forced bet after the initial deal. In board games such as Seven-Card Stud and Seven-Card Stud High-Low the player with the lowest exposed card must initiate betting action after the deal by making a minimum bet of approximately one-quarter of the first betting limit ($0.25 in a game with $l-$2 limits). In Razz it is the player with the highest exposed card that makes the bring-in bet.
- bubble- the player who is knocked out one place away from being paid in a poker tournament is said to finish "on the bubble
- button- a small plastic disk used in casino games to mark the player in the "dealer's position." After each hand, the button rotates to the next player on the left. Because a non-playing casino employee deals the cards, the button is moved, after each hand, allowing players to takes turns having the advantageous dealer position of acting last
- call- to match another player's bet.
- cards speak- a rule that players do not have to correctly state the contents of their hand. The dealer will award the pot to the player showing the best cards, regardless of what statements the player made. Casino games are usually played with the cards speak rule.
- check- to pass on betting.
- check-raise : to raise another player's bet after initially checking (see raise).
- chips- tokens purchased by players for use in placing bets.
- community cards- the five cards placed face-up in the center of the table, and used by all the players to form their hands (see board).
- complete; the option in the first round of betting in Stud games to raise the bring-in bet to the maximum allowed by the limits. For example, in a $l-$2 Stud game with a bring-in of $0.25, players acting after the bring-in bet can call the $0.25 or complete by raising to $1. At the beginning of betting, the bring-in also has the option of completing instead of making of the minimum forced $0.25 bet.
- connected cards- a group of cards with sequential ranks.
- dead hand- a hand that cannot improve, either because the cards needed are in other hands, or because all possible improvements will not be enough to win. Also refers to a hand, that for any reason, can no longer contest the pot. For example, players absent or disconnected when it is their turn to act will have their hands declared dead.
- dealer- the person who deals the cards and manages the money going into the pot. In a casino, the dealer is an employee, not a player in the game.
- door-card - the one exposed card of the initial three starting cards in Stud games.
- drawing dead- drawing in a situation when even if the draw is made, the player still loses. For example, if you draw for a flush when someone already has a full house.
- drawing hand- a hand that will not win unless it is improved. Having four cards to a straight or four cards to a flush are examples of drawing hands.
- eight-or-better-the rule in many split-pot games that for a hand to win the low pot it cannot contain a card ranked higher than an 8. In the event that no low hand meets the "eight-or-better" condition the high hand is awarded the entire pot.
- flop- the first three community cards in Hold'em, which are shown all at once.
- fold- to drop out of a hand and forfeit all interest in the pot.
- free card- seeing a fourth or fifth community card without having to call a bet.
- free rolling- the ability to make bets and raises that cannot lose, but have the potential to win additional money
- free roll tournament- a poker tournament with no cash entry fee, but cash prizes for the winners at the end.
- high-low split- a poker game in which the pot is split by the players holding the highest and lowest hands. In many high-low games, the low hand must qualify to claim half the pot. A common qualification is that the low hand must not have a card higher than an eight. If no low hand qualifies, the high hand takes the entire pot.
- implied collusion- a situation in which many players are on an improbable draw to beat the best hand.
- implied pot odds- the ratio of the total amount of money a player expects to win to the amount of money that a player must contribute to the pot. For example, the pot may contain $50, but you expect five players to call your $ 10 bet. The implied odds are 10 to 1 since you expect to win $100. Contrast with pot odds.
- jackpot game- a poker variant found in some casinos when an amount is taken from each pot to accumulate in a jackpot. To win the jackpot, an unlikely poker event must occur. The most common is the "bad beat jackpot," in which a player holding Aces-full or higher loses the hand. Jackpots in low-limit Hold'em games can accumulate to tens of thousands of dollars and their existence encourages loser play because players often stay in hands longer than they should in hopes of hitting the jackpot
- jamming- betting or raising with the intention of re-raising if that option returns before the round of betting closes.
- kicker- a card that is part of a hand, but not part of a combination. For example, if you hold A, K and the board shows K, 8, 8, 3, Q, your hand is two pair (Kings and eights) with an Ace kicker.
- limit Hold'em- a common variation in which the bets and raises are limited to fixed amounts in each round of betting. In $5-10 limit Hold'em, bets and raises are in increments $5 before and after the flop and $10 after the turn and river cards.
- limp- another word for call, which is the act of matching another player's bet
- live hand- a hand that has the possibility of improving from additional cards to come.
- monster hand- a very high-ranked hand. Aces-full, four of a kind, any straight-flush, are often referred to as monsters since losses with these kinds of hands are very infrequent.
- muck- to give up your cards and forfeit interest in contesting the pot (see fold). Also refers to the pile of cards discarded by all the players during a hand.
- no-limit Hold'em - a variation in which in any betting round, the players can bet any amount up to what they have on the table.
- nuts- the highest possible hand that can be formed with the cards on the board.
- nut-flush- the highest possible flush that can be formed with the cards on the board.
- nut-low- the lowest possible hand that can be formed given the current cards on the board.
- nut-straight- the highest possible straight that can be formed with the cards on the board.
- Omaha- a variation of Hold'em in which players receive four pocket cards. A total of five community cards appear on the board, but the players are only allowed to use three of them to form their hand. Players must use two of their four pocket cards to make their hand.
- Omaha High-Low Eight-or-Better- a variation of Omaha in which the high and low hands split the pot. Each player is allowed to form two different hands, one using any two of their pocket cards to make the best possible high, and one using any two of their pocket cards to make the best possible low. To claim the low hand, there can be no card higher than an eight. Straights and flushes do not count in determining low. If no low hand qualifies, the high hand wins the entire pot.
- outs- cards that will improve a hand. For example, if you have four to a flush, there are nine outs for making a flush.
- overcard- a community card that is higher than either of a player's pocket cards.
- pocket cards- the face-down cards dealt to each player at the beginning of a hand.
- poker tournament- an event in which players pay an entry fee to form a prize fund. Each participant is issued playing chips that have no cash value. The players who accumulate all the chips during play, win the cash prizes.
- position- a player's turn to act in a hand relative to the other players. A player in an early position is one of the first to act; a player in a late position is one of the last. Since late position is an advantage, position rotates one seat after each hand to give players equal turns.
- post- a pre-flop bet required when joining a game in progress or when re-entering a game if. a turn in the blind position is missed.
- pot- the total amount of money wagered on a hand.
- pot-limit Hold'em- a variation in which in any betting round, the players can bet any amount up to what is currently in the pot.
- pot odds- the ratio of the amount of money in the pot to the amount of money that a player must contribute to compete for the pot. For example, if you must call a $10 bet to compete for a $50 pot, the pot odds are 5 to 1.
- proposition player- also referred to as a prop player, is a person paid by the house to play. The purpose is to have players available to start games or keep a game going. Proposition players play with their own money, so they must be good enough to at least break even at the table, or their pay will not cover their losses.
- quartered- a situation in a split-pot game in which two players split half of the pot either because they tied for the best high hand or tied for the best low hand.
- qualified low- a hand that meets the conditions for claiming the low half of the pot. Most high-low poker games have an "eight-or-better" rule as a condition for awarding half of the pot to the lowest hand. To qualify for the low pot, the five-card hand must have no cards ranked higher than an eight and no pairs. Aces are both the lowest and highest ranked cards. Straights or flushes do not disqualify a hand from being low.
- raise- both matching and increasing a bet made by another player.
- rake- a fraction of each pot taken by the casino as a charge for running a poker game.
- Razz- a variation of Seven-Card Stud in which the pot is awarded to the lowest ranked hand. There is no qualifying rule to win and, unless the best low hands are identical, no split-pots. Straights and flushes do not disqualify a hand from being low in Razz. Therefore, the best possible hand in Razz is a 5-high low, which would be A, 2, 3, 4, 5. The suits would not matter in the ranking of the hand.
- river card- the fifth and final community card in Hold'em.
- royal flush- the highest ranked hand in poker- Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, all in the same suit.
- scoop- to win the entire pot in a high-low split-pot game.
- semi-bluffing- betting on a weak hand that has a good chance of improving.
- set- three cards of the same rank (also referred to as trips').
- Seven-Card Stud- a popular poker game in which each player receives seven cards and uses five to form their hand. Each player receives three cards initially—two face down and one face-up. The next three cards are dealt face-up and the final card face down. In contrast to Hold'em, there are no shared cards in a Stud game. Players may only use the cards they receive.
- Seven-Card Stud High-Low Eight-or-Better- a variation of Seven-Card Stud in which the high and low hands split the pot. Each player is allowed to form two different hands, one using the five cards that form the best possible high, and one using the five cards that make the best possible low. To claim the low pot, there can be no card higher than an eight in the low hand. Straights and flushes do not count in determining low. If no low hand qualifies, the high hand wins the entire pot.
- showdown- the act of showing cards to determine the winner of a hand.
- side pot- a separate pot created after one player goes "all-in." Additional money wagered by the players who are not all-in goes into the side pot. The person going all-in cannot compete for the side pot (see all-in).
- slow-play- representing a strong hand as weak by not betting in order to disguise the strength. The opposite of bluffing.
- small blind- the person to the immediate left of the person on the button. The small blind is required to place one half a pre-flop bet before receiving their pocket cards. To see the flop, the small blind must later on match the big blind's bet plus any raises (see big blind). The small blind has the option of raising.
- splashing the pot- throwing chips into the pot in such a way that the dealer is unable to count them. Splashing the pot is forbidden in card room play.
- spread-limit Hold'em- a variation in which bets and raises are not in fixed increments, but can be any amount up to the specified limit.
- string bet- placing a bet, then reaching for more chips in order to raise. String bets are forbidden in cardroom play.
- Stud games- see board games.
- table stakes- a rule requiring that all money put in play during a hand must be on the table before the hand begins.
- tapped out- losing all the money placed on the table.
- tell- a characteristic mannerism or behavior that indicates a player's thinking.
- trips- three cards of the same rank (also referred to as a set). turn card—the fourth community card in Hold'em.
- wheel- a five-high straight: A, 2, 3, 4, 5, of mixed suits. wheel cards - the cards ranked A, 2, 3, 4, 5.
- wired-pair- two cards of the same rank with neither card exposed.