Texas Holdem Poker is a fun, easy to learn card game enjoyed by millions of people around the world. It is our goal at www.holdempokersupplies.com to provide simple easy to follow information and instruction about the basics of the game for the beginning player. We also offer top quality poker instructional books and DVDs for sale authored by top poker experts and professional poker stars so present a diversity of poker strategies, philosophies and experiences for you to consider in your poker education process. Contact us if there is something that you do not understand or that requires further clarification and we will make the necessary clarifications or changes.
Texas Holdem Basics
“The good news is that in every deck of fifty-two playing cards there are 2,598,960 possible hands. The bad news is that you are only going to be dealt one of them.”
– Anthony Holden, Author of Big Deal (1990)
Winning Poker Hands
Winning Texas Holdem Poker Hands -Listed from the lowest to the highest.
High Card – Highest ranking cards with no pair.
One Pair – Two cards of the same rank.
Two Pair – Two cards of one rank plus two cards of another rank.
Three of a Kind – Three cards of the same rank.
Straight – Five consecutive ranking cards.
Flush – Five cards of the same suit.
Full House – Any three cards of one rank plus any two cards of another rank.
Four of a Kind – Four cards of the same rank.
Straight Flush – Any straight with all five cards of the same suit.
Royal Flush – The highest straight flush, five cards in sequence with all five cards of the same suit and a straight from 10, J, Q, K, A.
Texas Holdem Poker
Texas Holdem has become the most popular poker game played around the world. Texas Holdem Tournaments are aired daily on a number of television channels and online poker sites have both benefitted from and contributed to its growth in popularity. An impetus for this popularity, believe it or not, was a result of the 2004-2005 National Hockey League strike/lockout. ESPN required a “filler” for their NHL time slot so began televising Texas Holdem Poker Tournaments and the rest is history.
Texas Holdem is a seven card poker game with very simple rules that a beginner can learn quickly and easily and can begin to play immediately. It often takes only one or two practice hands to acquire a basic and sufficient understanding of how the game works, however it takes a great amount of skill and a lot of practice to master.
Texas Holdem uses a number of accessories in order to play. Of course, a deck of playing cards is required, as are poker chips. Some additional pieces include a dealer button and small and large blind buttons. (These pieces are a formality but they help the game run a bit smoother.) The dealer button indicates from which seat at the table the poker hands are to be dealt.
Cards are dealt one-at-a time beginning on the Dealer’s left clockwise around the poker table. A total of two cards are dealt to each player. The Dealer will receive the last card dealt.
However, before the cards are dealt a “blind” round of betting occurs. This round of betting involves only the first two players to the left of the Dealer. These two players each place a bet called the small and large blinds. (The names little and big are often interchanged with small and large.) The player immediately to the Dealer’s left places the small blind bet and the player to the left of the small blind player, places the large blind bet.
Since these bets are made prior to seeing any cards they are “blind” bets. The large blind is usually two times the small blind i.e. small blind = $1, large blind = $2 or small blind = $5, large blind = $10. These blind bets count as part of any further betting in the first betting round.
Play then begins with two playing cards, the “hand” being dealt face-down to each player. These “hand” cards are also called “hole cards”. The betting round begins with the player to the left of the large blind bet and continues clockwise around the table back to the large blind player. Players may call, raise, or fold. Play must proceed in turn.
A “call” bet requires the player to match any previous bet from a player during that round of betting. A “call” bet will allow the player to continue play, otherwise the player must “fold” i.e. discard his/her cards. The minimum bet on the first round must match the large blind. The large blind player has the privilege of last action in the first round of betting and may check or raise the bet. The large blind may “check” if no raise has occurred in the first round of betting as he/she has already placed the required first round bet.
A “raise” bet is a bet placed by any player that exceeds the size of the big blind. A “raise” must be at least twice the big blind.
Three community cards, called the “Flop” are then dealt face up in the center of the poker table. Using these three cards and the two cards in their “hand”, the remaining players begin another betting round beginning with the player to the left of the dealer button. Players may “check”, “bet”, “raise”, “call”, “re-raise” or “fold”.
A “check” is a non-bet and may only be used if no bets have previously been made prior to turn of the player wishing to “check”.
A “bet” must at least equal the large blind but may be in any amount up to and including “all in”. “All in” means the player is putting all of his/her poker chips into the pot.
Again, a “call” bet means matching any previous bets. A “re-raise” bet is a bet larger than a previous “raise” bet that requires the raiser to put additional chips into the pot. Players may continue to re-raise until betting ends with all remaining players calling or folding. A player may “fold”, i.e. discard his/her cards at anytime during the betting round, but must do so in turn.
A fourth card, the “Turn” card is dealt face up followed by another round of betting.
The fifth card, the “River” and last card is dealt face up and a final round of betting takes place.
Once the betting has been completed, the players remaining in the hand will then show their cards and the winning poker hand will be awarded the pot. Any combination of hole cards and community cards (Flop, Turn and River) may be used to make the best five-card poker hand based upon the poker hand rankings.(See above)
A very popular Texas Holdem variation that is also contested at the World Series of Poker, is Omaha Poker. The major deviations from Texas Holdem Poker are the number of playing cards dealt face down to each player as their hand and how their poker hands are formed. Each player receives four cards face down prior to the Flop. They must use two cards from their hand, combined with three cards from the board to form their best possible five-card poker hand.
With the four face-down hand cards and the five face-up Community cards, Omaha is a nine-card poker game that uses a dealer button and little/big blinds as in Texas Holdem. Blinds are posted prior to the Flop. First round betting action begins after the Flop, with the first player to the left of the blinds starting the betting. Then the remaining players may bet, check, raise, or fold in turn.
The Community cards: Flop, Turn and River, are dealt face-up in the center of the poker table in the same manner as in Texas Holdem, with betting after each round.
After the final round of betting has been completed, the players remaining in the hand will then show all their cards. The player with the best poker hand wins all the poker chips the pot.
Remember, players must use two cards from their hand and three from the board to make the best five-card poker hand.
A frequently used variation of Omaha is the 8 or better hi/lo game.
In Omaha Hi/Lo players are playing for a split poker pot. Half the pot is for the best poker hand, the Hi pot, and half for the smallest poker hand, the Lo pot. All bets go into the main pot and then are split as required.
To qualify for a winning Lo hand, a player must have a hand five cards of 8 or lower with no pair, using two cards from their hand and three cards from the board. For the Lo hand, only the cards’ numbers are important, suit and sequence are not considered. Therefore, the best possible Lo hand is A, 2, 3, 4, 5. Even if they are all one suit, they are still only regarded as being the lowest possible combination of cards. This hand is called a Bicycle or a Wheel.
If there is a qualifying Lo hand, the pot is split equally between the winning Hi hand and the winning Lo hand. If there is no qualifying Lo hand, the Hi hand takes the entire pot. However, if the winning Lo hand is a straight, a flush or a straight flush, it may qualify to win both the Lo hand and the Hi hand pots.
So You Want to be a Poker Star
So, you have a desire to learn how to play poker or to improve your poker playing skills. If you are a beginning poker player then you have made the correct first step. Many aspiring poker players can’t wait to go online to play poker, or go to a casino or even play with their friends before they have adequately prepared themselves for a “live action game of real money poker”. A beginning poker player must first master “the basics” of poker. They must know the ranking of poker hands, the basic rules of poker, how to play the various poker games and then start looking at basic poker strategies. To do otherwise will result in a frustrating and costly poker experience.
At holdempokersupplies.com we offer many opportunities for the beginning poker player to develop and hone their basic poker skills. These instructional opportunities for developing basic poker skills are provided on our Texas Holdem Basics information page with articles on Poker for Beginners, Poker Hand Rankings, poker terms, How to Play Texas Holdem and the variations of the Games, Omaha, Stud, etc. This is free poker information available to anyone who visits our site.
For more in-depth poker educational and instructional materials visit out Texas Holdem Books/DVDs product page to purchase published works by poker experts and world reknowned poker stars of the World Poker Tour such as Doyle Brunson, Daniel Negreanu, Barry Greenstein, Howard Lederer, Phil Hellmuth, Phil Gordon and Chris Moneymaker. These products are offered at competitive prices or have been combined into packages to provide you with the best possible price. All these items may qualify for free shipping, so please check them out. We offer a complete line of poker supplies from poker chips to deluxe poker tables that will enable you to set up your own home poker room.
When you feel you have mastered these basic poker skills and think that you are ready to begin playing poker with other people, start to play poker for fun not money with your friends. When you are ready to play online poker, start with the free online poker sites. There are many free online poker sites on the internet, Pokerstars.net, PartyPoker.com are just two, but they are among the biggest and offer may different entry levels for beginners. Pokerstars.net offers poker freerolls which the beginning player can enter and be exposed to the world of “real money poker” at no personal cost. As your skills develop, you can actually begin to acquire a real money account without ever making a deposit. If you are able to accomplish this feat, then you are on your way to becoming a real online poker player.
“Most of the money you’ll win at poker comes not from the brilliance of your own play, but from the ineptitude of your opponents.”
– Lou Krieger
Good advice, don’t be an inept opponent.
Chinese Poker Games Why Asians Play Poker So Well
Johnny Chan, J.C. Tran, Scotty Nguyen, Tuan Le, Nam Le, John Phan, and the list goes on. Why are there so many Asian stars on the World Poker Tour? One reason might be that while North American kids are playing Go Fish! Barnyard Snap and Old Maid, Asian children are playing Big 2, Thirteen Card and other card games that involve knowledge of poker hands. These games require recognition of poker hands and developing an aggressive play strategy. They also teach patience and knowing when to take power and to begin aggressively attacking your opponents.
I just recently had the experience of playing cards with three Asian young adults one of whom is a talented young professional poker player who I am thinking about introducing in a future Blog. These young people taught the Old Guy how to play Big 2.
In Big 2, the highest cards are the deuces. The suits have strength beginning with the weakest suit Diamonds, followed by Clubs then Hearts then Spades. To illustrate, the Club Ace beats the Diamond Ace. The Heart Ace beats the Club Ace, and the Ace of Spades beats all the other Aces. Of course deuces beat Aces.
The game can be played for fun or for wagers. The game can involve as many players as you would like. For larger numbers just add more decks. Played for fun or for tokens, it is a good, fun family game.
The goal of the game is to be the first person to get rid of all of your cards. Play continues until there is only one player left holding cards. That lucky person gets to deal the next hand.
Play begins with all the cards being dealt out to the players. There may be an uneven number of cards dealt to one or more players. Players sort the cards in their hands arranging their cards in poker hands i.e. pairs, sets, straights, flushes, full houses and quads and then the left over single cards.
Each round of play begins with the player with the weakest card in the deck, the trey of Diamonds, leading that card. Play proceeds around the table with each player in return playing one card to beat the previous card played. Players need not play when their turn comes up, they may pass instead. Passing is either a play of necessity when the player is unable to beat the previous card or strategic, if the player can beat the previous card, but does not wish to break up a poker hand such as a pair, set, etc.
The last person to be able to play in each round then has the power to lead the next card to start a new round of play. If this player leads a pair, then each player in turn must beat the previous pair played. If a set is lead then each ensuing play must be 3 cards to beat a set. If a straight is lead then it must be beaten by a stronger five card play, for example, a higher straight, a flush or a full house.
Strategy comes into play in knowing when to split a poker hand or when to pass, in order to gain that power to be the first to play. Playing first, will enable you to get rid of your weaker cards or to run out your hand.
After the opening hand the player who was the first to get rid of all of his/her cards in the previous hand will be the first to lead whether or not he/she has the three of Diamonds. That player will also be dealt the first card by the player who was the last man with cards. If a new player joins the game then the opening play goes back to the three of Diamonds.
This is my knowledge of the game based upon one brief session of play. I will gladly receive questions/comments or corrections from anyone with more knowledge on the subject. Contact Us with your comments.