Hold 'Em

Quick Start THYou've seen the TV shows, you've heard the hype, and you have finally decided you would like to try the hottest poker card game of all time. But when it comes to Texas Hold'em, you haven't the slightest idea of where to begin. You don't know a flop from a fold or river from a runner-runner, and you're just a little bit intimidated. The good news is that Texas Hold'em is one of the easiest poker games to learn. There's a saying about Texas Hold'em that is absolutely true: "it takes minutes to learn and a lifetime to master."

  The game is so easy to learn you could sit down and start playing and learn it as you go. This article will go over some very basic ideas so that, even on your very first game, you can have good chance of winning                               

  To start the players in the two seats to the left of the dealer have to pay what is known as a blind, which is a forced bet. Each other player has the option of calling the amount of the bigger blind or folding. If you fold you are out of that hand. Each player can also raise the pot to a certain limit depending on the variety of Texas Hold'em. After each round of card dealing there is a round of betting and the same options: check, bet, call, raise, fold. Check, which means to pass and not put money in, bet by putting money in the pot, call by matching the last bet, raise by putting more money in than the last bet, or fold, which means to lay down your cards for this hand and not participate.

  After your first two cards are dealt to you and there is a single round of betting, the dealer will put down three community cards, called the flop. You are using the community cards plus your two pocket cards to try and make the best poker hand. If your pocket cards plus the flop does not equal a decent hand, you should fold. While it is true you could stay in the game and possibly catch a good hand on the next two cards, which are known as the turn and the river, you have already seen five of the seven cards you will get to use. The chances of your hand improving in a great way on the next two cards are slim.

  Texas hold'em is known as an aggressive game, especially the no limit variety. However, when you are new to the game your main goal should be to not lose money, more than to win money. If you stick to only very good hands and fold everything else, odds are already in your favor for winning at the game.  Texas Hold’ Em Basic This intro will walk you through a Texas Hold'em game from start to finish, you will learn Texas Hold'em poker rules, and by the end you will be ready to "Shuffle Up andDeal!"
A full Texas Hold'em table typically has nine or ten players; any less and the game may be referred to as short handed. To determine who begins the game a single card is dealt to each player; high card will be the first dealer. The dealer position is indicated by a white plastic chip referred to as the button, which is also what the dealer position is called, sometimes referred to as being on the button. After each round of play, sometimes called a hand, the dealer button rotates to the left, ensuring that everyone gets to play in this and all other positions. PreflopBefore cards are dealt the forced bets must be paid, which are called the big blind and the little blind. The little blind is sometimes called the small blind as well. A bet is when money is put into the pot for the first time in a round. The amounts of the bets and blinds are predetermined, and the little blind is always half the big blind. The little blind position is always the seat to the left of the dealer, and the big blind is the seat to the left of the little blind.

The dealer will then deal two cards (referred to as pocket cards or hole cards) face down to each player, one at a time, starting with the player on his left. Once the cards are dealt, each player looks at their cards; on their action they must then decide if they wish to call the current bet (the big blind, which is the highest amount bet at this point) which means to match it, fold their hand with out betting if they don't like their cards, or raise the bet by putting in more money. Each player, starting with the seat to the left of the big blind, makes their choice and acts. If a player raises the bet, each player must now call the new amount, including those who may have already acted. At any time a player may re-raise, meaning that they raise it again beyond the amount it was raised previously. If no player raises the big blind, then the player in that position may check, meaning they do not want to put more money in, or raise. It is important to note that if a players raises he may not raise again unless he was re-raised, as opposed to called. The round of betting stops when all players have either folded or called the last raise. Flop The dealer burns a card, which means they deal it to one side and it is not used in play, and then deals three cards face down. The dealer then turns the three cards face up simultaneously; this is called the Flop. These are the first of five community cards that all players can use, along with their pocket cards, to make the best possible poker hand. The standard poker hand ranks are used. The player in the little blind position (once again, the first seat to the left of the dealer) is now UTG, or Under The Gun, meaning they are first to act now and on every subsequent round of betting. They must make a decision as in pre-flop play, with one change: they can choose to check if they don't want to bet or fold. Many experts advise players to stop here if they do not improve their hand, as they have now seen five of the seven cards they will use. Once again, the betting round ends only when all players have folded or called the last bet or raise.  TurnThe dealer burns another card and then deals a fourth community card, called the Turn, face up. There is another round of betting, exactly as after the flop, with the small blind seat being UTG.  RiverAfter a final burn card, the dealer turns over the fifth and last community card, called the River. There is one final round of betting. At this point (or before) if all but one player folds, the last player who didn't fold wins the pot. This player may muck his hand, which means to toss it into the discard pile by the dealer without showing anyone what it was.  A showdown occurs when a player is called after the River, and could involve anywhere from two players to the entire table, depending on how many stayed in to this point. All players still in the hand show their cards, starting with the last person to bet. At any point after this player showed his cards other players in the showdown may muck their hand, essentially conceding the pot; just think of mucking as folding. They are admitting they have been beat without having to show their cards. This strategy (mucking) helps keep the other players from learning your playing style, such as if you bet heavy on two pairs or like to chase a flush.
The best five-card poker hand wins.

That is the essence of Texas Hold'em, but there are a number of other important points to understand.