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Texas Hold'em Poker

If you've seen the World Series of Poker or the World Poker Tour on TV than you may already be familiar with Texas Hold'em Poker. This variation of poker is a favorite among players, spectators and the media. Hold'em can be an fast, intense, unpredictable game than cause large amounts of money to change hands in a snap.

The game uses the same ranking of cards and hands as any other poker game and has some similarities to Seven Card Stud. Players must make the best five card hand they can out of seven cards.

The biggest difference between Texas Hold'em Poker and Stud is the dealing of "community cards". To begin, each player is dealt two cards face down. The other five cards are dealt face up in the middle of the table for all to see and use to make up the rest of their hand. Since there are fewer cards in play, you will typically see a larger number of players at the table - usually up to 9.

Players take turns as the dealer and the dealer is indicated by a marker in front of them on the table known as the "button". After each hand the button moves to the left, clockwise around the table. In a casino, there is usually a fixed dealer and the button moves from player to player indicating which player opens the betting.

Betting

Most games of Texas Hold'em Poker have a set of fixed betting limits. Except for high stakes, professional games where there is no limit, most home games establish more appropriate limits. If you are playing $1-$2 games, you have two betting options. You may bet only $1 or $2. You can't bet $3, $56 or $198. Bettings may also be something like $10-$20 and high stakes games might be something like $300-$600 or even $500-$1000.

How To Play

To start, before any cards are dealt the player to the left of the button must place a bet of half the low limit. In a $1 - $2 game, this would be 50 cents. The player to the left of this player must place the low limit into the pot. These are referred to as "blind" bets, because they are made before any cards are dealt.

Two cards are then dealt face down and there is a round of betting at the low limit. At this point the blind bets are in the pot and the next player to the left has the option of calling, raising (with an additional low limit bet) or fold.

After all players have finished this round, then comes the "flop". The dealer turns three cards face up in the middle of the table for all to see. These become the "community" cards and all players may use them to make up the best five card hand they can.

There is another round of betting at the low limit. A fourth card is turned over and there is another round of betting, this time at the high limit. A final card is turned over and there is a final round of betting also at the high limit.

Players may complete their five card hand using any or none of the cards in their hand. After the final round of betting all players turn over their cards and determine the winner.

Tips

Hold'em poker is all about high cards. Players holding two good high cards at the beginning has a good chance at coming up with a winning hand after the flop. Stick to playing with only good high cards. Later in the game you can play medium strength cards if you can see the flop for a reasonable price. Try to play strong hands most of the time and bet aggressively. Take all the raises you can get. If you don't thin the competition you reduce your chances of winning, You'll also gain credibility when you win and you can used it on a bad round if you want to bluff.

Check out our poker tips in our Poker Guide. They all apply to Texas Hold'em Poker.