When it comes to poker, few versions are as thrilling as Texas Hold'em. With competitive outlets like the World Poker Tour, the game is cemented as one of America’s favorite casino games. Although it’s unknown where exactly the game originated, it emerged around Texas in the early 1900s. Hold'em poker reached Vegas in 1967 and quickly accelerated to become the most popular version of poker out there.
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Texas hold’em poker is a variation of poker in which each player at the table is dealt two hold cards face-down, and then five community cards are dealt in three stages. At each stage the game pauses so that each player can add onto bets from the previous stages. The three stages are:
Ultimately players are looking to garner the best five card poker hand at the table. Whichever player stays in the game through the river with the best hand wins the money pot.
There is usually a blind or an ante at the beginning of each round that players have to match to play. Then, each round, when a player raises the pot any player who wants to continue playing must match the ante.
Every round of hold'em poker requires each player to either check, fold, or match a current bet. If your hold cards look bad, you can fold them, but it’s usually hard to tell what you should do until the flop. If you choose to stay in the round with the hand you have, you’ll have to guess what the other players at the table are sitting with, and whether it’s worth raising the pot to try and encourage them to fold.
For players who don’t have quite the chip stack as others at the table, it’s best to play to win antes and blinds. This is a safer way to establish a bigger chip stack than to go all-in on one hand. Once you’ve gained more chips it’s easier to be more liberal with your betting without running into the prospect of having to go all-in.
But ultimately the way you bet is up to you. The beauty of Texas Hold'em poker is that you’re weighing what you have with what others might have. Watch out for tricky players who’ll try and draw you in when they have a strong hand. And try not to get duped into folding against a player with nothing!