TEXAS HOLD 'EM
- EXCELLENCE Learn to Play Poker to Win Online and At The Table

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...56 ............................................................................................................................................................................................................55 The River......................................................................28 Straight............................................................................................56 The Fourth Betting Round.............31 Increasing Your Skills...............................................................................................................7 2 Introduction...............................................36 Position........................................................................................................................................................44 After the Flop...............................................................................................................................................................54 Third Betting Round................................................................................................................................................26 Four of a Kind.......................................................................25 Royal Flush.............................48 6 A Typical Game...........................................22 Other Points.............................................53 Second Betting Round........................17 The Flop........................................................................................................30 High Card..............................................................................................27 Full House.............................................................................................................................................21 The River....................................................................................31 5 Basic Strategy................47 the River..................................................................................................................................................21 The Third Betting Round.............................................................................................29 Two Pair.................................................................................................................................................................35 Tight or Loose?.........49 Dealing the Pocket Cards................................................................................................................................54 The Turn............................................49 Let's Play......35 What's in Your Pocket?.................................................................................15 The Betting Limits..............................49 The Blinds.26 Straight Flush......................50 First Betting Round..............................................28 Three of a Kind..............15 The Blinds...................................................................................................Contents 1 Preface.................................................27 Flush..........................................45 The Turn...........................................................................................................................................................................11 3 Texas Hold 'em Game Play..................29 Pair..................................23 4 Poker Hands.....................................................................................................................................................22 The Showdown...........................42 Before the Flop...............................................................................................17 The First Betting Round...............................................................................................................................................20 The Turn....................................16 The Deal..............................................................................................................................................................................20 The Second Betting Round...............................................................................51 The Flop.21 The Fourth Betting Round..22 The Next Hand..............

.................81 Common Tells...............................................67 9 Types of Hold 'em Games...............................................81 Tells & The Human Auto-Pilot..........................................................................................................................................................................................57 7 Betting...........................................................................................76 Sit & Go's (Single Table Tournaments)....73 Spread-Limit Games..............................................................................................................101 12 Hold 'em Terminology.....................................................................................................65 Basic Overview..............................105 ................................................................90 11 Going Forward..................................................................95 Poker at Home.......................................................59 Betting Points of Interest.....................................................................101 Hold 'em Odds....77 10 Tells.............59 8 Single Table Tournaments............................................................57 The Next Hand............................................77 Multi-Table Tournaments.......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................75 Pot-limit Games...................67 Sit & Go Strategy............................................65 Online Game Levels..........73 Limit Games...............................................75 No-Limit Games....66 Game Types...................................The Showdown................................................................................95 Online Poker......................................................................................96 Bluffing..................................................................84 The Next Step......................................................................................................

6 | .

The first thing that I needed to do was to play poker. Nobody played poker? We were invited around our new friends houses for dinner. to watch a movie or just to have a few drinks. with some of their other friends who were unknown to us. I had not played for a month or so when I first moved and . We both started working at different locations and for different companies. About eight months ago. means that I can always find a group of individuals motivated by similar interest and knowledge that allows the competitive social interaction of playing poker.1 Preface Playing poker is one of my most valuable past-times. No matter where I go. That was. nobody – and I mean nobody – knew how to play Texas Hold 'em poker! I did not know what to say or what to think. my partner and I moved to a different part of the country and away from our friends and colleagues that we had built a relationship with for the past five or so years. or sit down at my computer and unwind by playing a few hands of Hold 'em. the common knowledge of how to play one of the most popular poker games on the planet. I learned how to play almost two years ago now and have never regretted spending the time to learn. than to get together with friends. as well as getting to know the local people. for a barbeque. until recently. Even they did not play poker. I was now on a mission. Out of the eighty or so people that both me and my partner regularly had contact with in and around this small town. or even knew how to play. There's nothing better after a long hard working week. I could not believe what I was to find out.

giving me $600 in my account! Fantastic. I needed to find another alternative. what have I been missing! Playing online is a real buzz and one which has now become one of my favourite ways to play. I learnt a lot about playing online and it was one of the best decisions of my life and saved me from not being able to play poker for a couple of years without travelling a couple of hundred miles back to my old home town. the casino matched my purchase with another free $300. Not having what seemed to be the luxury of playing with people face to face. If I were to buy $300 of chips to play an offline game. from low-limit games that you could literally play with pocket change. The wide range of games to choose from online. Not only are there some fantastic poker rooms out there. A few of my friends that I mentioned this too went out to look at buying books on learning poker. So after I had found some of the best poker places online. Teaching fifty or so people how to play poker would be torture. I would . is the regular competitions and tournaments that are offered together with the chance of winning a place in a televised poker event. the offers are way beyond anything that you would find around a table. once every week or so. with a exceptionally high prize fund. to the more tense and exciting no-limit games. This alternative was online poker. I needed to get my new circle of friends interested in and experienced in playing Texas Hold 'em poker. from holding poker nights where I would teach everyone how to play poker. yet online with my first account credit of $300. but certainly not as much as up until now and boy. suits every person and every budget. I had played poker online before.8 | P REFACE needed to find some stimulation. my other challenge beckoned. They found that these books were either too complicated or too basic and looking at the ones that they purchased myself. I would get $300 of chips. waste a lot of my valuable time and would be a long process with five or so players at a time. One thing that I really do find exciting. I though long and hard about how I would be able to do this.

I had my regular poker nights back and because of my online play. It is for those of you who wish to learn and play Texas |9 . In the meantime.P REFACE agree. but at this time the content of the book. I had a thought. I decided that spending a few weeks writing a book on poker that shared enough information about how to play. or so basic that half of the more common aspects of Texas Hold 'em were missing. my skills had improved beyond all expectation. So. There must be other people out there who. as we speak. I would be certain that the information provided would not overwhelm them and would provide them with enough interest in order for them to learn fast. I though long and hard about this and decided that this would be a good thing to do. Not only would my friends and colleagues be able to learn how to play and play good all at the same time. I felt. By keeping the content to the point. And here it is. I am preparing the content that is required in order to produce a publication quality book that I intend to release during the first part of 2010. The good thing was that after only 2 weeks. wanted to learn how to play Texas Hold 'em. suggested that I publish it. needed a little more work and a lot more content in order to be a complete guide. like my friends. would be the perfect solution to everybody's problems. This book was originally written for my friends in order to teach them the basics and some more advanced aspects of Texas Hold 'em. but didn't know where to start and after getting my friends to talk to their friends and their friends friends. to teach them poker. I would not have to persist week on week. They were either concentrated around advanced strategy which made total beginners wanting to give up even before they had started. that I came aware that there were indeed people out there who wished that they could play poker. One of my work colleagues after reading my book. The feedback that they provided was outstanding which allowed me to adjust some of the content to make it more understandable in places where other books fail to break it down simply. It was at that moment that this book was born. I then had a light-bulb moment.

10 | P REFACE Hold 'em, that I dedicate this eBook version of Texas Hold 'em Excellence to. Please take it as a gift of knowledge that would be passed on from one generation to the next. Over the next few weeks, you will learn how to play poker, enhance your skills and start on your own personal road to poker fame, whether it be organising your own regular poker nights and getting together with friends, becoming the star of an online poker tournament or the next World Poker Champion. I can guarantee that after you learn how to play Texas Hold 'em, your social status changes and your social circle expands (if you move to a town that knows how to play). Please ensure that you give a copy of this ebook to your friends, family and colleagues, so that they can share in the knowledge and excitement of playing Texas Hold 'em and in turn, organise their own tournaments. Finally, I would encourage you to give feedback to this ebook, how it has helped you and what you think could be added or refined. I am really excited at how this form of poker has taken the world by storm and request that you give yourself the knowledge and the chance to share in that excitement. I have also decided to start a website as an additional challenge, in order to keep you updated in not only the poker world, but other casino games that get me and others excited. It is in it's extreme infancy having only been born to initially support this book, but during the first quarter of 2010, I intend to expand the site to become a hub of useful information that will be of relevance and benefit to you. Please ensure that you join me there. I really do hope that you enjoy reading this ebook and learning to play Texas Hold 'em.

Website: www.casinogamehub.com Book Feedback: holdembook@casinogamehub.com

2

Introduction

P

oker has been around for centuries and in 2010, is increasingly, the most popular card game played around the world. Of the many varieties of Poker, Texas Hold 'em is widely becoming the game of choice for those serious at winning the high stakes that the no-limit form of this game provides. Texas Hold 'em, known to those familiar with the game simply as Hold 'em, is played almost everywhere and its popularity is on the increase. Whether you are getting together with your friends at home, playing at your local casino or even playing online, the main structure of the game is almost identical. The main difference lies in the betting limits. At home it is likely that you may play for small amounts of money and play a low-limit game. At the casino the betting limits may be higher, although quite a few casinos now play low-limit games for beginners. When you start to get serious at Hold 'em you may find yourself playing the no-limit games where, as the term suggests, the only limit on how much you can bet is limited only by the number of chips that you have available. No-limit games are typically high stake games and played at tournaments. They can however, be played anywhere and the amount that can be won in a single game can run into literally tens and hundreds of thousands. There are two main parts of learning Texas Hold 'em. The first part is learning the game, how it is played, how the betting works and what hands win over others. This is the nuts and bolts of the game and can be referred to as the game mechanics. It is obvious that before you can start

12 | I NTRODUCTION winning at Hold 'em, you need to know how to play, so this is the place to begin. The second part of learning the game are the strategies. Strategies can be thought of as learning a skill and perfecting that skill over time and becoming an expert. Like all skills, your poker skills need to be honed by playing and learning in the process. There are many strategies that are used in Hold 'em, some of which can get extremely mathematical. This book covers the basic strategies that you need to consider in order to play Hold 'em effectively to win. Once you have learnt these basic strategies and honed them to perfection, you can then move on to learn more of the advanced strategies that will have you becoming a Texas Hold 'em expert in no time at all. Like any form of gambling, there is an element of luck in playing Hold 'em. Unless you are able to see what cards are in the pack and the order of those cards, there is no way that you can predict which cards will be drawn in each game. Unlike other forms of gambling, such as slot machines, roulette or craps (where a pair of dice are rolled in order to win), it is possible to increase your chances of winning by using good consistent strategy. It is more likely that somebody with a good strategy will win over time, than somebody without one. In Texas Hold 'em, you are dealt two cards at the start of each hand and depending on your strategy and the odds that each hand holds, it is possible to increase your chances of winning. Texas Hold 'em is only loosely a game of cards. It has been said many times that it is more a game of people. The way that people behave and think have a very large part to play in a game of Hold 'em. It is however, possible to win a hand just by making your opponent think that you have a much better hand than they have, even though you may not have a hand at all and they have the best hand in the house. By paying attention to your opponents and learning how they play, you can use this to further increase your chances of winning each hand that you play. Again, this comes down to strategy but is focused more on how you play, rather than the cards that you play.

This book focuses on getting you playing the game quickly and learning your strategy fast.I NTRODUCTION | 13 It is this variety of the game together with the large payouts that you can experience with the no-limit games. much like any other interest. you will have a good grounding in the way the game is played that will increase your odds of winning. or whether you are intending to play professionally online or in a casino. Instead of giving you a list of all poker terms at the start of the book and swamping you with unnecessary information. By doing it in this way. you get to learn it as you go and do not need to keep flipping back and forth through the book in order to find the meaning of the terms that are being used. Finally. Get ready to join the world of Texas Hold 'em poker. this book introduces you to the Hold 'em terminology as you come across it and as you need to know it. Not only do you come to perfect your game. You . examples are given in an easy to understand manner to integrate your learning. each time you play. Whether you intend to play just at home. There is also a list of Poker Terminology at the back of the book where some common terms related to Texas Hold 'em can be found in one place. this book focuses on Texas Hold 'em and although some portions of the game can be similar to other forms of poker. There are quite a few books on the market on how to play Texas Hold 'em and each of these books have their place. By learning these techniques you will be able to play Texas Hold 'em like a professional in the shortest possible time. but you get to learn the psychology of human behaviour and use it against your opponents. that makes Hold 'em an exceptionally exciting game to play. You will learn how to play Texas Hold 'em and Texas Hold 'em only. Amaze your friends and family at how good you can play and leave them wondering how you win all of their hardearned cash. no other form of poker is compared or referenced. Similarly. seemingly with ease. A lot of terminology can be found in the poker arena. while keeping things simple and to the point.

14 | I NTRODUCTION could be just around the corner to becoming the next world poker champion. Let's get started! .

The game is always played in a clockwise direction around the table and the first player is always to the immediate left of the dealer. Betting limits specify the lower betting limit and the higher betting limit that are to be used in the game. This is the structure of the game and once you have a basic understanding of the game play sequence.3 Texas Hold 'em Game Play B efore we get into the inner workings of Texas Hold 'em it is important that you are familiar with the sequence of a typical game. You need to ensure that you are aware of the betting limits for the game you are about to play. Betting limits for a game could be $1-$2. Stakes can get quite high and this is why it is important to check the game which you are intending to play. to complete your knowledge of the game. $4-$8 or even $100-$200 and $1000-$2000. minimum and maximum betting limits are stated before the game commences. THE BETTING LIMITS In a limit game. each element can then be examined more closely in turn. In Hold 'em this is shown as $2-$4 or $2/$4. There are other betting limits that are also used in Hold . In our game the lower betting limit is $2 and the higher limit is $4. This discussion will assume that the game is being played with an independent dealer and a minimum of 3 players and that they are playing a limit game of $2-$4.

So. we are playing a $2-$4 game. With an empty pot there is no money to win and therefore no incentive for the players to play their hand. we are playing a limit game of $2-$4. in this instance. For our example here. This amount is set to exactly the minimum bet amount in limit games. This amount is equal to exactly half of the minimum betting limit in limit games. THE BIG BLIND The second player to the dealers left (the player to the immediate left of the Small Blind) has to pay the Big Blind. It is a requirement of Hold 'em that these blinds are paid for each hand played and if you are active in the game. The name is taken from the way that each player must put this money into the pot – blind. THE SMALL BLIND The first player to the dealers immediate left (to the left of the Button) has to pay the Small Blind. This means that the minimum amount that can be bet is $2. To get things going a set amount of money is put into the pot by the first two players to the dealers left (the first two players to the left of the Dealer Button). In our game. they cannot be avoided. the Small Blind is set to half of this amount and is therefore $1. This money is referred to as the Blinds. so in our game it is $2. so our lower betting limit is set to $2 and the higher limit is set to $4.16 | T EXAS H OLD ' EM G AME P LAY 'em and these will be covered later in the book when we look closer at the betting structure. THE BLINDS To get the game started it is necessary to put some money into The Pot. This means that the players are required to place the blinds into the pot prior to any cards being dealt. .

T EXAS H OLD ' EM G AME P LAY

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THE DEAL
Now that the blinds have been paid, the players are dealt their cards. The dealer places the round Dealer Button on the table in front of the person immediately to his left. This button indicates that this player is, in effect, acting as the dealer, although they are not dealing any cards. The Professional dealer always deals the cards and the Button is used for the sequence of game play. The person with the Dealer Button could in fact be classed as a Virtual Dealer as they do not actually deal any cards but the game is played as if they had. All will become clear soon. The dealer then shuffles the pack of cards and burns the top card. Burning is the term that is used to describe the discarding of the top card from the deck and is done in case this card has been accidentally seen by any of the players. Burnt cards are placed face-down in a separate pile to the side of the dealer. The dealer then proceeds to deal one card to each player in a clockwise direction, starting with the player immediately to the left of the Dealer Button. When each player has been dealt one card, the dealer then deals a second card to each player, again in a clockwise direction and again starting with the player immediately to the left of the Dealer Button. Each player now has two cards each, known as Hole Cards or Pocket Cards and this is the maximum number of cards that each player will ever hold in the game.

THE FIRST BETTING ROUND
Game play starts with the player immediately to the left of the Big Blind. This player is also the third player to the left of the effective dealer (the third player to the left of the Button).

18 | T EXAS H OLD ' EM G AME P LAY WHERE THE GAME STARTS The third player is where the hand really starts, as the first two players have placed their blinds and have in effect already acted. The player looks at their hand to determine whether they think that they hold a good hand or not and has three options open to them; call, raise or fold.
CALL

If the player decides that they have a hand worth betting on, they can Bet. In our game, the amount that is to be bet is $2 as this is the betting amount for this betting round.
RAISE

If the player deems that they hold an excellent hand they may wish to raise. In our game, if the player wishes to raise, they can only raise by the minimum bet amount of $2, making the total bet $4 ($2 bet plus $2 raise).
FOLD

If the player decides that their hand is no good and that they do not wish to play it, they can Fold. Also known as a Pass, the player clearly states that they are folding and pushes their cards back towards the dealer, keeping them face down. These discarded cards are placed face down onto the Burn pile. REMAINING PLAYERS The rest of the players then proceed to bet in turn, in a clockwise direction. In this instance the options open to them are to call, raise or fold. The last to bet are the players that placed the Blinds.
CALL

When a player Calls they are requesting to see the first of the community cards. In this instance, they must place an amount of money in the pot that is equal to the amount that

T EXAS H OLD ' EM G AME P LAY

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has been bet by the player before them. If the bet is set to $2, then the player that calls must place $2 in the pot for the privilege.
RAISE

When a player raises, they are basically saying that they have a good hand and they want to raise the bet. In order to raise, they must place the amount of the previous bet and then raise by the minimum bet amount. In our fixed limit $2-$4 game, the bet currently stands at $2. If the player wishes to raise, he must raise by the minimum bet amount of $2. This brings the current bet amount to $4. For the next player to call, they must bet $4. There is usually only a certain number of times that a raise can be played in each betting round. Typically this is set to a maximum of three raises per round.
FOLD

If the player determines that they do not hold a very good hand, then they can Fold or Pass. They announce they they are folding and push their cards, face down, back towards the dealer. These discarded cards are placed face down onto the Burn pile. COMPLETING THE FIRST BETTING ROUND The betting round continues until such time as all of the players bets have been equalised. This means that each player has increased their bet to the highest bet currently on the table by Calling. If a player does not wish to equalise their bet, the only other option available to them is to fold. In this case, they clearly state that they are folding and return their cards face-down, to the dealer who places them on the burn pile. There is one remaining option open to the player who paid the Big Blind - If all of the other players have called and not raised and the bets are equalised, then the option to check is available to this player. In this case no money is payable and the player states that they are Checking. This

starts the betting round. THE SECOND BETTING ROUND The next betting round begins and this time the person to the dealers immediate left (left of the Dealer Button). . They are in effect stating that they still wish to have interest in the pot. They will also need to decide whether their hand can be improved upon with the remaining community cards. Once a player has placed a bet (put some money in the pot). Similar to the first betting round. the dealer then burns the top card from the remaining deck of cards and deals three cards face-down on to the table. Checking is generally used when the player is not sure whether or not they hold a good hand and wishes to see what the other players are going to do first. raising or folding. This is known as The Flop. They also have the added option of checking. THE FLOP Once the players have equalised their bets on the first betting round. When a player checks they do not have to put any money in the pot at all at this stage and play continues to the next player (to the left). They also tend to knock on the table to indicate that they are checking. The players ascertain if they can improve upon their hand by utilising the three community cards with their Pocket Cards (or Hole Cards).20 | T EXAS H OLD ' EM G AME P LAY option is discussed further in the Second Betting Round below. but they do not wish to place a bet at this time. the player has the options of betting. The community cards are also known as The Board. The cards are then turned over so that they are face-up and are spread out side-by-side to reveal the first three of the five Community Cards. no other player can check in the same betting round and therefore checking is no longer an option for anybody else.

In our example $2-$4 game. or the River and is the final card to be dealt. THE RIVER The dealer once again burns the top card off of the remaining deck and deals the next card face-up next to the previous four community cards. raise or fold. THE THIRD BETTING ROUND The third betting round now takes place to exactly the same format as the previous two betting rounds. This is known as Fifth Street. the players still in the game attempt to make their best hand from the four community cards available on the Board and their Hole cards that they were originally dealt. THE TURN All the bets from the second betting round have now been equalised and any player whose hand doesn't meet up to their requirements have folded. Once all bets have been equalised. The only difference this time is that from this round on. this is $2. The dealer once again burns the top card from the deck and turns the next card face up next to the other three previously dealt community cards. so bets start at $4 and each raise can only be raised by $4. Once again. Remember that once a player has placed a bet on their hand any subsequent player looses the ability to check and is forced either to call. each bet and raise must match the maximum betting limit of the game. In our game here we are using limits of $2-$4. The bets in this betting round adhere to the minimum game bet. This is known as Fourth Street. This also means that any raise can only be raised by $2.T EXAS H OLD ' EM G AME P LAY | 21 The betting continues in a clockwise direction until the bets have been equalised. the final community card is dealt. or more commonly The Turn. .

Out of these seven cards. .22 | T EXAS H OLD ' EM G AME P LAY The players now have seven cards to make the best hand possible in an attempt to beat their opponent. a maximum of five cards can only be used in a hand. Dealing now starts in a clockwise direction and the player to the immediate left of the Button receives the first card. the dealer collects all of the cards together from the players and together with the burn pile into the remaining deck and thoroughly shuffles them. the final stage takes place. In this case they normally state that the other hand has them beat by saying “Beats Me”. Normal play then resumes as previously explained. The Small Blind is paid by the person to the immediate left of the Button and if they are still in the game this would be the person who paid the Big Blind in the previous hand. If this hand beats the other players. this is where the remaining players show their hands to determine which player holds the best hand and ultimately wins the Pot. THE SHOWDOWN As the name suggests. Typically. THE NEXT HAND Prior to dealing the next hand. then they can choose not to reveal their own hands and can just return their cards face down to the dealer. The Big Blind is paid by the second player to the left of the Button. This player now becomes the effective (or virtual) dealer. THE FOURTH BETTING ROUND The fourth and final betting round now commences in the same order as the previous betting rounds and once all bets have been equalised. The Dealer Button is moved one player to the left. the last person to place their chips into the pot is the first to show their hand.

meaning that they are both winners. just by the way you are betting and this opens the doors to bluffing. but before we do this it is necessary to learn the different poker hands that are available to us. Understanding this terminology should allow you to recognise the various game flow elements if you were to watch a poker game at this stage. WINNING BY DEFAULT If during any of the betting rounds all players fold apart from one. If it all seems a little confusing at this stage. You have been exposed to a lot of new terminology that is used in Texas Hold 'em in this chapter. OTHER POINTS There are a few additional points to be aware of with regard to game play. just try to understand the Flow of the game and become familiar with the betting rounds and the terminology used. They do not need to show their cards and can just return them to the dealer face down. But why stop here? Let's now move on and examine the different poker hands that are available in Texas Hold 'em. keep with it. then that player who remains in the game wins the pot by default. then the pot is split equally between them.T EXAS H OLD ' EM G AME P LAY | 23 This explanation describes the basic structure and flow of a typical Texas Hold 'em game. . We shall visit this example again shortly using visual examples of how the hands are played. it will become much clearer in the forthcoming chapters. SPLIT POT If on the Showdown the remaining players hold hands of the same value. This means that it is possible to win the pot even before any community cards have been dealt in the Flop. For now though.

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As far as Ace's are concerned. they can be treated as a one in a A-2-3-4-5 hand. only five cards can be used to make the best hand that you can. will be well on your way to becoming a top player. So a Queen beats a Jack and a King beats a Queen. regardless of what suit it is. They are quite straight-forward and once you become familiar with them. In Texas Hold 'em there is no Suit Hierarchy. or higher than a king as in 10-J-Q-K-A.4 Poker Hands T here are ten different hand rankings that you will need to learn in order to play Hold 'em. For example. . Out of the seven cards that are available to you during each hand played. The hands shown below are in Rank order. they can be interpreted as a high rank or a low rank depending on how they are used in your hand. This means that a diamond is the same level as a club and a spade is the same level as a heart. with the highest ranking hand first. What matters is the value or rank of the card.

For example. This hand can be beaten by another straight flush if another player holds a hand where their highest card is of a higher value than the highest card that you hold in your hand. If you hold this hand then you will be odds on favourite for winning the Pot. but it includes all the court cards and runs in sequence from 9 through to King. spades. There are only four possibilities for a Royal Flush as there are only four suits in a pack of cards. the cards that make up a Straight Flush must be all of the same suit. let's assume that you hold the hand shown here. This means that the probability of seeing this hand is a massive 30. The hand is similar to a straight flush where the cards are all the same suit (clubs.26 | P OKER H ANDS ROYAL FLUSH IJKLM The Royal Flush is the highest ranking poker hand that is available. they would hold a Ten- . If your opponent holds a 6-7-8-9-10.939 to 1. Just as in the Royal Flush. The 9 would be the highest card in your hand and could said to be a nine-high straight flush. 5-6-7-8-9. hearts or diamonds). STRAIGHT FLUSH efghi A Straight Flush is the 2nd highest poker hand. The strength of the hand is determined by the highest card in the hand.

gGwWj If your opponent also holds a Full House. FOUR OF A KIND The 3rd highest hand in poker is Four of a Kind. a Three of a Kind is where there are three cards in the hand which have the same value and a Pair is where there are two cards of the same value. If however.P OKER H ANDS | 27 high straight flush which will beat you. Here. as their 10 is a higher card than your 9. As you would expect. FULL HOUSE The 4th highest ranking hand is the Full House. If your opponent also held Quads but they had four 10's or four Jack's. then it is the highest ranking three of a kind that holds the most clout. your hand shows that you hold 7-7-10-10-10. This hand is made up of a Pair and a Three of a Kind. in Texas Hold 'em there is no suit hierarchy. GlLYy In the example above you hold four Queens in your hand. you need to hold a hand where four of the cards are of the same rank. they held four King's you would lose the hand. Remember. As the name suggests. If your opponent held 6-6-J-J-J then their hand would beat . also known as Quads. then you would beat them.

If your opponent also holds a Flush and the highest card in their hand ranks the same as yours. FLUSH Being the 5th highest ranking hand in poker. . An example of your hand. then the next highest card in the hand would determine the winner. the Ace can be considered high (10-J-Q-K-A) or low (A-2-3-4-5). The King is the highest ranking card. then they would win the hand as their 8 is higher than your 7. and so on. STRAIGHT The Straight is the 6th highest ranking hand and consists of five cards of sequential value but not of the same suit. However. followed by the Jack and 9. cgikm The hand ranking itself is determined by the highest card in the hand.28 | P OKER H ANDS yours. When making a straight from your hand. then your hand would beat theirs. if they held Q-Q-8-8-8. in both hands therefore it is the next highest ranking card that determines the winner. If your opponent held 2-8-9-J-K. is 3-7-9-J-K. the Flush consists of all five cards in your hand being of the same suit but do not run in sequence. shown above.

This is where your hand consists of two pairs of cards where each pair is of equal rank. the strength of the hand is determined by the rank of the three matching cards. but would be beaten by 2-5-Q-Q-Q.P OKER H ANDS | 29 AbPqE The winning hand is determined by the highest card in the straight. TWO PAIR Ranking 8th in the top ten poker hands and third from the bottom is Two Pair. Here you hold 3-7-J-J-J which would beat 2-5-9-9-9. Therefore a 7-8-9-10-J (a Jack-high Straight) beats 6-7-8-9-10 (a Ten-high Straight). . the Three of a Kind is the 7th highest ranking hand in poker. THREE OF A KIND Also known as a Set or Trips. you need three cards of the same value in order to make this hand. As the hand suggests. CtkKx As you would suspect.

The Queen would be the Kicker. is referred to as the Kicker and is used to determine the winning hand if your opponent also holds two pair which match yours. is determined by the highest ranking pair. . eGmuU If your opponent also holds a Pair. known as a Kicker. so an A-A would beat a K-K. The highest ranking pair determines who wins the hand. where their Two Pair matches yours. PAIR Second from last in the poker hand list of fame is the Pair. so a 4-5-5-Q-Q would be beaten by your hand shown here of Q-6-6-K-K. In the event that your opponent holds the same ranking Pair as you hold. then the winning hand is determined by the next highest ranking card in your hand. although not counted as part of the hand. then the highest ranking hand. as you would suspect. then you would win the hand as their 4 Kicker is lower than your Queen. If your opponent held 46-6-K-K.30 | P OKER H ANDS lsSmz The fifth card. This is where you hold two cards in your hand which are of the same rank.

INCREASING YOUR SKILLS Now is the time to get your basic skills up to scratch. If your opponent holds a King or an Ace. This occurs when you cannot make any other hand.P OKER H ANDS | 31 HIGH CARD The lowest ranking hand is the High Card hand. LEARN TO IDENTIFY POSSIBLE POKER HANDS One of the main things that was difficult for me when learning to play poker. I created a simple method that was extremely effective at helping me learn my poker hands fast. Within a couple of hours of using . In this example. but it would not be determined very good strategy to attempt to play this type of hand as it would be pot-luck as to whether you would succeed at winning the hand. was being able to identify poker hands and learning which hand beats another. bgIxY It has been known. The highest ranking hand is ultimately determined by the highest card that you hold in your hand. then they would beat your hand. So there you have it! Learn these hands and become efficient at quickly recognising them. you hold a Queen as your High Card. There is nothing worse than feeling pressured whilst trying to identify a poker hand quickly and nothing more embarrassing than cards flying all over the place when it's your turn to shuffle and deal.

When arranging the cards like this. BASIC METHOD 1. in order to familiarise yourself with the different hands and which hand is higher in the hierarchy. 5. by first dealing two cards close to you. Take your time in trying to determine which is the best hand. representing your hole cards and then dealing out the five community cards towards the centre of the table. you can progress to the more advanced method. The final step in this technique is to deal out all of the cards face-down. Over a short period of time. Look at your hole cards to see which ones you hold and place them back on the table face-down. 4. 6. that you would be able to make out of five of the cards that lay before you. quickly and accurately. where you have the two hole cards near to you. if any. Next turn over the first three cards to the left of the .32 | P OKER H ANDS this technique. the better you become. 7. deal out seven cards from left to right face up. you will find that you can increase your speed and identify which hands you would be able to make. Thoroughly shuffle a deck of cards. 3. Gather up the cards and place them in a pile to the side. From the top of the deck. As with any skill. 2. you start to get used to the way the hands look in Texas Hold 'em. the two pocket cards and the five community cards. the more you practice. and the five community cards separated from them. ADVANCED METHOD Once you have gained familiarity with identifying poker hands using the Basic Method. you will be able to identify winning (and losing) hands. Look through the poker hands at the beginning of this chapter again. as well as recognise both the correct name for the hand and it's position in the hand hierarchy. Repeat the process from step 3 until you have less than seven cards left in the pack. This method gets you used to making poker hands in Texas Hold 'em.

Riffle Shuffle and the Strip Shuffle. Carry on simulating a Hold 'em game. the Turn and again seeing if you can improve on your hand. turn over the River. the final community card and see what the best hand is that you can make with all seven cards. LEARN TO SHUFFLE An important basic skill when playing poker is the ability to shuffle a deck of cards without them ending up all over the table and on the floor. The other common shuffles used in Poker are the Wash and Go and the Strip and Cut. you will be able to shuffle. Demonstrations of these can easily be found on the worldwide web. Finally. pick up a book on card tricks where it will explain basic Card Handling technique (You will also be able to learn some cool magic tricks and be life and soul of any party!). Remember. only look at your hole cards if you really cannot remember them. Only looking at your pocket cards if you really have to.P OKER H ANDS | 33 community cards. and master your technique until it is faultless. you can then progress to the Hindu Shuffle. To find out how to perform the overhand shuffle and many other varieties. . by turning over the fourth community card. as well as keep all of the cards together in the deck. Steer clear of flashy shuffles. These represent the Flop. as in a real game it will be identified as a Tell (more about those later). Good shuffle technique is worth learning well. Weave Shuffle. It is simple to do and the more you practice the easier and faster. see if you can determine some possible hands that you can make with your two pocket cards and the three community that you have just turned over on the Board. There are a variety of ways to learn to shuffle and the most common one is the Overhand Shuffle. at least to begin with. but work towards never having to glance at the cards in the pocket a second time. or do a Web search on Google for “how to shuffle cards”. Once you are adept at the Overhand shuffle.

crack open a extra large Pepsi and start to pay attention to the cards that are drawn. “FEEL IT” AT THE PARTY POKER ROOMS RECENT POLLS FOUND THAT PARTY POKER PLAYERS HAVE AN EASIER CHANCE OF WINNING THAN IN ANY OTHER ONLINE POKER ROOM. the community cards appear in sequence. turn and river.casinogamehub. These games can get fairly fast and you may struggle at first to keep up. CLAIM YOUR EXCLUSIVE CASINO GAME HUB BONUS – 100% BONUS ON YOUR FIRST DEPOSIT (UP TO $500 & WHEN DEPOSITING $25 OR MORE)* BY VISITING: www. make some popcorn. you will find that you are reading the cards like a pro in no time flat. Consistency is the key here and if you keep with it and persist. You will generally find that the pocket cards of the players that haven't folded are displayed on the screen. PARTY POKER'S HOTTEST AND LATEST GAMES. allowing you to quickly work out which hand is more likely to win.com/holdembook/partypoker * OFFERS MAY VARY OR BE DISCONTINUED WITHOUT PRIOR NOTICE AT ANY TIME LEARN POKER BY PLAYING IN FREE TOURNAMENTS AND TAKE PART IN ONE OF . As the game progresses.34 | P OKER H ANDS WATCH POKER ON TV The last task in this section is to watch the telly! Find yourself a few poker tournaments to watch on the box. At this stage you do not need to concentrate on who's betting what and which strategies are being used. all you need to do is look at the players pocket cards and then get used to making potential hands when you see the flop.

we must discuss some very basic strategy. you will need to consider how you will progress with your game after you have seen the Flop. or whether you will fold.5 Basic Strategy B efore we can walk through a few hands of a typical Texas Hold 'em game. This means that you will have a set of rules that you keep to with regard to the cards that you are holding. that once learned will allow you to follow along with any basic game of Hold 'em. you are playing hands that are highly likely to win. TIGHT OR LOOSE? When you are said to be playing a Tight game of poker. it stands to reason that you need to know how to make the right decision before parting with your hard-earned money. Seeing as you only get dealt two cards prior to the first round of betting. For now let's just continue to concentrate on the structure of Texas Hold 'em poker and the base information that we need to play. We shall keep to teaching extremely basic decisionmaking strategy as it applies to the typical game flow of a simple no-frills game. as well as the Turn and the River. Playing a tight game can increase your chances of winning over time and you are less likely to consider taking chances. Winning strategies are not discussed in this chapter and will be covered later in the book. Similarly. that will determine whether or not you continue to play that hand. Playing a Loose game is the exact opposite of playing a .

For the purpose of this book we shall stick to playing a tight game. your Position. It means that you are more likely to take chances that the cards you require will turn up on the Board at some stage and that you will seriously consider playing hands that have an outside chance of winning. it is a good bet (pardon the pun!) to stick to the basic strategy of determining whether or not the cards that you have in the hole are playable. how other players have acted towards their own hands and whether or not you are playing on the Button all have a part to play. It all comes down to experience when deciding how you are going to play each hand. WHAT'S IN YOUR POCKET? There are numerous things to take into consideration when determining the strength of your two pocket cards. at other times they may play their hand fairly tight if that is how the game needs to be played.36 | B ASIC S TRATEGY tight one. playing a loose game means that you are relying on luck much more than strategy. Where you are seated at the table. We have to start somewhere and so will leave the more advanced strategies until a little later on and concentrate on the very basics of how you can determine whether or not your pocket cards have the potential to make a quality hand that is worthy of betting on. you will be able to make informed decisions about how to play your game. the type of game that you decide to play can vary not only game to game. which is the best method for those who are just starting out playing poker. Although any method of gambling includes some element of luck. but also hand to hand. When learning how to play Hold 'em. Experienced poker players may at times play an extremely loose hand if they believe that they can bluff their opponent into believing that they hold a potentially winning hand. With a Tight game being at one end of the scale and a Loose game at the other. or whether you would do better to fold . As your experience grows.

Kings and Queens are the higher value pairs. Ace's (Pocket Rockets). Ace with a High Kicker AM al nk This combination is always a good hand to hold and the . 10's and 9's are more commonly classed as medium-value pairs.B ASIC S TRATEGY | 37 (otherwise known as 'mucking your hand'). but for the time being at least. Although Jack's and 10's could be included here. There are no hard and fast rules and as your experience grows you will find your own judgement. If they do and they didn't raise before the flop. Strong starting hands. King or Queen). whilst Jack's. If you hold a medium value pair and a high-value card appears in the flop (such as an Ace. keep an eye on your opponents to see if they raise the bet. Medium-Strength starting hands and those that may be considered as Other playable starting hands. but are more commonly medium pairs rather than high-pairs. it is likely that they hold another high card and have made a pair. Anything below this are of low value. Let's start by looking at some of the Strongest starting hands that you may come across. your pocket cards can be placed into three different groups depending on their strength. Pocket Cards – Strongest Starting Hands Pair of High Cards Aa Mz lL A high-pair is always a good combination to hold and can always be converted on the flop into Trips.

Next we will look at some medium-strength hands that have the potential to become strong as the game unfolds. but it's worth holding. although things can change very quickly in Hold 'em. but you need to consider what your opponent may hold as A-Q will beat your hand. If you hold K-Q and you flop a King. then you need 10♦ for a Royal Flush on the turn or the river. If you are dealt any of the above hands. If the cards are suited and you are holding A♦-K♦ and the flop pulls a Q♦-J♦-2♠. turn and river. . Similarly. if you draw an Ace in the flop. then you will be holding A-A-K. but possible. When the cards are suited. You may more commonly see as straight appear on the flop. A-K-K. then there is no question that the odds of making an even better hand on the flop are good.38 | B ASIC S TRATEGY Pocket Cards – Strongest Starting Hands higher the Kicker the better. then you will be holding a top pair with the highest possible kicker. Holding an A-J or A-10 is still a good hand. then you always have the chance of getting an Ace-high Flush with any other diamond. then you will hold a high Pair with a Queen Kicker. If your 10♦ does not appear. If you are holding A-K and there is another King in the flop. which is the top pair with the highest kicker. Face Cards Suited zy mk YX If you hold a pair of face cards. the you will probably be looking to make a high Pair on the flop. making a high-card Flush or Royal Flush is a long shot. This may not necessary be as good as a pair of Queens with a King kicker. It almost seems like a win-win situation.

but not impossible. holding a medium-strength pair can produce a much stronger hand if the flop turns them into Trips. this combination can produce a winning hand. These will be beaten by a similar pair with a higher kicker. The value of these cards are not so low as to be able to produce a Jack. or King-high Straight or a Flush if suited. . Medium-Strength Pairs Ii uU TG If you hold a pair of 9's. then you may not have the best hand but it may be able to be improved if you flop a high-card pair. Queen. However. and if unsuited are not too far apart to bring about a Straight. Flopping another face card that matches will give you a high-card pair with a 10 Kicker if you hold a King or a Queen. although it may be likely that your opponent could hold a higher pair. Flopping a lower pair will make the hand fairly weak and chances of producing a winning hand will be slim. When suited can be built to a Royal Flush or a Flush.B ASIC S TRATEGY | 39 Pocket Cards – Medium-Strength Starting Hands Face Card with a Ten Suited JM jl wx Obviously not as good as a a pair of suited face cards. 8's or 7's.

. Do not be tempted to hold on to your hand if it contains an Ace or King and the flop doesn't further improve your hand. If you hold Q-10 and flop another Queen. Medium Connectors Suited xw ji WU IH → down to → TR Connectors are cards that are close in value and are capable of producing a Straight on the flop. even J-J. or a high Straight or Flush if suited. then your pair is much weaker and will be beaten by a stronger pair. If you flop a 10 instead of a Queen. then you will hold a High Pair with a 10 Kicker.40 | B ASIC S TRATEGY Pocket Cards – Medium-Strength Starting Hands High Cards Ay aX nj mL zk Mj yX YJ kW Having two high-value cards in the hole can certainly be improved upon to a strong Pair or Trips with a high Kicker.

but are not very strong hands to start with so you may want to play with caution or decide that you don't really want to play this type of hand until your experience level increases. Finally. low card pairs have the potential to be made into Trips on the flop. Ace with a Low Kicker Suited AF ae nq NP ab . then don't be afraid to muck your hand swiftly. Pocket Cards – Other Starting Hands Low Pairs Ff rR Qd cp Bo Not regarded as a very powerful hand. Let it go if the hand is not improved by the flop. there are some other hands that you may wish to consider. making them stronger than a high-pair.B ASIC S TRATEGY | 41 Pocket Cards – Medium-Strength Starting Hands Play with these hands carefully and if the flop doesn't improve things.

it may be possible to complete the flush either on the flop. However. or if it is suspected that your opponent has a stronger hand. have the potential to become a Flush and can win the pot. turn or the river. could be the Nuts. the worse the position. the odds are not very strong in seeing another three cards of the same suit appearing on the board. Being close together in value. This is known as Drawing Hands as you need to Draw a series of cards in order to improve on your hand. This is because the action on the betting rounds goes .42 | B ASIC S TRATEGY Pocket Cards – Other Starting Hands An Ace with a low card suited has the potential of becoming an Ace-high Flush. It would be best to fold the hand if it is not improved on the flop. The closer to the left of the dealer you are. the better. Low Connectors Suited FE fd rq RP Low hole cards that are suited. which is the top flush and depending on the other cards on the board. POSITION Your position around the table is an important factor when playing Hold 'em. whereas the closer to the right of the dealer. If you flop two or more cards of the same suit. getting a consecutive run of cards to make a Straight Flush would be more beneficial than a Flush on its own.

or late position. LATE POSITION When playing in the late position you have seen most other players act before you and are able to make a more educated decision or even play a risky hand. Seeing as the dealer is moved one place to the left for each hand. each player will take their turn in playing in each of these positions repeatedly during the course of an entire poker game. with the exception of the big blind being the last to act in the first betting round. THE BEST PLACE TO BE The best place to be is to play on the Button. When playing in this position. If you suspect that other players have a weaker hand than you do. The less players to act after you the better. clockwise and ends with the dealer (unless it's the first round of betting in which case the betting ends with the Big Blind). . you can raise the bet and see what their reactions are. Your position in any particular hand is referred to as either early.B ASIC S TRATEGY | 43 from the player to the dealers left. however the last player to act will be the dealer. All the other players have made their decisions and have either. the first four players to the dealers left would be playing in early position. for example. raised or folded. whilst the remaining three players would be considered to be playing in late position. players five to seven in mid-position. The dealer is in the best position of all and is said to be Playing on the Button due to the fact that this is where the Dealer button is located for that hand. you are last to act when deciding how to proceed with your hand. At a full table of ten players. they will possibly decide to fold and not call your raise. but are not quite sure. bet. mid. If their hand is not so strong and they were trying to bluff. checked.

You must base your decision on your position and if playing in early position. If your playing style for this game is tight (which is recommended while you are learning). then you will more than likely want to fold. K) which would preferably be suited. If you have decided that you will play a little on the loose side. BEFORE THE FLOP Now that you have some guidelines as to some of the better starting hands and the importance of your position. your strategy before the flop is relatively simple. Playing good quality hands in this position is always the best idea. then bet or call the previous players bet. Fold poor hands quickly and don't take any unnecessary risks. J. but others after you are still to act. then you may consider playing a lower hand such as a 7-8 as long as they are suited. It is wise to play only strong hands in this position as others will be looking to see how you decide to act. but it could be worth taking more of a risk on slightly weaker hands than you would when playing in early position. you may wish to play a much tighter hand than if you were in mid to late positions. if you determine that your hand is worth betting on. . When playing in mid-position you have seen others act before you. Q. especially if a lot of the players before you have mucked their hands. then you will probably only bet on your hand if you have something like a high pair or an ace with a high kicker (10. MID-POSITION Not an overly strong position to be in during the game. if you think it's a great hand then you may want to raise and if you have taken everything into consideration and decided that your hand is weak.44 | B ASIC S TRATEGY EARLY POSITION When playing in early position you will be one of the first to act. but not the weakest either.

but if this is not improved upon at all then the only option open to you is to muck your hand. THE FLOP HELPED A LITTLE If you held a moderate hand before the flop and the flop improved upon that hand. . It is both pointless and a waste of money to bet on a hand where the odds of it winning are poor. Of course there are more involved strategies that can help in making even better decisions and these will come with experience and your interest for the game. Your hole cards may have been fairly strong before the flop. before the action gets to you.B ASIC S TRATEGY | 45 AFTER THE FLOP This is where the main decision about what to do with your hand will be made. virtually worthless. it hasn't made a lot of difference or it's made what would be initially considered a good hand. At this stage we will only consider basic strategy that will become the building blocks to your future success. Either the flop has improved your hand. WHEN THE FLOP HASN'T HELPED If after the flop your hand has not been improved at all. fold your hand. This is where position really comes into play and being in late position will allow you to see what other players are doing. Things can turn around quickly once the first 3 community cards have been dealt and some basic strategy will help you decide what to do next. then only one decision can be made. then it may be worth considering betting.

the top pair with a highish kicker. If other players are betting then it's highly likely that they hold higher cards and the flop has been kinder to them than it has to you. You may want to bet on this hand as you think that the flop has been good to you. Use your opponents actions to decide how to proceed. or even a straight. then the flop will give them A-A-J. This meant that you had a chance to make a flush. The flopped Jack also gives you another card for your flush and it's in sequence to your hole cards for your anticipated straight.46 | B ASIC S TRATEGY ij hole cards nkI the flop Let's say that your pocket cards were 9♠-10♠. then your hand is already beat. But wait. If they have A-K or Pocket Rockets (A-A) in the hole. in which case it may be best to fold. You called to see the flop as you held a medium hand and they were also of the same suit. If one of your opponents already holds an Ace. . The flop produces A♣-J♠-9♦ and gives you a pair of 9's.

THE TURN Much of your main decision-making strategy has been done prior to and on the flop. then you have increased the strength of your hand. you will definitely want to call or raise and see the turn. You now hold top pair (A-A) with the highest kicker. Even if your opponent holds A-Q. you had A-K in the hole and you flopped A-7-Q. in particular a flush. The only difference is what each player has in the hole. then it's a . If a matching high-card is dealt that matches one in the flop that your opponent bet or even raised on. The thing that you have to keep in mind with cards in the flop. you've got a good chance at staying on top. you've got them beat at this stage and they may think their hand is strongest because they hold the top pair with a higher kicker also. In this situation. But your King is higher than their Queen. Unless they get another Queen on the turn or the river to give them two pair. is that they are community cards and everybody has the same cards.B ASIC S TRATEGY THE FLOP IMPROVED YOUR HAND | 47 aZ hole cards ngl the flop If before the flop. By the time it comes to the river you need to keep an eye open for a card which may increase your opponents chances of getting a winning hand.

There will always be a time for you when you need a specific card or suited card and as if by magic. You have been holding the best hand since the flop and after the turn.48 | B ASIC S TRATEGY good indicator that he could hold a Triple or even a Full House. Obviously. Winning using this method is known as winning by the Back-door and many a player has been tormented by their opponents luck as the card that they desperately needed shows up. it appears on the turn or the river. Keep an eye on how the other players are betting to get an indicator of what they may hold. your hand could easily be made stronger if a card that compliments your hand is dealt and so could your opponents. The river produces another Queen. THE RIVER Much like the turn. Q-Q-Q and has won the hand. Say you are holding K-K and your opponent has Q-Q in the pocket. you will learn to recognise when someone is playing a bluff. so now your opponent is holding trips. By knowing your opponent and watching how they play during the game. . by the time the River card is dealt you should have your hand. The other option of course is that they are bluffing and are wanting you to believe that they hold a higher hand than they actually do. There's nothing that can be done about this and you just need to chalk it up to experience. winning you the pot.

. the small blind at this stage of the hand is set at $10. We are playing a $20-$40 limit game.6 A Typical Game Y ou should now have a basic understanding of Texas Hold 'em Game Play and are a little more familiar with the various poker hands. This is who the professional dealer is dealing on behalf of. In this chapter we will expand on what we already know about the way the game is played and follow our five players through a hand of poker. The professional dealer places the Dealer Button in front of this player. so we can now move on to an example of the way a typical Texas Hold 'em poker game might flow. so that all players know who is the active Dealer. which means that the lower betting limit is $20 and the higher limit is $40. THE BLINDS The player to the left of the button pays the Small Blind into the pot by pushing his chips towards the centre of the table. We have a professional dealer to deal our cards for us as this will be the way that it is laid out both at a casino and when playing online. Being half of the lower betting limit. LET'S PLAY Our five players are seated at the table and ready to play. The person to the immediate left of the professional dealer is the Dealer.

Once each person at the table has been the dealer. This will be the Burn Pile. or hole. Starting from the same player as before (to the immediate left of the button) another card is dealt to each player giving them their two pocket. Moving in a clockwise direction. DEALING THE POCKET CARDS The professional dealer shuffles the cards and then takes the top card and places it face down on the table next to them. The first player to be dealt their first pocket card is the player to the immediate left of the Button. Let's have a look at what each of our five players has in the hole. cards. Now that the small blind and the big blind has been paid. Being an amount exactly equal to the lower betting limit. ..50 | A T YPICAL G AME It is the player to the left of the small blind that is responsible in paying the Big Blind. Remember that the Blinds are forced bets and must be paid. the first round of betting takes place. all players would have had their turn in playing the blinds. Nobody is allowed to see these at any stage during the game.. each player is dealt their first pocket card. The pot currently holds $30. this player pushes their $20 worth of chips towards the centre of the table and into the pot.

the betting rounds can now commence. Player 4 has been dealt A♦-J♣. He will be looking for another Jack to make a pair with a high-kicker. This is a good hand and it could be that another player holds A-Q or A-K and wants to see what the flop brings to his hand. a high card with a high kicker. or another Ace to give him .A T YPICAL G AME | 51 Player's Hole Cards uv TL DM Ax OG player 1 (on the button) player 2 player 3 player 4 player 5 Now that all the players have their pocket cards. Player 1 is playing on the button and player's 2 & 3 have paid the blinds. FIRST BETTING ROUND The betting Action for the first round of betting starts with player 4.

the lower 7 is too low for a kicker if another Queen is dealt on the flop and is too far away from the Queen to make a straight. These medium cards are suited and in sequence. There was no previous bet as he was first to act after the big blind. meaning that if the flop produces more of the same suit then she will have a good chance of making a flush. At the end of the first betting round the pot total is $150. plus the raise. Player 5's pocket cards of 2♥-7♦ are not up to much so he announces that he is folding by saying “fold”. and pushes his cards. The raise amount is the lower betting limit amount and so he pushes his $40 ($20 bet plus $20 raise) towards the centre of the table and states that he is raising by saying “Raise $20”. They can now see the Flop. Being in sequence also brings the possibility of a straight.52 | A T YPICAL G AME top pair with a medium kicker. Player 2 holds 7♥-Q♦ as their pocket cards and although the Queen is a high card. The cards are unsuited so a flush is out of the question. not even the dealer. but seeing as the cards are suited. She decides to call and pushes $40 in chips towards the centre of the table saying “call” ($40 is now the lower bet amount having previously been raised by Player 4). All players have placed their bets and all bets are equalised meaning that each player has put the same amount of chips in the pot. They fold. therefore he has to place the same amount as the big blind into the pot. Playing in early position he is fairly confident that his hand may stand a good chance and he raises. She has 8♣-9♣ in the pocket. He calls to see the flop and has to place a bet equal to the previous bet. The bet amount is now $40. face-down towards the dealer. The dealer takes these cards and places them on the burn pile. Player 3 holds K♦-4♦. he fancies his chances in hitting another King or more of the same suit on the flop. He pushes $40 of chips towards the centre of the table. then player 3 may have indeed folded similar to Player 2. The action now moves to Player 1 who is playing on the button. a high card with a low kicker. If they were of a different suit. . At no stage are these cards shown to anyone.

The deck is put aside and the three cards turned face-up and spread out side-by-side. Let's take a look at the cards in the flop. . The flop is the first of the three community cards to be seen by the players and it is where hands are either made. This is The Flop. Three cards are dealt face down on top of each other on the table.A T YPICAL G AME | 53 THE FLOP The dealer takes the deck and burns the top card. or broken.. The Flop & Remaining Player's Hole Cards aXK uv DM Ax The Flop player 1 (on the button) player 3 player 4 The flop has given the players A ♠-J♥-J♦. together with the hands of our remaining players. Remember that these cards belong to all players and this needs to be taken into consideration when betting.. placing it on the burn pile.

Seeing as only two players remain. in this case Player 3. The pot currently holds $230 by the end of this round. to the right of the flop. At this stage. let's see the community cards and our remaining players hands. They need two more diamonds to make a flush. He is extremely confident that he has a winning hand and raises. then they will have a high pair with a high kicker. THE TURN Once again. into the pot.. Player 4 has had an extremely good flop and now holds a Full House A-A-J-J-J. the lower bet amount. Player 3 has bet $20 and Player 4 has bet $40.. Another diamond also appears in the flop. Both players have now placed the same amount into the pot to see the Turn card. Player 1's hand has not been improved at all by the flop and folds. placing it on to the burn pile. They also think that it's possible for another player to hold Ace with a high card giving them top pair with a high kicker.54 | A T YPICAL G AME SECOND BETTING ROUND For this and for all subsequent betting rounds. the dealer takes the deck and burns the top card. The next card is taken from the top of the deck and dealt face up onto the board. Player 3 decides that he has quite a strong hand and calls. betting starts with the first player to the immediate left of the button. Only a higher full house. . Although not brilliant. Player 3's hand has been improved by the flop giving them and A-K. The bets need to be equalised to see the Turn and so the action goes around the table a second time. This is The Turn and is the fourth community card to be dealt. Once again. four-of-akind or a flush can beat him. placing $20 into the pot to equalise the bets. putting $40 into the pot. Player 3 decides to call and places $20 of chips. if the Turn or the River pulls another Ace or King. the action goes to Player 3.

. in this case $40. He decides to raise and puts $80 into the pot ($40 bet plus $40 raise. the bet amount now increases to the higher limit. Player 3 is again first to act. Of the two players left in the game. which may come on the River. although Player 3's raise has made him wonder if his opponent holds K-K which would give them a higher fullhouse if the River saw another King.A T YPICAL G AME | 55 The Turn & Remaining Player's Hole Cards aXKm DM Ax player 3 player 4 The Turn For this hand the Turn card is K♠. He decides to play safe and just calls. high pair with a top kicker. He could do with another Ace or King on the board. The raise amount is also $40. From this betting round onwards. THIRD BETTING ROUND The third round of betting now takes place and the players are now playing Heads-Up (One on One). seeing as the bet amounts have now increased). Player 4 has not improved his hand but still holds a full house and is confident that he still holds the winning hand. Player 3 gets what he hoped for in the turn and now holds his best hand of K-K-A. placing his $80 into the pot.

His hand has been much improved by the River and he now holds two top pair. He will definitely play his hand. the dealer burns the top card from the remaining deck. . A-A-KK. The next card is dealt face up onto the board to the right of the other community cards. bets are equalised and the final card can now be dealt. THE FOURTH BETTING ROUND The fourth betting round now begins and is the final round before the Showdown. It's Player 3 to bet first. The River & Remaining Player's Hole Cards aXKmn DM Ax player 3 player 4 The River For this hand the River card is A♣.56 | A T YPICAL G AME Once again. the strongest of which will take the pot. This is The River. The pot amount now stands at $390. but doesn't want to come across over eager and wants to see how his opponent acts. THE RIVER Just as before. Players must bet on the strength of their hands.

The Button is moved one player to the left and this player now becomes the effective dealer. He calls and places $40 into the pot. Player 3 thinks that Player 4 could hold a good hand but maybe not as good as his top two pair as they haven't raised. If he does hold the other ace. The winner's pot now stands at $550. Dealing will start with the player immediately to the left. THE SHOWDOWN Now that all the bets have been placed it's time for the players to show their hands. Everything moves one player to the left. which is thoroughly shuffled ready for the next hand. The dealer pushes the pot towards the winner who rakes in the chips. He raises and places $80 into the pot. Player 4 calls and his $40 equalises the bets. The player with the winning hand claims the pot. . Whereas he previously held A-A-J-J-J he now holds A-A-A-J-J much improving his hand. Player 4 holds the best hand with A♠-A♣-A♦-J♣-J♥ and wins the $550 pot with his Full house.A T YPICAL G AME | 57 He checks and knocks on the table and says “check” to indicate this. THE NEXT HAND All the cards from the previous hand are collected and added to the deck. much to the disbelief of Player 3 who thought he held the best hand of A♠-A♣-K♦-K♠. This is the Showdown. Player 4's full house has changed on the turn. which could be unlikely seeing as the other 3 have already been dealt. Each player turns their cards over on the table so that each player can see what their opponents hold as their pocket cards and determine the winning hand. He doesn't place any chips in the pot. that still wouldn't beat his full house. He thinks that his opponent has pulled a good hand with the turn.

GET PLAYING AT PACIFIC POKER 888 IS ONE OF THE WORLD'S LARGEST COMMUNITIES ON THE INTERNET. GET STARTED NOW WITH CASINO GAME HUB AT: www. while the player who paid the Big Blind in the last hand this time pays the Small Blind and the player to their left now pays the Big Blind.com/holdembook/pacificpoker .casinogamehub.58 | A T YPICAL G AME The player who paid the Small Blind in the last hand does not need to pay any blinds this time. WHY NOT TRY YOUR HAND AT THE PACIFIC POKER “BEGINNERS TABLES” AND LEARN TO INCREASE YOUR SKILLS AT THE “INTERACTIVE POKER SCHOOL”? TAKE PART IN ONE OF THE CURRENT POKER GAMING TOURNAMENT PROMOTIONS OR CREATE A PRIVATE TOURNAMENT WITH YOUR FRIENDS.

. Once the bets have been equalised. at your opponents cost. Let's now look a little closer at some of the things that you will need to be aware of in the betting rounds. due to the fact that the pot may already be won long before the showdown. in no time.7 Betting N ow that you have got a good idea of how a typical Texas Hold 'em game unfolds. or intervals that are available to us during each hand of Hold 'em. there are four betting rounds. MAXIMUM NUMBER OF RAISES So that things do not get out of control and players with large stacks of chips do not bully players with fewer chips. We will also cover some basic betting strategy that may benefit you in your game. It is likely that we will not always see all of the betting rounds. there is a maximum limit of raises per betting round. This is usually set to three and once this limit has been reached the only options left to the players is to call or to fold. the next community card(s) can be dealt or the showdown can commence. BETTING POINTS OF INTEREST As we have seen. let's take a closer look at how betting works and some of the options available to you during a game. At times you will be low on chips and a good betting strategy will have you replenishing your chip stack.

Player B calls with $100. Player B wins the pot. For example: Player A bets $100. as he would not have put as much in as the other players. In this instance a separate pot is created that will hold the difference. This is called a side pot. Player C only has $50 and calls. . In tournaments. he will receive the contents of the pot and the side pot will be given back to Player A and Player B. Therefore if Player C wins the pot. before you join the game. In this instance Player C's $50 bet is placed in the pot. it would not be fair to allow that player to play that hand and win the contents of the pot. but only Player A and Player B can win the side-pot. the increase in blind payments may change each hour. plus the contents of the side-pot as he has an interest in both pots. If a player has not got any of his money in a pot. but only players who have put the correct amount of money in each pot. BLIND INCREASES During the course of a game. blind increases are made. Ensure that you check which type of game you are thinking about playing and when. All players can win the main pot. Not all Hold 'em poker games are subject to blind increases. then he will not have claim on that pot. then he will receive the contents of the main pot. you may find that the blinds are increased every so often.60 | B ETTING SIDE POTS If a player does not have enough chips to call. This is meant to speed up the game. The main pot now contains $150 ($50 for each player) and the side pot contains $100 ($50 belonging to Player A and $50 belonging to Player B). online every 15 minutes or so. if any. It may be necessary to create multiple side-pots in a game. If however. Another side pot is then created and the difference between Player C's bet and the other two players bets. will be able to claim them. are removed from the main pot and placed in the side pot.

to improve your chip-stack in order to play an opponent with a big stack or maybe just to win. However. .. before the flop. Whatever your reason. STRONG HAND If you hold an excellent hand in early position. either to replenish your chips. GENERAL BETTING STRATEGY Before we get on to the more deceitful betting options. These basic considerations are extremely beneficial and can put you in a good position for the game. from time to time there may be a need to look a little closer at betting more strategically. This will drive out players that hold draw hands and generally cause them to fold.B ETTING STRATEGIC BETTING | 61 If everybody was honest and only placed bets according to their hand. K-K or A-K suited. such as A-A. if you are in middle position and somebody after you raises. MIDDLE & LATE POSITIONS If you hold a strong hand and are in the middle or late positions. then unless they are bluffing it is likely that their hand beats you and you need to be on your guard. then you should consider raising and even re-raising. then you may look to raise if none of the players before you have raised. When learning to play Texas Hold 'em this is what you should do while you are building your experience in the game. However. then players would fold when they had a bad hand. bet when they had a moderate hand and raise when they had a good hand. there are a few tactics that can be used to make your game play a bit more flexible and to give you the advantage that you otherwise may not have had. let's discuss good general betting strategy.

but may give you a slight advantage against a player with a larger stack. in order to attempt to see the flop as cheaply as possible.62 | B ETTING BLIND-STEALING Blind-Stealing can be used to increase the number of chips that you hold. Some players may fold. By betting it is possible that the players who checked to you held a lesser hand and were trying to see the flop for free. you are the last player to act and all players before you have checked. if you were to bet then it would be known as a Steal-Raise. If you were to call rather than raise. When you are playing on the button and only you and the players who have paid the small and big blinds remain in the game. It is possible that one of the other players that previously checked actually holds a good quality hand. Be careful when using this tactic. You are basically trying to get both of the blinds to fold. When you raise. they now have to match that bet by calling. This tactic can also be used as a way to end the hand quickly. If your intention is to bet in order to take the pot. if you were to raise you would be seen to be attempting to steal the blinds. it is possible that the blinds would also just call. STEAL-RAISE If in a hand. CHECK-RAISE The Check-Raise tactic is used to increase the size of the pot and to deceive your opponent into thinking that you do not . you are basically stating that you have a strong hand (even if you have a poor hand) and that if the blinds do not. decreasing the competition and some players may call increasing the size of the pot. then they should consider folding. By placing a bet. use this tactic when you have a good drawing hand (such a nut flush draw). It will almost never make you rich. raising or folding. Therefore. This would mean that you would claim the pot.

by checking.casinogamehub. When playing in early position and the first player to act. This tactic is best used with fewer players in the hand. WIN BIG JACKPOT PRIZES! OVER $3. the Opener will see players folding more often than not. the player immediately raises.8 MILLION IN GUARANTEED TOURNAMENTS EACH AND EVERY MONTH! WHETHER YOU JUST WANT TO RELAX & GET TOGETHER WITH OTHER PLAYERS IN THE “POKER LOUNGE”. THIS IS CERTAINLY THE PLACE TO BE! START PLAYING WITH CASINO GAME HUB NOW AT www. LEARN “CHIP TRICKS” OR PLAN TO WIN ENTRY INTO A WORLD POKER EVENT. Seeing as he has already committed one bet to his hand.B ETTING | 63 hold a strong hand. This forces each player to pay a double bet (bet amount plus the raise amount) in order to stay in the hand. THE OPENER This tactic is used by players that tend to bluff frequently. therefore forcing him to bet.com/holdembook/littlewoodspoker . You then raise his bet. Unless a player holds a strong hand or is also an aggressive player. it is likely that he will match the raise by calling.

64 | B ETTING .

With these types of tournaments there is more than one winner. These tournaments have appeared out of the online poker community and have a large variety of game levels available to play. then you have probably been exposed to the concept of Sit & Go tournaments. more commonly referred to as Sit & Go's. Sit & Go's will generally start with around ten players and players are eliminated one by one and cannot be replaced by another player as they can be in some multi-table games. with the exception that there is more than one overall winner. 30% for second and 20% for third. It's like playing at the final table in a multi-table poker tournament and tends to be much shorter than a full-blown . second and third position which dictates their winnings. Each of the remaining players then battles it out for first. BASIC OVERVIEW If you have ever been involved with a poker tournament run by your local pub. usually 50% of the prize fund for first place. These are typically the last three players left at the table. These tournaments are played similar to a typical game of poker that you may play at home with friends and family. are the next stop on your journey to Texas Hold 'em poker fame.8 Single Table Tournaments S ingle table tournaments. It is though the obvious place to start as there is a chance of coming away with more money then you started with and is a great place to build on your skills.

as you get to the higher levels you will be competing with experienced and highly skilled poker players! You can expect to see a return of around 20% or so. These games tend to be convenient and fun and there doesn't have to be a lot of money at stake. without your family and friends learning your strategies as you go. then you would need a minimum of $200 in order to play. It is important to remember to play at a level that you are comfortable with and even more important to enjoy playing at that level. Be warned though. these are the ideal way to increase your knowledge and experience. It's therefore a good strategy to start with the lowest games and progress your way up through the levels. For instance. The excellent thing . Therefore it's a great place to learn more about poker and to hone your newly acquired skills. give or take. Practising online is an ideal way to become more proficient at poker whilst learning to play a higher game. In no time soon you will be raking in their hardearned cash on get together poker nights! ONLINE GAME LEVELS You can find different game levels in the online poker rooms varying upwards from $5 games. if you were playing a low-level $5 game and after a period of time decided that you would like to play the $10 game. It's pointless playing at the higher levels and repeatedly losing and it's certainly not an enjoyable way to spend your time. while taking home some winnings in the process. You need to be able to 'buy in' to the game and will generally need around twenty times the buy in amount in order to progress to higher level games.66 | S INGLE T ABLE T OURNAMENTS poker tournament. almost for pocket change. on your investment (if you could call it an investment) on average regardless of which game you play and you should expect to rise up to the next level for every 100-150 successful games won. If you only have an hour or so to spare.

If you have learnt to play a good game of Hold 'em and you do not get carried away with your emotions too easily. rather than the usual three. the game tends to be much faster. or less serious players. Seeing as there are a smaller number of players to begin with. These games are cheap to buy in to and the players that frequent these games are usually either beginners. When starting you just need to stick with the standard Sit & Go and steer clear of these other variations. SIT & GO STRATEGY So what is the strategy for playing Sit & Go's? To begin with . As a result.S INGLE T ABLE T OURNAMENTS | 67 about playing Sit & Go's online is that if you have lost a couple of higher level games and your account looks a little low. You may like to have a go at this type of game when you feel that you have more experience and are able to win the standard Sit & Go's fairly frequently. Another variation of the Sit & Go is a game with fewer players. This is something to have a go at when you become a Hold 'em expert and have learnt the different strategies involved in playing this type of game. but the blinds are raised at a quicker rate. then you will be playing the higher level games in no time at all. but as you progress you may want to try some of the other styles. Either way their strategy is not usually very good and if you play a good Sit & Go strategy. it is usual that only the final two players have a claim to a percentage of the pot. There are games that have a full compliment of players. GAME TYPES There are various types of Sit & Go games available to play online and they are all different. you can drop to the smaller games and recoup your loses and build up your experience & confidence before going on once again to the higher levels. then you should have no problems playing the lower level games. You will also see some games that only have two players that are playing Heads-Up.

Q-Q or A-K then you will play the hand. while playing a strategy that will keep you in the game and see you playing in the final three. K-K or Q-Q then you would be best to play a bit more on the aggressive side and re-raise. As your experience grows. STAGE 1 – PLAY TIGHT At the start of the game the blinds are low and there are a high number of players in the game. otherwise you will fold. At this point you need to play an extremely tight game for two core reasons. TIGHT STRATEGY If you are holding any pair from 2-2 upwards to J-J in the hole. you are aiming to be playing in the final three) and b) So that you get a reputation at the table of being a tight player which will help you later on in the game. If you've got A-K. Fold them immediately. If you hold A-A. then play the hand. If your pocket cards show any top pair. EVEN TIGHTER STRATEGY It may be that you wish to play an even tighter game during this stage of game play and another strategy is only to play the big hands. then you will be looking to play aggressively and look to re-raise any player that raises before the flop. it is not your intention to play too aggressively. Similarly. If you have anything else other than these hands do not be tempted to play them. you will see how other players seem to play these games and can enhance your strategy accordingly. Sit & Go strategy can get fairly complex but we shall keep it simple. K-K. Your intention is to hold on to your chip pile. gradually increase the amount of chips you hold. If on the flop you don't hit a pair. then it .68 | S INGLE T ABLE T OURNAMENTS at the start of the game. A-A. also play A-K and A-Q also. a) So that you do not waste chips playing looser hands unnecessarily (remember.

If they call. but for this stage of the game you need a different strategy. You are looking to push players with less chips than you out of the game by raising and re-raising or even going all-in in order to push them to fold. then you would be in a good position to go All-in if the opportunity allows. then they are out and you can claim their chips. then call. This also means that there are more chips for each remaining player. STAGE 2 – FIGHT FOR THE PRIZE FUND During the game the blinds will continually raise and players will get less and less as they are played off the table. the better position you will be in. (the term used for when there are only three players remaining in the game). Like all rules however. This stage will start when the amount that needs to be paid for the blinds is around 1/15th of your chips. then your strategy needs to change once again. You are looking to make either a Set or an Over Pair on the flop and if you make a set. then you will only call if you can do so for around 50 or so chips. You are now playing for one of the top three positions. If you are running short of chips though. There is no prize for any position lower than that. then be a bit more cautious before deciding whether or not going all-in would be wise. so you need to start playing a bit looser. so your opponents will expect you to keep playing in this way. If you get an over pair. If you hold a pocket pair (2-2 to J-J) and the cost for you to call is less than around a 1/15th of your total chips. SIZE DOES MATTER! The more chips that you have. you will need to . there are exceptions and there is one here that is determined by the amount of chips that you have in your stack. if you have 800 chips. You will be assisted by the fact that you have been playing a strict tight game up until now. When the Bubble bursts. then they must have a good hand.S INGLE T ABLE T OURNAMENTS | 69 may be better to fold. For example. but if they lose the hand to you.

Don't just look to 'Hang on in there' and accept third position. Now you need to step up a gear and play an aggressive game in order to play for a bigger slice of the pie. you can only gain. In effect you can't lose from now on. make sure that you are playing good hands and don't take a chance on playing outside hands. Q-Q and K-K or any of these with an Ace. Play a good quality. You can take advantage of this and look to increase your chips for the final stage. or even second. INCREASE YOUR CHIPS The closer you get to the final number of players to have a claim on the prize fund. but be satisfied in the knowledge that you are already a winner. in order to increase your chips. such as Blind-Stealing. You have everything to gain. you can be rest assured that you are going home with a share of the prize fund. You are looking to move all-in before the flop rather than attempt raising. In all of these cases though. so move forward and become more forceful. you will start in a good position with a big stack of chips. such as J-J. by frequently stealing blinds. Your main aim is to look to increase your slice by coming first. aggressive game and don't try to go up against players with more chips that you. STAGE 3 – FIGHT FOR POSITION Once you are in the final three. not wanting to be pushed out before qualifying for part of the money.70 | S INGLE T ABLE T OURNAMENTS look at different strategies to remain in the game. Going all-in with a small stack is really your only option. you may notice that players start to play really tight. unless you are really sure that you have a big hand. Play strong hands. Once the bubble bursts and your playing for the size of the prize. Play aggressive both before and after the flop and look to move all-in when your chips are getting low (as a guide this is usually around ten big blind payments). .

GET STARTED PLAYING SIT & GO TOURNAMENTS TODAY NOW THAT YOU KNOW WHAT SIT & GO'S ARE ALL ABOUT.casinogamehub.com/holdembook/fulltilt IN REAL TOURNAMENTS AND START WINNING WHILE YOU LEARN AND BUILD YOUR EXPERIENCE IN THESE . Look for patterns and plan your strike to claim the top prize.50 AND LOWER THERE IS NO REASON WHY NOT ENJOY PLAYING EXCITING GAMES! PLAY NOW BY VISITING FULL TILT POKER ONLINE AND GET YOUR CASINO GAME HUB BONUS AT: www.S INGLE T ABLE T OURNAMENTS HEAD'S UP | 71 When you are in the final two players and playing Heads Up then you need to push. Raising and re-raising will help here and the bigger your stack the better. WHY NOT KICK-START YOUR NEW SKILLS AND ENTER ON-LINE TOURNAMENTS FOR “PLAY MONEY” OR EVEN REAL MONEY AT FULL TILT POKER. WITH BUY-INS FOR $0.

72 | S INGLE T ABLE T OURNAMENTS .

As we have already covered in the Betting section in Chapter 7. On and after the turn card. It is important to choose a game that you are comfortable with and that suits your level of experience. this means that it is only possible to bet or raise the lower limit amount. increasing your funds as you go. the betting structure is limited so that players cannot get bullied by other players that hold large chip stacks.9 Types of Hold 'em Games T here is more that one variation of a Texas Hold 'em game that can be played. BETTING STRUCTURE When looking to play a limit game. Instead start at the lower end and work up. it's no good going for the higher limit games if your funds do not allow for it. Usually. It's no good entering a multi-table tournament with a large prize fund. the higher tier is used and . each of which has it's own set of strategies. When you play a limit game. In this chapter we shall cover some of the differences in play and strategy that you will come across when watching or playing these games. you need to choose one that in is your comfort zone. if you just started playing Hold 'em for the first time last week. limit games have both lower tier and higher tier limits specified. before and on the flop. LIMIT GAMES Most of the information in this book is based on the limit game of Hold 'em.

play a good strong game to win the pot. After that the higher tier is used and the bet amount becomes $20 per bet or raise. Even if you do decide to play a not-so-strong hand once in a while. for strong pocket cards. the hand will reach a showdown and you will need to show your cards.74 | T YPES OF H OLD ' EM G AMES only that amount can be used to bet. before and on the flop. This is because of the fact that frequently. rather than lower pairs or connectors that you hope may make a flush or straight. When you do eventually get dealt good strong hole cards. For example. use your position to your advantage and look to play tighter in early position and a bit . then you can only bet or raise $10 in the betting rounds. seeing as the bets are capped. Like every game of Hold 'em. BASIC STRATEGY When playing a limit game it is harder to bluff and bully other players as the bet amounts are limited. Having a strong hand throughout the game will see you having a good chance of winning the pot. Keep it simple and play the long game. you won't get broke too quickly and will have a chance to recoup your loss by reverting back to tight game play. Don't be tempted to play a moderate hand just because you have been waiting for what seems an eternity. Make sure that you have a good set of cards and a good chance of beating other drawing hands. You need to pay attention to your playing style and limit games are where you need to play a tight game. or raise. Your best hands will be the ones that are made with high cards in the hole. The blinds are normally set at half the lower tier for the small blind and exactly the amount of the lower tier for the big blind. if you are playing a $10-20 game. This means that you can't move all-in with your entire chip stack in an attempt to push another player off the table. Holding connector cards in the hole and playing a drawing hand can be fairly lucrative if there are a few players in the pot. Patience will be rewarded.

is one that looks like this: $1-$4-$10-$10. then if you intend to raise you will need to raise the amount of the previous raise.T YPES OF H OLD ' EM G AMES | 75 looser when playing late (position that is. Whereas in the limit games this would be interpreted as the lower and higher betting tiers. so you have some leeway to practice and concentrate on building your experience. there is no higher or lower tier and the players need only bet within the specified range. Player 1 raises $6. This concept progresses nicely from the limit games. Finally. SPREAD-LIMIT GAMES Spread Limit or Variable Limit games are when the betting structure allows players to place bets within a predefined range. players can place bets anywhere from $4 to $8. You are not going to lose large amounts in limit games. NO-LIMIT GAMES The no-limit games are commonly seen in poker tournaments such as WSOP (World Series of Poker). in spread-limit games. or more. As a player you need to play a more aggressive game and it is often seen that players win the pot long before getting anywhere near the showdown. This means that you are able to bet from $1 to $4 before and on the flop and from $1 to $10 on the turn and the river. experiment with your strategy and have fun. not late at night!). or raise. With a betting structure of $4-$8. the WPT (World Poker Tour) and televised events and as the name suggests there are No-limits in how much you can bet. If for example. Another betting structure that you may come across in the Spread Limit arena (although they could also sit quite comfortably at home as an extension of the limit games). The only caveat is that if a player before you raises. Limit games are not for the beginner as the stakes are . then Player 2 would need to raise a minimum of $6 if they intend to raise.

The amount of money in the pot currently stands at $10 from the previous betting round and is known as the Starting Pot. making $10 the new pot total $36. Player 3 decides to call Player 2's pot Player 3 raise of $22. player 1 bet: $4 At this stage. Player 1 bets $4 increasing the pot to $14. Pot-limit Betting Player 2 states that they want to raise Starting Pot the pot by stating “Raise Pot”. players can bet any amount from the minimum bet. the pot amount and both starting pot: $10 players bets are added together.76 | T YPES OF H OLD ' EM G AMES exceptionally high. There are three players left in at this stage of the game. This is made up of a starting pot of $10 + Player 1's bet Player 1 of $10 + Player 2's call of $4 + Player 2's bet: $4 pot raise of $18. up to the size of the pot. . if Player 1 wishes to player 2 pot raise: $36 call. new pot: $14 This makes a total of $36 in the new pot. player 2 raise: $18 Player 2's Pot Raise consists of their call new pot: $36 amount plus their raise. Let's say for instance that we are playing a $2-$4 potlimit game and we are on the second betting round. One of the players playing in the WSOP 2009 event had only been playing poker for 18 months! POT-LIMIT GAMES In a Pot-Limit game. then they will need to make up the player 3 call: $22 difference of $54 in order to equalise new pot: $58 their bet. It won't be long though before you get to this level if you learn the game and improve your tactics. Before the raise amount can be Player 2 determined. This player 1 bet: $4 amount then becomes the interim pot player 2 call: $4 amount and therefore the raise amount current pot: $18 (see inset for example breakdown). making the new pot amount starting pot: $10 $52.

until there is only one table left – The Final Table. say for example around $38 so once your skills are improved you may want to look at playing one weekend.T YPES OF H OLD ' EM G AMES | 77 Pot-limit games can get a bit complex and are best avoided when just starting out. this is the game of choice. SIT & GO'S (SINGLE TABLE TOURNAMENTS) Since this is the first logical place to start when learning to play Texas Hold 'em. Keeping track of the pot amount and raise amount can easily become confusing when a game speeds up. One of the things that excites me with this type of tournament. learn and start to incorporate some advanced strategy as you play. we covered this type of game earlier on in detail in a previous chapter. These types of tournaments can taken a lot of hours and sometimes days to get through. over a period of time. until you are able to continually win this type of game. Stick with it. When a player gets knocked out they are removed from the game and all the players are then shuffled around and re-distributed in order to ensure an equal number of players per table. MULTI-TABLE TOURNAMENTS When entering into a multi-table tournament you are really going in for the long-haul. Until you feel that your experience level and skill has improved significantly. but why? As the name suggests there are a number of tables that are playing poker simultaneously. There are regular breaks so you don't need to sit on the loo when playing online! PLAYING A MULTI-TABLE TOURNAMENT It's possible to buy in to some of these tournaments quite cheaply. is that it is sometimes possible to qualify and . An increase in tables means an increase of players and a five table tournament can start with around 50 players.

then turn up your aggression and play that hand strongly. minimise bluffing and don't get coaxed into playing all-in. so don't get caught out with a small chip stack. However. like the World Series of Poker. if you do pick up a cracking hand. and don't play weak hands in early position. Of course it is not possible to guarantee that this will always be the case. Keep a check on your position. then play it to the end and pick up the pot. especially during the early stages of the game. It could be you . Keep to the basics and play them solid and it will reward you.78 | T YPES OF H OLD ' EM G AMES Win a place on the final table of a World televised poker tournament. but certainly there have been online players qualifying for these tournaments and it is becoming more common. Don't forget that as you progress through the game the blinds will get bigger. Don't be tempted to raise too much before the flop. such as when you have a good hand in early position and you want to push it. . Remember. that you are in this for the long-haul and your chips need to last. if you have top pocket cards. Play a tight game with strong hands. The Aussie Millions and the World Poker Tour. Save your more advanced tactics until the later rounds and the final table. Having said that. Doing this may lead to other players folding leading to a small pot. as always.you just never know! STRATEGY The main part of your strategy is to play good solid poker. Play your hand in order to make the best from it. don't be afraid to let the hand go. Don't be afraid of raising early on and if the flop improves an already strong hand. THE FINAL TABLE There is not a lot to add at this stage and there shouldn't be too many changes to your strategy for the final table. aggression can be used strategically if the situation demands it. The bigger you can get your chips to grow the better your position will be in later rounds. build up the pot ready to take it all. but don't overplay it and if it is not playing the way you had hoped.

FIND YOUR IDEAL GAME AT WSOP PLAY WITH THE MOST FAMOUS NAME IN POKER – THE WORLD SERIES OF POKER – AND BE PREPARED TO TAKE PART IN THEIR MOST FAMOUS ANNUAL EVENT AND THE WSOP CIRCUIT.T YPES OF H OLD ' EM G AMES | 79 The same strategies that you used to play Sit & Go's will be useful here. kids and dog.com/holdembook/wsop . so use those and you won't go too wrong.casinogamehub. As long as you haven't bet your house. it will all build on your experience for the next tournament. Above all enjoy yourself and don't get worried if you get kicked out or your game takes a tumble. DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO BECOME THE NEXT WORLD CHAMPION BRACELET WINNER? JOIN THE GLOBAL EXCITEMENT OF WHAT IS THE WORLD SERIES OF POKER WITH CASINO GAME HUB today AT: www.

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when to make your heart beat or make your hair grow as well as having all the effort in deciding what parts of your body you would consciously need to move just to sit down. but to give you a good grounding in what tells are and how they work. As you will be aware. indepth in this book. The subject of tells is a large and complex subject. all of the stuff that can be done automatically is .10 Tells T he human body is a marvellous and versatile piece of biological engineering capable of performing the most accurate and precise delicate movements similar to that which a watchmaker or jeweller would need to make. but also controls the operation and function of each and every one of your organs. It is impossible to cover body-language as it relates to poker. our brain controls our bodies and is not only responsible for controlling each of the 640 or so skeletal muscles that allow us to move around and perform our daily activities. we can give you some guidelines in what to look for and hopefully exploit to your advantage. then it would be a disaster. including your heart. to lifting an outrageous amount of weight like a world class power lifter. Instead. TELLS & THE HUMAN AUTO-PILOT If our brains had to perform all of the tasks that run your body consciously. If you had to think about when to breath in and breathe out. you wouldn't get anything done.

000 in chips that we have just raised is just a bluff to get them to fold so that we can claim the pot and that our hand is actually quite poor. This is where the study of Body Language comes in to play. Our facial expressions can be contradictory to our conscious actions and if our opponents are adept in interpreting this behaviour. Although various muscles are targeted all over our bodies. our brains perform a sequence of actions that control the muscles of our bodies and makes certain parts of our bodies move accordingly. has got rubbish cards or has made a top hand on the flop. This allows our bodies to function like well-oiled machines. It is always best to spot your opponents facial expressions as soon as something happens that triggers an emotion. before they have a chance to consciously override their automatic reaction. like playing poker! It's just like putting a plane on auto-pilot. When your facial muscles are targeted by your unconscious mind and movement triggered in response to an emotional event. UNCONSCIOUS BEHAVIOUR So what does this have to do with poker you ask? Well. then they would be aware that the $4. Unconscious expressions are one tool that can be used in poker in order to ascertain whether or not our opponent has been dealt a good hand. When we experience emotions. torso and feet all have parts to play and in actual fact every single part of our body can at any time react automatically to a given situation. . it just flies as if by magic. then this is referred to as an Expression. Our hands. Unconscious behaviour is not limited to facial expressions. quite a lot really. while we consciously tend to the more important things in life.82 | T ELLS performed by our unconscious mind so that we don't even need to think about them. you will be more familiar with those that are positioned around the face when watching your opponents play poker. shoulders. as that split second is when you will catch what's really going on inside their minds.

rapidly switching its attention between them making it appear that they are all happening at the same time. such as wearing large sunglasses to hide eye movements. so players tend to concentrate on just having one expression to elude other players to what they are thinking. These unconscious movements and facial expressions in reaction to emotional stimulus are called Tells in poker. Players also wear baseball caps and hooded jumpers (known as 'hoodies') to cast deep shadows over their face to hide their expressions from view. something will probably give at some point. is . on average. YOUR OWN BODY BETRAYS YOU The conscious mind can only hold. This is important to note when playing poker. HIDING TELLS We have already covered the most basic way that some poker players attempt to hide facial tells by developing their Poker Face. then they can be very difficult to control. Other ways are more obvious. This will more than likely be seen in a body movement. 7 bits of information at any one time and can only realistically concentrate on one thing at a time.T ELLS PUT ON YOUR POKER FACE | 83 Some of the ways that poker players try to prevent others from seeing their facial expressions (and involuntary body movements) is to attempt to control these unconscious movements consciously. they way that you hold your body and the way you point your feet are all ways that you can betray yourself. as if a player is consciously trying to concentrate on playing poker as well as consciously keeping their poker face in check. The other way that players might attempt to hide tells. We can use the tells produced by our opponents to improve our game. This is commonly referred to as their Poker Face. Seeing as these movements are unconscious. the way you position your hands.

. A Baseline is quite simply a visual record of how your opponent reacts normally to a given situation. there are an inexhaustible number of tells that can potentially be used during the course of a poker game. there are also tells that can be used to identify what your opponent is doing when playing online. As well as tells that can be seen when playing face to face. his body has betrayed him and it is likely that he hasn't got a very strong hand. This is why it is important to study your opponents early on in the game and get to know their behaviour. some more common ones that will get you started in identifying what your opponents are really up to. FACE-TO-FACE TELLS Here are some of the more common tells that can be identified when playing with your friends or in tournaments. ESTABLISHING A BASELINE Before you can continue to identify your opponents tells. otherwise referred to as Reading your opponents. he sits up in his chair and slightly leans over the table and takes a big breath. If. but he slumps back in his chair while exhaling. when you are unable to actually physically watch your opponents during the game. COMMON TELLS As you will probably be able to realise.84 | T ELLS to be consciously aware of a tell and then do the exact opposite. becomes a tell in its own right. you notice that each time one of your opponents gets a good card that drastically improves his hand on the flop. he moves all-in with a large stack of chips. If this type of action if performed each and every time then the action of trying to hide a tell. you have to establish what is called a Baseline. Say for instance. later in the game. There are though.

their heart rate will also increase. STARING AT THE BOARD If you have ever looked at a person when they are trying to work something out or recall something that has recently happened or that they are familiar with. This type of technique is borrowed from Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and is part of a set of visual techniques called Sensory Awareness. Similarly. you may be able to noticed a movement in their chest where their heart is pounding. CHIP CHECKING If your opponent quickly glances at their chips on the flop. This is because they are accessing and processing information in their brains. INCREASED HEART RATE When you get really excited your heart rate generally increases. the steadier you will become. they seem to stare into thin air. By quickly glancing at their chips they are usually seeing whether they have ample chips to bet. is the large vein on the side of their neck that will pulsate harder that usual. If you are paying very close attention to your opponent. it is a good indication that they have not hit a good hand and are calculating if they can make any other hands by visualising the cards in their mind. it is a sure indication that they have just made a big hand. the . when your opponent makes a good hand. The more you look for it. The only way around this automatic response is to get used to these types of situations.T ELLS HAND SHAKING/TREMBLING | 85 More commonly seen with beginners and not really avoidable. the nervousness and excitement of holding a big hand increases adrenalin and increases heart rate. The more you are exposed to them. Their pupils will also dilate (get bigger). If your opponent seems to stare in this way on the flop. A better place to notice this increase in heart rate. This results in hands that tremble while handling chips or cards.

PLAYING THE OPPOSITE This is when players play the opposite to how they would normally play with a given hand. whilst their head will be looking away. then it is highly likely that they have a strong hand and are trying to detract from it. OTHER TYPES OF TELL Aside from the unconscious tells. In this instance. but remains to have an interest in the pot. it can be a sure sign that your opponent is feeling a bit insecure about their hand and are trying to scare your off by being aggressive. or they hold a poor hand when they hold a . usually until he looks away. you give him a right old stare. So if you are being stared down at the table when it's your go to bet. Here are some of the most common ones. What do you do? Yep. SHOWING DISINTEREST If a player shows a disinterest in the hand that they are playing. there are also tells that players can play consciously. We feel vulnerable if we are holding a poor hand and we are trying to intimidate our opponent to get them to fold so that we can claim the pot.86 | T ELLS more noticeable it will become. you've guessed it. right? This is because we feel vulnerable and are trying to look hard and be aggressive to frighten them off and this is the same process as in poker. it is also likely that the head will be turned more than the body and that their body will remain square-on to the table. in order to try to lure their opponents into thinking that they hold a top hand when they hold a poor hand. eye contact is increased. STARING DOWN YOUR OPPONENT You are out at the bar with your extremely attractive girlfriend for the night and notice some guy across the room giving her the eye.

Although it is sometimes possible that a player's actions will almost always be slow if they have a . BEING NICE Conversely.T ELLS | 87 strong one. In this case it is necessary to turn your attention to game play and the way that they are 'acting' online. When they hold a good hand. due to the fact that you are playing over the internet and cannot physically see your opponents directly. BEING INSULTING OR DISRESPECTFUL If your opponent starts to be a bit on the disrespectful side towards you after placing their bet. PLAY SPEED Every online poker room has a set number of seconds that each player has to respond before they are declared either all-in or folded. re-raise and fill up the pot ready for the taking. if your opponent starts being nice. chatty and friendly towards you after they have bet. But if you do exactly the opposite and play a strong game when you have a strong hand and viceversa. This is one of the most common ways that players try to deceive. in order to get their opponents to fold. If they hold a poor hand they may play aggressive. it is likely that they are trying to agitate you enough to make you call and fill up the pot. the chances are that they are bluffing. then you will probably increase your chances in winning the pot as your opponent may think that you are playing strong with a weak hand. ONLINE TELLS When playing online. it is not possible to look for unconscious tells or body language. that will give us some insights into what they are thinking. they may play as if they are doubtful that they will win in order to get their opponents to raise. Other players will expect you to act in a similar way and you may be tempted.

you can over time begin to draw conclusions and ascertain patterns based on a players use of check boxes. which of course takes time. should be a tell as to the strength of that players hand. Adjust your strategy accordingly and strive to take a similar amount of time to act each time the action gets to you. When a player uses a check box their action comes immediately after the player before him. a quick bet is a sign of weakness. without delay. While these assumptions can never be 100% accurate. then it may be safe to assume that they have a draw hand that has not yet been completed and they are definitely not ready to fold. raise any. If your opponent uses the check box to check (pardon the pun) then you can make an educated guess that their hand is fairly weak. . When a player uses the check box to call any. see if you can determine what they slow bet with and what they fast bet with. This is largely because the player is calculating their strategy with what they perceive to be a strong hand. Take some time to think about your own play and whether or not you exhibit these tells by your speed of play. This is because they have effectively put their actions on auto-pilot and this can be used to your advantage. When a player has checked raise any it is highly likely that they have a strong hand.88 | T ELLS slower internet connection. Typically. If they expose their cards at the showdown. not giving anything away to your opponents. if you pay attention to other players actions. Watch how much time it takes the other players to take action and make a mental note of it. AUTO-PLAYS & CHECK BOXES Online casinos make use of check boxes for options such as fold. The fact that a player feels strongly enough about a hand to make a decision even before seeing the actions of the players before him. or call any. and a delayed action is a sign of strength. the general speed of play can be a good tell.

If your opponents betting starts to become antagonistic. it is likely that they are playing weaker hands and can be beat if you play a strong hand against them. it is likely that that are playing a strong hand and needs to concentrate. then beware as they will probably be playing tight and only play strong hands. WAITING ON THE BIG BLIND When you 'sit down' at an online Hold 'em table. it may be because they are bluffing and hoping that their show of over-confidence will end in them bluffing you off the table. Don't get involved in their issues and just concentrate on playing good poker and winning their chips. Watch the chat box for players who are steaming or on tilt. CHAT BOX Online casinos have a Chat Box function that allows you to chat with your opponents and just like in a physical casino. you should over the course of several games get an idea of whether or not a player folds a lot of trash hands or if they are staying in for almost every pot. If a chatty player suddenly shuts-up. This strategy can be used equally both online and offline and helps you to determine the strength of a players overall game. A whining player or one who uses a lot of abusive language is probably emotionally unable to play good poker until he or she calms down. This a good way to tell how patient an online player will . If they seem to fold a lot of cards. They are concentrating on the game.T ELLS FOLD/FLOP PERCENTAGES OF YOUR OPPONENTS | 89 Although it is not always possible to mark this percentage down exactly. If they stay in for almost every pot. you will often have the option of waiting on the big blind to get to you or you can post a matching big blind and start playing immediately. a player who has got a lot to say for themselves creates an obvious tell.

you will be able to detect when somebody is lying in every situation in your life. even when they are not especially skilled will tend to wait on better hands since they are less likely to want to throw away their bets. not just poker. this subject is an indepth study in it's own right and is not directly linked to poker. but its methodologies can be used to determine human behaviour and its possible interpretation during the game. and learn to recognise certain actions and behaviours. there is no switching them off again. Here are some ideas that can increase your knowledge and you may find interesting. but be warned. it could be that they will not be very patient about waiting on good starting hands. The opposite holds true for players who do wait on the big blind and can be either patient or cheap. keep an eye on your opponent when playing face-to-face. THE NEXT STEP After you have become familiar with some of the simpler tells. Both are pretty good qualities to have if you are playing poker online. There are entire books that have been written on tells specifically for poker and these are well worth studying. Cheap players. you can learn some advanced stuff. As you will probably realise by now. you may want to increase your knowledge of body language and unconscious behaviour. Expect a player who acts in this way to be a loose player. Once you have switched these techniques on. these techniques relate to human behaviour and once learned you cannot unlearn them. Additionally. A persons behaviour is always specific to them and is triggered by certain things that they react to. You have been warned! STUDY MORE POKER TELLS Once familiar with the basics. Learn to spot these signs early on in the game and you will be . This means that if you learn to tell when somebody is lying.90 | T ELLS be and if they are not patient enough to wait on the big blind to get around to them.

NEURO-LINGUISTIC PROGRAMMING (NLP) Neuro-Linguistic Programming. It is also the study of human excellence. education and business to name a few. Using elements of NLP for poker. that an increase in heart rate can be noticed by the increase in . For example. when they react to certain stimuli. is the study of language and how it effects human behaviour. By training yourself to see these usually invisible unconscious reactions. You must remember to establish a baseline first.al. these are Sensory Awareness and Eye Patterns. or NLP. if somebody holds a good hand in poker. you can ascertain what is going on in the minds of the person to which you are observing. et. the size of their lips will increase and their pupils will dilate. that can be used to bring about the required change within a person. Fritz Perls and Virginia Satir. life-coaching. SENSORY AWARENESS Sensory Awareness trains you to become extremely sensitive to what happens in our subjects body that you can see when observing them. Used in many areas including therapy. Taking it's ideas from therapists such as Milton Ericksonnn. they are likely to produce a similar reaction. there are a couple of areas which may be of interest to you if you wish to increase your knowledge. NLP and its flexible structure has proven to be an asset in these areas and beyond.T ELLS | 91 ahead of the rest. it is likely that their skin colour will darken as their face flushes. a library of methodologies were compiled that allows accurate interpretation of human behaviour and how it can be affected by interrupting certain strategical sequences of action. We have already mentioned in the chapter on Tells. in order to ascertain what is normal behaviour for them and what is a tell. known as interventions. Similarly. if somebody is attracted towards you.

Again using this in poker allows you to see whether your opponent is getting excited and therefore may hold a good hand. Wouldn't it be good if you could ask your opponent what cards they had and 'they told' you? Well. just below the ear. It is a sequence of patterns that we use unconsciously in order to access information in our brains. This is by using a technique called Cold Reading and is used across the globe by psychics and the like. we may be able to determine our opponents thought processes as they relate to the hands that they hold. The greatest mentalist of today is without doubt Derren Brown. Used in poker. micro-movements of the lips as they attempt to make the shapes normally associated with saying the word out loud. Depending on the situation and questions that we ask of another. After a few repetitions. what you do and the name of your favourite pet. Again. using the involuntary unconscious responses of the human body. MENTALISM Another area that you may want to look at is Mentalism.92 | T ELLS pulsating in the vein that runs up the side of the neck. he can tell you where you come from. For poker. Having increased your sensory awareness. we are interested in the ability to Lip Read. you may start to notice the slight. Just by looking at you. one of the most favourite techniques concentrates on micro-muscle (ideomotor) movements. Although it would probably take a lifetime to learn all of the techniques. take a year or so to . EYE PATTERNS The way that our eyes move when we are talking to somebody is not random. we can determine certain factors. we can get an idea for what they are thinking by determining where they are accessing their information from. you will be able to look at somebody and ask them to say a word in their head. normally imperceptible.

This fascinating area shows that these unconscious micro-expressions only last for about 1/15 or 1/25 of a second and are undetectable to the untrained eye. Dr. GOLDEN PALACE CASINO & POKER GET YOUR MASSIVE SIGN-UP BONUS WITH SOME OF THE BEST ON THE INTERNET.com/holdembook/palacepoker Note: Golden Palace does not accept players from North America . can be recognised and if the person producing these expressions was recorded on video. Emotions such as Fear. Paul Ekman's life-long study on human facial expressions has introduced the idea that the human race uses unconscious 'Globally Recognisable' micro-expressions when trying to hide or cover-up emotions. Excitement and Anger to name just a tiny few.T ELLS learn this technique and you'll be able to! MICRO-EXPRESSIONS | 93 Recently highlighted in the hit TV series 'Lie to me'. freeze-frame and see that these super-fast expressions are just the same as ordinary expressions that last a lot longer at around 1 to 5 seconds (aka. GOLDEN PALACE HAS DEFINITELY BEEN ONE OF THE MOST TRUSTED SINCE 1997! FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HOW TO JOIN THIS ESTABLISHED CASINO AT: www. This is a massive and fascinating subject that I personally find exciting. Contempt. macro expressions). BEING ONE OF THE LONGEST STANDING ONLINE CASINOS. it would be possible to play back.casinogamehub. Surprise.

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increase your chances of winning and become a poker expert. You stand up from behind your desk.11 Going Forward S o now that you have learnt to play Texas Hold 'em both face-to-face with your friends and family and online. After a shower and a change of clothes. where do you go from here and how do you go about increasing your knowledge and success in poker? Let's explore some of the ways in which you can learn to play a better game. wish your work colleagues a 'Good Weekend' and head home. catch up with each other and have a great time. but the weekend has arrived. POKER AT HOME Friday night is finally here and you've had a rubbish week at work. Jimmy has his own poker table and at the end of every month his friends and family get together to play Poker. The times are almost gone when the family sits around the table to play Trivial Pursuit and more and more people are being drawn into less social interests. pick up some beers and head round to Jimmy's. First it's drinks and a chat over pizza and then the real fun starts. The last Friday of each month is poker night and all of your friends will be there. . you head to the pizza shop to pick up a couple of large ones with 'the lot' on the top. There's nothing better than getting together with a bunch of friends and family to play poker at home.

some people may not take it seriously enough to allow good game play and once the alcohol gets flowing.96 | G OING F ORWARD RELAXED ENVIRONMENT The relaxed environment and being in familiar surroundings takes the pressure off. In actual fact. The only problem is that because of this relaxed environment and the fact that everybody can get away with messing around a bit. Christmas and New Year are a great way of getting people together to play poker. the writing of this book was inspired by wanting to arrange a home poker match between family and friends. Being with friends means that if you get something wrong or mess up. Most of the time it's cheaper to stay at home and play poker all evening than it is to go out for the night on the tiles. I would ensure that our Christmas get together would go ahead. is to play poker online. as you can sit and watch others as they battle it out at the table. You can even play for free using 'play money' that . then nobody will mind. playing poker online can be a daunting concept. in my opinion. It is very straight forward and you don't even have to play. The variety of games and the large scale of buy-in amounts now makes it affordable for everyone. there will be no hope. views and sorrows over a game or two. These types of games are good to familiarise yourself with the game concepts and have fun in the process. but it's an excellent place to cement your understanding and increase both your skill and knowledge. but nobody was familiar with playing poker. ONLINE POKER One of the best ways. HOLIDAY PERIODS Holiday periods such as Easter. I have even witnessed poker being played after a funeral where people could get together and share their thoughts. By writing down the basics and handing it out among friends in ample time. For the beginner.

BEAT YOUR FRIENDS | 97 Wouldn't you like to be known as the 'Poker Player' of your family or social circle and the one that always seems to win? Playing once a month or so round friends is a great way to catch up. In order to play Texas Hold 'em online. 2) Practice your skills by using those skills in a nonpressured environment until you reach a stage where you don't have to think too much about what you are doing and you are familiar with the strategies.G OING F ORWARD you are given when you sign-up for your poker account. As your experience and skill increases. this book will give you the basics. In my world the way to become excellent at any new skill is three-fold: 1) Learn the basics & learn the rules. you will need more practice.015-$0. Once you understand these. with the betting structure as low as $0. 3) Finally. There is no reason not too. you will first need to download and install the casino or poker room's software on your . your online account will get bigger and you can enter the higher-priced games. In order to hone your skills and learn to play poker like a pro. set yourself up an account with an online casino or poker room and play some of the low-level Sit & Go tournaments. As far as the first one goes. You will not improve by going up against people less skilled or who are at the same level as you are.020 you can play literally for pocket-change. but your newly acquired skills will not improve very quickly. go up against people that are better that you. You can then go to your friends next poker night and clean up! SOFTWARE Getting started is easy and straight-forward.

so don't go expecting this for every subsequent deposit you make. You don't need any money to sign-up and you will be given some “play money” so that you can have a dabble and see if it's the right software for you. ONLINE BONUSES A lot of casino's these days offer to match your initial account deposit up to a certain amount. giving you the chance to win a prize fund. This software is generally supplied free of charge and full instructions will be given as to how to install. then they will match this giving you a total of $400 to play with. Once installed. This is generally only for your first deposit though. Get practising as see if you can become one of the next world poker champions. We have put together a small list of places where you can get started. It is important that you choose one that suits you and that you can get along with and the way to find this out is to download and install each poker room's software and try it out. These are constantly changing. you can then set up an account and play. Each casino will have their own procedure that needs to be followed. COMPETITIONS Regular competitions are held online.98 | G OING F ORWARD computer. This can be great for getting started and if you have say $200 to credit your account with. WHERE TO PLAY There are now what seems like hundreds and thousands of online poker rooms and casinos and trying to choose a good one can be daunting when you first start to look at what's out there. a holiday or even a place at the final table in the next world event. so keep on the lookout for new offers. A whole host of other offers are available for new and existing players. .

With a wide range of tournaments and promotions.casinogamehub. Go to Website: Full Tilt Poker WSOP (WORLD SERIES OF POKER) Starting in 1970.G OING F ORWARD | 99 When you do decide to start playing with real money. check out the information and links at www. the casino will match this amount bringing your account balance up to $400 and giving you more money to play with. the Full Tilt Poker Academy and the Full Tilt Poker Blog. This means that if you deposit $200 into your account. Seeing as the bonuses change regularly. For the latest offers. download the software. A lot of poker rooms and casinos now offer to double the money that you deposit on your first deposit. Check out some the poker rooms and casino's below. but now it's available to you online 24/7. Full Tilt Poker has become one of the most popular poker rooms on the internet and boasts to be the only poker room that was conceived. up to a certain value. together with tips from the pros. It all began in Las Vegas. designed and played. it is a great idea to take up the offer of some bonuses. none of the offers have been given here. Now online it's host of tournaments and televised events are second to none. Pacific Poker offers a wide variety of games that will have you playing non-stop. play and have fun. the World Series of Poker has become one of the most famous names in poker.com. you will find everything you need to play with the Pro's. Go to Website: World Series of Poker PACIFIC POKER Part of the 888 group of online gaming solutions. With the ability to create private online tournaments to . by professional poker players. FULL TILT POKER With over 5 years under it's belt.

. Play for free in daily Freerolls or maybe enter yourself in a $100. it is well worth checking out. Go to Website: Littlewoods Poker GOLDEN PALACE By far one of the longest standing online casino's around. or whether you become a VIP. watch Poker-related videos. Play at different locations. but even the most poker-hungry professionals. Go to Website: Golden Palace Poker Note: Golden Palace does not accept players from North America. read the Blog. the Golden Palace offers a wealth of casino and poker games. take control of your emotions and spot your opponents tells using PKR's “Emote Control Technology”.000 tournament. Go to Website: PKR LITTLEWOODS POKER Not as crowded as some of the other more popular poker rooms. PKR is definitely worth a look and will satisfy not only absolute beginners. Offering some of the highest sign-up bonuses on the internet today and now with the introduction of their own poker rooms. Wherever your mood takes you.100 | G OING F ORWARD play with your friends. you are sure to enjoy playing in this very popular poker room. littlewoods poker offers a surprisingly full environment to play in while you build up your poker skills. Hang out at the Poker Lounge where you can brush up on your skills at the Poker School. Go to Website: Pacific Poker PKR Stunning 3D graphics and limitless character configuration makes this the most advanced poker room on the internet. or learn how to shuffle with poker chips! You will be pleasantly surprised.

for example. But use with caution. when the opposite is usually true. Why not become part of the Party Poker world? Go to Website: Party Poker BLUFFING The art of bluffing could fill a book in itself and it is definitely an art-form. Bluffing in poker is a way of acting that makes your opponent think one thing. . When you hold a poor hand but bet as if you have top pair. Party Poker is fast becoming on of the most popular on-line poker rooms around. It's a risky game to play and it has it's place. then this is bluffing. it is beyond the scope of the beginner. Learning how to bluff can increase your game and sometimes get you out of a sticky situation. With it's many tournaments and challenges there is always a game going on. However. Bluffing comes into it's own more in no-limit games or when some players have large chip stacks that you want to get your hands on. Be careful that your bluff is not called and make sure that your body language does not give you away.G OING F ORWARD PARTY POKER | 101 Awarded the “Poker Operator of the Year” award by eGaming. or perhaps you want to try to get them to fold. HOLD 'EM ODDS Every form of gambling (and poker is one of them) have odds. In horse-racing you may have a 5:1 chance that your horse will win. a basic idea should get you started in the right direction to improving your game. We shall not go into detail in this section as in my opinion.

although the number can get a bit on the scary side and I find that knowing some basic numbers.600 different combinations to flop these three cards and a 19. almost by rote. Let's look at Pot Odds and Outs.000 in the pot and the bet to you is $11. if there is $20. OUTS An out can be defined as the number of cards that are left in the deck that will make your hand. Of course. . can be a good place to start. this area can get extremely complex and although knowing the odds for every eventuality does seem to be a bit overkill.599:1 chance of getting the exact three cards that you want. These odds show the probability of you making your desired hand leaving you with better information as to how to progress. It doesn't hurt knowing the basics though and it's always a good idea to know the odds of some more of the lower starting hands. I know off the top of my head that I have a 220:1 chance of being dealt A-A and a little over a 3:1 chance of being dealt any two cards suited. two of the most commonly used calculations in Texas Hold 'em Poker.000. odds that you will make a flush on the river and the odds that your opponent has a better hand than you. For instance. that's what poker odd calculators were invented for. On the flop. The percentage probability is calculated using simple division. Odds of you getting dealt A-K as your pocket cards. POT ODDS Calculating the Pot Odds is a bit simpler and involves dividing the amount in the pot by the amount to you (what you are thinking of calling or raising). there are 19. then you have odds of just below 2:1. Anyway. For instance.102 | G OING F ORWARD USING ODDS In Texas Hold 'em there are odds for all different elements of the game.

Say. you hold A-K and the flop and the turn have produced 2-5-7-9 and you are sure that your opponent holds top pair. 6 of them (the outs) will give you a winning hand and the remaining 40 will not.G OING F ORWARD ODDS IN THE GAME | 103 Odds come into play more when you have a drawing hand and you need to know whether the pot odds are better than the odds of making your hand. for example. This gives you 40:6 odds on making your hand. you will need to determine the number of outs you have in making your hand. There are 6 cards that you can see.6:1 (40 divided by 6). This breaks down further to around 6. . You have 6 outs in this situation. which leaves 46 cards unknown to you. 3 for the remaining three Aces and 3 for the remaining three Kings. In order to calculate the odds. Out of these 46 cards.

104 | G OING F ORWARD .

The button moves one position left in a clockwise direction each hand. as large blind amounts lost. This is an additional forced bet to the blinds that comes into play at the later stages of a tournament and is payable by all players. The amount to be paid when paying a blind. can contribute to a large portion of a players chips. BUY-IN The amount that is required to be paid for a place in a tournament. It is usually set to a small percentage (¼ or slightly less) of the small blind. the small blind and the big blind. The two players positioned to the left of this marker are responsible for paying the small and big blinds. the buy-in amount for each player collectively becomes the prize pool. BUBBLE The name given to the last person in a tournament to be knocked out and not have a claim on the prize money. BOARD Another name for all. Normally. BLUFF Playing as if you have a good hand by betting and raising. . This is done in an attempt to get other players to fold. is determined by the game limits set by the table stakes.12 ALL-IN ANTE Hold 'em Terminology The term used when a player bets all of their chips on their hand when playing no-limit hold 'em. of the community cards. when in actuality the player possible has the worst hand at the table. BLINDS Forced bets that are paid every hand to ensure that there is money in the pot to win. The small blind is paid by the player to the immediate left of the dealer and the big blind is paid by the person immediately to the left of the small blind. There are two blind payments. BUTTON A physical marker that is placed on the table in front of a player to mark them as the effective dealer. In tournaments the blinds rise steadily throughout the game thereby promoting game play. or some.

such as J-J. A ten-handed game will consist of ten players. HANDED Used to refer to the number of players in a game of poker. run in sequence and contain the and ace. This is only possible when there is no previous bet on the table and is no longer and available option once a bet has been placed. KICKER The card that is responsible for breaking a tie at the showdown. the turn and the river. known as the river. There are two other types of flush. FOURTH STREET Another name used to identify the fourth community card to be dealt. FIFTH STREET Another name used to identify the last community card to be dealt. whereas a six-handed game consists only of six players. Also FLOP The first three community cards that are available to the players. playing oneon-one. These cards are made up of the flop. A player would return their cards facedown to the dealer. HEADS-UP A term used when there are only two players left in the game. the three court cards and a 9 and 10. FULL HOUSE A poker hand that consists of three cards of the same value. raise or fold. COMMUNITY CARDS The five cards that are dealt face-up on the table and are available to all players.106 | H OLD ' EM T ERMINOLOG Y CALL The action of matching a previous players bet. FOLD The action of forfeiting your cards stating that you do not wish to play your hand or have any claim in the pot. the straight flush and the royal flush. together with a pair. then the player with . Also known as pocket cards. which are dealt after completion of the first betting round. CHECK The action by which you withhold from placing a bet. If the remaining players both hold the same hand. HOLE CARDS The two cards that are initially dealt to each player at the start of each hand. FLUSH The term given to a poker hand where all five cards are of the same suit. Also known as the turn. after which the only remaining options are call. Also known as pass or mucking in. A straight flush is where all the cards are of the same suit and run in sequence and a royal flush is where all the cards are of the same suit.

the remaining players are shuffled around to evenly distribute players at each table. POCKET ROCKETS The term used when a player holds two ace's as their pocket cards. OUTS The number of cards that are potentially remaining in the deck that will allow a player to make a winning poker hand. A player would return their cards face-down to the dealer. A raise has to be at least double of the initial bet. POT-LIMIT Refers to a betting structure whereby players are able to bet up to the amount held in the pot. When enough players are knocked out that the remaining players can play at one table. If player1 held J-J-5 and player2 held J-J-6. PLAYING THE BOARD Term used when a player makes their hand by using just the five community cards. POCKET CARDS The two cards that are initially dealt to each player at the start of each hand. Also known as pass or fold. . MULTI-TABLE TOURNAMENT A tournament where there are too many players to sit around one table and so are split between several. RE-RAISE The act of raising a previously raised bet – raising the raise. ON TILT When a player reacts emotionally to an event at the poker table and their play deteriorates due to this. MUCK Another term used to describe the action of forfeiting your cards stating that you do not wish to play your hand or have any claim in the pot.H OLD ' EM T ERMINOLOGY | 107 the highest unmatched card becomes the winner. POT The total number of chips available to all players to win in any given hand. As players get knocked out of the game. RAISE Increasing the bet by betting more than was bet by the previous player. POCKET PAIR Used when a player receives a matching pair in their two pocket cards dealt by the dealer. then player2 would win as their 6 kicker beats player1's 5. ante's and all bets placed by the players during the hand. Also known as hole cards. The pot consists of the blinds. this is usually referred to as the final table. NO-LIMIT A game of Texas Hold 'em poker where there are no limits to the bet or raise that can be placed.

the single-table tournament is where only one table is used and typically six to ten players and is similar to playing the final table in a multi-table tournament.108 | H OLD ' EM T ERMINOLOG Y RIVER The last community card to be dealt. SINGLE-TABLE TOURNAMENT Otherwise known as a Sit & Go. See single-table tournaments STRAIGHT The 6th highest ranking poker hand where all five cards are in sequence but not necessarily of the same suit. SIT & GO Also known as a single-table tournament. are when a player holds three cards of the same value. Also known as three of a kind. The player who went allin does not have any claim on the side pot. clubs and spades. heart. the three court cards and a 9 and 10. ROYAL FLUSH A flush where all the cards are of the same suit. VALUE BET When a player places a bet when they think that they hold the best hand in an attempt to take more chips from their opponent. Also known as fifth street. TURN The fourth community card to be dealt. SET A three of a kind that is made up of two of the players hole cards and one of the community cards. SHOWDOWN Takes place after the final betting round. TRIPS Trips. this is another pot is created for the remaining players. or Triplets. Also known as fourth street. above. SUIT The four types of symbol shown on a playing card. . SIDE POT When a player goes all-in and there are players left who still have chips. run in sequence and contain an ace. There can be more than one side pot in each hand. This is the highest hand in poker. All player show their hand and determine who holds the best hand and wins the pot. diamonds. There are four suits to a deck of cards.

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