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

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

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

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

I needed to find another alternative. I would . Teaching fifty or so people how to play poker would be torture. but certainly not as much as up until now and boy. If I were to buy $300 of chips to play an offline game. with a exceptionally high prize fund. 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. yet online with my first account credit of $300. They found that these books were either too complicated or too basic and looking at the ones that they purchased myself. the casino matched my purchase with another free $300. So after I had found some of the best poker places online. my other challenge beckoned. This alternative was online poker. what have I been missing! Playing online is a real buzz and one which has now become one of my favourite ways to play. The wide range of games to choose from online. I had played poker online before. A few of my friends that I mentioned this too went out to look at buying books on learning poker. One thing that I really do find exciting. giving me $600 in my account! Fantastic.8 | P REFACE needed to find some stimulation. from holding poker nights where I would teach everyone how to play poker. from low-limit games that you could literally play with pocket change. I though long and hard about how I would be able to do this. Not only are there some fantastic poker rooms out there. is the regular competitions and tournaments that are offered together with the chance of winning a place in a televised poker event. I would get $300 of chips. Not having what seemed to be the luxury of playing with people face to face. to the more tense and exciting no-limit games. waste a lot of my valuable time and would be a long process with five or so players at a time. once every week or so. I needed to get my new circle of friends interested in and experienced in playing Texas Hold 'em poker. the offers are way beyond anything that you would find around a table. suits every person and every budget.

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

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.

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

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

There are other betting limits that are also used in Hold . to complete your knowledge of the game. In Hold 'em this is shown as $2-$4 or $2/$4. 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. minimum and maximum betting limits are stated before the game commences. THE BETTING LIMITS In a limit game. Betting limits for a game could be $1-$2. Betting limits specify the lower betting limit and the higher betting limit that are to be used in the game. 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. Stakes can get quite high and this is why it is important to check the game which you are intending to play. You need to ensure that you are aware of the betting limits for the game you are about to play. This is the structure of the game and once you have a basic understanding of the game play sequence. In our game the lower betting limit is $2 and the higher limit is $4. each element can then be examined more closely in turn.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. $4-$8 or even $100-$200 and $1000-$2000.

we are playing a $2-$4 game.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 name is taken from the way that each player must put this money into the pot – blind. 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). So. so in our game it is $2. This money is referred to as the Blinds. they cannot be avoided. This means that the players are required to place the blinds into the pot prior to any cards being dealt. . For our example here. It is a requirement of Hold 'em that these blinds are paid for each hand played and if you are active in the game. so our lower betting limit is set to $2 and the higher limit is set to $4. With an empty pot there is no money to win and therefore no incentive for the players to play their hand. in this instance. 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. In our game. This means that the minimum amount that can be bet is $2. THE SMALL BLIND The first player to the dealers immediate left (to the left of the Button) has to pay the Small Blind. THE BLINDS To get the game started it is necessary to put some money into The Pot. the Small Blind is set to half of this amount and is therefore $1. we are playing a limit game of $2-$4. 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.

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

The players ascertain if they can improve upon their hand by utilising the three community cards with their Pocket Cards (or Hole Cards). raising or folding. The community cards are also known as The Board. They also have the added option of checking.20 | T EXAS H OLD ' EM G AME P LAY option is discussed further in the Second Betting Round below. This is known as The Flop. 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. Once a player has placed a bet (put some money in the pot). They are in effect stating that they still wish to have interest in the pot. They also tend to knock on the table to indicate that they are checking. They will also need to decide whether their hand can be improved upon with the remaining community cards. no other player can check in the same betting round and therefore checking is no longer an option for anybody else. starts the betting round. 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. 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). the player has the options of betting. but they do not wish to place a bet at this time. 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. THE FLOP Once the players have equalised their bets on the first 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).

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. THE THIRD BETTING ROUND The third betting round now takes place to exactly the same format as the previous two betting rounds. 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. 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. In our example $2-$4 game. the final community card is dealt. this is $2. This is known as Fifth Street.T EXAS H OLD ' EM G AME P LAY | 21 The betting continues in a clockwise direction until the bets have been equalised. The bets in this betting round adhere to the minimum game bet. raise or fold. 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. each bet and raise must match the maximum betting limit of the game. Once again. 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. so bets start at $4 and each raise can only be raised by $4. This is known as Fourth Street. or more commonly The Turn. In our game here we are using limits of $2-$4. . The only difference this time is that from this round on. This also means that any raise can only be raised by $2. Once all bets have been equalised. or the River and is the final card to be dealt.

Out of these seven cards. THE SHOWDOWN As the name suggests. 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 NEXT HAND Prior to dealing the next hand.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. Dealing now starts in a clockwise direction and the player to the immediate left of the Button receives the first card. The Big Blind is paid by the second player to the left of the Button. this is where the remaining players show their hands to determine which player holds the best hand and ultimately wins the Pot. If this hand beats the other players. Typically. the final stage takes place. The Dealer Button is moved one player to the left. Normal play then resumes as previously explained. the last person to place their chips into the pot is the first to show their hand. 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. 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. This player now becomes the effective (or virtual) dealer. . a maximum of five cards can only be used in a hand. then they can choose not to reveal their own hands and can just return their cards face down to the dealer. In this case they normally state that the other hand has them beat by saying “Beats Me”.

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

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

but it includes all the court cards and runs in sequence from 9 through to King. 5-6-7-8-9.939 to 1. let's assume that you hold the hand shown here. the cards that make up a Straight Flush must be all of the same suit. The 9 would be the highest card in your hand and could said to be a nine-high straight flush. STRAIGHT FLUSH efghi A Straight Flush is the 2nd highest poker hand. Just as in the Royal Flush. If you hold this hand then you will be odds on favourite for winning the Pot. The hand is similar to a straight flush where the cards are all the same suit (clubs. This means that the probability of seeing this hand is a massive 30. 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. they would hold a Ten- . For example. The strength of the hand is determined by the highest card in the hand. hearts or diamonds). There are only four possibilities for a Royal Flush as there are only four suits in a pack of cards. If your opponent holds a 6-7-8-9-10.26 | P OKER H ANDS ROYAL FLUSH IJKLM The Royal Flush is the highest ranking poker hand that is available. spades.

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

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

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

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

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. I created a simple method that was extremely effective at helping me learn my poker hands fast.P OKER H ANDS | 31 HIGH CARD The lowest ranking hand is the High Card hand. If your opponent holds a King or an Ace. This occurs when you cannot make any other hand. So there you have it! Learn these hands and become efficient at quickly recognising them. The highest ranking hand is ultimately determined by the highest card that you hold in your hand. INCREASING YOUR SKILLS Now is the time to get your basic skills up to scratch. bgIxY It has been known. Within a couple of hours of using . LEARN TO IDENTIFY POSSIBLE POKER HANDS One of the main things that was difficult for me when learning to play poker. In this example. was being able to identify poker hands and learning which hand beats another. then they would beat your hand. 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. you hold a Queen as your High Card.

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

Good shuffle technique is worth learning well.P OKER H ANDS | 33 community cards. Remember. It is simple to do and the more you practice the easier and faster. by turning over the fourth community card. 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. The other common shuffles used in Poker are the Wash and Go and the Strip and Cut. Carry on simulating a Hold 'em game. 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!). you will be able to shuffle. at least to begin with. These represent the Flop. or do a Web search on Google for “how to shuffle cards”. and master your technique until it is faultless. Riffle Shuffle and the Strip Shuffle. Demonstrations of these can easily be found on the worldwide web. To find out how to perform the overhand shuffle and many other varieties. . but work towards never having to glance at the cards in the pocket a second time. 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. as in a real game it will be identified as a Tell (more about those later). Once you are adept at the Overhand shuffle. you can then progress to the Hindu Shuffle. only look at your hole cards if you really cannot remember them. There are a variety of ways to learn to shuffle and the most common one is the Overhand Shuffle. the final community card and see what the best hand is that you can make with all seven cards. Only looking at your pocket cards if you really have to. as well as keep all of the cards together in the deck. Steer clear of flashy shuffles. Weave Shuffle. the Turn and again seeing if you can improve on your hand. turn over the River.

These games can get fairly fast and you may struggle at first to keep up.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 . the community cards appear in sequence. PARTY POKER'S HOTTEST AND LATEST GAMES. At this stage you do not need to concentrate on who's betting what and which strategies are being used. Consistency is the key here and if you keep with it and persist. 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.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. allowing you to quickly work out which hand is more likely to win. you will find that you are reading the cards like a pro in no time flat. turn and river. You will generally find that the pocket cards of the players that haven't folded are displayed on the screen. CLAIM YOUR EXCLUSIVE CASINO GAME HUB BONUS – 100% BONUS ON YOUR FIRST DEPOSIT (UP TO $500 & WHEN DEPOSITING $25 OR MORE)* BY VISITING: www. “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. As the game progresses.casinogamehub. make some popcorn. crack open a extra large Pepsi and start to pay attention to the cards that are drawn.

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

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. 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. When learning how to play Hold 'em. your Position. 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. It all comes down to experience when deciding how you are going to play each hand. 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. the type of game that you decide to play can vary not only game to game. WHAT'S IN YOUR POCKET? There are numerous things to take into consideration when determining the strength of your two pocket cards. As your experience grows. playing a loose game means that you are relying on luck much more than strategy. or whether you would do better to fold . For the purpose of this book we shall stick to playing a tight game. With a Tight game being at one end of the scale and a Loose game at the other. 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. Although any method of gambling includes some element of luck. you will be able to make informed decisions about how to play your game. which is the best method for those who are just starting out playing poker. but also hand to hand. Where you are seated at the table. 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.

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

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

although it may be likely that your opponent could hold a higher pair. or King-high Straight or a Flush if suited. then you may not have the best hand but it may be able to be improved if you flop a high-card pair. but not impossible. The value of these cards are not so low as to be able to produce a Jack. Queen. However. Medium-Strength Pairs Ii uU TG If you hold a pair of 9's. 8's or 7's. These will be beaten by a similar pair with a higher kicker. Flopping a lower pair will make the hand fairly weak and chances of producing a winning hand will be slim. 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. this combination can produce a winning hand.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. . When suited can be built to a Royal Flush or a Flush. holding a medium-strength pair can produce a much stronger hand if the flop turns them into Trips. and if unsuited are not too far apart to bring about a Straight.

If you flop a 10 instead of a 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.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. If you hold Q-10 and flop another Queen. then your pair is much weaker and will be beaten by a stronger pair. 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. then you will hold a High Pair with a 10 Kicker.

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

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

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

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

then it may be worth considering betting. but if this is not improved upon at all then the only option open to you is to muck your hand. virtually worthless. 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.B ASIC S TRATEGY | 45 AFTER THE FLOP This is where the main decision about what to do with your hand will be made. WHEN THE FLOP HASN'T HELPED If after the flop your hand has not been improved at all. before the action gets to you. it hasn't made a lot of difference or it's made what would be initially considered a good hand. . Either the flop has improved your hand. Your hole cards may have been fairly strong before the flop. It is both pointless and a waste of money to bet on a hand where the odds of it winning are poor. then only one decision can be made. 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. At this stage we will only consider basic strategy that will become the building blocks to your future success. fold your hand. THE FLOP HELPED A LITTLE If you held a moderate hand before the flop and the flop improved upon that hand.

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

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

By knowing your opponent and watching how they play during the game. There's nothing that can be done about this and you just need to chalk it up to experience.48 | B ASIC S TRATEGY good indicator that he could hold a Triple or even a Full House. your hand could easily be made stronger if a card that compliments your hand is dealt and so could your opponents. Q-Q-Q and has won the hand. it appears on the turn or the river. winning you the pot. You have been holding the best hand since the flop and after the turn. 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. Keep an eye on how the other players are betting to get an indicator of what they may hold. . Obviously. by the time the River card is dealt you should have your 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. THE RIVER Much like the turn. so now your opponent is holding trips. There will always be a time for you when you need a specific card or suited card and as if by magic. The river produces another Queen. 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.

The professional dealer places the Dealer Button in front of this player. 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. We are playing a $20-$40 limit game. so we can now move on to an example of the way a typical Texas Hold 'em poker game might flow. which means that the lower betting limit is $20 and the higher limit is $40. Being half of the lower betting limit. 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. the small blind at this stage of the hand is set at $10. This is who the professional dealer is dealing on behalf of. The person to the immediate left of the professional dealer is the Dealer.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. so that all players know who is the active Dealer. LET'S PLAY Our five players are seated at the table and ready to play. 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. .

Once each person at the table has been the dealer. each player is dealt their first pocket card. cards.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. The pot currently holds $30. 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.. This will be the Burn Pile.. . this player pushes their $20 worth of chips towards the centre of the table and into the pot. Being an amount exactly equal to the lower betting limit. Moving in a clockwise direction. Now that the small blind and the big blind has been paid. 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. Remember that the Blinds are forced bets and must be paid. Nobody is allowed to see these at any stage during the game. Let's have a look at what each of our five players has in the hole. all players would have had their turn in playing the blinds. or hole. the first round of betting takes place.

He will be looking for another Jack to make a pair with a high-kicker. a high card with a high kicker. FIRST BETTING ROUND The betting Action for the first round of betting starts with player 4. the betting rounds can now commence. or another Ace to give him . 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 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. Player 4 has been dealt A♦-J♣.

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

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

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

THIRD BETTING ROUND The third round of betting now takes place and the players are now playing Heads-Up (One on One). Of the two players left in the game. He decides to raise and puts $80 into the pot ($40 bet plus $40 raise. He could do with another Ace or King on the board. high pair with a top kicker. the bet amount now increases to the higher limit. which may come on the River. He decides to play safe and just calls. From this betting round onwards. 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. in this case $40. Player 4 has not improved his hand but still holds a full house and is confident that he still holds the winning hand. seeing as the bet amounts have now increased). . Player 3 gets what he hoped for in the turn and now holds his best hand of K-K-A. The raise amount is also $40. Player 3 is again first to act.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♠. placing his $80 into the pot.

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

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

GET STARTED NOW WITH CASINO GAME HUB AT: www. GET PLAYING AT PACIFIC POKER 888 IS ONE OF THE WORLD'S LARGEST COMMUNITIES ON THE INTERNET.com/holdembook/pacificpoker .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.casinogamehub. 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. 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.

at your opponents cost. in no time. 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. 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. there are four betting rounds.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. due to the fact that the pot may already be won long before the showdown. . It is likely that we will not always see all of the betting rounds. At times you will be low on chips and a good betting strategy will have you replenishing your chip stack. Once the bets have been equalised. We will also cover some basic betting strategy that may benefit you in your game. there is a maximum limit of raises per betting round. Let's now look a little closer at some of the things that you will need to be aware of in the betting rounds. 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. the next community card(s) can be dealt or the showdown can commence.

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

from time to time there may be a need to look a little closer at betting more strategically.B ETTING STRATEGIC BETTING | 61 If everybody was honest and only placed bets according to their hand. These basic considerations are extremely beneficial and can put you in a good position for the game. to improve your chip-stack in order to play an opponent with a big stack or maybe just to win. let's discuss good general betting strategy. if you are in middle position and somebody after you raises. Whatever your reason. then players would fold when they had a bad hand. GENERAL BETTING STRATEGY Before we get on to the more deceitful betting options. This will drive out players that hold draw hands and generally cause them to fold. then you should consider raising and even re-raising. 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. then unless they are bluffing it is likely that their hand beats you and you need to be on your guard. either to replenish your chips. However. When learning to play Texas Hold 'em this is what you should do while you are building your experience in the game. before the flop. K-K or A-K suited. such as A-A. then you may look to raise if none of the players before you have raised. However. MIDDLE & LATE POSITIONS If you hold a strong hand and are in the middle or late positions. bet when they had a moderate hand and raise when they had a good hand. STRONG HAND If you hold an excellent hand in early position. ..

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

This forces each player to pay a double bet (bet amount plus the raise amount) in order to stay in the hand.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. WIN BIG JACKPOT PRIZES! OVER $3. Seeing as he has already committed one bet to his hand. by checking.B ETTING | 63 hold a strong hand. When playing in early position and the first player to act. You then raise his bet. therefore forcing him to bet. the player immediately raises. THE OPENER This tactic is used by players that tend to bluff frequently. it is likely that he will match the raise by calling. LEARN “CHIP TRICKS” OR PLAN TO WIN ENTRY INTO A WORLD POKER EVENT. Unless a player holds a strong hand or is also an aggressive player. the Opener will see players folding more often than not.com/holdembook/littlewoodspoker . This tactic is best used with fewer players in the hand.casinogamehub.

64 | B ETTING .

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. 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. 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. These tournaments have appeared out of the online poker community and have a large variety of game levels available to play. With these types of tournaments there is more than one winner. 30% for second and 20% for third. BASIC OVERVIEW If you have ever been involved with a poker tournament run by your local pub. with the exception that there is more than one overall winner. It's like playing at the final table in a multi-table poker tournament and tends to be much shorter than a full-blown . then you have probably been exposed to the concept of Sit & Go tournaments. usually 50% of the prize fund for first place. are the next stop on your journey to Texas Hold 'em poker fame. Each of the remaining players then battles it out for first.8 Single Table Tournaments S ingle table tournaments. second and third position which dictates their winnings. more commonly referred to as Sit & Go's.

Practising online is an ideal way to become more proficient at poker whilst learning to play a higher game. Therefore it's a great place to learn more about poker and to hone your newly acquired skills.66 | S INGLE T ABLE T OURNAMENTS poker tournament. 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. 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. 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. while taking home some winnings in the process. The excellent thing . It's therefore a good strategy to start with the lowest games and progress your way up through the levels. 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. then you would need a minimum of $200 in order to play. These games tend to be convenient and fun and there doesn't have to be a lot of money at stake. give or take. Be warned though. It's pointless playing at the higher levels and repeatedly losing and it's certainly not an enjoyable way to spend your time. If you only have an hour or so to spare. these are the ideal way to increase your knowledge and experience. 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. almost for pocket change. without your family and friends learning your strategies as you go. For instance. 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 have learnt to play a good game of Hold 'em and you do not get carried away with your emotions too easily. 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. 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. SIT & GO STRATEGY So what is the strategy for playing Sit & Go's? To begin with . or less serious players. then you will be playing the higher level games in no time at all. rather than the usual three. but as you progress you may want to try some of the other styles. GAME TYPES There are various types of Sit & Go games available to play online and they are all different. There are games that have a full compliment of players. When starting you just need to stick with the standard Sit & Go and steer clear of these other variations.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. the game tends to be much faster. 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. then you should have no problems playing the lower level games. These games are cheap to buy in to and the players that frequent these games are usually either beginners. Seeing as there are a smaller number of players to begin with. it is usual that only the final two players have a claim to a percentage of the pot. Another variation of the Sit & Go is a game with fewer players. You will also see some games that only have two players that are playing Heads-Up. Either way their strategy is not usually very good and if you play a good Sit & Go strategy. As a result. but the blinds are raised at a quicker rate.

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

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

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

WITH BUY-INS FOR $0. Raising and re-raising will help here and the bigger your stack the better. GET STARTED PLAYING SIT & GO TOURNAMENTS TODAY NOW THAT YOU KNOW WHAT SIT & GO'S ARE ALL ABOUT.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.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.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.casinogamehub. WHY NOT KICK-START YOUR NEW SKILLS AND ENTER ON-LINE TOURNAMENTS FOR “PLAY MONEY” OR EVEN REAL MONEY AT FULL TILT POKER.

72 | S INGLE T ABLE T OURNAMENTS .

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

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

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

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

Keeping track of the pot amount and raise amount can easily become confusing when a game speeds up. but why? As the name suggests there are a number of tables that are playing poker simultaneously. say for example around $38 so once your skills are improved you may want to look at playing one weekend. 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. we covered this type of game earlier on in detail in a previous chapter. until there is only one table left – The Final Table. this is the game of choice.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. is that it is sometimes possible to qualify and . until you are able to continually win this type of game. learn and start to incorporate some advanced strategy as you play. These types of tournaments can taken a lot of hours and sometimes days to get through. MULTI-TABLE TOURNAMENTS When entering into a multi-table tournament you are really going in for the long-haul. SIT & GO'S (SINGLE TABLE TOURNAMENTS) Since this is the first logical place to start when learning to play Texas Hold 'em. over a period of time. One of the things that excites me with this type of tournament. An increase in tables means an increase of players and a five table tournament can start with around 50 players. Until you feel that your experience level and skill has improved significantly. Stick with it. 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.

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

casinogamehub. As long as you haven't bet your house.com/holdembook/wsop . kids and dog. 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. so use those and you won't go too wrong. 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. 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.

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you wouldn't get anything done. but to give you a good grounding in what tells are and how they work. then it would be a disaster. The subject of tells is a large and complex subject. 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. As you will be aware. It is impossible to cover body-language as it relates to poker. 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. to lifting an outrageous amount of weight like a world class power lifter. we can give you some guidelines in what to look for and hopefully exploit to your advantage. TELLS & THE HUMAN AUTO-PILOT If our brains had to perform all of the tasks that run your body consciously. including your heart. but also controls the operation and function of each and every one of your organs.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. Instead. If you had to think about when to breath in and breathe out. all of the stuff that can be done automatically is . indepth in this book.

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

We can use the tells produced by our opponents to improve our game. as if a player is consciously trying to concentrate on playing poker as well as consciously keeping their poker face in check. Seeing as these movements are unconscious. The other way that players might attempt to hide tells. 7 bits of information at any one time and can only realistically concentrate on one thing at a time. so players tend to concentrate on just having one expression to elude other players to what they are thinking. rapidly switching its attention between them making it appear that they are all happening at the same 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. This is commonly referred to as their Poker Face. they way that you hold your body and the way you point your feet are all ways that you can betray yourself. HIDING TELLS We have already covered the most basic way that some poker players attempt to hide facial tells by developing their Poker Face. the way you position your hands. Players also wear baseball caps and hooded jumpers (known as 'hoodies') to cast deep shadows over their face to hide their expressions from view. such as wearing large sunglasses to hide eye movements. YOUR OWN BODY BETRAYS YOU The conscious mind can only hold. These unconscious movements and facial expressions in reaction to emotional stimulus are called Tells in poker. on average. something will probably give at some point. then they can be very difficult to control. This is important to note when playing poker. is . Other ways are more obvious. This will more than likely be seen in a body movement.

If this type of action if performed each and every time then the action of trying to hide a tell. later in the game. COMMON TELLS As you will probably be able to realise. some more common ones that will get you started in identifying what your opponents are really up to. A Baseline is quite simply a visual record of how your opponent reacts normally to a given situation. 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. becomes a tell in its own right. there are also tells that can be used to identify what your opponent is doing when playing online. but he slumps back in his chair while exhaling. . FACE-TO-FACE TELLS Here are some of the more common tells that can be identified when playing with your friends or in tournaments. you notice that each time one of your opponents gets a good card that drastically improves his hand on the flop. There are though. there are an inexhaustible number of tells that can potentially be used during the course of a poker game. Say for instance. when you are unable to actually physically watch your opponents during the game. ESTABLISHING A BASELINE Before you can continue to identify your opponents tells. he sits up in his chair and slightly leans over the table and takes a big breath. you have to establish what is called a Baseline. otherwise referred to as Reading your opponents. This is why it is important to study your opponents early on in the game and get to know their behaviour. he moves all-in with a large stack of chips. If.84 | T ELLS to be consciously aware of a tell and then do the exact opposite.

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

in order to try to lure their opponents into thinking that they hold a top hand when they hold a poor hand.86 | T ELLS more noticeable it will become. 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. or they hold a poor hand when they hold a . but remains to have an interest in the pot. then it is highly likely that they have a strong hand and are trying to detract from it. you've guessed it. PLAYING THE OPPOSITE This is when players play the opposite to how they would normally play with a given hand. you give him a right old stare. there are also tells that players can play consciously. eye contact is increased. So if you are being stared down at the table when it's your go to bet. whilst their head will be looking away. 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. 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. In this instance. usually until he looks away. What do you do? Yep. 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. 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. SHOWING DISINTEREST If a player shows a disinterest in the hand that they are playing. OTHER TYPES OF TELL Aside from the unconscious tells. Here are some of the most common ones.

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

Take some time to think about your own play and whether or not you exhibit these tells by your speed of play. not giving anything away to your opponents. 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. While these assumptions can never be 100% accurate. 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. When a player has checked raise any it is highly likely that they have a strong hand. Watch how much time it takes the other players to take action and make a mental note of it. When a player uses a check box their action comes immediately after the player before him. . 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. see if you can determine what they slow bet with and what they fast bet with. without delay. This is because they have effectively put their actions on auto-pilot and this can be used to your advantage. the general speed of play can be a good tell. 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.88 | T ELLS slower internet connection. AUTO-PLAYS & CHECK BOXES Online casinos make use of check boxes for options such as fold. or call any. This is largely because the player is calculating their strategy with what they perceive to be a strong hand. a quick bet is a sign of weakness. and a delayed action is a sign of strength. you can over time begin to draw conclusions and ascertain patterns based on a players use of check boxes. Typically. If they expose their cards at the showdown. if you pay attention to other players actions.

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

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

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

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

macro expressions). it would be possible to play back.T ELLS learn this technique and you'll be able to! MICRO-EXPRESSIONS | 93 Recently highlighted in the hit TV series 'Lie to me'. BEING ONE OF THE LONGEST STANDING ONLINE CASINOS. Surprise. Emotions such as Fear.com/holdembook/palacepoker Note: Golden Palace does not accept players from North America . Dr. GOLDEN PALACE HAS DEFINITELY BEEN ONE OF THE MOST TRUSTED SINCE 1997! FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HOW TO JOIN THIS ESTABLISHED CASINO AT: www. Contempt. 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. GOLDEN PALACE CASINO & POKER GET YOUR MASSIVE SIGN-UP BONUS WITH SOME OF THE BEST ON THE INTERNET. Excitement and Anger to name just a tiny few. can be recognised and if the person producing these expressions was recorded on video.casinogamehub. 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. 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. This is a massive and fascinating subject that I personally find exciting.

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POKER AT HOME Friday night is finally here and you've had a rubbish week at work. There's nothing better than getting together with a bunch of friends and family to play poker at home. catch up with each other and have a great time. 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. increase your chances of winning and become a poker expert. but the weekend has arrived. pick up some beers and head round to Jimmy's. you head to the pizza shop to pick up a couple of large ones with 'the lot' on the top. wish your work colleagues a 'Good Weekend' and head home. . You stand up from behind your desk. 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.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. Jimmy has his own poker table and at the end of every month his friends and family get together to play Poker. 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. After a shower and a change of clothes.

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

with the betting structure as low as $0. You will not improve by going up against people less skilled or who are at the same level as you are. but your newly acquired skills will not improve very quickly. set yourself up an account with an online casino or poker room and play some of the low-level Sit & Go tournaments.020 you can play literally for pocket-change. go up against people that are better that you. In order to hone your skills and learn to play poker like a pro. 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. You can then go to your friends next poker night and clean up! SOFTWARE Getting started is easy and straight-forward. you will need more practice. As far as the first one goes. Once you understand these. 3) Finally. this book will give you the basics. There is no reason not too. 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. As your experience and skill increases.G OING F ORWARD you are given when you sign-up for your poker account. your online account will get bigger and you can enter the higher-priced games. In my world the way to become excellent at any new skill is three-fold: 1) Learn the basics & learn the rules. you will first need to download and install the casino or poker room's software on your .015-$0.

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. so don't go expecting this for every subsequent deposit you make. so keep on the lookout for new offers. giving you the chance to win a prize fund.98 | G OING F ORWARD computer. This software is generally supplied free of charge and full instructions will be given as to how to install. 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. Get practising as see if you can become one of the next world poker champions. COMPETITIONS Regular competitions are held online. 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. . Each casino will have their own procedure that needs to be followed. These are constantly changing. This can be great for getting started and if you have say $200 to credit your account with. A whole host of other offers are available for new and existing players. you can then set up an account and play. This is generally only for your first deposit though. a holiday or even a place at the final table in the next world event. We have put together a small list of places where you can get started. Once installed. then they will match this giving you a total of $400 to play with.

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

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

When you hold a poor hand but bet as if you have top pair. it is beyond the scope of the beginner.G OING F ORWARD PARTY POKER | 101 Awarded the “Poker Operator of the Year” award by eGaming. In horse-racing you may have a 5:1 chance that your horse will win. We shall not go into detail in this section as in my opinion. However. But use with caution. Bluffing in poker is a way of acting that makes your opponent think one thing. HOLD 'EM ODDS Every form of gambling (and poker is one of them) have odds. 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. Party Poker is fast becoming on of the most popular on-line poker rooms around. for example. . 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. With it's many tournaments and challenges there is always a game going on. when the opposite is usually true. or perhaps you want to try to get them to fold. Be careful that your bluff is not called and make sure that your body language does not give you away. Learning how to bluff can increase your game and sometimes get you out of a sticky situation. It's a risky game to play and it has it's place. then this is bluffing. a basic idea should get you started in the right direction to improving your game.

600 different combinations to flop these three cards and a 19. Odds of you getting dealt A-K as your pocket cards. These odds show the probability of you making your desired hand leaving you with better information as to how to progress. OUTS An out can be defined as the number of cards that are left in the deck that will make your hand.102 | G OING F ORWARD USING ODDS In Texas Hold 'em there are odds for all different elements of the game. Of course. almost by rote. that's what poker odd calculators were invented for. this area can get extremely complex and although knowing the odds for every eventuality does seem to be a bit overkill. 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. On the flop. 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. 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). if there is $20. then you have odds of just below 2:1. although the number can get a bit on the scary side and I find that knowing some basic numbers. . Anyway. two of the most commonly used calculations in Texas Hold 'em Poker. For instance. there are 19. can be a good place to start. The percentage probability is calculated using simple division. odds that you will make a flush on the river and the odds that your opponent has a better hand than you. For instance. Let's look at Pot Odds and Outs.000.000 in the pot and the bet to you is $11.599:1 chance of getting the exact three cards that you want.

This breaks down further to around 6. There are 6 cards that you can see. 3 for the remaining three Aces and 3 for the remaining three Kings. Say. .6:1 (40 divided by 6). In order to calculate the odds. 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. You have 6 outs in this situation. Out of these 46 cards.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. you will need to determine the number of outs you have in making your hand. This gives you 40:6 odds on making your hand. for example. which leaves 46 cards unknown to you. 6 of them (the outs) will give you a winning hand and the remaining 40 will not.

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when in actuality the player possible has the worst hand at the table. BUTTON A physical marker that is placed on the table in front of a player to mark them as the effective dealer. There are two blind payments. In tournaments the blinds rise steadily throughout the game thereby promoting game play. of the community cards. The button moves one position left in a clockwise direction each hand. BLINDS Forced bets that are paid every hand to ensure that there is money in the pot to win. as large blind amounts lost.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. 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. BLUFF Playing as if you have a good hand by betting and raising. BUY-IN The amount that is required to be paid for a place in a tournament. the buy-in amount for each player collectively becomes the prize pool. Normally. . 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. This is done in an attempt to get other players to fold. The two players positioned to the left of this marker are responsible for paying the small and big blinds. the small blind and the big blind. is determined by the game limits set by the table stakes. The amount to be paid when paying a blind. BOARD Another name for all. It is usually set to a small percentage (¼ or slightly less) of the small blind. BUBBLE The name given to the last person in a tournament to be knocked out and not have a claim on the prize money. can contribute to a large portion of a players chips. or some.

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. FLUSH The term given to a poker hand where all five cards are of the same suit. whereas a six-handed game consists only of six players. known as the river. There are two other types of flush. 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. run in sequence and contain the and ace. HANDED Used to refer to the number of players in a game of poker. CHECK The action by which you withhold from placing a bet. FULL HOUSE A poker hand that consists of three cards of the same value. then the player with . such as J-J. COMMUNITY CARDS The five cards that are dealt face-up on the table and are available to all players. the three court cards and a 9 and 10. These cards are made up of the flop. Also known as pocket cards. FOURTH STREET Another name used to identify the fourth community card to be dealt. KICKER The card that is responsible for breaking a tie at the showdown. after which the only remaining options are call. the turn and the river.106 | H OLD ' EM T ERMINOLOG Y CALL The action of matching a previous players bet. Also known as the turn. If the remaining players both hold the same hand. raise or fold. A player would return their cards facedown to the dealer. 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. which are dealt after completion of the first betting round. A ten-handed game will consist of ten players. FIFTH STREET Another name used to identify the last community card to be dealt. HOLE CARDS The two cards that are initially dealt to each player at the start of each hand. HEADS-UP A term used when there are only two players left in the game. together with a pair. Also FLOP The first three community cards that are available to the players. playing oneon-one. Also known as pass or mucking in.

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

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