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TEXAS HOLD 'EM
- EXCELLENCE Learn to Play Poker to Win Online and At The Table
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...........................................................................31 5 Basic Strategy................................28 Three of a Kind............................44 After the Flop...............................49 Dealing the Pocket Cards...............................................................35 Tight or Loose?....................................................36 Position...........54 The Turn...........................................................................................................................................20 The Turn...........................................................................................................................................................................................................................30 High Card..........................................................................................................................15 The Blinds.................................................................21 The River.................................................................................................56 ....................27 Flush.11 3 Texas Hold 'em Game Play............................................................56 The Fourth Betting Round..........35 What's in Your Pocket?..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................7 2 Introduction..........................................................................................................42 Before the Flop.....................31 Increasing Your Skills..28 Straight.....................16 The Deal.......................................................................................26 Four of a Kind..........26 Straight Flush.................50 First Betting Round.......................................................49 The Blinds..............................................................................................................15 The Betting Limits......................................22 The Next Hand...............................................................................................................48 6 A Typical Game.........................................21 The Third Betting Round....................20 The Second Betting Round.......................................23 4 Poker Hands...........................................................................................................................................................................................................22 The Showdown.....................................................................................................................................................................25 Royal Flush.......................................................................................................45 The Turn..................17 The Flop.....17 The First Betting Round.......................................................................51 The Flop.............29 Two Pair............21 The Fourth Betting Round....................................................47 the River............................................................................................................................................................27 Full House..29 Pair....................................................................................................49 Let's Play..........................................................................................................................22 Other Points.............................................................................................................................................................................................................Contents 1 Preface............................53 Second Betting Round.................................................................54 Third Betting Round..................................................................................................................55 The River.............................................................................
.............................................................57 The Next Hand.......................................95 Poker at Home.........................................81 Tells & The Human Auto-Pilot................................................90 11 Going Forward....................101 Hold 'em Odds.............................................................73 Spread-Limit Games........................................................................76 Sit & Go's (Single Table Tournaments)...65 Basic Overview.......................................57 7 Betting...............................105 ...........................................................The Showdown................................................................................................................................96 Bluffing..........................................................................................................................101 12 Hold 'em Terminology......84 The Next Step.....................................67 Sit & Go Strategy.................................................................................................................................................................................................................77 10 Tells................................................................66 Game Types...............................................95 Online Poker..................73 Limit Games........................................................................................59 Betting Points of Interest.........................75 Pot-limit Games........................................77 Multi-Table Tournaments....................................................59 8 Single Table Tournaments..................65 Online Game Levels.........................................................81 Common Tells.......................................................................................................................................................................................................................75 No-Limit Games...........................................................................................................................................................................................................67 9 Types of Hold 'em Games.........
6 | .
I learned how to play almost two years ago now and have never regretted spending the time to learn. than to get together with friends. nobody – and I mean nobody – knew how to play Texas Hold 'em poker! I did not know what to say or what to think. 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. 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. Nobody played poker? We were invited around our new friends houses for dinner. No matter where I go. Out of the eighty or so people that both me and my partner regularly had contact with in and around this small town.1 Preface Playing poker is one of my most valuable past-times. or sit down at my computer and unwind by playing a few hands of Hold 'em. until recently. for a barbeque. to watch a movie or just to have a few drinks. I was now on a mission. We both started working at different locations and for different companies. or even knew how to play. Even they did not play poker. I had not played for a month or so when I first moved and . I could not believe what I was to find out. That was. About eight months ago. as well as getting to know the local people. with some of their other friends who were unknown to us. There's nothing better after a long hard working week. The first thing that I needed to do was to play poker. the common knowledge of how to play one of the most popular poker games on the planet.
I needed to get my new circle of friends interested in and experienced in playing Texas Hold 'em poker. is the regular competitions and tournaments that are offered together with the chance of winning a place in a televised poker event. The wide range of games to choose from online. 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. They found that these books were either too complicated or too basic and looking at the ones that they purchased myself. I though long and hard about how I would be able to do this. I needed to find another alternative. from low-limit games that you could literally play with pocket change. waste a lot of my valuable time and would be a long process with five or so players at a time. I would get $300 of chips. what have I been missing! Playing online is a real buzz and one which has now become one of my favourite ways to play. If I were to buy $300 of chips to play an offline game. Not having what seemed to be the luxury of playing with people face to face. from holding poker nights where I would teach everyone how to play poker. my other challenge beckoned. One thing that I really do find exciting. I had played poker online before. the offers are way beyond anything that you would find around a table. A few of my friends that I mentioned this too went out to look at buying books on learning poker. giving me $600 in my account! Fantastic. Not only are there some fantastic poker rooms out there. but certainly not as much as up until now and boy.8 | P REFACE needed to find some stimulation. the casino matched my purchase with another free $300. once every week or so. Teaching fifty or so people how to play poker would be torture. with a exceptionally high prize fund. So after I had found some of the best poker places online. yet online with my first account credit of $300. I would . This alternative was online poker. to the more tense and exciting no-limit games. suits every person and every budget.
but at this time the content of the book. And here it is. I decided that spending a few weeks writing a book on poker that shared enough information about how to play. as we speak. By keeping the content to the point. The good thing was that after only 2 weeks. I though long and hard about this and decided that this would be a good thing to do. I would not have to persist week on week. One of my work colleagues after reading my book. They were either concentrated around advanced strategy which made total beginners wanting to give up even before they had started. or so basic that half of the more common aspects of Texas Hold 'em were missing. that I came aware that there were indeed people out there who wished that they could play poker. needed a little more work and a lot more content in order to be a complete guide. So. suggested that I publish it. It was at that moment that this book was born. I had my regular poker nights back and because of my online play. 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. like my friends. I had a thought. I then had a light-bulb moment. to teach them poker. my skills had improved beyond all expectation. I felt. It is for those of you who wish to learn and play Texas |9 . but didn't know where to start and after getting my friends to talk to their friends and their friends friends. Not only would my friends and colleagues be able to learn how to play and play good all at the same time. There must be other people out there who. 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. wanted to learn how to play Texas Hold 'em. In the meantime. 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. This book was originally written for my friends in order to teach them the basics and some more advanced aspects of Texas Hold 'em. would be the perfect solution to everybody's problems.P REFACE agree.
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: email@example.com
oker has been around for centuries and in 2010, is increasingly, the most popular card game played around the world. Of the many varieties of Poker, Texas Hold 'em is widely becoming the game of choice for those serious at winning the high stakes that the no-limit form of this game provides. Texas Hold 'em, known to those familiar with the game simply as Hold 'em, is played almost everywhere and its popularity is on the increase. Whether you are getting together with your friends at home, playing at your local casino or even playing online, the main structure of the game is almost identical. The main difference lies in the betting limits. At home it is likely that you may play for small amounts of money and play a low-limit game. At the casino the betting limits may be higher, although quite a few casinos now play low-limit games for beginners. When you start to get serious at Hold 'em you may find yourself playing the no-limit games where, as the term suggests, the only limit on how much you can bet is limited only by the number of chips that you have available. No-limit games are typically high stake games and played at tournaments. They can however, be played anywhere and the amount that can be won in a single game can run into literally tens and hundreds of thousands. There are two main parts of learning Texas Hold 'em. The first part is learning the game, how it is played, how the betting works and what hands win over others. This is the nuts and bolts of the game and can be referred to as the game mechanics. It is obvious that before you can start
12 | I NTRODUCTION winning at Hold 'em, you need to know how to play, so this is the place to begin. The second part of learning the game are the strategies. Strategies can be thought of as learning a skill and perfecting that skill over time and becoming an expert. Like all skills, your poker skills need to be honed by playing and learning in the process. There are many strategies that are used in Hold 'em, some of which can get extremely mathematical. This book covers the basic strategies that you need to consider in order to play Hold 'em effectively to win. Once you have learnt these basic strategies and honed them to perfection, you can then move on to learn more of the advanced strategies that will have you becoming a Texas Hold 'em expert in no time at all. Like any form of gambling, there is an element of luck in playing Hold 'em. Unless you are able to see what cards are in the pack and the order of those cards, there is no way that you can predict which cards will be drawn in each game. Unlike other forms of gambling, such as slot machines, roulette or craps (where a pair of dice are rolled in order to win), it is possible to increase your chances of winning by using good consistent strategy. It is more likely that somebody with a good strategy will win over time, than somebody without one. In Texas Hold 'em, you are dealt two cards at the start of each hand and depending on your strategy and the odds that each hand holds, it is possible to increase your chances of winning. Texas Hold 'em is only loosely a game of cards. It has been said many times that it is more a game of people. The way that people behave and think have a very large part to play in a game of Hold 'em. It is however, possible to win a hand just by making your opponent think that you have a much better hand than they have, even though you may not have a hand at all and they have the best hand in the house. By paying attention to your opponents and learning how they play, you can use this to further increase your chances of winning each hand that you play. Again, this comes down to strategy but is focused more on how you play, rather than the cards that you play.
this book introduces you to the Hold 'em terminology as you come across it and as you need to know it. This book focuses on getting you playing the game quickly and learning your strategy fast. much like any other interest. Finally. examples are given in an easy to understand manner to integrate your learning. By doing it in this way. Not only do you come to perfect your game. 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. you will have a good grounding in the way the game is played that will increase your odds of winning. By learning these techniques you will be able to play Texas Hold 'em like a professional in the shortest possible time. each time you play. that makes Hold 'em an exceptionally exciting game to play. You . Get ready to join the world of Texas Hold 'em poker. There are quite a few books on the market on how to play Texas Hold 'em and each of these books have their place. Similarly. A lot of terminology can be found in the poker arena. no other form of poker is compared or referenced. seemingly with ease. You will learn how to play Texas Hold 'em and Texas Hold 'em only. while keeping things simple and to the point. but you get to learn the psychology of human behaviour and use it against your opponents. Amaze your friends and family at how good you can play and leave them wondering how you win all of their hardearned cash. 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. Instead of giving you a list of all poker terms at the start of the book and swamping you with unnecessary information. this book focuses on Texas Hold 'em and although some portions of the game can be similar to other forms of poker. Whether you intend to play just at home. or whether you are intending to play professionally online or in a casino.I NTRODUCTION | 13 It is this variety of the game together with the large payouts that you can experience with the no-limit games.
Let's get started! .14 | I NTRODUCTION could be just around the corner to becoming the next world poker champion.
This is the structure of the game and once you have a basic understanding of the game play sequence. In Hold 'em this is shown as $2-$4 or $2/$4. minimum and maximum betting limits are stated before the game commences. to complete your knowledge of the game. THE BETTING LIMITS In a limit game.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. The game is always played in a clockwise direction around the table and the first player is always to the immediate left of the dealer. Betting limits for a game could be $1-$2. You need to ensure that you are aware of the betting limits for the game you are about to play. each element can then be examined more closely in turn. 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. In our game the lower betting limit is $2 and the higher limit is $4. Betting limits specify the lower betting limit and the higher betting limit that are to be used in the game. There are other betting limits that are also used in Hold . $4-$8 or even $100-$200 and $1000-$2000. Stakes can get quite high and this is why it is important to check the game which you are intending to play.
This amount is equal to exactly half of the minimum betting limit in limit games.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. So. THE SMALL BLIND The first player to the dealers immediate left (to the left of the Button) has to pay the Small Blind. This money is referred to as the Blinds. so our lower betting limit is set to $2 and the higher limit is set to $4. 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). 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. With an empty pot there is no money to win and therefore no incentive for the players to play their hand. In our game. This amount is set to exactly the minimum bet amount in limit games. we are playing a limit game of $2-$4. THE BLINDS To get the game started it is necessary to put some money into The Pot. It is a requirement of Hold 'em that these blinds are paid for each hand played and if you are active in the game. For our example here. This means that the players are required to place the blinds into the pot prior to any cards being dealt. we are playing a $2-$4 game. in this instance. so in our game it is $2. they cannot be avoided. This means that the minimum amount that can be bet is $2. the Small Blind is set to half of this amount and is therefore $1. .
T EXAS H OLD ' EM G AME P LAY
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.
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.
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).
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Similar to the first betting round. THE FLOP Once the players have equalised their bets on the first 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. This is known as The Flop. THE SECOND BETTING ROUND The next betting round begins and this time the person to the dealers immediate left (left of the Dealer Button). Once a player has placed a bet (put some money in the pot). They will also need to decide whether their hand can be improved upon with the remaining community cards. . but they do not wish to place a bet at this time. They are in effect stating that they still wish to have interest in the pot. no other player can check in the same betting round and therefore checking is no longer an option for anybody else. The players ascertain if they can improve upon their hand by utilising the three community cards with their Pocket Cards (or Hole Cards). the dealer then burns the top card from the remaining deck of cards and deals three cards face-down on to the table. They also tend to knock on the table to indicate that they are checking. the player has the options of betting. starts the betting round. raising or folding.20 | T EXAS H OLD ' EM G AME P LAY option is discussed further in the Second Betting Round below. 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 community cards are also known as The Board. They also have the added option of checking. 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 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. This is known as Fourth Street. so bets start at $4 and each raise can only be raised by $4. In our example $2-$4 game. In our game here we are using limits of $2-$4. 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.T EXAS H OLD ' EM G AME P LAY | 21 The betting continues in a clockwise direction until the bets have been equalised. 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. The bets in this betting round adhere to the minimum game bet. each bet and raise must match the maximum betting limit of the game. or the River and is the final card to be dealt. 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. or more commonly The Turn. This is known as Fifth Street. 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. . raise or fold. this is $2. the final community card is dealt. The only difference this time is that from this round on. Once all bets have been equalised. Once again. This also means that any raise can only be raised by $2. THE THIRD BETTING ROUND The third betting round now takes place to exactly the same format as the previous two betting rounds.
a maximum of five cards can only be used in a hand. 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 last person to place their chips into the pot is the first to show their 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. If this hand beats the other players. . this is where the remaining players show their hands to determine which player holds the best hand and ultimately wins the Pot. then they can choose not to reveal their own hands and can just return their cards face down to the dealer. Normal play then resumes as previously explained. Out of these seven cards. THE SHOWDOWN As the name suggests. Dealing now starts in a clockwise direction and the player to the immediate left of the Button receives the first card. THE NEXT HAND Prior to dealing the next hand. This player now becomes the effective (or virtual) dealer. The Big Blind is paid by the second player to the left of the Button. the final stage takes place. The Dealer Button is moved one player to the left. In this case they normally state that the other hand has them beat by saying “Beats Me”. 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. Typically.
You have been exposed to a lot of new terminology that is used in Texas Hold 'em in this chapter. But why stop here? Let's now move on and examine the different poker hands that are available in Texas Hold 'em. WINNING BY DEFAULT If during any of the betting rounds all players fold apart from one. then that player who remains in the game wins the pot by default. If it all seems a little confusing at this stage. meaning that they are both winners. Understanding this terminology should allow you to recognise the various game flow elements if you were to watch a poker game at this stage. We shall visit this example again shortly using visual examples of how the hands are played. it will become much clearer in the forthcoming chapters. then the pot is split equally between them. SPLIT POT If on the Showdown the remaining players hold hands of the same value. This means that it is possible to win the pot even before any community cards have been dealt in the Flop. but before we do this it is necessary to learn the different poker hands that are available to us. They do not need to show their cards and can just return them to the dealer face down. just by the way you are betting and this opens the doors to bluffing. OTHER POINTS There are a few additional points to be aware of with regard to game play. just try to understand the Flow of the game and become familiar with the betting rounds and the terminology used. keep with it. . For now though.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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they can be interpreted as a high rank or a low rank depending on how they are used in your hand. . What matters is the value or rank of the card. with the highest ranking hand first. As far as Ace's are concerned. regardless of what suit it is. For example. The hands shown below are in Rank order. In Texas Hold 'em there is no Suit Hierarchy. only five cards can be used to make the best hand that you can. This means that a diamond is the same level as a club and a spade is the same level as a heart. They are quite straight-forward and once you become familiar with them.4 Poker Hands T here are ten different hand rankings that you will need to learn in order to play Hold 'em. or higher than a king as in 10-J-Q-K-A. will be well on your way to becoming a top player. So a Queen beats a Jack and a King beats a Queen. Out of the seven cards that are available to you during each hand played. they can be treated as a one in a A-2-3-4-5 hand.
Just as in the Royal Flush. STRAIGHT FLUSH efghi A Straight Flush is the 2nd highest poker hand. they would hold a Ten- . If your opponent holds a 6-7-8-9-10. If you hold this hand then you will be odds on favourite for winning the Pot.939 to 1. hearts or diamonds). spades. let's assume that you hold the hand shown here. For example. the cards that make up a Straight Flush must be all of the same suit. but it includes all the court cards and runs in sequence from 9 through to King. 5-6-7-8-9. 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. The strength of the hand is determined by the highest card in the hand. There are only four possibilities for a Royal Flush as there are only four suits in a pack of cards. The 9 would be the highest card in your hand and could said to be a nine-high straight flush. The hand is similar to a straight flush where the cards are all the same suit (clubs.26 | P OKER H ANDS ROYAL FLUSH IJKLM The Royal Flush is the highest ranking poker hand that is available.
P OKER H ANDS | 27 high straight flush which will beat you. If your opponent held 6-6-J-J-J then their hand would beat . As the name suggests. in Texas Hold 'em there is no suit hierarchy. Remember. If your opponent also held Quads but they had four 10's or four Jack's. FULL HOUSE The 4th highest ranking hand is the Full House. gGwWj If your opponent also holds a Full House. as their 10 is a higher card than your 9. 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. 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. your hand shows that you hold 7-7-10-10-10. Here. As you would expect. GlLYy In the example above you hold four Queens in your hand. also known as Quads. then it is the highest ranking three of a kind that holds the most clout. then you would beat them. a Three of a Kind is where there are three cards in the hand which have the same value and a Pair is where there are two cards of the same value. If however.
is 3-7-9-J-K. When making a straight from your hand. if they held Q-Q-8-8-8. the Ace can be considered high (10-J-Q-K-A) or low (A-2-3-4-5). . FLUSH Being the 5th highest ranking hand in poker. and so on. An example of your hand.28 | P OKER H ANDS yours. shown above. then your hand would beat theirs. 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. However. followed by the Jack and 9. then they would win the hand as their 8 is higher than your 7. The King is the highest ranking card. cgikm The hand ranking itself is determined by the highest card in the hand. in both hands therefore it is the next highest ranking card that determines the winner. the Flush consists of all five cards in your hand being of the same suit but do not run in sequence. If your opponent held 2-8-9-J-K. then the next highest card in the hand would determine the winner.
the Three of a Kind is the 7th highest ranking hand in poker. This is where your hand consists of two pairs of cards where each pair is of equal rank. Therefore a 7-8-9-10-J (a Jack-high Straight) beats 6-7-8-9-10 (a Ten-high Straight).P OKER H ANDS | 29 AbPqE The winning hand is determined by the highest card in the straight. THREE OF A KIND Also known as a Set or Trips. the strength of the hand is determined by the rank of the three matching cards. Here you hold 3-7-J-J-J which would beat 2-5-9-9-9. As the hand suggests. CtkKx As you would suspect. you need three cards of the same value in order to make this hand. TWO PAIR Ranking 8th in the top ten poker hands and third from the bottom is Two Pair. . but would be beaten by 2-5-Q-Q-Q.
PAIR Second from last in the poker hand list of fame is the Pair.30 | P OKER H ANDS lsSmz The fifth card. where their Two Pair matches yours. eGmuU If your opponent also holds a Pair. . The highest ranking pair determines who wins the hand. In the event that your opponent holds the same ranking Pair as you hold. is determined by the highest ranking pair. known as a Kicker. 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. then the winning hand is determined by the next highest ranking card in your hand. so an A-A would beat a K-K. is referred to as the Kicker and is used to determine the winning hand if your opponent also holds two pair which match yours. The Queen would be the Kicker. although not counted as part of the hand. If your opponent held 46-6-K-K. then the highest ranking hand. then you would win the hand as their 4 Kicker is lower than your Queen. as you would suspect.
In this example. bgIxY It has been known. LEARN TO IDENTIFY POSSIBLE POKER HANDS One of the main things that was difficult for me when learning to play poker. was being able to identify poker hands and learning which hand beats another. Within a couple of hours of using . INCREASING YOUR SKILLS Now is the time to get your basic skills up to scratch. If your opponent holds a King or an Ace. I created a simple method that was extremely effective at helping me learn my poker hands fast. The highest ranking hand is ultimately determined by the highest card that you hold in your hand.P OKER H ANDS | 31 HIGH CARD The lowest ranking hand is the High Card hand. you hold a Queen as your High Card. 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. 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. So there you have it! Learn these hands and become efficient at quickly recognising them. then they would beat your hand. This occurs when you cannot make any other hand.
When arranging the cards like this. quickly and accurately. Look through the poker hands at the beginning of this chapter again. and the five community cards separated from them. Thoroughly shuffle a deck of cards. 4. you can progress to the more advanced method. the more you practice. As with any skill. 2. This method gets you used to making poker hands in Texas Hold 'em. 6. you start to get used to the way the hands look in Texas Hold 'em. where you have the two hole cards near to you. Next turn over the first three cards to the left of the . BASIC METHOD 1. Take your time in trying to determine which is the best hand. Repeat the process from step 3 until you have less than seven cards left in the pack. From the top of the deck. in order to familiarise yourself with the different hands and which hand is higher in the hierarchy. you will find that you can increase your speed and identify which hands you would be able to make. representing your hole cards and then dealing out the five community cards towards the centre of the table.32 | P OKER H ANDS this technique. Look at your hole cards to see which ones you hold and place them back on the table face-down. 5. deal out seven cards from left to right face up. the better you become. you will be able to identify winning (and losing) hands. Over a short period of time. if any. 7. ADVANCED METHOD Once you have gained familiarity with identifying poker hands using the Basic Method. 3. Gather up the cards and place them in a pile to the side. that you would be able to make out of five of the cards that lay before you. the two pocket cards and the five community cards. The final step in this technique is to deal out all of the cards face-down. as well as recognise both the correct name for the hand and it's position in the hand hierarchy. by first dealing two cards close to you.
by turning over the fourth community card. as in a real game it will be identified as a Tell (more about those later). Weave Shuffle. . Riffle Shuffle and the Strip Shuffle. Carry on simulating a Hold 'em game. the Turn and again seeing if you can improve on your hand. only look at your hole cards if you really cannot remember them. These represent the Flop. The other common shuffles used in Poker are the Wash and Go and the Strip and Cut. 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. you can then progress to the Hindu Shuffle. you will be able to shuffle. or do a Web search on Google for “how to shuffle cards”. To find out how to perform the overhand shuffle and many other varieties. Once you are adept at the Overhand shuffle. Steer clear of flashy shuffles. turn over the River. as well as keep all of the cards together in the deck. 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. 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. at least to begin with. Remember. Demonstrations of these can easily be found on the worldwide web.P OKER H ANDS | 33 community cards. Good shuffle technique is worth learning well. and master your technique until it is faultless. 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!). but work towards never having to glance at the cards in the pocket a second time. Finally. There are a variety of ways to learn to shuffle and the most common one is the Overhand Shuffle. It is simple to do and the more you practice the easier and faster.
crack open a extra large Pepsi and start to pay attention to the cards that are drawn. turn and river.casinogamehub. make some popcorn. “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. 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. Consistency is the key here and if you keep with it and persist. the community cards appear in sequence. These games can get fairly fast and you may struggle at first to keep up. PARTY POKER'S HOTTEST AND LATEST GAMES.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 .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. You will generally find that the pocket cards of the players that haven't folded are displayed on the screen. As the game progresses. you will find that you are reading the cards like a pro in no time flat. CLAIM YOUR EXCLUSIVE CASINO GAME HUB BONUS – 100% BONUS ON YOUR FIRST DEPOSIT (UP TO $500 & WHEN DEPOSITING $25 OR MORE)* BY VISITING: www. allowing you to quickly work out which hand is more likely to win. At this stage you do not need to concentrate on who's betting what and which strategies are being used.
Playing a Loose game is the exact opposite of playing a . it stands to reason that you need to know how to make the right decision before parting with your hard-earned money. as well as the Turn and the River. you will need to consider how you will progress with your game after you have seen the Flop. Similarly. Seeing as you only get dealt two cards prior to the first round of betting. TIGHT OR LOOSE? When you are said to be playing a Tight game of poker. that will determine whether or not you continue to play that hand. Playing a tight game can increase your chances of winning over time and you are less likely to consider taking chances. Winning strategies are not discussed in this chapter and will be covered later in the book. This means that you will have a set of rules that you keep to with regard to the cards that you are holding. For now let's just continue to concentrate on the structure of Texas Hold 'em poker and the base information that we need to play. we must discuss some very basic strategy. We shall keep to teaching extremely basic decisionmaking strategy as it applies to the typical game flow of a simple no-frills game. or whether you will fold. you are playing hands that are highly likely to win.5 Basic Strategy B efore we can walk through a few hands of a typical Texas Hold 'em game. that once learned will allow you to follow along with any basic game of Hold 'em.
your Position. It means that you are more likely to take chances that the cards you require will turn up on the Board at some stage and that you will seriously consider playing hands that have an outside chance of winning. Where you are seated at the table. We have to start somewhere and so will leave the more advanced strategies until a little later on and concentrate on the very basics of how you can determine whether or not your pocket cards have the potential to make a quality hand that is worthy of betting on. you will be able to make informed decisions about how to play your game. As your experience grows. Although any method of gambling includes some element of luck. WHAT'S IN YOUR POCKET? There are numerous things to take into consideration when determining the strength of your two pocket cards. It all comes down to experience when deciding how you are going to play each hand. but also hand to hand. or whether you would do better to fold . For the purpose of this book we shall stick to playing a tight game.36 | B ASIC S TRATEGY tight one. 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. 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. playing a loose game means that you are relying on luck much more than strategy. With a Tight game being at one end of the scale and a Loose game at the other. 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. at other times they may play their hand fairly tight if that is how the game needs to be played. which is the best method for those who are just starting out playing poker. When learning how to play Hold 'em.
it is likely that they hold another high card and have made a pair. King or Queen). Strong starting hands. 10's and 9's are more commonly classed as medium-value pairs. Medium-Strength starting hands and those that may be considered as Other playable starting hands. but for the time being at least. but are more commonly medium pairs rather than high-pairs. If they do and they didn't raise before the flop. If you hold a medium value pair and a high-value card appears in the flop (such as an Ace. whilst Jack's. Ace's (Pocket Rockets). Kings and Queens are the higher value pairs. Let's start by looking at some of the Strongest starting hands that you may come across.B ASIC S TRATEGY | 37 (otherwise known as 'mucking your hand'). Anything below this are of low value. 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. Ace with a High Kicker AM al nk This combination is always a good hand to hold and the . There are no hard and fast rules and as your experience grows you will find your own judgement. keep an eye on your opponents to see if they raise the bet. your pocket cards can be placed into three different groups depending on their strength. Although Jack's and 10's could be included here.
Face Cards Suited zy mk YX If you hold a pair of face cards. then there is no question that the odds of making an even better hand on the flop are good. This may not necessary be as good as a pair of Queens with a King kicker. Next we will look at some medium-strength hands that have the potential to become strong as the game unfolds. if you draw an Ace in the flop. Similarly. then you will hold a high Pair with a Queen Kicker. A-K-K. . but it's worth holding. making a high-card Flush or Royal Flush is a long shot. then you will be holding a top pair with the highest possible kicker. the you will probably be looking to make a high Pair on the flop. although things can change very quickly in Hold 'em. turn and river. If you are holding A-K and there is another King in the flop. If your 10♦ does not appear. If you hold K-Q and you flop a King. When the cards are suited. then you always have the chance of getting an Ace-high Flush with any other diamond. If the cards are suited and you are holding A♦-K♦ and the flop pulls a Q♦-J♦-2♠. then you need 10♦ for a Royal Flush on the turn or the river. but possible. which is the top pair with the highest kicker. You may more commonly see as straight appear on the flop. If you are dealt any of the above hands. It almost seems like a win-win situation.38 | B ASIC S TRATEGY Pocket Cards – Strongest Starting Hands higher the Kicker the better. Holding an A-J or A-10 is still a good hand. but you need to consider what your opponent may hold as A-Q will beat your hand. then you will be holding A-A-K.
although it may be likely that your opponent could hold a higher pair. 8's or 7's. Queen. this combination can produce a winning hand. . The value of these cards are not so low as to be able to produce a Jack. Medium-Strength Pairs Ii uU TG If you hold a pair of 9's. These will be beaten by a similar pair with a higher kicker. When suited can be built to a Royal Flush or a Flush. However.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. 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. Flopping a lower pair will make the hand fairly weak and chances of producing a winning hand will be slim. or King-high Straight or a Flush if suited. but not impossible. and if unsuited are not too far apart to bring about a Straight. then you may not have the best hand but it may be able to be improved if you flop a high-card pair. holding a medium-strength pair can produce a much stronger hand if the flop turns them into Trips.
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. 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. even J-J. . If you hold Q-10 and flop another Queen. then you will hold a High Pair with a 10 Kicker. If you flop a 10 instead of a Queen. then your pair is much weaker and will be beaten by a stronger pair. 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.
Pocket Cards – Other Starting Hands Low Pairs Ff rR Qd cp Bo Not regarded as a very powerful hand.B ASIC S TRATEGY | 41 Pocket Cards – Medium-Strength Starting Hands Play with these hands carefully and if the flop doesn't improve things. Let it go if the hand is not improved by the flop. Finally. there are some other hands that you may wish to consider. 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. then don't be afraid to muck your hand swiftly. Ace with a Low Kicker Suited AF ae nq NP ab . making them stronger than a high-pair.
it may be possible to complete the flush either on the flop.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. the worse the position. Low Connectors Suited FE fd rq RP Low hole cards that are suited. could be the Nuts. Being close together in value. The closer to the left of the dealer you are. POSITION Your position around the table is an important factor when playing Hold 'em. This is because the action on the betting rounds goes . It would be best to fold the hand if it is not improved on the flop. turn or the river. However. which is the top flush and depending on the other cards on the board. This is known as Drawing Hands as you need to Draw a series of cards in order to improve on your hand. the odds are not very strong in seeing another three cards of the same suit appearing on the board. If you flop two or more cards of the same suit. or if it is suspected that your opponent has a stronger hand. getting a consecutive run of cards to make a Straight Flush would be more beneficial than a Flush on its own. whereas the closer to the right of the dealer. have the potential to become a Flush and can win the pot. the better.
When playing in this position. If their hand is not so strong and they were trying to bluff. bet. you can raise the bet and see what their reactions are. raised or folded. the first four players to the dealers left would be playing in early position. players five to seven in mid-position. The less players to act after you the better. whilst the remaining three players would be considered to be playing in late position. each player will take their turn in playing in each of these positions repeatedly during the course of an entire poker game. At a full table of ten players. 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. mid. for example. 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. Your position in any particular hand is referred to as either early.or late position. THE BEST PLACE TO BE The best place to be is to play on the Button. All the other players have made their decisions and have either. If you suspect that other players have a weaker hand than you do. Seeing as the dealer is moved one place to the left for each 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). but are not quite sure. with the exception of the big blind being the last to act in the first betting round.B ASIC S TRATEGY | 43 from the player to the dealers left. however the last player to act will be the dealer. checked. they will possibly decide to fold and not call your raise. . you are last to act when deciding how to proceed with your hand.
J. but not the weakest either. BEFORE THE FLOP Now that you have some guidelines as to some of the better starting hands and the importance of your position. 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. your strategy before the flop is relatively simple. Playing good quality hands in this position is always the best idea. then you may consider playing a lower hand such as a 7-8 as long as they are suited. Q. 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). . then you will more than likely want to fold. then bet or call the previous players bet. you may wish to play a much tighter hand than if you were in mid to late positions. MID-POSITION Not an overly strong position to be in during the game. It is wise to play only strong hands in this position as others will be looking to see how you decide to act. but others after you are still to act. K) which would preferably be suited. When playing in mid-position you have seen others act before you.44 | B ASIC S TRATEGY EARLY POSITION When playing in early position you will be one of the first 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. 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. Fold poor hands quickly and don't take any unnecessary risks. especially if a lot of the players before you have mucked their hands.
then it may be worth considering betting. before the action gets to you. then only one decision can be made. Your hole cards may have been fairly strong before the flop. At this stage we will only consider basic strategy that will become the building blocks to your future success.B ASIC S TRATEGY | 45 AFTER THE FLOP This is where the main decision about what to do with your hand will be made. THE FLOP HELPED A LITTLE If you held a moderate hand before the flop and the flop improved upon that hand. 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. 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. This is where position really comes into play and being in late position will allow you to see what other players are doing. virtually worthless. but if this is not improved upon at all then the only option open to you is to muck your hand. fold your hand. WHEN THE FLOP HASN'T HELPED If after the flop your hand has not been improved at all. 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. . It is both pointless and a waste of money to bet on a hand where the odds of it winning are poor.
If one of your opponents already holds an Ace. But wait. You may want to bet on this hand as you think that the flop has been good to you.46 | B ASIC S TRATEGY ij hole cards nkI the flop Let's say that your pocket cards were 9♠-10♠. then your hand is already beat. in which case it may be best to fold. 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. Use your opponents actions to decide how to proceed. If they have A-K or Pocket Rockets (A-A) in the hole. . or even a straight. The flop produces A♣-J♠-9♦ and gives you a pair of 9's. The flopped Jack also gives you another card for your flush and it's in sequence to your hole cards for your anticipated straight. This meant that you had a chance to make a flush. then the flop will give them A-A-J. the top pair with a highish kicker. You called to see the flop as you held a medium hand and they were also of the same suit.
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. you will definitely want to call or raise and see the turn. The only difference is what each player has in the hole. If a matching high-card is dealt that matches one in the flop that your opponent bet or even raised on. then you have increased the strength of your hand. You now hold top pair (A-A) with the highest kicker. you had A-K in the hole and you flopped A-7-Q. THE TURN Much of your main decision-making strategy has been done prior to and on the flop. The thing that you have to keep in mind with cards in the flop. Unless they get another Queen on the turn or the river to give them two pair. you've got them beat at this stage and they may think their hand is strongest because they hold the top pair with a higher kicker also. In this situation. in particular a flush. Even if your opponent holds A-Q. is that they are community cards and everybody has the same cards. you've got a good chance at staying on top. But your King is higher than their Queen.B ASIC S TRATEGY THE FLOP IMPROVED YOUR HAND | 47 aZ hole cards ngl the flop If before the flop. then it's a .
There's nothing that can be done about this and you just need to chalk it up to experience. THE RIVER Much like the turn. The river produces another Queen. by the time the River card is dealt you should have your hand. The other option of course is that they are bluffing and are wanting you to believe that they hold a higher hand than they actually do. it appears on the turn or the river. There will always be a time for you when you need a specific card or suited card and as if by magic. so now your opponent is holding trips. Say you are holding K-K and your opponent has Q-Q in the pocket. You have been holding the best hand since the flop and after the turn. your hand could easily be made stronger if a card that compliments your hand is dealt and so could your opponents. you will learn to recognise when someone is playing a bluff. Obviously. By knowing your opponent and watching how they play during the game. Q-Q-Q and has won the hand. Keep an eye on how the other players are betting to get an indicator of what they may hold. 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. winning you the pot.48 | B ASIC S TRATEGY good indicator that he could hold a Triple or even a Full House. .
The person to the immediate left of the professional dealer is the Dealer. the small blind at this stage of the hand is set at $10. 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. Being half of the lower betting limit. 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. The professional dealer places the Dealer Button in front of this player. so we can now move on to an example of the way a typical Texas Hold 'em poker game might flow.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. We are playing a $20-$40 limit game. 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. which means that the lower betting limit is $20 and the higher limit is $40. . LET'S PLAY Our five players are seated at the table and ready to play. This is who the professional dealer is dealing on behalf of. so that all players know who is the active Dealer.
The pot currently holds $30. this player pushes their $20 worth of chips towards the centre of the table and into the pot. each player is dealt their first pocket card. the first round of betting takes place. The first player to be dealt their first pocket card is the player to the immediate left of the Button. 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. 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.. all players would have had their turn in playing the blinds.. This will be the Burn Pile. Being an amount exactly equal to the lower betting limit. Now that the small blind and the big blind has been paid. Nobody is allowed to see these at any stage during the game. Once each person at the table has been the dealer. 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. Remember that the Blinds are forced bets and must be paid. Moving in a clockwise direction. Let's have a look at what each of our five players has in the hole. or hole. .
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♣. a high card with a high kicker. or another Ace to give him . He will be looking for another Jack to make a pair with a high-kicker. This is a good hand and it could be that another player holds A-Q or A-K and wants to see what the flop brings to his hand. the betting rounds can now commence. FIRST BETTING ROUND The betting Action for the first round of betting starts with player 4.
he fancies his chances in hitting another King or more of the same suit on the flop. 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”. 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. Player 5's pocket cards of 2♥-7♦ are not up to much so he announces that he is folding by saying “fold”. He calls to see the flop and has to place a bet equal to the previous bet. The action now moves to Player 1 who is playing on the button. not even the dealer. They can now see the Flop. a high card with a low kicker. therefore he has to place the same amount as the big blind into the pot.52 | A T YPICAL G AME top pair with a medium kicker. Being in sequence also brings the possibility of a straight. meaning that if the flop produces more of the same suit then she will have a good chance of making a flush. face-down towards the dealer. At the end of the first betting round the pot total is $150. and pushes his cards. They fold. 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). . The cards are unsuited so a flush is out of the question. She has 8♣-9♣ in the pocket. Player 3 holds K♦-4♦. At no stage are these cards shown to anyone. but seeing as the cards are suited. These medium cards are suited and in sequence. The bet amount is now $40. If they were of a different suit. then player 3 may have indeed folded similar to Player 2. The dealer takes these cards and places them on the burn pile. Playing in early position he is fairly confident that his hand may stand a good chance and he raises. plus the raise. There was no previous bet as he was first to act after the big blind. He pushes $40 of chips towards the centre of the table. Player 2 holds 7♥-Q♦ as their pocket cards and although the Queen is a high card. 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.
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. .. Let's take a look at the cards in the flop. Three cards are dealt face down on top of each other on the table.. This is The Flop.A T YPICAL G AME | 53 THE FLOP The dealer takes the deck and burns the top card. Remember that these cards belong to all players and this needs to be taken into consideration when betting. placing it on the burn pile. The deck is put aside and the three cards turned face-up and spread out side-by-side. together with the hands of our remaining players. 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♦.
Another diamond also appears in the flop. betting starts with the first player to the immediate left of the button. 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. into the pot.54 | A T YPICAL G AME SECOND BETTING ROUND For this and for all subsequent betting rounds. This is The Turn and is the fourth community card to be dealt. placing $20 into the pot to equalise the bets. Only a higher full house.. 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. The next card is taken from the top of the deck and dealt face up onto the board. four-of-akind or a flush can beat him. At this stage. He is extremely confident that he has a winning hand and raises. the lower bet amount. placing it on to the burn pile. Player 1's hand has not been improved at all by the flop and folds. the dealer takes the deck and burns the top card. Player 3 decides that he has quite a strong hand and calls. Player 3 decides to call and places $20 of chips. 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. Player 3 has bet $20 and Player 4 has bet $40. to the right of the flop. . then they will have a high pair with a high kicker. Once again. Although not brilliant. the action goes to Player 3.. Both players have now placed the same amount into the pot to see the Turn card. in this case Player 3. THE TURN Once again. They need two more diamonds to make a flush. let's see the community cards and our remaining players hands. Seeing as only two players remain. Player 3's hand has been improved by the flop giving them and A-K. putting $40 into the pot.
the bet amount now increases to the higher limit. Player 4 has not improved his hand but still holds a full house and is confident that he still holds the winning hand. The raise amount is also $40. which may come on the River. 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. Player 3 is again first to act. THIRD BETTING ROUND The third round of betting now takes place and the players are now playing Heads-Up (One on One). high pair with a top kicker. in this case $40. seeing as the bet amounts have now increased).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♠. From this betting round onwards. . Player 3 gets what he hoped for in the turn and now holds his best hand of K-K-A. 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. He decides to play safe and just calls. Of the two players left in the game. placing his $80 into the pot.
It's Player 3 to bet first. bets are equalised and the final card can now be dealt. THE FOURTH BETTING ROUND The fourth betting round now begins and is the final round before the Showdown. He will definitely play his hand. the dealer burns the top card from the remaining deck.56 | A T YPICAL G AME Once again. This is The River. The next card is dealt face up onto the board to the right of the other community cards. . The pot amount now stands at $390. THE RIVER Just as before. A-A-KK. the strongest of which will take the pot. Players must bet on the strength of their hands. The River & Remaining Player's Hole Cards aXKmn DM Ax player 3 player 4 The River For this hand the River card is A♣. His hand has been much improved by the River and he now holds two top pair. but doesn't want to come across over eager and wants to see how his opponent acts.
If he does hold the other ace. This is the Showdown. 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. that still wouldn't beat his full house.A T YPICAL G AME | 57 He checks and knocks on the table and says “check” to indicate this. The dealer pushes the pot towards the winner who rakes in the chips. The player with the winning hand claims the pot. 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. which could be unlikely seeing as the other 3 have already been dealt. Player 4 holds the best hand with A♠-A♣-A♦-J♣-J♥ and wins the $550 pot with his Full house. much to the disbelief of Player 3 who thought he held the best hand of A♠-A♣-K♦-K♠. He thinks that his opponent has pulled a good hand with the turn. THE NEXT HAND All the cards from the previous hand are collected and added to the deck. Player 4's full house has changed on the turn. THE SHOWDOWN Now that all the bets have been placed it's time for the players to show their hands. He raises and places $80 into the pot. He doesn't place any chips in the pot. Player 4 calls and his $40 equalises the bets. He calls and places $40 into the pot. Dealing will start with the player immediately to the left. which is thoroughly shuffled ready for the next hand. . The winner's pot now stands at $550. Whereas he previously held A-A-J-J-J he now holds A-A-A-J-J much improving his hand. The Button is moved one player to the left and this player now becomes the effective dealer. Everything moves one player to the left.
GET STARTED NOW WITH CASINO GAME HUB AT: www.casinogamehub. 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. 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. 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.
or intervals that are available to us during each hand of Hold 'em. in no time. there are four betting rounds. at your opponents cost. Once the bets have been equalised. 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. 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. BETTING POINTS OF INTEREST As we have seen.7 Betting N ow that you have got a good idea of how a typical Texas Hold 'em game unfolds. . We will also cover some basic betting strategy that may benefit you in your game. Let's now look a little closer at some of the things that you will need to be aware of in the betting rounds. the next community card(s) can be dealt or the showdown can commence. there is a maximum limit of raises per betting round. This is usually set to three and once this limit has been reached the only options left to the players is to call or to fold. let's take a closer look at how betting works and some of the options available to you during a game. due to the fact that the pot may already be won long before the showdown.
Player C only has $50 and calls. It may be necessary to create multiple side-pots in a game. If a player has not got any of his money in a pot. but only players who have put the correct amount of money in each pot. blind increases are made. . then he will not have claim on that pot. the increase in blind payments may change each hour. will be able to claim them. Player B calls with $100. This is called a side pot. All players can win the main pot. In this instance a separate pot is created that will hold the difference. This is meant to speed up the game. Therefore if Player C wins the pot.60 | B ETTING SIDE POTS If a player does not have enough chips to call. Player B wins the pot. as he would not have put as much in as the other players. it would not be fair to allow that player to play that hand and win the contents of the pot. he will receive the contents of the pot and the side pot will be given back to Player A and Player B. you may find that the blinds are increased every so often. plus the contents of the side-pot as he has an interest in both pots. online every 15 minutes or so. before you join the game. Another side pot is then created and the difference between Player C's bet and the other two players bets. 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). For example: Player A bets $100. then he will receive the contents of the main pot. If however. Ensure that you check which type of game you are thinking about playing and when. but only Player A and Player B can win the side-pot. BLIND INCREASES During the course of a game. Not all Hold 'em poker games are subject to blind increases. In this instance Player C's $50 bet is placed in the pot. if any. are removed from the main pot and placed in the side pot. In tournaments.
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. such as A-A. then unless they are bluffing it is likely that their hand beats you and you need to be on your guard. if you are in middle position and somebody after you raises. let's discuss good general betting strategy. to improve your chip-stack in order to play an opponent with a big stack or maybe just to win. then players would fold when they had a bad hand. When learning to play Texas Hold 'em this is what you should do while you are building your experience in the game. then you should consider raising and even re-raising. from time to time there may be a need to look a little closer at betting more strategically. STRONG HAND If you hold an excellent hand in early position. K-K or A-K suited. These basic considerations are extremely beneficial and can put you in a good position for the game. either to replenish your chips. However. . This will drive out players that hold draw hands and generally cause them to fold. MIDDLE & LATE POSITIONS If you hold a strong hand and are in the middle or late positions. Whatever your reason. bet when they had a moderate hand and raise when they had a good hand.. GENERAL BETTING STRATEGY Before we get on to the more deceitful betting options.B ETTING STRATEGIC BETTING | 61 If everybody was honest and only placed bets according to their hand. However. before the flop. then you may look to raise if none of the players before you have raised.
STEAL-RAISE If in a hand. if you were to bet then it would be known as a Steal-Raise.62 | B ETTING BLIND-STEALING Blind-Stealing can be used to increase the number of chips that you hold. in order to attempt to see the flop as cheaply as possible. This would mean that you would claim the pot. You are basically trying to get both of the blinds to fold. you are basically stating that you have a strong hand (even if you have a poor hand) and that if the blinds do not. 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. If you were to call rather than raise. It is possible that one of the other players that previously checked actually holds a good quality hand. This tactic can also be used as a way to end the hand quickly. you are the last player to act and all players before you have checked. raising or folding. they now have to match that bet by calling. It will almost never make you rich. 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 . When you raise. it is possible that the blinds would also just call. 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. use this tactic when you have a good drawing hand (such a nut flush draw). If your intention is to bet in order to take the pot. but may give you a slight advantage against a player with a larger stack. if you were to raise you would be seen to be attempting to steal the blinds. By placing a bet. then they should consider folding. decreasing the competition and some players may call increasing the size of the pot. Be careful when using this tactic. Therefore. Some players may fold.
THE OPENER This tactic is used by players that tend to bluff frequently. it is likely that he will match the raise by calling. Seeing as he has already committed one bet to his hand. the Opener will see players folding more often than not. This tactic is best used with fewer players in the hand. the player immediately raises. Unless a player holds a strong hand or is also an aggressive player.casinogamehub. This forces each player to pay a double bet (bet amount plus the raise amount) in order to stay in the hand. therefore forcing him to bet.com/holdembook/littlewoodspoker . You then raise his bet. When playing in early position and the first player to act.8 MILLION IN GUARANTEED TOURNAMENTS EACH AND EVERY MONTH! WHETHER YOU JUST WANT TO RELAX & GET TOGETHER WITH OTHER PLAYERS IN THE “POKER LOUNGE”. WIN BIG JACKPOT PRIZES! OVER $3. by checking. LEARN “CHIP TRICKS” OR PLAN TO WIN ENTRY INTO A WORLD POKER EVENT.B ETTING | 63 hold a strong hand. THIS IS CERTAINLY THE PLACE TO BE! START PLAYING WITH CASINO GAME HUB NOW AT www.
64 | B ETTING .
These tournaments have appeared out of the online poker community and have a large variety of game levels available to play. 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. second and third position which dictates their winnings. more commonly referred to as Sit & Go's.8 Single Table Tournaments S ingle table tournaments. then you have probably been exposed to the concept of Sit & Go tournaments. BASIC OVERVIEW If you have ever been involved with a poker tournament run by your local pub. These tournaments are played similar to a typical game of poker that you may play at home with friends and family. Each of the remaining players then battles it out for first. These are typically the last three players left at the table. usually 50% of the prize fund for first place. It's like playing at the final table in a multi-table poker tournament and tends to be much shorter than a full-blown . With these types of tournaments there is more than one winner. 30% for second and 20% for third. are the next stop on your journey to Texas Hold 'em poker fame. with the exception that there is more than one overall winner. 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.
For instance. 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 .66 | S INGLE T ABLE T OURNAMENTS poker tournament. 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. 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. Be warned though. Therefore it's a great place to learn more about poker and to hone your newly acquired skills. give or take. These games tend to be convenient and fun and there doesn't have to be a lot of money at stake. 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. almost for pocket change. Practising online is an ideal way to become more proficient at poker whilst learning to play a higher game. It's pointless playing at the higher levels and repeatedly losing and it's certainly not an enjoyable way to spend your time. without your family and friends learning your strategies as you go. It's therefore a good strategy to start with the lowest games and progress your way up through the levels. then you would need a minimum of $200 in order to play. It is important to remember to play at a level that you are comfortable with and even more important to enjoy playing at that level. 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 only have an hour or so to spare.
GAME TYPES There are various types of Sit & Go games available to play online and they are all different. SIT & GO STRATEGY So what is the strategy for playing Sit & Go's? To begin with . These games are cheap to buy in to and the players that frequent these games are usually either beginners. 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. As a result. When starting you just need to stick with the standard Sit & Go and steer clear of these other variations. Either way their strategy is not usually very good and if you play a good Sit & Go strategy. You will also see some games that only have two players that are playing Heads-Up. the game tends to be much faster.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. 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. 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 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. This is something to have a go at when you become a Hold 'em expert and have learnt the different strategies involved in playing this type of game. but as you progress you may want to try some of the other styles. Another variation of the Sit & Go is a game with fewer players. then you will be playing the higher level games in no time at all. There are games that have a full compliment of players. but the blinds are raised at a quicker rate. rather than the usual three. then you should have no problems playing the lower level games. or less serious players.
then it . Similarly. If you hold A-A. If you've got A-K. 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. K-K or Q-Q then you would be best to play a bit more on the aggressive side and re-raise. Your intention is to hold on to your chip pile. Sit & Go strategy can get fairly complex but we shall keep it simple. Q-Q or A-K then you will play the hand. also play A-K and A-Q also. If on the flop you don't hit a pair. Fold them immediately. a) So that you do not waste chips playing looser hands unnecessarily (remember. then play the hand. A-A. TIGHT STRATEGY If you are holding any pair from 2-2 upwards to J-J in the hole. STAGE 1 – PLAY TIGHT At the start of the game the blinds are low and there are a high number of players in the game. otherwise you will fold. then you will be looking to play aggressively and look to re-raise any player that raises before the flop. K-K. If your pocket cards show any top pair. gradually increase the amount of chips you hold.68 | S INGLE T ABLE T OURNAMENTS at the start of the game. As your experience grows. If you have anything else other than these hands do not be tempted to play them. 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. 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. you will see how other players seem to play these games and can enhance your strategy accordingly. At this point you need to play an extremely tight game for two core reasons.
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. but if they lose the hand to you. if you have 800 chips. so you need to start playing a bit looser. there are exceptions and there is one here that is determined by the amount of chips that you have in your stack. 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. (the term used for when there are only three players remaining in the game).S INGLE T ABLE T OURNAMENTS | 69 may be better to fold. but for this stage of the game you need a different strategy. There is no prize for any position lower than that. Like all rules however. If you get an over pair. then be a bit more cautious before deciding whether or not going all-in would be wise. SIZE DOES MATTER! The more chips that you have. then you would be in a good position to go All-in if the opportunity allows. the better position you will be in. then you will only call if you can do so for around 50 or so chips. You are looking to make either a Set or an Over Pair on the flop and if you make a set. If you are running short of chips though. then call. you will need to . You are now playing for one of the top three positions. You will be assisted by the fact that you have been playing a strict tight game up until now. When the Bubble bursts. This also means that there are more chips for each remaining player. so your opponents will expect you to keep playing in this way. For example. If they call. then they must have a good hand. then they are out and you can claim their chips. This stage will start when the amount that needs to be paid for the blinds is around 1/15th of your chips. then your strategy needs to change once again. 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.
Going all-in with a small stack is really your only option. Play a good quality. Don't just look to 'Hang on in there' and accept third position. aggressive game and don't try to go up against players with more chips that you. not wanting to be pushed out before qualifying for part of the money. you will start in a good position with a big stack of chips. in order to increase your chips. Now you need to step up a gear and play an aggressive game in order to play for a bigger slice of the pie. you can only gain. you can be rest assured that you are going home with a share of the prize fund. 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).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. such as Blind-Stealing. so move forward and become more forceful. STAGE 3 – FIGHT FOR POSITION Once you are in the final three. In all of these cases though. unless you are really sure that you have a big hand. You can take advantage of this and look to increase your chips for the final stage. You have everything to gain. Q-Q and K-K or any of these with an Ace. Once the bubble bursts and your playing for the size of the prize. You are looking to move all-in before the flop rather than attempt raising. or even second. Play strong hands. In effect you can't lose from now on. you may notice that players start to play really tight. by frequently stealing blinds. but be satisfied in the knowledge that you are already a winner. such as J-J. make sure that you are playing good hands and don't take a chance on playing outside hands. . Your main aim is to look to increase your slice by coming first.
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. WHY NOT KICK-START YOUR NEW SKILLS AND ENTER ON-LINE TOURNAMENTS FOR “PLAY MONEY” OR EVEN REAL MONEY AT FULL TILT POKER. Raising and re-raising will help here and the bigger your stack the better.com/holdembook/fulltilt IN REAL TOURNAMENTS AND START WINNING WHILE YOU LEARN AND BUILD YOUR EXPERIENCE IN THESE .casinogamehub. WITH BUY-INS FOR $0. GET STARTED PLAYING SIT & GO TOURNAMENTS TODAY NOW THAT YOU KNOW WHAT SIT & GO'S ARE ALL ABOUT. Look for patterns and plan your strike to claim the top prize.50 AND LOWER THERE IS NO REASON WHY NOT ENJOY PLAYING EXCITING GAMES! PLAY NOW BY VISITING FULL TILT POKER ONLINE AND GET YOUR CASINO GAME HUB BONUS AT: www.
72 | S INGLE T ABLE T OURNAMENTS .
It's no good entering a multi-table tournament with a large prize fund. the betting structure is limited so that players cannot get bullied by other players that hold large chip stacks. before and on the flop. LIMIT GAMES Most of the information in this book is based on the limit game of Hold 'em. When you play a limit game. limit games have both lower tier and higher tier limits specified. On and after the turn card. 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. It is important to choose a game that you are comfortable with and that suits your level of experience. increasing your funds as you go. if you just started playing Hold 'em for the first time last week. the higher tier is used and . Instead start at the lower end and work up. 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. BETTING STRUCTURE When looking to play a limit game. it's no good going for the higher limit games if your funds do not allow for it. you need to choose one that in is your comfort zone. As we have already covered in the Betting section in Chapter 7. each of which has it's own set of strategies. Usually.
Patience will be rewarded. 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. After that the higher tier is used and the bet amount becomes $20 per bet or raise. When you do eventually get dealt good strong hole cards. seeing as the bets are capped. 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.74 | T YPES OF H OLD ' EM G AMES only that amount can be used to bet. the hand will reach a showdown and you will need to show your cards. Like every game of Hold 'em. Keep it simple and play the long game. Your best hands will be the ones that are made with high cards in the hole. then you can only bet or raise $10 in the betting rounds. Having a strong hand throughout the game will see you having a good chance of winning the pot. This is because of the fact that frequently. Even if you do decide to play a not-so-strong hand once in a while. For example. rather than lower pairs or connectors that you hope may make a flush or straight. use your position to your advantage and look to play tighter in early position and a bit . Holding connector cards in the hole and playing a drawing hand can be fairly lucrative if there are a few players in the pot. Don't be tempted to play a moderate hand just because you have been waiting for what seems an eternity. play a good strong game to win the pot. 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. This means that you can't move all-in with your entire chip stack in an attempt to push another player off the table. or raise. you won't get broke too quickly and will have a chance to recoup your loss by reverting back to tight game play. if you are playing a $10-20 game. for strong pocket cards.
experiment with your strategy and have fun. Finally. Whereas in the limit games this would be interpreted as the lower and higher betting tiers. If for example. so you have some leeway to practice and concentrate on building your experience. With a betting structure of $4-$8. there is no higher or lower tier and the players need only bet within the specified range. or raise. SPREAD-LIMIT GAMES Spread Limit or Variable Limit games are when the betting structure allows players to place bets within a predefined range. not late at night!). 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. You are not going to lose large amounts in limit games. This concept progresses nicely from the limit games. in spread-limit games.T YPES OF H OLD ' EM G AMES | 75 looser when playing late (position that is. then if you intend to raise you will need to raise the amount of the previous raise. the WPT (World Poker Tour) and televised events and as the name suggests there are No-limits in how much you can bet. is one that looks like this: $1-$4-$10-$10. players can place bets anywhere from $4 to $8. Limit games are not for the beginner as the stakes are . The only caveat is that if a player before you raises. 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). Player 1 raises $6. or more. As a player you need to play a more aggressive game and it is often seen that players win the pot long before getting anywhere near the showdown. then Player 2 would need to raise a minimum of $6 if they intend to raise. NO-LIMIT GAMES The no-limit games are commonly seen in poker tournaments such as WSOP (World Series of Poker).
Player 3 decides to call Player 2's pot Player 3 raise of $22. then they will need to make up the player 3 call: $22 difference of $54 in order to equalise new pot: $58 their bet. making $10 the new pot total $36. 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. new pot: $14 This makes a total of $36 in the new pot. Let's say for instance that we are playing a $2-$4 potlimit game and we are on the second betting round. making the new pot amount starting pot: $10 $52.76 | T YPES OF H OLD ' EM G AMES exceptionally high. 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). players can bet any amount from the minimum bet. if Player 1 wishes to player 2 pot raise: $36 call. player 1 bet: $4 At this stage. Player 1 bets $4 increasing the pot to $14. Before the raise amount can be Player 2 determined. up to the size of the pot. player 2 raise: $18 Player 2's Pot Raise consists of their call new pot: $36 amount plus their raise. . It won't be long though before you get to this level if you learn the game and improve your tactics. There are three players left in at this stage of the game. This is made up of a starting pot of $10 + Player 1's bet Player 1 of $10 + Player 2's call of $4 + Player 2's bet: $4 pot raise of $18. the pot amount and both starting pot: $10 players bets are added together. The amount of money in the pot currently stands at $10 from the previous betting round and is known as the Starting Pot. Pot-limit Betting Player 2 states that they want to raise Starting Pot the pot by stating “Raise Pot”.
say for example around $38 so once your skills are improved you may want to look at playing one weekend. over a period of time. but why? As the name suggests there are a number of tables that are playing poker simultaneously. learn and start to incorporate some advanced strategy as you play. One of the things that excites me with this type of tournament. MULTI-TABLE TOURNAMENTS When entering into a multi-table tournament you are really going in for the long-haul. this is the game of choice. 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. SIT & GO'S (SINGLE TABLE TOURNAMENTS) Since this is the first logical place to start when learning to play Texas Hold 'em. These types of tournaments can taken a lot of hours and sometimes days to get through. An increase in tables means an increase of players and a five table tournament can start with around 50 players. we covered this type of game earlier on in detail in a previous chapter. Keeping track of the pot amount and raise amount can easily become confusing when a game speeds up.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 there is only one table left – The Final Table. until you are able to continually win this type of game. Stick with it. Until you feel that your experience level and skill has improved significantly. 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.
Of course it is not possible to guarantee that this will always be the case. Play your hand in order to make the best from it. The Aussie Millions and the World Poker Tour. minimise bluffing and don't get coaxed into playing all-in. especially during the early stages of the game. aggression can be used strategically if the situation demands it.78 | T YPES OF H OLD ' EM G AMES Win a place on the final table of a World televised poker tournament. However. so don't get caught out with a small chip stack. then play it to the end and pick up the pot. such as when you have a good hand in early position and you want to push it. Play a tight game with strong hands. 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. Keep to the basics and play them solid and it will reward you. Don't be afraid of raising early on and if the flop improves an already strong hand. Keep a check on your position. that you are in this for the long-haul and your chips need to last. as always. Remember. It could be 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. . Don't be tempted to raise too much before the flop. 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. then turn up your aggression and play that hand strongly. build up the pot ready to take it all. Doing this may lead to other players folding leading to a small pot. but certainly there have been online players qualifying for these tournaments and it is becoming more common. and don't play weak hands in early position. don't be afraid to let the hand go. if you do pick up a cracking hand. Save your more advanced tactics until the later rounds and the final table. Having said that. Don't forget that as you progress through the game the blinds will get bigger.
com/holdembook/wsop . 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. Above all enjoy yourself and don't get worried if you get kicked out or your game takes a tumble. 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. As long as you haven't bet your house. kids and dog.casinogamehub. so use those and you won't go too wrong. it will all build on your experience for the next tournament.
80 | T YPES OF H OLD ' EM G AMES .
If you had to think about when to breath in and breathe out. you wouldn't get anything done. As you will be aware. It is impossible to cover body-language as it relates to poker. The subject of tells is a large and complex subject. then it would be a disaster. including your heart. when to make your heart beat or make your hair grow as well as having all the effort in deciding what parts of your body you would consciously need to move just to sit down. but also controls the operation and function of each and every one of your organs. but to give you a good grounding in what tells are and how they work. Instead. we can give you some guidelines in what to look for and hopefully exploit to your advantage. all of the stuff that can be done automatically is . 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. to lifting an outrageous amount of weight like a world class power lifter.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. indepth in this book. TELLS & THE HUMAN AUTO-PILOT If our brains had to perform all of the tasks that run your body consciously.
82 | T ELLS performed by our unconscious mind so that we don't even need to think about them. This is where the study of Body Language comes in to play. as that split second is when you will catch what's really going on inside their minds. UNCONSCIOUS BEHAVIOUR So what does this have to do with poker you ask? Well. while we consciously tend to the more important things in life. like playing poker! It's just like putting a plane on auto-pilot. Our hands. When your facial muscles are targeted by your unconscious mind and movement triggered in response to an emotional event. When we experience emotions. It is always best to spot your opponents facial expressions as soon as something happens that triggers an emotion. Although various muscles are targeted all over our bodies. it just flies as if by magic. . then they would be aware that the $4. our brains perform a sequence of actions that control the muscles of our bodies and makes certain parts of our bodies move accordingly. then this is referred to as an Expression.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. Unconscious behaviour is not limited to facial expressions. you will be more familiar with those that are positioned around the face when watching your opponents play poker. 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. This allows our bodies to function like well-oiled machines. 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. 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. before they have a chance to consciously override their automatic reaction. quite a lot really. shoulders.
is . the way you position your hands. This will more than likely be seen in a body movement. These unconscious movements and facial expressions in reaction to emotional stimulus are called Tells in poker. This is important to note when playing poker. then they can be very difficult to control. Seeing as these movements are unconscious. We can use the tells produced by our opponents to improve our game. YOUR OWN BODY BETRAYS YOU The conscious mind can only hold. something will probably give at some point. This is commonly referred to as their Poker Face. 7 bits of information at any one time and can only realistically concentrate on one thing at a time. Other ways are more obvious. rapidly switching its attention between them making it appear that they are all happening at the same time. on average. so players tend to concentrate on just having one expression to elude other players to what they are thinking. such as wearing large sunglasses to hide eye movements. Players also wear baseball caps and hooded jumpers (known as 'hoodies') to cast deep shadows over their face to hide their expressions from view. HIDING TELLS We have already covered the most basic way that some poker players attempt to hide facial tells by developing their Poker Face. as if a player is consciously trying to concentrate on playing poker as well as consciously keeping their poker face in check. they way that you hold your body and the way you point your feet are all ways that you can betray yourself.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. The other way that players might attempt to hide tells.
later in the game. some more common ones that will get you started in identifying what your opponents are really up to. you have to establish what is called a Baseline. when you are unable to actually physically watch your opponents during the game. he moves all-in with a large stack of chips. FACE-TO-FACE TELLS Here are some of the more common tells that can be identified when playing with your friends or in tournaments. but he slumps back in his chair while exhaling. becomes a tell in its own right. Say for instance. If this type of action if performed each and every time then the action of trying to hide a tell. his body has betrayed him and it is likely that he hasn't got a very strong hand. there are an inexhaustible number of tells that can potentially be used during the course of a poker game. COMMON TELLS As you will probably be able to realise. otherwise referred to as Reading your opponents. If. There are though. . As well as tells that can be seen when playing face to face.84 | T ELLS to be consciously aware of a tell and then do the exact opposite. 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. A Baseline is quite simply a visual record of how your opponent reacts normally to a given situation. there are also tells that can be used to identify what your opponent is doing when playing online. This is why it is important to study your opponents early on in the game and get to know their behaviour. you notice that each time one of your opponents gets a good card that drastically improves his hand on the flop.
Their pupils will also dilate (get bigger). it is a sure indication that they have just made a big hand.T ELLS HAND SHAKING/TREMBLING | 85 More commonly seen with beginners and not really avoidable. This results in hands that tremble while handling chips or cards. 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. Similarly. If your opponent seems to stare in this way on the flop. their heart rate will also increase. This is because they are accessing and processing information in their brains. you may be able to noticed a movement in their chest where their heart is pounding. The more you look for it. when your opponent makes a good hand. they seem to stare into thin air. INCREASED HEART RATE When you get really excited your heart rate generally increases. This type of technique is borrowed from Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and is part of a set of visual techniques called Sensory Awareness. the nervousness and excitement of holding a big hand increases adrenalin and increases heart rate. The more you are exposed to them. A better place to notice this increase in heart rate. The only way around this automatic response is to get used to these types of situations. 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. the . is the large vein on the side of their neck that will pulsate harder that usual. If you are paying very close attention to your opponent. By quickly glancing at their chips they are usually seeing whether they have ample chips to bet. CHIP CHECKING If your opponent quickly glances at their chips on the flop. the steadier you will become.
then it is highly likely that they have a strong hand and are trying to detract from it. 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. OTHER TYPES OF TELL Aside from the unconscious tells. or they hold a poor hand when they hold a . So if you are being stared down at the table when it's your go to bet. PLAYING THE OPPOSITE This is when players play the opposite to how they would normally play with a given hand. What do you do? Yep. SHOWING DISINTEREST If a player shows a disinterest in the hand that they are playing. 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. 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. 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. there are also tells that players can play consciously. but remains to have an interest in the pot. usually until he looks away.86 | T ELLS more noticeable it will become. eye contact is increased. you've guessed it. you give him a right old stare. Here are some of the most common ones. in order to try to lure their opponents into thinking that they hold a top hand when they hold a poor hand. whilst their head will be looking away. In this instance. 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.
T ELLS | 87 strong one. ONLINE TELLS When playing online. But if you do exactly the opposite and play a strong game when you have a strong hand and viceversa. the chances are that they are bluffing. that will give us some insights into what they are thinking. 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. 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. if your opponent starts being nice. If they hold a poor hand they may play aggressive. chatty and friendly towards you after they have bet. BEING INSULTING OR DISRESPECTFUL If your opponent starts to be a bit on the disrespectful side towards you after placing their bet. it is likely that they are trying to agitate you enough to make you call and fill up the pot. re-raise and fill up the pot ready for the taking. due to the fact that you are playing over the internet and cannot physically see your opponents directly. they may play as if they are doubtful that they will win in order to get their opponents to raise. In this case it is necessary to turn your attention to game play and the way that they are 'acting' online. This is one of the most common ways that players try to deceive. Other players will expect you to act in a similar way and you may be tempted. BEING NICE Conversely. When they hold a good hand. in order to get their opponents to fold. Although it is sometimes possible that a player's actions will almost always be slow if they have a . it is not possible to look for unconscious tells or body language.
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. not giving anything away to your opponents. . This is largely because the player is calculating their strategy with what they perceive to be a strong hand. This is because they have effectively put their actions on auto-pilot and this can be used to your advantage. AUTO-PLAYS & CHECK BOXES Online casinos make use of check boxes for options such as fold. you can over time begin to draw conclusions and ascertain patterns based on a players use of check boxes. If they expose their cards at the showdown. see if you can determine what they slow bet with and what they fast bet with. should be a tell as to the strength of that players hand. Typically. or call any. 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. Adjust your strategy accordingly and strive to take a similar amount of time to act each time the action gets to you. which of course takes time. While these assumptions can never be 100% accurate.88 | T ELLS slower internet connection. and a delayed action is a sign of strength. the general speed of play can be a good tell. a quick bet is a sign of weakness. When a player uses the check box to call any. When a player uses a check box their action comes immediately after the player before him. 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. Watch how much time it takes the other players to take action and make a mental note of it. if you pay attention to other players actions. Take some time to think about your own play and whether or not you exhibit these tells by your speed of play. without delay. When a player has checked raise any it is highly likely that they have a strong hand. raise any.
then beware as they will probably be playing tight and only play strong hands. 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. you will often have the option of waiting on the big blind to get to you or you can post a matching big blind and start playing immediately. a player who has got a lot to say for themselves creates an obvious tell. 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. If they seem to fold a lot of cards. it is likely that they are playing weaker hands and can be beat if you play a strong hand against them. it is likely that that are playing a strong hand and needs to concentrate.T ELLS FOLD/FLOP PERCENTAGES OF YOUR OPPONENTS | 89 Although it is not always possible to mark this percentage down exactly. Watch the chat box for players who are steaming or on tilt. Don't get involved in their issues and just concentrate on playing good poker and winning their chips. 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 they stay in for almost every pot. This strategy can be used equally both online and offline and helps you to determine the strength of a players overall game. If a chatty player suddenly shuts-up. If your opponents betting starts to become antagonistic. They are concentrating on the game. This a good way to tell how patient an online player will . it may be because they are bluffing and hoping that their show of over-confidence will end in them bluffing you off the table. WAITING ON THE BIG BLIND When you 'sit down' at an online Hold 'em table.
THE NEXT STEP After you have become familiar with some of the simpler tells. there is no switching them off again. Once you have switched these techniques on. Additionally. Cheap players. but its methodologies can be used to determine human behaviour and its possible interpretation during the game. 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. There are entire books that have been written on tells specifically for poker and these are well worth studying. and learn to recognise certain actions and behaviours. it could be that they will not be very patient about waiting on good starting hands. 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 . As you will probably realise by now. This means that if you learn to tell when somebody is lying. The opposite holds true for players who do wait on the big blind and can be either patient or cheap. Here are some ideas that can increase your knowledge and you may find interesting. Both are pretty good qualities to have if you are playing poker online.90 | T ELLS be and if they are not patient enough to wait on the big blind to get around to them. A persons behaviour is always specific to them and is triggered by certain things that they react to. not just poker. you will be able to detect when somebody is lying in every situation in your life. this subject is an indepth study in it's own right and is not directly linked to poker. you can learn some advanced stuff. You have been warned! STUDY MORE POKER TELLS Once familiar with the basics. keep an eye on your opponent when playing face-to-face. these techniques relate to human behaviour and once learned you cannot unlearn them. but be warned. you may want to increase your knowledge of body language and unconscious behaviour.
you can ascertain what is going on in the minds of the person to which you are observing. Used in many areas including therapy. Fritz Perls and Virginia Satir. that an increase in heart rate can be noticed by the increase in . Using elements of NLP for poker. the size of their lips will increase and their pupils will dilate. when they react to certain stimuli. is the study of language and how it effects human behaviour. if somebody is attracted towards you. It is also the study of human excellence. these are Sensory Awareness and Eye Patterns. NLP and its flexible structure has proven to be an asset in these areas and beyond. SENSORY AWARENESS Sensory Awareness trains you to become extremely sensitive to what happens in our subjects body that you can see when observing them. education and business to name a few. By training yourself to see these usually invisible unconscious reactions. that can be used to bring about the required change within a person. For example. or NLP. there are a couple of areas which may be of interest to you if you wish to increase your knowledge. NEURO-LINGUISTIC PROGRAMMING (NLP) Neuro-Linguistic Programming. life-coaching.al. Similarly. they are likely to produce a similar reaction. et. You must remember to establish a baseline first. known as interventions. We have already mentioned in the chapter on Tells. in order to ascertain what is normal behaviour for them and what is a tell. it is likely that their skin colour will darken as their face flushes. if somebody holds a good hand in poker.T ELLS | 91 ahead of the rest. Taking it's ideas from therapists such as Milton Ericksonnn. 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.
Although it would probably take a lifetime to learn all of the techniques. It is a sequence of patterns that we use unconsciously in order to access information in our brains. Just by looking at you. you will be able to look at somebody and ask them to say a word in their head.92 | T ELLS pulsating in the vein that runs up the side of the neck. using the involuntary unconscious responses of the human body. we are interested in the ability to Lip Read. After a few repetitions. normally imperceptible. he can tell you where you come from. we may be able to determine our opponents thought processes as they relate to the hands that they hold. The greatest mentalist of today is without doubt Derren Brown. Again using this in poker allows you to see whether your opponent is getting excited and therefore may hold a good hand. just below the ear. Having increased your sensory awareness. Wouldn't it be good if you could ask your opponent what cards they had and 'they told' you? Well. micro-movements of the lips as they attempt to make the shapes normally associated with saying the word out loud. we can determine certain factors. This is by using a technique called Cold Reading and is used across the globe by psychics and the like. For poker. you may start to notice the slight. Used in poker. EYE PATTERNS The way that our eyes move when we are talking to somebody is not random. MENTALISM Another area that you may want to look at is Mentalism. take a year or so to . Again. what you do and the name of your favourite pet. one of the most favourite techniques concentrates on micro-muscle (ideomotor) movements. we can get an idea for what they are thinking by determining where they are accessing their information from. Depending on the situation and questions that we ask of another.
This is a massive and fascinating subject that I personally find exciting.com/holdembook/palacepoker Note: Golden Palace does not accept players from North America . GOLDEN PALACE HAS DEFINITELY BEEN ONE OF THE MOST TRUSTED SINCE 1997! FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HOW TO JOIN THIS ESTABLISHED CASINO AT: www. Dr.casinogamehub. macro expressions). 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. Surprise. GOLDEN PALACE CASINO & POKER GET YOUR MASSIVE SIGN-UP BONUS WITH SOME OF THE BEST ON THE INTERNET. 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. Emotions such as Fear.T ELLS learn this technique and you'll be able to! MICRO-EXPRESSIONS | 93 Recently highlighted in the hit TV series 'Lie to me'. Excitement and Anger to name just a tiny few. can be recognised and if the person producing these expressions was recorded on video. it would be possible to play back. BEING ONE OF THE LONGEST STANDING ONLINE CASINOS. 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.
94 | T ELLS .
First it's drinks and a chat over pizza and then the real fun starts. After a shower and a change of clothes. . Jimmy has his own poker table and at the end of every month his friends and family get together to play Poker. increase your chances of winning and become a poker expert. pick up some beers and head round to Jimmy's. catch up with each other and have a great time. wish your work colleagues a 'Good Weekend' and head home. 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. 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. you head to the pizza shop to pick up a couple of large ones with 'the lot' on the top. You stand up from behind your desk.11 Going Forward S o now that you have learnt to play Texas Hold 'em both face-to-face with your friends and family and online. 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. but the weekend has arrived. The last Friday of each month is poker night and all of your friends will be there.
96 | G OING F ORWARD RELAXED ENVIRONMENT The relaxed environment and being in familiar surroundings takes the pressure off. Christmas and New Year are a great way of getting people together to play poker. HOLIDAY PERIODS Holiday periods such as Easter. ONLINE POKER One of the best ways. It is very straight forward and you don't even have to play. In actual fact. For the beginner. I have even witnessed poker being played after a funeral where people could get together and share their thoughts. The only problem is that because of this relaxed environment and the fact that everybody can get away with messing around a bit. but it's an excellent place to cement your understanding and increase both your skill and knowledge. By writing down the basics and handing it out among friends in ample time. there will be no hope. views and sorrows over a game or two. is to play poker online. Being with friends means that if you get something wrong or mess up. but nobody was familiar with playing poker. You can even play for free using 'play money' that . as you can sit and watch others as they battle it out at the table. The variety of games and the large scale of buy-in amounts now makes it affordable for everyone. I would ensure that our Christmas get together would go ahead. in my opinion. playing poker online can be a daunting concept. These types of games are good to familiarise yourself with the game concepts and have fun in the process. then nobody will mind. the writing of this book was inspired by wanting to arrange a home poker match between family and friends. some people may not take it seriously enough to allow good game play and once the alcohol gets flowing. 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.
go up against people that are better that you. As your experience and skill increases. you will first need to download and install the casino or poker room's software on your . Once you understand these.G OING F ORWARD you are given when you sign-up for your poker account.015-$0. this book will give you the basics. 3) Finally. There is no reason not too. In my world the way to become excellent at any new skill is three-fold: 1) Learn the basics & learn the rules. In order to play Texas Hold 'em online. 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. As far as the first one goes. you will need more practice. with the betting structure as low as $0.020 you can play literally for pocket-change. 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. your online account will get bigger and you can enter the higher-priced games. set yourself up an account with an online casino or poker room and play some of the low-level Sit & Go tournaments. You can then go to your friends next poker night and clean up! SOFTWARE Getting started is easy and straight-forward. but your newly acquired skills will not improve very quickly. You will not improve by going up against people less skilled or who are at the same level as you are.
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. so don't go expecting this for every subsequent deposit you make.98 | G OING F ORWARD computer. giving you the chance to win a prize fund. COMPETITIONS Regular competitions are held online. then they will match this giving you a total of $400 to play with. These are constantly changing. This is generally only for your first deposit though. A whole host of other offers are available for new and existing players. Once installed. 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. you can then set up an account and play. This can be great for getting started and if you have say $200 to credit your account with. 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. This software is generally supplied free of charge and full instructions will be given as to how to install. ONLINE BONUSES A lot of casino's these days offer to match your initial account deposit up to a certain amount. Each casino will have their own procedure that needs to be followed. 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. . Get practising as see if you can become one of the next world poker champions. so keep on the lookout for new offers.
This means that if you deposit $200 into your account. up to a certain value. With a wide range of tournaments and promotions. check out the information and links at www.com. the Full Tilt Poker Academy and the Full Tilt Poker Blog. by professional poker players.G OING F ORWARD | 99 When you do decide to start playing with real money. play and have fun. download the software. none of the offers have been given here. designed and played. Now online it's host of tournaments and televised events are second to none. A lot of poker rooms and casinos now offer to double the money that you deposit on your first deposit. Seeing as the bonuses change regularly. With the ability to create private online tournaments to . It all began in Las Vegas. Go to Website: World Series of Poker PACIFIC POKER Part of the 888 group of online gaming solutions. 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. together with tips from the pros. you will find everything you need to play with the Pro's. Go to Website: Full Tilt Poker WSOP (WORLD SERIES OF POKER) Starting in 1970. it is a great idea to take up the offer of some bonuses.casinogamehub. the casino will match this amount bringing your account balance up to $400 and giving you more money to play with. FULL TILT POKER With over 5 years under it's belt. Check out some the poker rooms and casino's below. the World Series of Poker has become one of the most famous names in poker. Pacific Poker offers a wide variety of games that will have you playing non-stop. For the latest offers. but now it's available to you online 24/7.
PKR is definitely worth a look and will satisfy not only absolute beginners. Go to Website: Pacific Poker PKR Stunning 3D graphics and limitless character configuration makes this the most advanced poker room on the internet. . Hang out at the Poker Lounge where you can brush up on your skills at the Poker School. take control of your emotions and spot your opponents tells using PKR's “Emote Control Technology”. Go to Website: Golden Palace Poker Note: Golden Palace does not accept players from North America. the Golden Palace offers a wealth of casino and poker games. or learn how to shuffle with poker chips! You will be pleasantly surprised. Play at different locations. littlewoods poker offers a surprisingly full environment to play in while you build up your poker skills. Go to Website: Littlewoods Poker GOLDEN PALACE By far one of the longest standing online casino's around. it is well worth checking out. Offering some of the highest sign-up bonuses on the internet today and now with the introduction of their own poker rooms. you are sure to enjoy playing in this very popular poker room. Play for free in daily Freerolls or maybe enter yourself in a $100. or whether you become a VIP. Go to Website: PKR LITTLEWOODS POKER Not as crowded as some of the other more popular poker rooms. watch Poker-related videos. but even the most poker-hungry professionals.100 | G OING F ORWARD play with your friends.000 tournament. read the Blog. Wherever your mood takes you.
when the opposite is usually true. 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. a basic idea should get you started in the right direction to improving your game. We shall not go into detail in this section as in my opinion. or perhaps you want to try to get them to fold. But use with caution. . Learning how to bluff can increase your game and sometimes get you out of a sticky situation. for example. Bluffing in poker is a way of acting that makes your opponent think one thing. Party Poker is fast becoming on of the most popular on-line poker rooms around. 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. With it's many tournaments and challenges there is always a game going on. When you hold a poor hand but bet as if you have top pair. It's a risky game to play and it has it's place. In horse-racing you may have a 5:1 chance that your horse will win. then this is bluffing. Be careful that your bluff is not called and make sure that your body language does not give you away. HOLD 'EM ODDS Every form of gambling (and poker is one of them) have odds. However.G OING F ORWARD PARTY POKER | 101 Awarded the “Poker Operator of the Year” award by eGaming. it is beyond the scope of the beginner.
Of course. two of the most commonly used calculations in Texas Hold 'em Poker.599:1 chance of getting the exact three cards that you want. odds that you will make a flush on the river and the odds that your opponent has a better hand than you.000. that's what poker odd calculators were invented for. then you have odds of just below 2:1. this area can get extremely complex and although knowing the odds for every eventuality does seem to be a bit overkill. there are 19. can be a good place to start. if there is $20. Let's look at Pot Odds and Outs. 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. These odds show the probability of you making your desired hand leaving you with better information as to how to progress. 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). On the flop.600 different combinations to flop these three cards and a 19. almost by rote. 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. Anyway. 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. For instance. For instance. . although the number can get a bit on the scary side and I find that knowing some basic numbers.000 in the pot and the bet to you is $11. The percentage probability is calculated using simple division. Odds of you getting dealt A-K as your pocket 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. Say. This breaks down further to around 6. you hold A-K and the flop and the turn have produced 2-5-7-9 and you are sure that your opponent holds top pair.6:1 (40 divided by 6). . 3 for the remaining three Aces and 3 for the remaining three Kings. 6 of them (the outs) will give you a winning hand and the remaining 40 will not. which leaves 46 cards unknown to you. you will need to determine the number of outs you have in making your hand. There are 6 cards that you can see. In order to calculate the odds. You have 6 outs in this situation. Out of these 46 cards. for example. This gives you 40:6 odds on making your hand.
104 | G OING F ORWARD .
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. when in actuality the player possible has the worst hand at the table. BUBBLE The name given to the last person in a tournament to be knocked out and not have a claim on the prize money. There are two blind payments. The amount to be paid when paying a blind. can contribute to a large portion of a players chips. In tournaments the blinds rise steadily throughout the game thereby promoting game play. This is done in an attempt to get other players to fold. It is usually set to a small percentage (¼ or slightly less) of the small blind. as large blind amounts lost. or some. BOARD Another name for all. BUTTON A physical marker that is placed on the table in front of a player to mark them as the effective dealer. is determined by the game limits set by the table stakes. . The two players positioned to the left of this marker are responsible for paying the small and big blinds. Normally. the small blind and the big blind. the buy-in amount for each player collectively becomes the prize pool. BLUFF Playing as if you have a good hand by betting and raising.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. 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. BLINDS Forced bets that are paid every hand to ensure that there is money in the pot to win. The button moves one position left in a clockwise direction each hand. of the community cards. BUY-IN The amount that is required to be paid for a place in a tournament.
CHECK The action by which you withhold from placing a bet. There are two other types of flush. which are dealt after completion of the first betting round.106 | H OLD ' EM T ERMINOLOG Y CALL The action of matching a previous players bet. 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. Also known as pocket cards. together with a pair. known as the river. after which the only remaining options are call. whereas a six-handed game consists only of six players. A ten-handed game will consist of ten players. Also FLOP The first three community cards that are available to the players. FLUSH The term given to a poker hand where all five cards are of the same suit. the turn and the river. KICKER The card that is responsible for breaking a tie at the showdown. then the player with . FULL HOUSE A poker hand that consists of three cards of the same value. HANDED Used to refer to the number of players in a game of poker. FOURTH STREET Another name used to identify the fourth community card to be dealt. If the remaining players both hold the same hand. such as J-J. 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. Also known as the turn. HEADS-UP A term used when there are only two players left in the game. Also known as pass or mucking in. playing oneon-one. 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. 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. FIFTH STREET Another name used to identify the last community card to be dealt. A player would return their cards facedown to the dealer. run in sequence and contain the and ace. HOLE CARDS The two cards that are initially dealt to each player at the start of each hand. These cards are made up of the flop. raise or fold.
ante's and all bets placed by the players during the hand. RAISE Increasing the bet by betting more than was bet by the previous player. Also known as hole cards. POCKET PAIR Used when a player receives a matching pair in their two pocket cards dealt by the dealer. OUTS The number of cards that are potentially remaining in the deck that will allow a player to make a winning poker hand. A raise has to be at least double of the initial bet. The pot consists of the blinds. POCKET CARDS The two cards that are initially dealt to each player at the start of each hand. NO-LIMIT A game of Texas Hold 'em poker where there are no limits to the bet or raise that can be placed. RE-RAISE The act of raising a previously raised bet – raising the raise. the remaining players are shuffled around to evenly distribute players at each table. A player would return their cards face-down to the dealer. POCKET ROCKETS The term used when a player holds two ace's as their pocket cards. PLAYING THE BOARD Term used when a player makes their hand by using just the five community cards. . Also known as pass or fold. POT The total number of chips available to all players to win in any given hand. then player2 would win as their 6 kicker beats player1's 5. 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. ON TILT When a player reacts emotionally to an event at the poker table and their play deteriorates due to this. When enough players are knocked out that the remaining players can play at one table. this is usually referred to as the final table. As players get knocked out of the game. If player1 held J-J-5 and player2 held J-J-6.H OLD ' EM T ERMINOLOGY | 107 the highest unmatched card becomes the winner. POT-LIMIT Refers to a betting structure whereby players are able to bet up to the amount held in the pot. MULTI-TABLE TOURNAMENT A tournament where there are too many players to sit around one table and so are split between several.
SHOWDOWN Takes place after the final betting round. or Triplets. There are four suits to a deck of cards. TURN The fourth community card to be dealt. Also known as fifth street. The player who went allin does not have any claim on the side pot.108 | H OLD ' EM T ERMINOLOG Y RIVER The last community card to be dealt. SET A three of a kind that is made up of two of the players hole cards and one of the community cards. clubs and spades. SIT & GO Also known as a single-table tournament. SUIT The four types of symbol shown on a playing card. ROYAL FLUSH A flush where all the cards are of the same suit. All player show their hand and determine who holds the best hand and wins the pot. 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. This is the highest hand in poker. are when a player holds three cards of the same value. above. There can be more than one side pot in each hand. Also known as three of a kind. TRIPS Trips. Also known as fourth street. run in sequence and contain an ace. SINGLE-TABLE TOURNAMENT Otherwise known as a Sit & Go. diamonds. 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. 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. . heart. SIDE POT When a player goes all-in and there are players left who still have chips. this is another pot is created for the remaining players. the three court cards and a 9 and 10.
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