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

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

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

6 | .

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

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

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

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

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

2

Introduction

P

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

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

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

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. You need to ensure that you are aware of the betting limits for the game you are about to play.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. In our game the lower betting limit is $2 and the higher limit is $4. Betting limits for a game could be $1-$2. to complete your knowledge of the game. Stakes can get quite high and this is why it is important to check the game which you are intending to play. minimum and maximum betting limits are stated before the game commences. Betting limits specify the lower betting limit and the higher betting limit that are to be used in the game. $4-$8 or even $100-$200 and $1000-$2000. 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. There are other betting limits that are also used in Hold . THE BETTING LIMITS In a limit 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.

. 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). This money is referred to as the Blinds. For our example here. So. they cannot be avoided. so our lower betting limit is set to $2 and the higher limit is set to $4. This amount is set to exactly the minimum bet amount in limit games. THE SMALL BLIND The first player to the dealers immediate left (to the left of the Button) has to pay the Small Blind. This means that the players are required to place the blinds into the pot prior to any cards being dealt. 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. so in our game it is $2. It is a requirement of Hold 'em that these blinds are paid for each hand played and if you are active in the game. In our game. This amount is equal to exactly half of the minimum betting limit in limit games. we are playing a $2-$4 game. The name is taken from the way that each player must put this money into the pot – blind. This means that the minimum amount that can be bet is $2. we are playing a limit game of $2-$4. in this instance. With an empty pot there is no money to win and therefore no incentive for the players to play their hand. the Small Blind is set to half of this amount and is therefore $1.16 | T EXAS H OLD ' EM G AME P LAY 'em and these will be covered later in the book when we look closer at the betting structure. THE BLINDS To get the game started it is necessary to put some money into The Pot.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 9 would be the highest card in your hand and could said to be a nine-high straight flush. There are only four possibilities for a Royal Flush as there are only four suits in a pack of cards.939 to 1. If your opponent holds a 6-7-8-9-10. the cards that make up a Straight Flush must be all of the same suit. STRAIGHT FLUSH efghi A Straight Flush is the 2nd highest poker hand. Just as in the Royal Flush. they would hold a Ten- . let's assume that you hold the hand shown here.26 | P OKER H ANDS ROYAL FLUSH IJKLM The Royal Flush is the highest ranking poker hand that is available. The strength of the hand is determined by the highest card in the hand. For example. This hand can be beaten by another straight flush if another player holds a hand where their highest card is of a higher value than the highest card that you hold in your hand. but it includes all the court cards and runs in sequence from 9 through to King. This means that the probability of seeing this hand is a massive 30. 5-6-7-8-9. The hand is similar to a straight flush where the cards are all the same suit (clubs. If you hold this hand then you will be odds on favourite for winning the Pot. spades. hearts or diamonds).

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

If your opponent also holds a Flush and the highest card in their hand ranks the same as yours. the Flush consists of all five cards in your hand being of the same suit but do not run in sequence. then your hand would beat theirs. An example of your hand. The King is the highest ranking card. When making a straight from your hand. the Ace can be considered high (10-J-Q-K-A) or low (A-2-3-4-5). in both hands therefore it is the next highest ranking card that determines the winner. is 3-7-9-J-K. cgikm The hand ranking itself is determined by the highest card in the hand. then they would win the hand as their 8 is higher than your 7. shown above. and so on. then the next highest card in the hand would determine the winner. If your opponent held 2-8-9-J-K. However. . FLUSH Being the 5th highest ranking hand in poker. followed by the Jack and 9. STRAIGHT The Straight is the 6th highest ranking hand and consists of five cards of sequential value but not of the same suit. if they held Q-Q-8-8-8.28 | P OKER H ANDS yours.

. This is where your hand consists of two pairs of cards where each pair is of equal rank. CtkKx As you would suspect. Therefore a 7-8-9-10-J (a Jack-high Straight) beats 6-7-8-9-10 (a Ten-high Straight). the strength of the hand is determined by the rank of the three matching cards. TWO PAIR Ranking 8th in the top ten poker hands and third from the bottom is Two Pair.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. you need three cards of the same value in order to make this hand. Here you hold 3-7-J-J-J which would beat 2-5-9-9-9. but would be beaten by 2-5-Q-Q-Q. the Three of a Kind is the 7th highest ranking hand in poker. As the hand suggests.

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

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

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

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

These games can get fairly fast and you may struggle at first to keep up. 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. “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.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 . crack open a extra large Pepsi and start to pay attention to the cards that are drawn. 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. the community cards appear in sequence. turn and river.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. As the game progresses. Consistency is the key here and if you keep with it and persist. make some popcorn. PARTY POKER'S HOTTEST AND LATEST GAMES. You will generally find that the pocket cards of the players that haven't folded are displayed on the screen.casinogamehub. At this stage you do not need to concentrate on who's betting what and which strategies are being used. you will find that you are reading the cards like a pro in no time flat.

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

Experienced poker players may at times play an extremely loose hand if they believe that they can bluff their opponent into believing that they hold a potentially winning hand. It all comes down to experience when deciding how you are going to play each hand. but also hand to hand. 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. For the purpose of this book we shall stick to playing a tight game. which is the best method for those who are just starting out playing poker.36 | B ASIC S TRATEGY tight one. Although any method of gambling includes some element of luck. you will be able to make informed decisions about how to play your game. the type of game that you decide to play can vary not only game to game. When learning how to play Hold 'em. Where you are seated at the table. As your experience grows. 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. or whether you would do better to fold . at other times they may play their hand fairly tight if that is how the game needs to be played. 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. WHAT'S IN YOUR POCKET? There are numerous things to take into consideration when determining the strength of your two pocket cards. your Position. With a Tight game being at one end of the scale and a Loose game at the other. playing a loose game means that you are relying on luck much more than strategy. 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.

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

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

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

then your pair is much weaker and will be beaten by a stronger pair. If you flop a 10 instead of a Queen. Medium Connectors Suited xw ji WU IH → down to → TR Connectors are cards that are close in value and are capable of producing a Straight on the flop. even J-J. or a high Straight or Flush if suited. If you hold Q-10 and flop another Queen. . then you will hold a High Pair with a 10 Kicker. 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.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.

Finally. then don't be afraid to muck your hand swiftly. there are some other hands that you may wish to consider.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. making them stronger than a high-pair. low card pairs have the potential to be made into Trips on the flop. Ace with a Low Kicker Suited AF ae nq NP ab . 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. Pocket Cards – Other Starting Hands Low Pairs Ff rR Qd cp Bo Not regarded as a very powerful hand.

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

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

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

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. then only one decision can be made. before the action gets to you. fold your hand. then it may be worth considering betting. virtually worthless. At this stage we will only consider basic strategy that will become the building blocks to your future success. it hasn't made a lot of difference or it's made what would be initially considered a good hand. Your hole cards may have been fairly strong before the flop. 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. but if this is not improved upon at all then the only option open to you is to muck your hand. WHEN THE FLOP HASN'T HELPED If after the flop your hand has not been improved at all. 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.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 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. If other players are betting then it's highly likely that they hold higher cards and the flop has been kinder to them than it has to you. then the flop will give them A-A-J. You called to see the flop as you held a medium hand and they were also of the same suit. The flop produces A♣-J♠-9♦ and gives you a pair of 9's. 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♠. If one of your opponents already holds an Ace. Use your opponents actions to decide how to proceed. the top pair with a highish kicker. in which case it may be best to fold. or even a straight. . then your hand is already beat. But wait. If they have A-K or Pocket Rockets (A-A) in the hole.

you've got them beat at this stage and they may think their hand is strongest because they hold the top pair with a higher kicker also. THE TURN Much of your main decision-making strategy has been done prior to and on the flop. you've got a good chance at staying on top. The only difference is what each player has in the hole. In this situation. You now hold top pair (A-A) with the highest kicker. Even if your opponent holds A-Q. Unless they get another Queen on the turn or the river to give them two pair. you had A-K in the hole and you flopped A-7-Q. then you have increased the strength of your hand. in particular a flush. you will definitely want to call or raise and see the turn. The thing that you have to keep in mind with cards in the flop. then it's a . is that they are community cards and everybody has the same cards.B ASIC S TRATEGY THE FLOP IMPROVED YOUR HAND | 47 aZ hole cards ngl the flop If before the flop. If a matching high-card is dealt that matches one in the flop that your opponent bet or even raised on. But your King is higher than their Queen. 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 learn to recognise when someone is playing a bluff.48 | B ASIC S TRATEGY good indicator that he could hold a Triple or even a Full House. The river produces another Queen. By knowing your opponent and watching how they play during the game. Q-Q-Q and has won the hand. There's nothing that can be done about this and you just need to chalk it up to experience. winning you the pot. so now your opponent is holding trips. . You have been holding the best hand since the flop and after the turn. 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. your hand could easily be made stronger if a card that compliments your hand is dealt and so could your opponents. Obviously. by the time the River card is dealt you should have your hand. it appears on the turn or the river. Say you are holding K-K and your opponent has Q-Q in the pocket. Winning using this method is known as winning by the Back-door and many a player has been tormented by their opponents luck as the card that they desperately needed shows up. Keep an eye on how the other players are betting to get an indicator of what they may hold. There will always be a time for you when you need a specific card or suited card and as if by magic. THE RIVER Much like the turn.

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

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

This is a good hand and it could be that another player holds A-Q or A-K and wants to see what the flop brings to his hand. a high card with a high kicker.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. the betting rounds can now commence. He will be looking for another Jack to make a pair with a high-kicker. Player 4 has been dealt A♦-J♣. or another Ace to give him . FIRST BETTING ROUND The betting Action for the first round of betting starts with player 4. Player 1 is playing on the button and player's 2 & 3 have paid the blinds.

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

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

putting $40 into the pot. They need two more diamonds to make a flush.. 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 decides that he has quite a strong hand and calls. The pot currently holds $230 by the end of this round. to the right of the flop. . if the Turn or the River pulls another Ace or King. the action goes to Player 3. in this case Player 3. placing $20 into the pot to equalise the bets. four-of-akind or a flush can beat him. The next card is taken from the top of the deck and dealt face up onto the board. The bets need to be equalised to see the Turn and so the action goes around the table a second time.. betting starts with the first player to the immediate left of the button. Once again. Player 3 has bet $20 and Player 4 has bet $40.54 | A T YPICAL G AME SECOND BETTING ROUND For this and for all subsequent betting rounds. Player 3's hand has been improved by the flop giving them and A-K. At this stage. THE TURN Once again. the dealer takes the deck and burns the top card. then they will have a high pair with a high kicker. into the pot. placing it on to the burn pile. He is extremely confident that he has a winning hand and raises. Player 1's hand has not been improved at all by the flop and folds. Both players have now placed the same amount into the pot to see the Turn card. the lower bet amount. Only a higher full house. This is The Turn and is the fourth community card to be dealt. Player 4 has had an extremely good flop and now holds a Full House A-A-J-J-J. Player 3 decides to call and places $20 of chips. Another diamond also appears in the flop. let's see the community cards and our remaining players hands. Seeing as only two players remain. Although not brilliant.

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

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

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

GET STARTED NOW WITH CASINO GAME HUB AT: www. while the player who paid the Big Blind in the last hand this time pays the Small Blind and the player to their left now pays the Big Blind. 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.com/holdembook/pacificpoker .casinogamehub.58 | A T YPICAL G AME The player who paid the Small Blind in the last hand does not need to pay any blinds this time. GET PLAYING AT PACIFIC POKER 888 IS ONE OF THE WORLD'S LARGEST COMMUNITIES ON THE INTERNET.

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

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

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

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

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

64 | B ETTING .

then you have probably been exposed to the concept of Sit & Go tournaments. second and third position which dictates their winnings. more commonly referred to as Sit & Go's. These tournaments are played similar to a typical game of poker that you may play at home with friends and family. usually 50% of the prize fund for first place. 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. are the next stop on your journey to Texas Hold 'em poker fame. With these types of tournaments there is more than one winner.8 Single Table Tournaments S ingle table tournaments. It's like playing at the final table in a multi-table poker tournament and tends to be much shorter than a full-blown . 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. with the exception that there is more than one overall winner. Each of the remaining players then battles it out for first. These are typically the last three players left at the table. BASIC OVERVIEW If you have ever been involved with a poker tournament run by your local pub. 30% for second and 20% for third. These tournaments have appeared out of the online poker community and have a large variety of game levels available 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. For instance. these are the ideal way to increase your knowledge and experience. If you only have an hour or so to spare. 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. as you get to the higher levels you will be competing with experienced and highly skilled poker players! You can expect to see a return of around 20% or so. These games tend to be convenient and fun and there doesn't have to be a lot of money at stake. almost for pocket change.66 | S INGLE T ABLE T OURNAMENTS poker tournament. It's pointless playing at the higher levels and repeatedly losing and it's certainly not an enjoyable way to spend your time. if you were playing a low-level $5 game and after a period of time decided that you would like to play the $10 game. Be warned though. Practising online is an ideal way to become more proficient at poker whilst learning to play a higher game. The excellent thing . 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. without your family and friends learning your strategies as you go. while taking home some winnings in the process. 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. Therefore it's a great place to learn more about poker and to hone your newly acquired skills. 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. give or take.

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

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

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

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

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. Look for patterns and plan your strike to claim the top prize. Raising and re-raising will help here and the bigger your stack the better.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. GET STARTED PLAYING SIT & GO TOURNAMENTS TODAY NOW THAT YOU KNOW WHAT SIT & GO'S ARE ALL ABOUT. WITH BUY-INS FOR $0.casinogamehub.com/holdembook/fulltilt IN REAL TOURNAMENTS AND START WINNING WHILE YOU LEARN AND BUILD YOUR EXPERIENCE IN THESE .

72 | S INGLE T ABLE T OURNAMENTS .

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

This means that you can't move all-in with your entire chip stack in an attempt to push another player off the table. Your best hands will be the ones that are made with high cards in the hole. before and on the flop. You need to pay attention to your playing style and limit games are where you need to play a tight game. for strong pocket cards. Having a strong hand throughout the game will see you having a good chance of winning the pot. seeing as the bets are capped. Holding connector cards in the hole and playing a drawing hand can be fairly lucrative if there are a few players in the pot. the hand will reach a showdown and you will need to show your cards. For example. you won't get broke too quickly and will have a chance to recoup your loss by reverting back to tight game play. This is because of the fact that frequently. then you can only bet or raise $10 in the betting rounds. Make sure that you have a good set of cards and a good chance of beating other drawing hands. or raise. When you do eventually get dealt good strong hole cards. use your position to your advantage and look to play tighter in early position and a bit . if you are playing a $10-20 game. 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. rather than lower pairs or connectors that you hope may make a flush or straight. BASIC STRATEGY When playing a limit game it is harder to bluff and bully other players as the bet amounts are limited. Don't be tempted to play a moderate hand just because you have been waiting for what seems an eternity. Patience will be rewarded. Even if you do decide to play a not-so-strong hand once in a while. play a good strong game to win the pot. Keep it simple and play the long game.74 | T YPES OF H OLD ' EM G AMES only that amount can be used to bet. Like every game of Hold 'em. After that the higher tier is used and the bet amount becomes $20 per bet 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. Finally. then if you intend to raise you will need to raise the amount of the previous raise. there is no higher or lower tier and the players need only bet within the specified range. players can place bets anywhere from $4 to $8. or raise. experiment with your strategy and have fun. The only caveat is that if a player before you raises. Whereas in the limit games this would be interpreted as the lower and higher betting tiers. 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. then Player 2 would need to raise a minimum of $6 if they intend to raise. If for example. not late at night!). so you have some leeway to practice and concentrate on building your experience. With a betting structure of $4-$8. 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). Limit games are not for the beginner as the stakes are . is one that looks like this: $1-$4-$10-$10.T YPES OF H OLD ' EM G AMES | 75 looser when playing late (position that is. or more. the WPT (World Poker Tour) and televised events and as the name suggests there are No-limits in how much you can bet. in spread-limit games. You are not going to lose large amounts in limit games. As a player you need to play a more aggressive game and it is often seen that players win the pot long before getting anywhere near the showdown. This concept progresses nicely from the limit games. NO-LIMIT GAMES The no-limit games are commonly seen in poker tournaments such as WSOP (World Series of Poker). Player 1 raises $6.

if Player 1 wishes to player 2 pot raise: $36 call. One of the players playing in the WSOP 2009 event had only been playing poker for 18 months! POT-LIMIT GAMES In a Pot-Limit game. The amount of money in the pot currently stands at $10 from the previous betting round and is known as the Starting Pot. new pot: $14 This makes a total of $36 in the new pot. It won't be long though before you get to this level if you learn the game and improve your tactics. the pot amount and both starting pot: $10 players bets are added together. There are three players left in at this stage of the game. up to the size of the pot. making the new pot amount starting pot: $10 $52. Player 3 decides to call Player 2's pot Player 3 raise of $22. Pot-limit Betting Player 2 states that they want to raise Starting Pot the pot by stating “Raise Pot”. Player 1 bets $4 increasing the pot to $14. Let's say for instance that we are playing a $2-$4 potlimit game and we are on the second betting round.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. 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. player 1 bet: $4 At this stage. . 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. Before the raise amount can be Player 2 determined. player 2 raise: $18 Player 2's Pot Raise consists of their call new pot: $36 amount plus their raise.

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

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

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. it will all build on your experience for the next tournament. Above all enjoy yourself and don't get worried if you get kicked out or your game takes a tumble.com/holdembook/wsop .casinogamehub.T YPES OF H OLD ' EM G AMES | 79 The same strategies that you used to play Sit & Go's will be useful here. kids and dog. 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. so use those and you won't go too wrong. As long as you haven't bet your house.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOLDEN PALACE HAS DEFINITELY BEEN ONE OF THE MOST TRUSTED SINCE 1997! FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HOW TO JOIN THIS ESTABLISHED CASINO AT: www. GOLDEN PALACE CASINO & POKER GET YOUR MASSIVE SIGN-UP BONUS WITH SOME OF THE BEST ON THE INTERNET. Excitement and Anger to name just a tiny few. 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. Dr. macro expressions). Emotions such as Fear.casinogamehub. This is a massive and fascinating subject that I personally find exciting. Surprise. Contempt. can be recognised and if the person producing these expressions was recorded on video.T ELLS learn this technique and you'll be able to! MICRO-EXPRESSIONS | 93 Recently highlighted in the hit TV series 'Lie to me'. freeze-frame and see that these super-fast expressions are just the same as ordinary expressions that last a lot longer at around 1 to 5 seconds (aka.com/holdembook/palacepoker Note: Golden Palace does not accept players from North America . 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. it would be possible to play back.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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