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

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

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

6 | .

There's nothing better after a long hard working week. The first thing that I needed to do was to play poker. or sit down at my computer and unwind by playing a few hands of Hold 'em. as well as getting to know the local people. We both started working at different locations and for different companies. I learned how to play almost two years ago now and have never regretted spending the time to learn. to watch a movie or just to have a few drinks. About eight months ago. I had not played for a month or so when I first moved and . That was. 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. or even knew how to play. than to get together with friends. until recently. with some of their other friends who were unknown to us. 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. for a barbeque. I could not believe what I was to find out. 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. Even they did not play poker. 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. I was now on a mission.

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

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

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.

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

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

Stakes can get quite high and this is why it is important to check the game which you are intending to play. 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. In our game the lower betting limit is $2 and the higher limit is $4. to complete your knowledge of the game. minimum and maximum betting limits are stated before the game commences. 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. Betting limits specify the lower betting limit and the higher betting limit that are to be used in the game. Betting limits for a game could be $1-$2. You need to ensure that you are aware of the betting limits for the game you are about to play.3 Texas Hold 'em Game Play B efore we get into the inner workings of Texas Hold 'em it is important that you are familiar with the sequence of a typical game. THE BETTING LIMITS In a limit game. 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. each element can then be examined more closely in turn. There are other betting limits that are also used in Hold . $4-$8 or even $100-$200 and $1000-$2000.

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

T EXAS H OLD ' EM G AME P LAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

a maximum of five cards can only be used in a hand. Normal play then resumes as previously explained. the final stage takes place. THE FOURTH BETTING ROUND The fourth and final betting round now commences in the same order as the previous betting rounds and once all bets have been equalised. The Big Blind is paid by the second player to the left of the Button. 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.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. . the dealer collects all of the cards together from the players and together with the burn pile into the remaining deck and thoroughly shuffles them. The Dealer Button is moved one player to the left. this is where the remaining players show their hands to determine which player holds the best hand and ultimately wins the Pot. THE SHOWDOWN As the name suggests. the last person to place their chips into the pot is the first to show their hand. If this hand beats the other players. In this case they normally state that the other hand has them beat by saying “Beats Me”. Out of these seven cards. 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. Dealing now starts in a clockwise direction and the player to the immediate left of the Button receives the first card. This player now becomes the effective (or virtual) dealer. Typically.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When learning how to play Hold 'em.36 | B ASIC S TRATEGY tight one. Although any method of gambling includes some element of luck. As your experience grows. your Position. 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. WHAT'S IN YOUR POCKET? There are numerous things to take into consideration when determining the strength of your two pocket cards. the type of game that you decide to play can vary not only game to game. but also hand to hand. 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. 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. 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. it is a good bet (pardon the pun!) to stick to the basic strategy of determining whether or not the cards that you have in the hole are playable. how other players have acted towards their own hands and whether or not you are playing on the Button all have a part to play. It all comes down to experience when deciding how you are going to play each hand. or whether you would do better to fold . Where you are seated at the table. you will be able to make informed decisions about how to play your game. at other times they may play their hand fairly tight if that is how the game needs to be played. 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.

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

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

However. then you may not have the best hand but it may be able to be improved if you flop a high-card pair. These will be beaten by a similar pair with a higher kicker. When suited can be built to a Royal Flush or a Flush. this combination can produce a winning hand. although it may be likely that your opponent could hold a higher pair. Queen. Flopping a lower pair will make the hand fairly weak and chances of producing a winning hand will be slim. but not impossible. Medium-Strength Pairs Ii uU TG If you hold a pair of 9's.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. or King-high Straight or a Flush if suited. and if unsuited are not too far apart to bring about a Straight. Flopping another face card that matches will give you a high-card pair with a 10 Kicker if you hold a King or a Queen. 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. 8's or 7's.

then your pair is much weaker and will be beaten by a stronger pair. . If you flop a 10 instead of a Queen. even J-J. If you hold Q-10 and flop another Queen. 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. 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. or a high Straight or Flush if suited. then you will hold a High Pair with a 10 Kicker.40 | B ASIC S TRATEGY Pocket Cards – Medium-Strength Starting Hands High Cards Ay aX nj mL zk Mj yX YJ kW Having two high-value cards in the hole can certainly be improved upon to a strong Pair or Trips with a high Kicker.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.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.com/holdembook/pacificpoker . 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.

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

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

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

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

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

64 | B ETTING .

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

then you would need a minimum of $200 in order to play. It's pointless playing at the higher levels and repeatedly losing and it's certainly not an enjoyable way to spend your time. 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. 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. 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. these are the ideal way to increase your knowledge and experience. It is important to remember to play at a level that you are comfortable with and even more important to enjoy playing at that level. If you only have an hour or so to spare. Therefore it's a great place to learn more about poker and to hone your newly acquired skills. Practising online is an ideal way to become more proficient at poker whilst learning to play a higher game. Be warned though. give or take. 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. For instance. The excellent thing .66 | S INGLE T ABLE T OURNAMENTS poker tournament. It's therefore a good strategy to start with the lowest games and progress your way up through the levels. 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. almost for pocket change. These games tend to be convenient and fun and there doesn't have to be a lot of money at stake. while taking home some winnings in the process.

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. it is usual that only the final two players have a claim to a percentage of the pot. the game tends to be much faster. As a result. then you should have no problems playing the lower level games. Seeing as there are a smaller number of players to begin with. or less serious 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. There are games that have a full compliment of players. This is something to have a go at when you become a Hold 'em expert and have learnt the different strategies involved in playing this type of game. 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. 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. These games are cheap to buy in to and the players that frequent these games are usually either beginners. then you will be playing the higher level games in no time at all. SIT & GO STRATEGY So what is the strategy for playing Sit & Go's? To begin with . but the blinds are raised at a quicker rate. rather than the usual three. GAME TYPES There are various types of Sit & Go games available to play online and they are all different. you can drop to the smaller games and recoup your loses and build up your experience & confidence before going on once again to the higher levels. You will also see some games that only have two players that are playing Heads-Up. Either way their strategy is not usually very good and if you play a good Sit & Go strategy.

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

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

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

GET STARTED PLAYING SIT & GO TOURNAMENTS TODAY NOW THAT YOU KNOW WHAT SIT & GO'S ARE ALL ABOUT.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. Look for patterns and plan your strike to claim the top prize.50 AND LOWER THERE IS NO REASON WHY NOT ENJOY PLAYING EXCITING GAMES! PLAY NOW BY VISITING FULL TILT POKER ONLINE AND GET YOUR CASINO GAME HUB BONUS AT: www.casinogamehub. Raising and re-raising will help here and the bigger your stack the better. WITH BUY-INS FOR $0.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 .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

you will need more practice. There is no reason not too.G OING F ORWARD you are given when you sign-up for your poker account. As your experience and skill increases. You will not improve by going up against people less skilled or who are at the same level as you are. set yourself up an account with an online casino or poker room and play some of the low-level Sit & Go tournaments. 3) Finally. BEAT YOUR FRIENDS | 97 Wouldn't you like to be known as the 'Poker Player' of your family or social circle and the one that always seems to win? Playing once a month or so round friends is a great way to catch up. In order to play Texas Hold 'em online. go up against people that are better that you. In order to hone your skills and learn to play poker like a pro.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. with the betting structure as low as $0. Once you understand these. 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. you will first need to download and install the casino or poker room's software on your . this book will give you the basics. your online account will get bigger and you can enter the higher-priced games. but your newly acquired skills will not improve very quickly.020 you can play literally for pocket-change. As far as the first one goes.

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

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

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

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

. For instance. although the number can get a bit on the scary side and I find that knowing some basic numbers.102 | G OING F ORWARD USING ODDS In Texas Hold 'em there are odds for all different elements of the game. then you have odds of just below 2:1. 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. this area can get extremely complex and although knowing the odds for every eventuality does seem to be a bit overkill. Odds of you getting dealt A-K as your pocket cards. Anyway. On the flop.599:1 chance of getting the exact three cards that you want. 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). that's what poker odd calculators were invented for. The percentage probability is calculated using simple division. can be a good place to start. These odds show the probability of you making your desired hand leaving you with better information as to how to progress. almost by rote. For instance. 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. there are 19. Of course.600 different combinations to flop these three cards and a 19. odds that you will make a flush on the river and the odds that your opponent has a better hand than you. two of the most commonly used calculations in Texas Hold 'em Poker. if there is $20.000. Let's look at Pot Odds and Outs. OUTS An out can be defined as the number of cards that are left in the deck that will make your hand.000 in the pot and the bet to you is $11.

Say. 6 of them (the outs) will give you a winning hand and the remaining 40 will not. for example.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. which leaves 46 cards unknown to you. you hold A-K and the flop and the turn have produced 2-5-7-9 and you are sure that your opponent holds top pair.6:1 (40 divided by 6). This gives you 40:6 odds on making your hand. you will need to determine the number of outs you have in making your hand. . 3 for the remaining three Aces and 3 for the remaining three Kings. You have 6 outs in this situation. This breaks down further to around 6. In order to calculate the odds. There are 6 cards that you can see. Out of these 46 cards.

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

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

A raise has to be at least double of the initial bet. POCKET CARDS The two cards that are initially dealt to each player at the start of each hand. POT-LIMIT Refers to a betting structure whereby players are able to bet up to the amount held in the pot. The pot consists of the blinds. If player1 held J-J-5 and player2 held J-J-6. POT The total number of chips available to all players to win in any given hand. Also known as hole cards. OUTS The number of cards that are potentially remaining in the deck that will allow a player to make a winning poker hand. NO-LIMIT A game of Texas Hold 'em poker where there are no limits to the bet or raise that can be placed. RE-RAISE The act of raising a previously raised bet – raising the raise. MULTI-TABLE TOURNAMENT A tournament where there are too many players to sit around one table and so are split between several. PLAYING THE BOARD Term used when a player makes their hand by using just the five community cards. the remaining players are shuffled around to evenly distribute players at each table. then player2 would win as their 6 kicker beats player1's 5. 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. this is usually referred to as the final table. When enough players are knocked out that the remaining players can play at one table. . ante's and all bets placed by the players during the hand. RAISE Increasing the bet by betting more than was bet by the previous player. A player would return their cards face-down to the dealer. As players get knocked out of the game. 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. Also known as pass or fold. POCKET PAIR Used when a player receives a matching pair in their two pocket cards dealt by the dealer. POCKET ROCKETS The term used when a player holds two ace's as their pocket cards.

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

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