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TEXAS HOLD 'EM
- EXCELLENCE Learn to Play Poker to Win Online and At The Table
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......................................27 Full House..........................................31 Increasing Your Skills...................................................................................................................................................................22 The Showdown............21 The Third Betting Round............54 Third Betting Round........................................................................................................................................16 The Deal.....................51 The Flop.............................................................................................56 ......................................................11 3 Texas Hold 'em Game Play.............15 The Betting Limits........30 High Card................................................................................................................21 The River..............................................................................................................17 The First Betting Round..............................................42 Before the Flop.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................49 The Blinds.......................................................49 Dealing the Pocket Cards..........17 The Flop...................................................................................................................25 Royal Flush...................................................Contents 1 Preface.....21 The Fourth Betting Round.................................................................................................................56 The Fourth Betting Round............................................................................................................................................................................................................28 Straight..........................................................................................................................................................53 Second Betting Round........................................................15 The Blinds...................28 Three of a Kind.......................................................................................................................................................................................................29 Pair.....................................23 4 Poker Hands...................................29 Two Pair..................................47 the River..........................................................................7 2 Introduction............................................................................................................................48 6 A Typical Game........................................50 First Betting Round.20 The Turn...................................................................................................54 The Turn.................................................................................22 Other Points....................31 5 Basic Strategy..........................................20 The Second Betting Round...........................................................................................44 After the Flop......................22 The Next Hand.........................................................................35 What's in Your Pocket?...................................................................36 Position...................................................................................................35 Tight or Loose?...............................................................................................................26 Four of a Kind................................................................................................................................................................................55 The River...................................................................26 Straight Flush.............................................27 Flush..............................................................................45 The Turn.............................................................49 Let's Play.................
............75 Pot-limit Games................67 Sit & Go Strategy.....................77 10 Tells...............................................76 Sit & Go's (Single Table Tournaments)..........................57 The Next Hand........................................................................................................77 Multi-Table Tournaments..............101 Hold 'em Odds.............................................96 Bluffing.......................................................................................................................66 Game Types.......................................................................................................75 No-Limit Games........................57 7 Betting................................................105 ..................................................73 Limit Games.............................................................................................................81 Tells & The Human Auto-Pilot.................................................................................................................95 Poker at Home.................................................67 9 Types of Hold 'em Games...........................65 Basic Overview................................................95 Online Poker.............................90 11 Going Forward.........................................................................................................59 Betting Points of Interest..............................59 8 Single Table Tournaments..........................................65 Online Game Levels..............101 12 Hold 'em Terminology...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................84 The Next Step...................................The Showdown.............................................73 Spread-Limit Games..............................................................................................................................................81 Common Tells........
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or even knew how to play.1 Preface Playing poker is one of my most valuable past-times. We both started working at different locations and for different companies. About eight months ago. my partner and I moved to a different part of the country and away from our friends and colleagues that we had built a relationship with for the past five or so years. There's nothing better after a long hard working week. No matter where I go. I was now on a mission. than to get together with friends. for a barbeque. as well as getting to know the local people. I had not played for a month or so when I first moved and . 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. until recently. with some of their other friends who were unknown to us. or sit down at my computer and unwind by playing a few hands of Hold 'em. to watch a movie or just to have a few drinks. Nobody played poker? We were invited around our new friends houses for dinner. the common knowledge of how to play one of the most popular poker games on the planet. I could not believe what I was to find out. I learned how to play almost two years ago now and have never regretted spending the time to learn. The first thing that I needed to do was to play poker. nobody – and I mean nobody – knew how to play Texas Hold 'em poker! I did not know what to say or what to think. Out of the eighty or so people that both me and my partner regularly had contact with in and around this small town. That was. Even they did not play poker.
Not only are there some fantastic poker rooms out there. Teaching fifty or so people how to play poker would be torture. but certainly not as much as up until now and boy. what have I been missing! Playing online is a real buzz and one which has now become one of my favourite ways to play.8 | P REFACE needed to find some stimulation. from holding poker nights where I would teach everyone how to play poker. This alternative was online poker. The wide range of games to choose from online. waste a lot of my valuable time and would be a long process with five or so players at a time. to the more tense and exciting no-limit games. the offers are way beyond anything that you would find around a table. suits every person and every budget. If I were to buy $300 of chips to play an offline game. I though long and hard about how I would be able to do this. from low-limit games that you could literally play with pocket change. once every week or so. my other challenge beckoned. I needed to find another alternative. I needed to get my new circle of friends interested in and experienced in playing Texas Hold 'em poker. A few of my friends that I mentioned this too went out to look at buying books on learning poker. the casino matched my purchase with another free $300. Not having what seemed to be the luxury of playing with people face to face. I would get $300 of chips. So after I had found some of the best poker places online. I had played poker online before. One thing that I really do find exciting. yet online with my first account credit of $300. They found that these books were either too complicated or too basic and looking at the ones that they purchased myself. giving me $600 in my account! Fantastic. 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. is the regular competitions and tournaments that are offered together with the chance of winning a place in a televised poker event. with a exceptionally high prize fund. I would .
It is for those of you who wish to learn and play Texas |9 . The good thing was that after only 2 weeks. 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. I had my regular poker nights back and because of my online play. suggested that I publish it. They were either concentrated around advanced strategy which made total beginners wanting to give up even before they had started. I then had a light-bulb moment. 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.P REFACE agree. that I came aware that there were indeed people out there who wished that they could play poker. And here it is. like my friends. There must be other people out there who. I though long and hard about this and decided that this would be a good thing to do. but didn't know where to start and after getting my friends to talk to their friends and their friends friends. to teach them poker. I had a thought. So. as we speak. One of my work colleagues after reading my book. wanted to learn how to play Texas Hold 'em. I decided that spending a few weeks writing a book on poker that shared enough information about how to play. I felt. It was at that moment that this book was born. This book was originally written for my friends in order to teach them the basics and some more advanced aspects of Texas Hold 'em. In the meantime. but at this time the content of the book. needed a little more work and a lot more content in order to be a complete guide. would be the perfect solution to everybody's problems. my skills had improved beyond all expectation. Not only would my friends and colleagues be able to learn how to play and play good all at the same time. I would not have to persist week on week. or so basic that half of the more common aspects of Texas Hold 'em were missing. By keeping the content to the point. 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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
oker has been around for centuries and in 2010, is increasingly, the most popular card game played around the world. Of the many varieties of Poker, Texas Hold 'em is widely becoming the game of choice for those serious at winning the high stakes that the no-limit form of this game provides. Texas Hold 'em, known to those familiar with the game simply as Hold 'em, is played almost everywhere and its popularity is on the increase. Whether you are getting together with your friends at home, playing at your local casino or even playing online, the main structure of the game is almost identical. The main difference lies in the betting limits. At home it is likely that you may play for small amounts of money and play a low-limit game. At the casino the betting limits may be higher, although quite a few casinos now play low-limit games for beginners. When you start to get serious at Hold 'em you may find yourself playing the no-limit games where, as the term suggests, the only limit on how much you can bet is limited only by the number of chips that you have available. No-limit games are typically high stake games and played at tournaments. They can however, be played anywhere and the amount that can be won in a single game can run into literally tens and hundreds of thousands. There are two main parts of learning Texas Hold 'em. The first part is learning the game, how it is played, how the betting works and what hands win over others. This is the nuts and bolts of the game and can be referred to as the game mechanics. It is obvious that before you can start
12 | I NTRODUCTION winning at Hold 'em, you need to know how to play, so this is the place to begin. The second part of learning the game are the strategies. Strategies can be thought of as learning a skill and perfecting that skill over time and becoming an expert. Like all skills, your poker skills need to be honed by playing and learning in the process. There are many strategies that are used in Hold 'em, some of which can get extremely mathematical. This book covers the basic strategies that you need to consider in order to play Hold 'em effectively to win. Once you have learnt these basic strategies and honed them to perfection, you can then move on to learn more of the advanced strategies that will have you becoming a Texas Hold 'em expert in no time at all. Like any form of gambling, there is an element of luck in playing Hold 'em. Unless you are able to see what cards are in the pack and the order of those cards, there is no way that you can predict which cards will be drawn in each game. Unlike other forms of gambling, such as slot machines, roulette or craps (where a pair of dice are rolled in order to win), it is possible to increase your chances of winning by using good consistent strategy. It is more likely that somebody with a good strategy will win over time, than somebody without one. In Texas Hold 'em, you are dealt two cards at the start of each hand and depending on your strategy and the odds that each hand holds, it is possible to increase your chances of winning. Texas Hold 'em is only loosely a game of cards. It has been said many times that it is more a game of people. The way that people behave and think have a very large part to play in a game of Hold 'em. It is however, possible to win a hand just by making your opponent think that you have a much better hand than they have, even though you may not have a hand at all and they have the best hand in the house. By paying attention to your opponents and learning how they play, you can use this to further increase your chances of winning each hand that you play. Again, this comes down to strategy but is focused more on how you play, rather than the cards that you play.
this book introduces you to the Hold 'em terminology as you come across it and as you need to know it. but you get to learn the psychology of human behaviour and use it against your opponents. There are quite a few books on the market on how to play Texas Hold 'em and each of these books have their place. you 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. By learning these techniques you will be able to play Texas Hold 'em like a professional in the shortest possible time. There is also a list of Poker Terminology at the back of the book where some common terms related to Texas Hold 'em can be found in one place. you will have a good grounding in the way the game is played that will increase your odds of winning. no other form of poker is compared or referenced. Amaze your friends and family at how good you can play and leave them wondering how you win all of their hardearned cash. this book focuses on Texas Hold 'em and although some portions of the game can be similar to other forms of poker. while keeping things simple and to the point. Not only do you come to perfect your game. or whether you are intending to play professionally online or in a casino. much like any other interest. each time you play. You will learn how to play Texas Hold 'em and Texas Hold 'em only. By doing it in this way. A lot of terminology can be found in the poker arena. Whether you intend to play just at home. Get ready to join the world of Texas Hold 'em poker. Finally. Instead of giving you a list of all poker terms at the start of the book and swamping you with unnecessary information.I NTRODUCTION | 13 It is this variety of the game together with the large payouts that you can experience with the no-limit games. examples are given in an easy to understand manner to integrate your learning. that makes Hold 'em an exceptionally exciting game to play. You . seemingly with ease. Similarly. This book focuses on getting you playing the game quickly and learning your strategy fast.
14 | I NTRODUCTION could be just around the corner to becoming the next world poker champion. Let's get started! .
each element can then be examined more closely in turn. to complete your knowledge of the game. In our game the lower betting limit is $2 and the higher limit is $4. Betting limits specify the lower betting limit and the higher betting limit that are to be used in the game.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. minimum and maximum betting limits are stated before the game commences. Betting limits for a game could be $1-$2. In Hold 'em this is shown as $2-$4 or $2/$4. The game is always played in a clockwise direction around the table and the first player is always to the immediate left of the dealer. $4-$8 or even $100-$200 and $1000-$2000. There are other betting limits that are also used in Hold . This discussion will assume that the game is being played with an independent dealer and a minimum of 3 players and that they are playing a limit game of $2-$4. Stakes can get quite high and this is why it is important to check the game which you are intending to play. This is the structure of the game and once you have a basic understanding of the game play sequence. You need to ensure that you are aware of the betting limits for the game you are about to play.
So. For our example here. With an empty pot there is no money to win and therefore no incentive for the players to play their hand.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. This means that the minimum amount that can be bet is $2. THE BLINDS To get the game started it is necessary to put some money into The Pot. we are playing a $2-$4 game. The name is taken from the way that each player must put this money into the pot – blind. the Small Blind is set to half of this amount and is therefore $1. 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. 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. we are playing a limit game of $2-$4. so in our game it is $2. . To get things going a set amount of money is put into the pot by the first two players to the dealers left (the first two players to the left of the Dealer Button). so our lower betting limit is set to $2 and the higher limit is set to $4. THE SMALL BLIND The first player to the dealers immediate left (to the left of the Button) has to pay the Small Blind. This amount is set to exactly the minimum bet amount in limit games. in this instance. This means that the players are required to place the blinds into the pot prior to any cards being dealt. This amount is equal to exactly half of the minimum betting limit in limit games. This money is referred to as the Blinds.
T EXAS H OLD ' EM G AME P LAY
Now that the blinds have been paid, the players are dealt their cards. The dealer places the round Dealer Button on the table in front of the person immediately to his left. This button indicates that this player is, in effect, acting as the dealer, although they are not dealing any cards. The Professional dealer always deals the cards and the Button is used for the sequence of game play. The person with the Dealer Button could in fact be classed as a Virtual Dealer as they do not actually deal any cards but the game is played as if they had. All will become clear soon. The dealer then shuffles the pack of cards and burns the top card. Burning is the term that is used to describe the discarding of the top card from the deck and is done in case this card has been accidentally seen by any of the players. Burnt cards are placed face-down in a separate pile to the side of the dealer. The dealer then proceeds to deal one card to each player in a clockwise direction, starting with the player immediately to the left of the Dealer Button. When each player has been dealt one card, the dealer then deals a second card to each player, again in a clockwise direction and again starting with the player immediately to the left of the Dealer Button. Each player now has two cards each, known as Hole Cards or Pocket Cards and this is the maximum number of cards that each player will ever hold in the game.
THE FIRST BETTING ROUND
Game play starts with the player immediately to the left of the Big Blind. This player is also the third player to the left of the effective dealer (the third player to the left of the Button).
18 | T EXAS H OLD ' EM G AME P LAY WHERE THE GAME STARTS The third player is where the hand really starts, as the first two players have placed their blinds and have in effect already acted. The player looks at their hand to determine whether they think that they hold a good hand or not and has three options open to them; call, raise or fold.
If the player decides that they have a hand worth betting on, they can Bet. In our game, the amount that is to be bet is $2 as this is the betting amount for this betting round.
If the player deems that they hold an excellent hand they may wish to raise. In our game, if the player wishes to raise, they can only raise by the minimum bet amount of $2, making the total bet $4 ($2 bet plus $2 raise).
If the player decides that their hand is no good and that they do not wish to play it, they can Fold. Also known as a Pass, the player clearly states that they are folding and pushes their cards back towards the dealer, keeping them face down. These discarded cards are placed face down onto the Burn pile. REMAINING PLAYERS The rest of the players then proceed to bet in turn, in a clockwise direction. In this instance the options open to them are to call, raise or fold. The last to bet are the players that placed the Blinds.
When a player Calls they are requesting to see the first of the community cards. In this instance, they must place an amount of money in the pot that is equal to the amount that
T EXAS H OLD ' EM G AME P LAY
has been bet by the player before them. If the bet is set to $2, then the player that calls must place $2 in the pot for the privilege.
When a player raises, they are basically saying that they have a good hand and they want to raise the bet. In order to raise, they must place the amount of the previous bet and then raise by the minimum bet amount. In our fixed limit $2-$4 game, the bet currently stands at $2. If the player wishes to raise, he must raise by the minimum bet amount of $2. This brings the current bet amount to $4. For the next player to call, they must bet $4. There is usually only a certain number of times that a raise can be played in each betting round. Typically this is set to a maximum of three raises per round.
If the player determines that they do not hold a very good hand, then they can Fold or Pass. They announce they they are folding and push their cards, face down, back towards the dealer. These discarded cards are placed face down onto the Burn pile. COMPLETING THE FIRST BETTING ROUND The betting round continues until such time as all of the players bets have been equalised. This means that each player has increased their bet to the highest bet currently on the table by Calling. If a player does not wish to equalise their bet, the only other option available to them is to fold. In this case, they clearly state that they are folding and return their cards face-down, to the dealer who places them on the burn pile. There is one remaining option open to the player who paid the Big Blind - If all of the other players have called and not raised and the bets are equalised, then the option to check is available to this player. In this case no money is payable and the player states that they are Checking. This
They also have the added option of checking. starts the betting round. They are in effect stating that they still wish to have interest in the pot. raising or folding. They also tend to knock on the table to indicate that they are checking. the player has the options of betting. The players ascertain if they can improve upon their hand by utilising the three community cards with their Pocket Cards (or Hole Cards). no other player can check in the same betting round and therefore checking is no longer an option for anybody else. 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). . Similar to the first betting round. but they do not wish to place a bet at this time. The community cards are also known as The Board. 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 will also need to decide whether their hand can be improved upon with the remaining community cards.20 | T EXAS H OLD ' EM G AME P LAY option is discussed further in the Second Betting Round below. THE SECOND BETTING ROUND The next betting round begins and this time the person to the dealers immediate left (left of the Dealer Button). Once a player has placed a bet (put some money in the pot). THE FLOP Once the players have equalised their bets on the first betting round. the dealer then burns the top card from the remaining deck of cards and deals three cards face-down on to the table. This is known as The Flop. The cards are then turned over so that they are face-up and are spread out side-by-side to reveal the first three of the five Community Cards.
THE 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. Remember that once a player has placed a bet on their hand any subsequent player looses the ability to check and is forced either to call. each bet and raise must match the maximum betting limit of the game. Once again. or more commonly The Turn. . This also means that any raise can only be raised by $2. This is known as Fourth Street. The bets in this betting round adhere to the minimum game bet. so bets start at $4 and each raise can only be raised by $4. Once all bets have been equalised. THE THIRD BETTING ROUND The third betting round now takes place to exactly the same format as the previous two betting rounds. 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. or the River and is the final card to be dealt. This is known as Fifth Street. the final community card is dealt. THE TURN All the bets from the second betting round have now been equalised and any player whose hand doesn't meet up to their requirements have folded. In our example $2-$4 game. The only difference this time is that from this round on. this is $2. raise or fold. the players still in the game attempt to make their best hand from the four community cards available on the Board and their Hole cards that they were originally dealt. In our game here we are using limits of $2-$4.T EXAS H OLD ' EM G AME P LAY | 21 The betting continues in a clockwise direction until the bets have been equalised.
then they can choose not to reveal their own hands and can just return their cards face down to the dealer. Normal play then resumes as previously explained. If this hand beats the other players. a maximum of five cards can only be used in a hand. this is where the remaining players show their hands to determine which player holds the best hand and ultimately wins the Pot. the last person to place their chips into the pot is the first to show their hand. the final stage takes place. Dealing now starts in a clockwise direction and the player to the immediate left of the Button receives the first card.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. In this case they normally state that the other hand has them beat by saying “Beats Me”. Typically. The Big Blind is paid by the second player to the left of the Button. This player now becomes the effective (or virtual) dealer. . THE FOURTH BETTING ROUND The fourth and final betting round now commences in the same order as the previous betting rounds and once all bets have been equalised. The Small Blind is paid by the person to the immediate left of the Button and if they are still in the game this would be the person who paid the Big Blind in the previous hand. the dealer collects all of the cards together from the players and together with the burn pile into the remaining deck and thoroughly shuffles them. The Dealer Button is moved one player to the left. Out of these seven cards. THE SHOWDOWN As the name suggests. THE NEXT HAND Prior to dealing the next hand.
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. meaning that they are both winners. If it all seems a little confusing at this stage. SPLIT POT If on the Showdown the remaining players hold hands of the same value. 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.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. For now though. OTHER POINTS There are a few additional points to be aware of with regard to game play. This means that it is possible to win the pot even before any community cards have been dealt in the Flop. Understanding this terminology should allow you to recognise the various game flow elements if you were to watch a poker game at this stage. it will become much clearer in the forthcoming chapters. then the pot is split equally between them. keep with it. But why stop here? Let's now move on and examine the different poker hands that are available in Texas Hold 'em. . then that player who remains in the game wins the pot by default. just try to understand the Flow of the game and become familiar with the betting rounds and the terminology used. You have been exposed to a lot of new terminology that is used in Texas Hold 'em in this chapter. but before we do this it is necessary to learn the different poker hands that are available to us.
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As far as Ace's are concerned. For example. The hands shown below are in Rank order. They are quite straight-forward and once you become familiar with them. or higher than a king as in 10-J-Q-K-A. In Texas Hold 'em there is no Suit Hierarchy. . they can be treated as a one in a A-2-3-4-5 hand. only five cards can be used to make the best hand that you can. What matters is the value or rank of the card. Out of the seven cards that are available to you during each hand played. regardless of what suit it is. with the highest ranking hand first. they can be interpreted as a high rank or a low rank depending on how they are used in your hand. This means that a diamond is the same level as a club and a spade is the same level as a heart. will be well on your way to becoming a top player. So a Queen beats a Jack and a King beats a Queen.4 Poker Hands T here are ten different hand rankings that you will need to learn in order to play Hold 'em.
The strength of the hand is determined by the highest card in the hand.939 to 1. For example. STRAIGHT FLUSH efghi A Straight Flush is the 2nd highest poker hand. they would hold a Ten- . spades. 5-6-7-8-9. the cards that make up a Straight Flush must be all of the same suit. If your opponent holds a 6-7-8-9-10.26 | P OKER H ANDS ROYAL FLUSH IJKLM The Royal Flush is the highest ranking poker hand that is available. hearts or diamonds). 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. The hand is similar to a straight flush where the cards are all the same suit (clubs. This hand can be beaten by another straight flush if another player holds a hand where their highest card is of a higher value than the highest card that you hold in your hand. If you hold this hand then you will be odds on favourite for winning the Pot. but it includes all the court cards and runs in sequence from 9 through to King. The 9 would be the highest card in your hand and could said to be a nine-high straight flush. This means that the probability of seeing this hand is a massive 30. Just as in the Royal Flush.
Here. your hand shows that you hold 7-7-10-10-10. FOUR OF A KIND The 3rd highest hand in poker is Four of a Kind. If however. 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. Remember. in Texas Hold 'em there is no suit hierarchy. This hand is made up of a Pair and a Three of a Kind. FULL HOUSE The 4th highest ranking hand is the Full House. If your opponent also held Quads but they had four 10's or four Jack's. then you would beat them. you need to hold a hand where four of the cards are of the same rank. also known as Quads.P OKER H ANDS | 27 high straight flush which will beat you. GlLYy In the example above you hold four Queens in your hand. As you would expect. If your opponent held 6-6-J-J-J then their hand would beat . gGwWj If your opponent also holds a Full House. they held four King's you would lose the hand. As the name suggests. then it is the highest ranking three of a kind that holds the most clout. as their 10 is a higher card than your 9.
then your hand would beat theirs. . if they held Q-Q-8-8-8. then the next highest card in the hand would determine the winner. shown above. and so on. The King is the highest ranking card.28 | P OKER H ANDS yours. However. An example of your hand. followed by the Jack and 9. the Flush consists of all five cards in your hand being of the same suit but do not run in sequence. If your opponent held 2-8-9-J-K. FLUSH Being the 5th highest ranking hand in poker. If your opponent also holds a Flush and the highest card in their hand ranks the same as yours. When making a straight from your hand. is 3-7-9-J-K. STRAIGHT The Straight is the 6th highest ranking hand and consists of five cards of sequential value but not of the same suit. then they would win the hand as their 8 is higher than your 7. the Ace can be considered high (10-J-Q-K-A) or low (A-2-3-4-5). cgikm The hand ranking itself is determined by the highest card in the hand. in both hands therefore it is the next highest ranking card that determines the winner.
Here you hold 3-7-J-J-J which would beat 2-5-9-9-9.P OKER H ANDS | 29 AbPqE The winning hand is determined by the highest card in the straight. you need three cards of the same value in order to make this hand. the Three of a Kind is the 7th highest ranking hand in poker. Therefore a 7-8-9-10-J (a Jack-high Straight) beats 6-7-8-9-10 (a Ten-high Straight). TWO PAIR Ranking 8th in the top ten poker hands and third from the bottom is Two Pair. This is where your hand consists of two pairs of cards where each pair is of equal rank. but would be beaten by 2-5-Q-Q-Q. CtkKx As you would suspect. . THREE OF A KIND Also known as a Set or Trips. As the hand suggests. the strength of the hand is determined by the rank of the three matching cards.
If your opponent held 46-6-K-K. where their Two Pair matches yours. then the highest ranking hand. This is where you hold two cards in your hand which are of the same rank. The Queen would be the Kicker. so a 4-5-5-Q-Q would be beaten by your hand shown here of Q-6-6-K-K. so an A-A would beat a K-K. then you would win the hand as their 4 Kicker is lower than your Queen. is determined by the highest ranking pair. as you would suspect. In the event that your opponent holds the same ranking Pair as you hold. although not counted as part of the hand. .30 | P OKER H ANDS lsSmz The fifth card. is referred to as the Kicker and is used to determine the winning hand if your opponent also holds two pair which match yours. then the winning hand is determined by the next highest ranking card in your hand. known as a Kicker. eGmuU If your opponent also holds a Pair. PAIR Second from last in the poker hand list of fame is the Pair. The highest ranking pair determines who wins the hand.
In this example. So there you have it! Learn these hands and become efficient at quickly recognising them. This occurs when you cannot make any other hand. you hold a Queen as your High Card. was being able to identify poker hands and learning which hand beats another. The highest ranking hand is ultimately determined by the highest card that you hold in your hand. Within a couple of hours of using . 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. 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. bgIxY It has been known. If your opponent holds a King or an Ace. I created a simple method that was extremely effective at helping me learn my poker hands fast. then they would beat your hand. INCREASING YOUR SKILLS Now is the time to get your basic skills up to scratch. LEARN TO IDENTIFY POSSIBLE POKER HANDS One of the main things that was difficult for me when learning to play poker.P OKER H ANDS | 31 HIGH CARD The lowest ranking hand is the High Card hand.
6. and the five community cards separated from them. 2. quickly and accurately. Thoroughly shuffle a deck of cards. deal out seven cards from left to right face up. Over a short period of time. Gather up the cards and place them in a pile to the side. Look through the poker hands at the beginning of this chapter again. ADVANCED METHOD Once you have gained familiarity with identifying poker hands using the Basic Method. if any. you can progress to the more advanced method. When arranging the cards like this. representing your hole cards and then dealing out the five community cards towards the centre of the table. Look at your hole cards to see which ones you hold and place them back on the table face-down. that you would be able to make out of five of the cards that lay before you.32 | P OKER H ANDS this technique. This method gets you used to making poker hands in Texas Hold 'em. Take your time in trying to determine which is the best hand. as well as recognise both the correct name for the hand and it's position in the hand hierarchy. the more you practice. the better you become. you will be able to identify winning (and losing) hands. The final step in this technique is to deal out all of the cards face-down. the two pocket cards and the five community cards. Next turn over the first three cards to the left of the . by first dealing two cards close to you. where you have the two hole cards near to you. 4. BASIC METHOD 1. 3. you will find that you can increase your speed and identify which hands you would be able to make. As with any skill. 7. Repeat the process from step 3 until you have less than seven cards left in the pack. you start to get used to the way the hands look in Texas Hold 'em. From the top of the deck. in order to familiarise yourself with the different hands and which hand is higher in the hierarchy. 5.
only look at your hole cards if you really cannot remember them. 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. by turning over the fourth community card. Remember.P OKER H ANDS | 33 community cards. Weave Shuffle. 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. or do a Web search on Google for “how to shuffle cards”. at least to begin with. Finally. you will be able to shuffle. Carry on simulating a Hold 'em game. It is simple to do and the more you practice the easier and faster. These represent the Flop. Only looking at your pocket cards if you really have to. the Turn and again seeing if you can improve on your hand. turn over the River. 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. Once you are adept at the Overhand shuffle. the final community card and see what the best hand is that you can make with all seven cards. as in a real game it will be identified as a Tell (more about those later). Demonstrations of these can easily be found on the worldwide web. Good shuffle technique is worth learning well. Steer clear of flashy shuffles. you can then progress to the Hindu 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. . There are a variety of ways to learn to shuffle and the most common one is the Overhand Shuffle. pick up a book on card tricks where it will explain basic Card Handling technique (You will also be able to learn some cool magic tricks and be life and soul of any party!). Riffle Shuffle and the Strip Shuffle. and master your technique until it is faultless.
PARTY POKER'S HOTTEST AND LATEST GAMES. you will find that you are reading the cards like a pro in no time flat. 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. crack open a extra large Pepsi and start to pay attention to the cards that are drawn.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.casinogamehub. These games can get fairly fast and you may struggle at first to keep up. At this stage you do not need to concentrate on who's betting what and which strategies are being used. As the game progresses. CLAIM YOUR EXCLUSIVE CASINO GAME HUB BONUS – 100% BONUS ON YOUR FIRST DEPOSIT (UP TO $500 & WHEN DEPOSITING $25 OR MORE)* BY VISITING: www. You will generally find that the pocket cards of the players that haven't folded are displayed on the screen. all you need to do is look at the players pocket cards and then get used to making potential hands when you see the flop. “FEEL IT” AT THE PARTY POKER ROOMS RECENT POLLS FOUND THAT PARTY POKER PLAYERS HAVE AN EASIER CHANCE OF WINNING THAN IN ANY OTHER ONLINE POKER ROOM.com/holdembook/partypoker * OFFERS MAY VARY OR BE DISCONTINUED WITHOUT PRIOR NOTICE AT ANY TIME LEARN POKER BY PLAYING IN FREE TOURNAMENTS AND TAKE PART IN ONE OF . turn and river. make some popcorn. the community cards appear in sequence.
we must discuss some very basic strategy. Playing a Loose game is the exact opposite of playing a . that will determine whether or not you continue to play that hand. 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.5 Basic Strategy B efore we can walk through a few hands of a typical Texas Hold 'em game. Similarly. This means that you will have a set of rules that you keep to with regard to the cards that you are holding. Winning strategies are not discussed in this chapter and will be covered later in the book. or whether you will fold. We shall keep to teaching extremely basic decisionmaking strategy as it applies to the typical game flow of a simple no-frills game. Seeing as you only get dealt two cards prior to the first round of betting. you will need to consider how you will progress with your game after you have seen the Flop. it stands to reason that you need to know how to make the right decision before parting with your hard-earned money. as well as the Turn and the River. you are playing hands that are highly likely to win. that once learned will allow you to follow along with any basic game of Hold 'em. Playing a tight game can increase your chances of winning over time and you are less likely to consider taking chances. TIGHT OR LOOSE? When you are said to be playing a Tight game of poker.
you will be able to make informed decisions about how to play your game. 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. or whether you would do better to fold . 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. but also hand to hand. As your experience grows. it is a good bet (pardon the pun!) to stick to the basic strategy of determining whether or not the cards that you have in the hole are playable. the type of game that you decide to play can vary not only game to game. 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. For the purpose of this book we shall stick to playing a tight game. at other times they may play their hand fairly tight if that is how the game needs to be played. It means that you are more likely to take chances that the cards you require will turn up on the Board at some stage and that you will seriously consider playing hands that have an outside chance of winning. It all comes down to experience when deciding how you are going to play each hand. WHAT'S IN YOUR POCKET? There are numerous things to take into consideration when determining the strength of your two pocket cards. Although any method of gambling includes some element of luck. 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. When learning how to play Hold 'em. which is the best method for those who are just starting out playing poker. Where you are seated at the table. your Position.36 | B ASIC S TRATEGY tight one.
but are more commonly medium pairs rather than high-pairs. Kings and Queens are the higher value pairs. whilst Jack's. King or Queen). 10's and 9's are more commonly classed as medium-value pairs. Ace with a High Kicker AM al nk This combination is always a good hand to hold and the . Ace's (Pocket Rockets).B ASIC S TRATEGY | 37 (otherwise known as 'mucking your hand'). Although Jack's and 10's could be included here. Strong starting hands. Medium-Strength starting hands and those that may be considered as Other playable starting hands. If you hold a medium value pair and a high-value card appears in the flop (such as an Ace. but for the time being at least. Let's start by looking at some of the Strongest starting hands that you may come across. your pocket cards can be placed into three different groups depending on their strength. There are no hard and fast rules and as your experience grows you will find your own judgement. If they do and they didn't raise before the flop. 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. it is likely that they hold another high card and have made a pair. Anything below this are of low value. keep an eye on your opponents to see if they raise the bet.
If you are dealt any of the above hands. If you hold K-Q and you flop a King.38 | B ASIC S TRATEGY Pocket Cards – Strongest Starting Hands higher the Kicker the better. but it's worth holding. turn and river. Next we will look at some medium-strength hands that have the potential to become strong as the game unfolds. . Similarly. If the cards are suited and you are holding A♦-K♦ and the flop pulls a Q♦-J♦-2♠. When the cards are suited. This may not necessary be as good as a pair of Queens with a King kicker. making a high-card Flush or Royal Flush is a long shot. then you need 10♦ for a Royal Flush on the turn or the river. then you will hold a high Pair with a Queen Kicker. then you always have the chance of getting an Ace-high Flush with any other diamond. Holding an A-J or A-10 is still a good hand. which is the top pair with the highest kicker. but possible. If your 10♦ does not appear. but you need to consider what your opponent may hold as A-Q will beat your hand. the you will probably be looking to make a high Pair on the flop. A-K-K. then you will be holding A-A-K. although things can change very quickly in Hold 'em. if you draw an Ace in 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. Face Cards Suited zy mk YX If you hold a pair of face cards. It almost seems like a win-win situation. then there is no question that the odds of making an even better hand on the flop are good. If you are holding A-K and there is another King in the flop.
. When suited can be built to a Royal Flush or a Flush.B ASIC S TRATEGY | 39 Pocket Cards – Medium-Strength Starting Hands Face Card with a Ten Suited JM jl wx Obviously not as good as a a pair of suited face cards. this combination can produce a winning hand. Flopping a lower pair will make the hand fairly weak and chances of producing a winning hand will be slim. and if unsuited are not too far apart to bring about a Straight. 8's or 7's. 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. then you may not have the best hand but it may be able to be improved if you flop a high-card pair. However. Queen. The value of these cards are not so low as to be able to produce a Jack. Medium-Strength Pairs Ii uU TG If you hold a pair of 9's. although it may be likely that your opponent could hold a higher pair. or King-high Straight or a Flush if suited. holding a medium-strength pair can produce a much stronger hand if the flop turns them into Trips. These will be beaten by a similar pair with a higher kicker. but not impossible.
then your pair is much weaker and will be beaten by a stronger pair.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. 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. If you flop a 10 instead of a Queen. or a high Straight or Flush if suited. even J-J. then you will hold a High Pair with a 10 Kicker. Do not be tempted to hold on to your hand if it contains an Ace or King and the flop doesn't further improve your hand. . If you hold Q-10 and flop another Queen.
Pocket Cards – Other Starting Hands Low Pairs Ff rR Qd cp Bo Not regarded as a very powerful hand. Ace with a Low Kicker Suited AF ae nq NP ab . Let it go if the hand is not improved by the flop. but are not very strong hands to start with so you may want to play with caution or decide that you don't really want to play this type of hand until your experience level increases. then don't be afraid to muck your hand swiftly. there are some other hands that you may wish to consider. making them stronger than a high-pair.B ASIC S TRATEGY | 41 Pocket Cards – Medium-Strength Starting Hands Play with these hands carefully and if the flop doesn't improve things. low card pairs have the potential to be made into Trips on the flop. Finally.
which is the top flush and depending on the other cards on the board. Being close together in value. the odds are not very strong in seeing another three cards of the same suit appearing on the board. If you flop two or more cards of the same suit. However. could be the Nuts. This is because the action on the betting rounds goes . Low Connectors Suited FE fd rq RP Low hole cards that are suited. it may be possible to complete the flush either on the flop. turn or the river. the better. It would be best to fold the hand if it is not improved on the flop. The closer to the left of the dealer you are. the worse the position.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. whereas the closer to the right of the dealer. have the potential to become a Flush and can win the pot. This is known as Drawing Hands as you need to Draw a series of cards in order to improve on your hand. POSITION Your position around the table is an important factor when playing Hold 'em. getting a consecutive run of cards to make a Straight Flush would be more beneficial than a Flush on its own.
. however the last player to act will be the dealer. you are last to act when deciding how to proceed with your hand. When playing in this position. Seeing as the dealer is moved one place to the left for each hand. players five to seven in mid-position. each player will take their turn in playing in each of these positions repeatedly during the course of an entire poker game. with the exception of the big blind being the last to act in the first betting round.or late position. checked. but are not quite sure. the first four players to the dealers left would be playing in early position. bet. mid. All the other players have made their decisions and have either. 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. for example. THE BEST PLACE TO BE The best place to be is to play on the Button. whilst the remaining three players would be considered to be playing in late position.B ASIC S TRATEGY | 43 from the player to the dealers left. At a full table of ten players. they will possibly decide to fold and not call your raise. you can raise the bet and see what their reactions are. clockwise and ends with the dealer (unless it's the first round of betting in which case the betting ends with the Big Blind). If you suspect that other players have a weaker hand than you do. The less players to act after you the better. Your position in any particular hand is referred to as either early. 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. If their hand is not so strong and they were trying to bluff. raised or folded.
If your playing style for this game is tight (which is recommended while you are learning). then you will probably only bet on your hand if you have something like a high pair or an ace with a high kicker (10. but not the weakest either. you may wish to play a much tighter hand than if you were in mid to late positions. then you may consider playing a lower hand such as a 7-8 as long as they are suited. Fold poor hands quickly and don't take any unnecessary risks. . especially if a lot of the players before you have mucked their hands. If you have decided that you will play a little on the loose side. Q. 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. K) which would preferably be suited. if you determine that your hand is worth betting on. then bet or call the previous players bet. When playing in mid-position you have seen others act before you. BEFORE THE FLOP Now that you have some guidelines as to some of the better starting hands and the importance of your position. your strategy before the flop is relatively simple. but it could be worth taking more of a risk on slightly weaker hands than you would when playing in early position. Playing good quality hands in this position is always the best idea. It is wise to play only strong hands in this position as others will be looking to see how you decide to act. You must base your decision on your position and if playing in early position. MID-POSITION Not an overly strong position to be in during the game. then you will more than likely want to fold. but others after you are still to act. J.44 | B ASIC S TRATEGY EARLY POSITION When playing in early position you will be one of the first to act.
It is both pointless and a waste of money to bet on a hand where the odds of it winning are poor. then only one decision can be made. virtually worthless. At this stage we will only consider basic strategy that will become the building blocks to your future success. but if this is not improved upon at all then the only option open to you is to muck your hand. it hasn't made a lot of difference or it's made what would be initially considered a good hand. WHEN THE FLOP HASN'T HELPED If after the flop your hand has not been improved at all. 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. 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. before the action gets to you.B ASIC S TRATEGY | 45 AFTER THE FLOP This is where the main decision about what to do with your hand will be made. . fold your hand. This is where position really comes into play and being in late position will allow you to see what other players are doing. Your hole cards may have been fairly strong before the flop. then it may be worth considering betting. THE FLOP HELPED A LITTLE If you held a moderate hand before the flop and the flop improved upon that hand. Either the flop has improved your hand.
But wait. If they have A-K or Pocket Rockets (A-A) in the hole. The flopped Jack also gives you another card for your flush and it's in sequence to your hole cards for your anticipated straight. Use your opponents actions to decide how to proceed. If one of your opponents already holds an Ace. The flop produces A♣-J♠-9♦ and gives you a pair of 9's. 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 called to see the flop as you held a medium hand and they were also of the same suit. . in which case it may be best to fold. You may want to bet on this hand as you think that the flop has been good to you. then your hand is already beat. then the flop will give them A-A-J.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. the top pair with a highish kicker. or even a straight.
in particular a flush. is that they are community cards and everybody has the same cards. then it's a . But your King is higher than their Queen. In this situation. you will definitely want to call or raise and see the turn. Unless they get another Queen on the turn or the river to give them two pair. then you have increased the strength of your hand. you've got a good chance at staying on top. The only difference is what each player has in the hole. THE TURN Much of your main decision-making strategy has been done prior to and on the flop. you had A-K in the hole and you flopped A-7-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. 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. If a matching high-card is dealt that matches one in the flop that your opponent bet or even raised on. Even if your opponent holds A-Q. The thing that you have to keep in mind with cards in the flop. You now hold top pair (A-A) with the highest kicker.
There's nothing that can be done about this and you just need to chalk it up to experience. winning you the pot. Q-Q-Q and has won the hand. you will learn to recognise when someone is playing a bluff. There will always be a time for you when you need a specific card or suited card and as if by magic. 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.48 | B ASIC S TRATEGY good indicator that he could hold a Triple or even a Full House. by the time the River card is dealt you should have your hand. You have been holding the best hand since the flop and after the turn. Winning using this method is known as winning by the Back-door and many a player has been tormented by their opponents luck as the card that they desperately needed shows up. it appears on the turn or the river. your hand could easily be made stronger if a card that compliments your hand is dealt and so could your opponents. The river produces another Queen. . THE RIVER Much like the turn. so now your opponent is holding trips. By knowing your opponent and watching how they play during the game. Keep an eye on how the other players are betting to get an indicator of what they may hold. Say you are holding K-K and your opponent has Q-Q in the pocket. Obviously.
Being half of the lower betting limit. The person to the immediate left of the professional dealer is the Dealer.6 A Typical Game Y ou should now have a basic understanding of Texas Hold 'em Game Play and are a little more familiar with the various poker hands. so we can now move on to an example of the way a typical Texas Hold 'em poker game might flow. The professional dealer places the Dealer Button in front of this player. the small blind at this stage of the hand is set at $10. which means that the lower betting limit is $20 and the higher limit is $40. 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. so that all players know who is the active Dealer. 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. This is who the professional dealer is dealing on behalf of. LET'S PLAY Our five players are seated at the table and ready to play. We have a professional dealer to deal our cards for us as this will be the way that it is laid out both at a casino and when playing online. . We are playing a $20-$40 limit game.
The first player to be dealt their first pocket card is the player to the immediate left of the Button. Remember that the Blinds are forced bets and must be paid.. the first round of betting takes place. 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. or hole. The pot currently holds $30..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. 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. each player is dealt their first pocket card. Nobody is allowed to see these at any stage during the game. Moving in a clockwise direction. Now that the small blind and the big blind has been paid. . Let's have a look at what each of our five players has in the hole. cards. This will be the Burn Pile. Being an amount exactly equal to the lower betting limit. Once each person at the table has been the dealer. all players would have had their turn in playing the blinds. this player pushes their $20 worth of chips towards the centre of the table and into the pot.
Player 4 has been dealt A♦-J♣. 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. or another Ace to give him . the betting rounds can now commence. He will be looking for another Jack to make a pair with a high-kicker. a high card with a high kicker. Player 1 is playing on the button and player's 2 & 3 have paid the blinds.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. FIRST BETTING ROUND The betting Action for the first round of betting starts with player 4.
therefore he has to place the same amount as the big blind into the pot. These medium cards are suited and in sequence. They can now see the Flop. he fancies his chances in hitting another King or more of the same suit on the flop. She has 8♣-9♣ in the pocket. He pushes $40 of chips towards the centre of the table. . Being in sequence also brings the possibility of a straight. meaning that if the flop produces more of the same suit then she will have a good chance of making a flush. and pushes his cards. There was no previous bet as he was first to act after the big blind. At the end of the first betting round the pot total is $150. 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”. face-down towards the dealer. They fold. Playing in early position he is fairly confident that his hand may stand a good chance and he raises. a high card with a low kicker. plus the raise. not even the dealer. The dealer takes these cards and places them on the burn pile. then player 3 may have indeed folded similar to Player 2. She decides to call and pushes $40 in chips towards the centre of the table saying “call” ($40 is now the lower bet amount having previously been raised by Player 4). The bet amount is now $40. If they were of a different suit. The action now moves to Player 1 who is playing on the button. The cards are unsuited so a flush is out of the question. Player 5's pocket cards of 2♥-7♦ are not up to much so he announces that he is folding by saying “fold”. At no stage are these cards shown to anyone. Player 3 holds K♦-4♦. but seeing as the cards are suited. Player 2 holds 7♥-Q♦ as their pocket cards and although the Queen is a high card. He calls to see the flop and has to place a bet equal to the previous bet. 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. 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.52 | A T YPICAL G AME top pair with a medium kicker.
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♦.A T YPICAL G AME | 53 THE FLOP The dealer takes the deck and burns the top card.. 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. This is The Flop. The deck is put aside and the three cards turned face-up and spread out side-by-side. . or broken. together with the hands of our remaining players. placing it on the burn pile. The flop is the first of the three community cards to be seen by the players and it is where hands are either made.
into the pot. The bets need to be equalised to see the Turn and so the action goes around the table a second time. to the right of the flop.54 | A T YPICAL G AME SECOND BETTING ROUND For this and for all subsequent betting rounds. the dealer takes the deck and burns the top card. Only a higher full house. let's see the community cards and our remaining players hands. the action goes to Player 3. This is The Turn and is the fourth community card to be dealt. They need two more diamonds to make a flush. Player 3 decides to call and places $20 of chips.. placing $20 into the pot to equalise the bets. Although not brilliant. Player 3 has bet $20 and Player 4 has bet $40. The next card is taken from the top of the deck and dealt face up onto the board. THE TURN Once again. four-of-akind or a flush can beat him. then they will have a high pair with a high kicker. Player 4 has had an extremely good flop and now holds a Full House A-A-J-J-J. in this case Player 3. if the Turn or the River pulls another Ace or King. At this stage. . putting $40 into the pot. Player 3's hand has been improved by the flop giving them and A-K. Another diamond also appears in the flop. Seeing as only two players remain. the lower bet amount. They also think that it's possible for another player to hold Ace with a high card giving them top pair with a high kicker. Player 3 decides that he has quite a strong hand and calls. Both players have now placed the same amount into the pot to see the Turn card. The pot currently holds $230 by the end of this round. betting starts with the first player to the immediate left of the button. Player 1's hand has not been improved at all by the flop and folds. Once again.. placing it on to the burn pile. He is extremely confident that he has a winning hand and raises.
The raise amount is also $40. Of the two players left in the game. He could do with another Ace or King on the board. He decides to play safe and just calls. 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. which may come on the River. He decides to raise and puts $80 into the pot ($40 bet plus $40 raise. placing his $80 into the pot. Player 3 is again first to act. From this betting round onwards. the bet amount now increases to the higher limit. 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). seeing as the bet amounts have now increased). Player 4 has not improved his hand but still holds a full house and is confident that he still holds the winning hand. high pair with a top kicker.A T YPICAL G AME | 55 The Turn & Remaining Player's Hole Cards aXKm DM Ax player 3 player 4 The Turn For this hand the Turn card is K♠. Player 3 gets what he hoped for in the turn and now holds his best hand of K-K-A. .
The next card is dealt face up onto the board to the right of the other community cards. the strongest of which will take the pot. the dealer burns the top card from the remaining deck. The pot amount now stands at $390. The River & Remaining Player's Hole Cards aXKmn DM Ax player 3 player 4 The River For this hand the River card is A♣. THE FOURTH BETTING ROUND The fourth betting round now begins and is the final round before the Showdown. Players must bet on the strength of their hands. .56 | A T YPICAL G AME Once again. He will definitely play his hand. It's Player 3 to bet first. This is The River. bets are equalised and the final card can now be dealt. A-A-KK. THE RIVER Just as before. but doesn't want to come across over eager and wants to see how his opponent acts. His hand has been much improved by the River and he now holds two top pair.
The dealer pushes the pot towards the winner who rakes in the chips. THE SHOWDOWN Now that all the bets have been placed it's time for the players to show their hands. 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. 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. Whereas he previously held A-A-J-J-J he now holds A-A-A-J-J much improving his hand. Player 4 holds the best hand with A♠-A♣-A♦-J♣-J♥ and wins the $550 pot with his Full house. much to the disbelief of Player 3 who thought he held the best hand of A♠-A♣-K♦-K♠. The Button is moved one player to the left and this player now becomes the effective dealer. that still wouldn't beat his full house. which could be unlikely seeing as the other 3 have already been dealt. He calls and places $40 into the pot. He thinks that his opponent has pulled a good hand with the turn. THE NEXT HAND All the cards from the previous hand are collected and added to the deck. He doesn't place any chips in the pot. The player with the winning hand claims the pot. . Dealing will start with the player immediately to the left. If he does hold the other ace. Player 4 calls and his $40 equalises the bets.A T YPICAL G AME | 57 He checks and knocks on the table and says “check” to indicate this. The winner's pot now stands at $550. Everything moves one player to the left. Player 4's full house has changed on the turn. which is thoroughly shuffled ready for the next hand. This is the Showdown.
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.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 STARTED NOW WITH CASINO GAME HUB AT: www. GET PLAYING AT PACIFIC POKER 888 IS ONE OF THE WORLD'S LARGEST COMMUNITIES ON THE INTERNET. 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.
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.7 Betting N ow that you have got a good idea of how a typical Texas Hold 'em game unfolds. the next community card(s) can be dealt or the showdown can commence. at your opponents cost. MAXIMUM NUMBER OF RAISES So that things do not get out of control and players with large stacks of chips do not bully players with fewer chips. or intervals that are available to us during each hand of Hold 'em. At times you will be low on chips and a good betting strategy will have you replenishing your chip stack. in no time. BETTING POINTS OF INTEREST As we have seen. there are four betting rounds. 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. We will also cover some basic betting strategy that may benefit you in your game. . due to the fact that the pot may already be won long before the showdown. Once the bets have been equalised. Let's now look a little closer at some of the things that you will need to be aware of in the betting rounds. It is likely that we will not always see all of the betting rounds.
as he would not have put as much in as the other players. then he will not have claim on that pot. then he will receive the contents of the main pot. Player B wins the pot. This is meant to speed up the game. Another side pot is then created and the difference between Player C's bet and the other two players bets. Player C only has $50 and calls. If however. it would not be fair to allow that player to play that hand and win the contents of the pot. he will receive the contents of the pot and the side pot will be given back to Player A and Player B. For example: Player A bets $100. Player B calls with $100. All players can win the main pot. before you join the game. plus the contents of the side-pot as he has an interest in both pots. are removed from the main pot and placed in the side pot. Ensure that you check which type of game you are thinking about playing and when. if any.60 | B ETTING SIDE POTS If a player does not have enough chips to call. Not all Hold 'em poker games are subject to blind increases. online every 15 minutes or so. In this instance a separate pot is created that will hold the difference. 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 Player C's $50 bet is placed in the pot. you may find that the blinds are increased every so often. . If a player has not got any of his money in a pot. Therefore if Player C wins the pot. This is called a side pot. the increase in blind payments may change each hour. but only Player A and Player B can win the side-pot. but only players who have put the correct amount of money in each pot. In tournaments. blind increases are made. It may be necessary to create multiple side-pots in a game. BLIND INCREASES During the course of a game. will be able to claim them.
then you may look to raise if none of the players before you have raised. MIDDLE & LATE POSITIONS If you hold a strong hand and are in the middle or late positions. STRONG HAND If you hold an excellent hand in early position. such as A-A. When learning to play Texas Hold 'em this is what you should do while you are building your experience in the game. These basic considerations are extremely beneficial and can put you in a good position for the game. to improve your chip-stack in order to play an opponent with a big stack or maybe just to win. there are a few tactics that can be used to make your game play a bit more flexible and to give you the advantage that you otherwise may not have had. then unless they are bluffing it is likely that their hand beats you and you need to be on your guard. bet when they had a moderate hand and raise when they had a good hand. before the flop. if you are in middle position and somebody after you raises.B ETTING STRATEGIC BETTING | 61 If everybody was honest and only placed bets according to their hand. . However. However. then players would fold when they had a bad hand. from time to time there may be a need to look a little closer at betting more strategically.. either to replenish your chips. This will drive out players that hold draw hands and generally cause them to fold. GENERAL BETTING STRATEGY Before we get on to the more deceitful betting options. then you should consider raising and even re-raising. K-K or A-K suited. let's discuss good general betting strategy. Whatever your reason.
It will almost never make you rich. 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. decreasing the competition and some players may call increasing the size of the pot. but may give you a slight advantage against a player with a larger stack. Some players may fold. When you raise. in order to attempt to see the flop as cheaply as possible.62 | B ETTING BLIND-STEALING Blind-Stealing can be used to increase the number of chips that you hold. You are basically trying to get both of the blinds to fold. if you were to bet then it would be known as a Steal-Raise. This tactic can also be used as a way to end the hand quickly. raising or folding. use this tactic when you have a good drawing hand (such a nut flush draw). you are the last player to act and all players before you have checked. Be careful when using this tactic. if you were to raise you would be seen to be attempting to steal the blinds. they now have to match that bet by calling. 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. Therefore. 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. It is possible that one of the other players that previously checked actually holds a good quality hand. STEAL-RAISE If in a hand. This would mean that you would claim the pot. If you were to call rather than raise. By placing a bet. CHECK-RAISE The Check-Raise tactic is used to increase the size of the pot and to deceive your opponent into thinking that you do not . then they should consider folding.
Unless a player holds a strong hand or is also an aggressive player. it is likely that he will match the raise by calling.casinogamehub.8 MILLION IN GUARANTEED TOURNAMENTS EACH AND EVERY MONTH! WHETHER YOU JUST WANT TO RELAX & GET TOGETHER WITH OTHER PLAYERS IN THE “POKER LOUNGE”. Seeing as he has already committed one bet to his hand.com/holdembook/littlewoodspoker . LEARN “CHIP TRICKS” OR PLAN TO WIN ENTRY INTO A WORLD POKER EVENT. You then raise his bet. therefore forcing him to bet. by checking. This forces each player to pay a double bet (bet amount plus the raise amount) in order to stay in the hand. WIN BIG JACKPOT PRIZES! OVER $3. the Opener will see players folding more often than not. the player immediately raises.B ETTING | 63 hold a strong hand. When playing in early position and the first player to act. This tactic is best used with fewer players in the hand. THIS IS CERTAINLY THE PLACE TO BE! START PLAYING WITH CASINO GAME HUB NOW AT www. THE OPENER This tactic is used by players that tend to bluff frequently.
64 | B ETTING .
8 Single Table Tournaments S ingle table tournaments. 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. more commonly referred to as Sit & Go's. Sit & Go's will generally start with around ten players and players are eliminated one by one and cannot be replaced by another player as they can be in some multi-table games. BASIC OVERVIEW If you have ever been involved with a poker tournament run by your local pub. are the next stop on your journey to Texas Hold 'em poker fame. usually 50% of the prize fund for first place. second and third position which dictates their winnings. Each of the remaining players then battles it out for first. These tournaments are played similar to a typical game of poker that you may play at home with friends and family. then you have probably been exposed to the concept of Sit & Go tournaments. With these types of tournaments there is more than one winner. These tournaments have appeared out of the online poker community and have a large variety of game levels available to play. 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. with the exception that there is more than one overall winner.
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. It's therefore a good strategy to start with the lowest games and progress your way up through the levels. If you only have an hour or so to spare. almost for pocket change. For instance. Be warned though. while taking home some winnings in the process. 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. 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.66 | S INGLE T ABLE T OURNAMENTS poker tournament. without your family and friends learning your strategies as you go. give or take. Practising online is an ideal way to become more proficient at poker whilst learning to play a higher game. It's pointless playing at the higher levels and repeatedly losing and it's certainly not an enjoyable way to spend your time. 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. The excellent thing . Therefore it's a great place to learn more about poker and to hone your newly acquired skills. 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. these are the ideal way to increase your knowledge and experience. These games tend to be convenient and fun and there doesn't have to be a lot of money at stake. then you would need a minimum of $200 in order to play.
Another variation of the Sit & Go is a game with fewer players. Either way their strategy is not usually very good and if you play a good Sit & Go strategy. You may like to have a go at this type of game when you feel that you have more experience and are able to win the standard Sit & Go's fairly frequently. then you should have no problems playing the lower level games. or less serious players. As a result. If you have learnt to play a good game of Hold 'em and you do not get carried away with your emotions too easily. it is usual that only the final two players have a claim to a percentage of the pot. You will also see some games that only have two players that are playing Heads-Up. but the blinds are raised at a quicker rate. rather than the usual three. the game tends to be much faster. but as you progress you may want to try some of the other styles. 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. When starting you just need to stick with the standard Sit & Go and steer clear of these other variations. Seeing as there are a smaller number of players to begin with. SIT & GO STRATEGY So what is the strategy for playing Sit & Go's? To begin with . 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. There are games that have a full compliment of players. GAME TYPES There are various types of Sit & Go games available to play online and they are all different. you can drop to the smaller games and recoup your loses and build up your experience & confidence before going on once again to the higher levels.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.
Your intention is to hold on to your chip pile. At this point you need to play an extremely tight game for two core reasons. A-A. Q-Q or A-K then you will play the hand. gradually increase the amount of chips you hold.68 | S INGLE T ABLE T OURNAMENTS at the start of the game. also play A-K and A-Q also. then you will be looking to play aggressively and look to re-raise any player that raises before the flop. Fold them immediately. If on the flop you don't hit a pair. If you have anything else other than these hands do not be tempted to play them. As your experience grows. you will see how other players seem to play these games and can enhance your strategy accordingly. 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. 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. TIGHT STRATEGY If you are holding any pair from 2-2 upwards to J-J in the hole. a) So that you do not waste chips playing looser hands unnecessarily (remember. K-K or Q-Q then you would be best to play a bit more on the aggressive side and re-raise. 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 play the hand. Similarly. then it . Sit & Go strategy can get fairly complex but we shall keep it simple. otherwise you will fold. K-K. while playing a strategy that will keep you in the game and see you playing in the final three. If you hold A-A. it is not your intention to play too aggressively. If you've got A-K. If your pocket cards show any top pair.
If you are running short of chips though. 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. so you need to start playing a bit looser. For example. You will be assisted by the fact that you have been playing a strict tight game up until now. This also means that there are more chips for each remaining player. then they are out and you can claim their chips. When the Bubble bursts. There is no prize for any position lower than that. then you will only call if you can do so for around 50 or so chips. then call. SIZE DOES MATTER! The more chips that you have. (the term used for when there are only three players remaining in the game). so your opponents will expect you to keep playing in this way. you will need to . if you have 800 chips. but for this stage of the game you need a different strategy.S INGLE T ABLE T OURNAMENTS | 69 may be better to fold. then they must have a good hand. but if they lose the hand to you. If you get an over pair. then your strategy needs to change once again. then be a bit more cautious before deciding whether or not going all-in would be wise. Like all rules however. then you would be in a good position to go All-in if the opportunity allows. 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 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. You are now playing for one of the top three positions. If they call. there are exceptions and there is one here that is determined by the amount of chips that you have in your stack. You are looking to make either a Set or an Over Pair on the flop and if you make a set. 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.
70 | S INGLE T ABLE T OURNAMENTS look at different strategies to remain in the game. make sure that you are playing good hands and don't take a chance on playing outside hands. unless you are really sure that you have a big hand. Your main aim is to look to increase your slice by coming first. Don't just look to 'Hang on in there' and accept third position. INCREASE YOUR CHIPS The closer you get to the final number of players to have a claim on the prize fund. you can be rest assured that you are going home with a share of the prize fund. so move forward and become more forceful. in order to increase your chips. or even second. not wanting to be pushed out before qualifying for part of the money. Once the bubble bursts and your playing for the size of the prize. Play strong hands. Going all-in with a small stack is really your only option. Play a good quality. you may notice that players start to play really tight. In effect you can't lose from now on. by frequently stealing blinds. In all of these cases though. you will start in a good position with a big stack of chips. you can only gain. such as J-J. Now you need to step up a gear and play an aggressive game in order to play for a bigger slice of the pie. such as Blind-Stealing. You are looking to move all-in before the flop rather than attempt raising. but be satisfied in the knowledge that you are already a winner. You can take advantage of this and look to increase your chips for the final stage. . 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). Q-Q and K-K or any of these with an Ace. You have everything to gain. aggressive game and don't try to go up against players with more chips that you. STAGE 3 – FIGHT FOR POSITION Once you are in the final three.
com/holdembook/fulltilt IN REAL TOURNAMENTS AND START WINNING WHILE YOU LEARN AND BUILD YOUR EXPERIENCE IN THESE .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. WHY NOT KICK-START YOUR NEW SKILLS AND ENTER ON-LINE TOURNAMENTS FOR “PLAY MONEY” OR EVEN REAL MONEY AT FULL TILT POKER. WITH BUY-INS FOR $0.casinogamehub. Raising and re-raising will help here and the bigger your stack the better. Look for patterns and plan your strike to claim the top prize.S INGLE T ABLE T OURNAMENTS HEAD'S UP | 71 When you are in the final two players and playing Heads Up then you need to push. GET STARTED PLAYING SIT & GO TOURNAMENTS TODAY NOW THAT YOU KNOW WHAT SIT & GO'S ARE ALL ABOUT.
72 | S INGLE T ABLE T OURNAMENTS .
As we have already covered in the Betting section in Chapter 7. BETTING STRUCTURE When looking to play a limit game. before and on the flop. LIMIT GAMES Most of the information in this book is based on the limit game of Hold 'em. On and after the turn card. this means that it is only possible to bet or raise the lower limit amount. Usually. if you just started playing Hold 'em for the first time last week. It's no good entering a multi-table tournament with a large prize fund. the betting structure is limited so that players cannot get bullied by other players that hold large chip stacks. limit games have both lower tier and higher tier limits specified. increasing your funds as you go. When you play a limit game. you need to choose one that in is your comfort zone. It is important to choose a game that you are comfortable with and that suits your level of experience. In this chapter we shall cover some of the differences in play and strategy that you will come across when watching or playing these games. the higher tier is used and . it's no good going for the higher limit games if your funds do not allow for it.9 Types of Hold 'em Games T here is more that one variation of a Texas Hold 'em game that can be played. Instead start at the lower end and work up. each of which has it's own set of strategies.
or raise. Don't be tempted to play a moderate hand just because you have been waiting for what seems an eternity. the hand will reach a showdown and you will need to show your cards. This means that you can't move all-in with your entire chip stack in an attempt to push another player off the table. Holding connector cards in the hole and playing a drawing hand can be fairly lucrative if there are a few players in the pot. then you can only bet or raise $10 in the betting rounds. For example. When you do eventually get dealt good strong hole cards. play a good strong game to win the pot. Even if you do decide to play a not-so-strong hand once in a while. This is because of the fact that frequently. Make sure that you have a good set of cards and a good chance of beating other drawing hands. After that the higher tier is used and the bet amount becomes $20 per bet or raise. if you are playing a $10-20 game. rather than lower pairs or connectors that you hope may make a flush or straight. Keep it simple and play the long game. Patience will be rewarded. Having a strong hand throughout the game will see you having a good chance of winning the pot. You need to pay attention to your playing style and limit games are where you need to play a tight game. use your position to your advantage and look to play tighter in early position and a bit . you won't get broke too quickly and will have a chance to recoup your loss by reverting back to tight game play. for strong pocket cards. BASIC STRATEGY When playing a limit game it is harder to bluff and bully other players as the bet amounts are limited. Like every game of Hold 'em. seeing as the bets are capped. 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. Your best hands will be the ones that are made with high cards in the hole. before and on the flop.
the WPT (World Poker Tour) and televised events and as the name suggests there are No-limits in how much you can bet. 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). then if you intend to raise you will need to raise the amount of the previous raise. 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. or raise. 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. 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. is one that looks like this: $1-$4-$10-$10. in spread-limit games. so you have some leeway to practice and concentrate on building your experience. players can place bets anywhere from $4 to $8.T YPES OF H OLD ' EM G AMES | 75 looser when playing late (position that is. Limit games are not for the beginner as the stakes are . or more. experiment with your strategy and have fun. Whereas in the limit games this would be interpreted as the lower and higher betting tiers. SPREAD-LIMIT GAMES Spread Limit or Variable Limit games are when the betting structure allows players to place bets within a predefined range. The only caveat is that if a player before you raises. If for example. This concept progresses nicely from the limit games. With a betting structure of $4-$8. You are not going to lose large amounts in limit games. then Player 2 would need to raise a minimum of $6 if they intend to raise. not late at night!). Finally.
The amount of money in the pot currently stands at $10 from the previous betting round and is known as the Starting Pot. player 1 bet: $4 At this stage. 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. if Player 1 wishes to player 2 pot raise: $36 call. players can bet any amount from the minimum bet. . Before the raise amount can be Player 2 determined. making $10 the new pot total $36. then they will need to make up the player 3 call: $22 difference of $54 in order to equalise new pot: $58 their bet. 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. Player 1 bets $4 increasing the pot to $14. making the new pot amount starting pot: $10 $52. Player 3 decides to call Player 2's pot Player 3 raise of $22. Pot-limit Betting Player 2 states that they want to raise Starting Pot the pot by stating “Raise Pot”. up to the size of the pot. player 2 raise: $18 Player 2's Pot Raise consists of their call new pot: $36 amount plus their raise. 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). new pot: $14 This makes a total of $36 in the new pot. It won't be long though before you get to this level if you learn the game and improve your tactics.76 | T YPES OF H OLD ' EM G AMES exceptionally high. Let's say for instance that we are playing a $2-$4 potlimit game and we are on the second betting round. There are three players left in at this stage of the game. the pot amount and both starting pot: $10 players bets are added together.
is that it is sometimes possible to qualify and . but why? As the name suggests there are a number of tables that are playing poker simultaneously. One of the things that excites me with this type of tournament. 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. this is the game of choice. until there is only one table left – The Final Table. until you are able to continually win this type of game.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. over a period of time. Keeping track of the pot amount and raise amount can easily become confusing when a game speeds up. say for example around $38 so once your skills are improved you may want to look at playing one weekend. learn and start to incorporate some advanced strategy as you play. we covered this type of game earlier on in detail in a previous chapter. An increase in tables means an increase of players and a five table tournament can start with around 50 players. These types of tournaments can taken a lot of hours and sometimes days to get through. 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. Until you feel that your experience level and skill has improved significantly. MULTI-TABLE TOURNAMENTS When entering into a multi-table tournament you are really going in for the long-haul. SIT & GO'S (SINGLE TABLE TOURNAMENTS) Since this is the first logical place to start when learning to play Texas Hold 'em. Stick with it.
The Aussie Millions and the World Poker Tour. It could be you . . that you are in this for the long-haul and your chips need to last. but certainly there have been online players qualifying for these tournaments and it is becoming more common. such as when you have a good hand in early position and you want to push it. 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. Doing this may lead to other players folding leading to a small pot. Play your hand in order to make the best from it. Don't be tempted to raise too much before the flop. build up the pot ready to take it all. if you have top pocket cards. then turn up your aggression and play that hand strongly. and don't play weak hands in early position. Don't forget that as you progress through the game the blinds will get bigger. especially during the early stages of the game. don't be afraid to let the hand go. However. Save your more advanced tactics until the later rounds and the final table. Play a tight game with strong hands. Keep a check on your position. Remember. but don't overplay it and if it is not playing the way you had hoped. The bigger you can get your chips to grow the better your position will be in later rounds. Having said that.you just never know! STRATEGY The main part of your strategy is to play good solid poker. so don't get caught out with a small chip stack. like the World Series of Poker. Don't be afraid of raising early on and if the flop improves an already strong hand. as always. aggression can be used strategically if the situation demands it. minimise bluffing and don't get coaxed into playing all-in. Keep to the basics and play them solid and it will reward you. Of course it is not possible to guarantee that this will always be the case.78 | T YPES OF H OLD ' EM G AMES Win a place on the final table of a World televised poker tournament. then play it to the end and pick up the pot. if you do pick up a cracking 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. 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. As long as you haven't bet your house.com/holdembook/wsop . so use those and you won't go too wrong.T YPES OF H OLD ' EM G AMES | 79 The same strategies that you used to play Sit & Go's will be useful here.casinogamehub. kids and dog. it will all build on your experience for the next tournament. Above all enjoy yourself and don't get worried if you get kicked out or your game takes a tumble.
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As you will be aware. to lifting an outrageous amount of weight like a world class power lifter. but to give you a good grounding in what tells are and how they work. including your heart. we can give you some guidelines in what to look for and hopefully exploit to your advantage. The subject of tells is a large and complex subject. you wouldn't get anything done. It is impossible to cover body-language as it relates to poker. then it would be a disaster. 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. 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. all of the stuff that can be done automatically is . If you had to think about when to breath in and breathe out. Instead.10 Tells T he human body is a marvellous and versatile piece of biological engineering capable of performing the most accurate and precise delicate movements similar to that which a watchmaker or jeweller would need to make. but also controls the operation and function of each and every one of your organs. TELLS & THE HUMAN AUTO-PILOT If our brains had to perform all of the tasks that run your body consciously. indepth in this book.
Our hands. . it just flies as if by magic.000 in chips that we have just raised is just a bluff to get them to fold so that we can claim the pot and that our hand is actually quite poor. Unconscious behaviour is not limited to facial expressions. our brains perform a sequence of actions that control the muscles of our bodies and makes certain parts of our bodies move accordingly. 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.82 | T ELLS performed by our unconscious mind so that we don't even need to think about them. It is always best to spot your opponents facial expressions as soon as something happens that triggers an emotion. as that split second is when you will catch what's really going on inside their minds. while we consciously tend to the more important things in life. When we experience emotions. like playing poker! It's just like putting a plane on auto-pilot. then they would be aware that the $4. Although various muscles are targeted all over our bodies. When your facial muscles are targeted by your unconscious mind and movement triggered in response to an emotional event. then this is referred to as an Expression. Unconscious expressions are one tool that can be used in poker in order to ascertain whether or not our opponent has been dealt a good hand. before they have a chance to consciously override their automatic reaction. has got rubbish cards or has made a top hand on the flop. This is where the study of Body Language comes in to play. Our facial expressions can be contradictory to our conscious actions and if our opponents are adept in interpreting this behaviour. shoulders. UNCONSCIOUS BEHAVIOUR So what does this have to do with poker you ask? Well. quite a lot really. This allows our bodies to function like well-oiled machines. you will be more familiar with those that are positioned around the face when watching your opponents play poker.
This is commonly referred to as their Poker Face. rapidly switching its attention between them making it appear that they are all happening at the same time.T ELLS PUT ON YOUR POKER FACE | 83 Some of the ways that poker players try to prevent others from seeing their facial expressions (and involuntary body movements) is to attempt to control these unconscious movements consciously. This is important to note when playing poker. HIDING TELLS We have already covered the most basic way that some poker players attempt to hide facial tells by developing their Poker Face. This will more than likely be seen in a body movement. on average. Players also wear baseball caps and hooded jumpers (known as 'hoodies') to cast deep shadows over their face to hide their expressions from view. YOUR OWN BODY BETRAYS YOU The conscious mind can only hold. then they can be very difficult to control. These unconscious movements and facial expressions in reaction to emotional stimulus are called Tells in poker. Seeing as these movements are unconscious. such as wearing large sunglasses to hide eye movements. 7 bits of information at any one time and can only realistically concentrate on one thing at a time. Other ways are more obvious. We can use the tells produced by our opponents to improve our game. they way that you hold your body and the way you point your feet are all ways that you can betray yourself. the way you position your hands. as if a player is consciously trying to concentrate on playing poker as well as consciously keeping their poker face in check. so players tend to concentrate on just having one expression to elude other players to what they are thinking. something will probably give at some point. is . The other way that players might attempt to hide tells.
ESTABLISHING A BASELINE Before you can continue to identify your opponents tells. As well as tells that can be seen when playing face to face. but he slumps back in his chair while exhaling. some more common ones that will get you started in identifying what your opponents are really up to. FACE-TO-FACE TELLS Here are some of the more common tells that can be identified when playing with your friends or in tournaments. otherwise referred to as Reading your opponents. If. This is why it is important to study your opponents early on in the game and get to know their behaviour. . There are though. becomes a tell in its own right. you have to establish what is called a Baseline. there are also tells that can be used to identify what your opponent is doing when playing online. he moves all-in with a large stack of chips. Say for instance. there are an inexhaustible number of tells that can potentially be used during the course of a poker game. If this type of action if performed each and every time then the action of trying to hide a tell. later in the game. when you are unable to actually physically watch your opponents during the game. you notice that each time one of your opponents gets a good card that drastically improves his hand on the flop. he sits up in his chair and slightly leans over the table and takes a big breath. his body has betrayed him and it is likely that he hasn't got a very strong hand. A Baseline is quite simply a visual record of how your opponent reacts normally to a given situation.84 | T ELLS to be consciously aware of a tell and then do the exact opposite. COMMON TELLS As you will probably be able to realise.
the nervousness and excitement of holding a big hand increases adrenalin and increases heart rate. A better place to notice this increase in heart rate.T ELLS HAND SHAKING/TREMBLING | 85 More commonly seen with beginners and not really avoidable. you may be able to noticed a movement in their chest where their heart is pounding. The more you look for it. when your opponent makes a good hand. they seem to stare into thin air. Similarly. CHIP CHECKING If your opponent quickly glances at their chips on the flop. their heart rate will also increase. If you are paying very close attention to your opponent. INCREASED HEART RATE When you get really excited your heart rate generally increases. This results in hands that tremble while handling chips or cards. it is a sure indication that they have just made a big hand. STARING AT THE BOARD If you have ever looked at a person when they are trying to work something out or recall something that has recently happened or that they are familiar with. Their pupils will also dilate (get bigger). 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. This is because they are accessing and processing information in their brains. the . The more you are exposed to them. By quickly glancing at their chips they are usually seeing whether they have ample chips to bet. This type of technique is borrowed from Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and is part of a set of visual techniques called Sensory Awareness. If your opponent seems to stare in this way on the flop. is the large vein on the side of their neck that will pulsate harder that usual. the steadier you will become. The only way around this automatic response is to get used to these types of situations.
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. Here are some of the most common ones. it can be a sure sign that your opponent is feeling a bit insecure about their hand and are trying to scare your off by being aggressive. STARING DOWN YOUR OPPONENT You are out at the bar with your extremely attractive girlfriend for the night and notice some guy across the room giving her the eye. 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. usually until he looks away. then it is highly likely that they have a strong hand and are trying to detract from it. there are also tells that players can play consciously. in order to try to lure their opponents into thinking that they hold a top hand when they hold a poor hand. but remains to have an interest in the pot. So if you are being stared down at the table when it's your go to bet. you've guessed it. you give him a right old stare. 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. What do you do? Yep. OTHER TYPES OF TELL Aside from the unconscious tells. whilst their head will be looking away.86 | T ELLS more noticeable it will become. eye contact is increased. 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. PLAYING THE OPPOSITE This is when players play the opposite to how they would normally play with a given hand.
ONLINE TELLS When playing online. But if you do exactly the opposite and play a strong game when you have a strong hand and viceversa. Other players will expect you to act in a similar way and you may be tempted. that will give us some insights into what they are thinking. BEING INSULTING OR DISRESPECTFUL If your opponent starts to be a bit on the disrespectful side towards you after placing their bet. PLAY SPEED Every online poker room has a set number of seconds that each player has to respond before they are declared either all-in or folded. In this case it is necessary to turn your attention to game play and the way that they are 'acting' online. When they hold a good hand. the chances are that they are bluffing. Although it is sometimes possible that a player's actions will almost always be slow if they have a . chatty and friendly towards you after they have bet.T ELLS | 87 strong one. in order to get their opponents to fold. if your opponent starts being nice. 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. they may play as if they are doubtful that they will win in order to get their opponents to raise. BEING NICE Conversely. If they hold a poor hand they may play aggressive. re-raise and fill up the pot ready for the taking. it is likely that they are trying to agitate you enough to make you call and fill up the pot. it is not possible to look for unconscious tells or body language. This is one of the most common ways that players try to deceive. due to the fact that you are playing over the internet and cannot physically see your opponents directly.
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. not giving anything away to your opponents. When a player has checked raise any it is highly likely that they have a strong hand. or call any. raise any. without delay. This is largely because the player is calculating their strategy with what they perceive to be a strong hand. which of course takes time. the general speed of play can be a good tell. 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. Watch how much time it takes the other players to take action and make a mental note of it. Typically. you can over time begin to draw conclusions and ascertain patterns based on a players use of check boxes. If they expose their cards at the showdown. While these assumptions can never be 100% accurate. 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. should be a tell as to the strength of that players hand.88 | T ELLS slower internet connection. Take some time to think about your own play and whether or not you exhibit these tells by your speed of play. see if you can determine what they slow bet with and what they fast bet with. This is because they have effectively put their actions on auto-pilot and this can be used to your advantage. AUTO-PLAYS & CHECK BOXES Online casinos make use of check boxes for options such as fold. and a delayed action is a sign of strength. . a quick bet is a sign of weakness. 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 you pay attention to other players actions.
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. 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.T ELLS FOLD/FLOP PERCENTAGES OF YOUR OPPONENTS | 89 Although it is not always possible to mark this percentage down exactly. If they stay in for almost every pot. CHAT BOX Online casinos have a Chat Box function that allows you to chat with your opponents and just like in a physical casino. it is likely that that are playing a strong hand and needs to concentrate. WAITING ON THE BIG BLIND When you 'sit down' at an online Hold 'em table. then beware as they will probably be playing tight and only play strong hands. This a good way to tell how patient an online player will . it may be because they are bluffing and hoping that their show of over-confidence will end in them bluffing you off the table. If your opponents betting starts to become antagonistic. Watch the chat box for players who are steaming or on tilt. it is likely that they are playing weaker hands and can be beat if you play a strong hand against them. a player who has got a lot to say for themselves creates an obvious tell. This strategy can be used equally both online and offline and helps you to determine the strength of a players overall 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. If a chatty player suddenly shuts-up. Don't get involved in their issues and just concentrate on playing good poker and winning their chips. They are concentrating on the game. If they seem to fold a lot of cards.
As you will probably realise by now. but its methodologies can be used to determine human behaviour and its possible interpretation during the game. there is no switching them off again. it could be that they will not be very patient about waiting on good starting hands. you may want to increase your knowledge of body language and unconscious behaviour. not just poker. This means that if you learn to tell when somebody is lying. THE NEXT STEP After you have become familiar with some of the simpler tells. you can learn some advanced stuff. and learn to recognise certain actions and behaviours. keep an eye on your opponent when playing face-to-face.90 | T ELLS be and if they are not patient enough to wait on the big blind to get around to them. You have been warned! STUDY MORE POKER TELLS Once familiar with the basics. Learn to spot these signs early on in the game and you will be . you will be able to detect when somebody is lying in every situation in your life. Once you have switched these techniques on. 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. A persons behaviour is always specific to them and is triggered by certain things that they react to. these techniques relate to human behaviour and once learned you cannot unlearn them. Additionally. this subject is an indepth study in it's own right and is not directly linked to poker. Cheap players. There are entire books that have been written on tells specifically for poker and these are well worth studying. The opposite holds true for players who do wait on the big blind and can be either patient or cheap. Expect a player who acts in this way to be a loose player. Both are pretty good qualities to have if you are playing poker online. Here are some ideas that can increase your knowledge and you may find interesting. but be warned.
there are a couple of areas which may be of interest to you if you wish to increase your knowledge. SENSORY AWARENESS Sensory Awareness trains you to become extremely sensitive to what happens in our subjects body that you can see when observing them. For example.al. Using elements of NLP for poker. 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. By training yourself to see these usually invisible unconscious reactions. if somebody holds a good hand in poker. these are Sensory Awareness and Eye Patterns. Used in many areas including therapy. We have already mentioned in the chapter on Tells. when they react to certain stimuli. education and business to name a few. that can be used to bring about the required change within a person. NEURO-LINGUISTIC PROGRAMMING (NLP) Neuro-Linguistic Programming. You must remember to establish a baseline first. Taking it's ideas from therapists such as Milton Ericksonnn. or NLP. known as interventions. in order to ascertain what is normal behaviour for them and what is a tell. It is also the study of human excellence. life-coaching. that an increase in heart rate can be noticed by the increase in . Fritz Perls and Virginia Satir. it is likely that their skin colour will darken as their face flushes. they are likely to produce a similar reaction. Similarly. the size of their lips will increase and their pupils will dilate. if somebody is attracted towards you. you can ascertain what is going on in the minds of the person to which you are observing. et. NLP and its flexible structure has proven to be an asset in these areas and beyond. is the study of language and how it effects human behaviour.T ELLS | 91 ahead of the rest.
you will be able to look at somebody and ask them to say a word in their head. EYE PATTERNS The way that our eyes move when we are talking to somebody is not random. using the involuntary unconscious responses of the human body. we are interested in the ability to Lip Read. It is a sequence of patterns that we use unconsciously in order to access information in our brains. normally imperceptible. we can get an idea for what they are thinking by determining where they are accessing their information from. Again using this in poker allows you to see whether your opponent is getting excited and therefore may hold a good hand. Just by looking at you. one of the most favourite techniques concentrates on micro-muscle (ideomotor) movements. Having increased your sensory awareness. what you do and the name of your favourite pet. MENTALISM Another area that you may want to look at is Mentalism. you may start to notice the slight. micro-movements of the lips as they attempt to make the shapes normally associated with saying the word out loud. For poker. Used in poker. we can determine certain factors. Wouldn't it be good if you could ask your opponent what cards they had and 'they told' you? Well. Although it would probably take a lifetime to learn all of the techniques.92 | T ELLS pulsating in the vein that runs up the side of the neck. Depending on the situation and questions that we ask of another. he can tell you where you come from. After a few repetitions. This is by using a technique called Cold Reading and is used across the globe by psychics and the like. take a year or so to . Again. The greatest mentalist of today is without doubt Derren Brown. just below the ear. we may be able to determine our opponents thought processes as they relate to the hands that they hold.
Paul Ekman's life-long study on human facial expressions has introduced the idea that the human race uses unconscious 'Globally Recognisable' micro-expressions when trying to hide or cover-up emotions. GOLDEN PALACE HAS DEFINITELY BEEN ONE OF THE MOST TRUSTED SINCE 1997! FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HOW TO JOIN THIS ESTABLISHED CASINO AT: www.T ELLS learn this technique and you'll be able to! MICRO-EXPRESSIONS | 93 Recently highlighted in the hit TV series 'Lie to me'. This is a massive and fascinating subject that I personally find exciting. Contempt. macro expressions).com/holdembook/palacepoker Note: Golden Palace does not accept players from North America . can be recognised and if the person producing these expressions was recorded on video. 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. BEING ONE OF THE LONGEST STANDING ONLINE CASINOS. 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.casinogamehub. it would be possible to play back. Excitement and Anger to name just a tiny few. Surprise. Dr. GOLDEN PALACE CASINO & POKER GET YOUR MASSIVE SIGN-UP BONUS WITH SOME OF THE BEST ON THE INTERNET. Emotions such as Fear.
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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. You stand up from behind your desk. The last Friday of each month is poker night and all of your friends will be there.11 Going Forward S o now that you have learnt to play Texas Hold 'em both face-to-face with your friends and family and online. Jimmy has his own poker table and at the end of every month his friends and family get together to play Poker. you head to the pizza shop to pick up a couple of large ones with 'the lot' on the top. catch up with each other and have a great time. but the weekend has arrived. wish your work colleagues a 'Good Weekend' and head home. After a shower and a change of clothes. First it's drinks and a chat over pizza and then the real fun starts. There's nothing better than getting together with a bunch of friends and family to play poker at home. pick up some beers and head round to Jimmy's. increase your chances of winning and become a poker expert. . The times are almost gone when the family sits around the table to play Trivial Pursuit and more and more people are being drawn into less social interests. POKER AT HOME Friday night is finally here and you've had a rubbish week at work.
In actual fact. ONLINE POKER One of the best ways. For the beginner. These types of games are good to familiarise yourself with the game concepts and have fun in the process. playing poker online can be a daunting concept. there will be no hope. It is very straight forward and you don't even have to play. Being with friends means that if you get something wrong or mess up. Most of the time it's cheaper to stay at home and play poker all evening than it is to go out for the night on the tiles.96 | G OING F ORWARD RELAXED ENVIRONMENT The relaxed environment and being in familiar surroundings takes the pressure off. as you can sit and watch others as they battle it out at the table. is to play poker online. I have even witnessed poker being played after a funeral where people could get together and share their thoughts. the writing of this book was inspired by wanting to arrange a home poker match between family and friends. in my opinion. then nobody will mind. Christmas and New Year are a great way of getting people together to play poker. The only problem is that because of this relaxed environment and the fact that everybody can get away with messing around a bit. You can even play for free using 'play money' that . but nobody was familiar with playing poker. some people may not take it seriously enough to allow good game play and once the alcohol gets flowing. but it's an excellent place to cement your understanding and increase both your skill and knowledge. The variety of games and the large scale of buy-in amounts now makes it affordable for everyone. I would ensure that our Christmas get together would go ahead. views and sorrows over a game or two. By writing down the basics and handing it out among friends in ample time. HOLIDAY PERIODS Holiday periods such as Easter.
020 you can play literally for pocket-change. 2) Practice your skills by using those skills in a nonpressured environment until you reach a stage where you don't have to think too much about what you are doing and you are familiar with the strategies. As your experience and skill increases. 3) Finally.G OING F ORWARD you are given when you sign-up for your poker account. but your newly acquired skills will not improve very quickly. There is no reason not too. set yourself up an account with an online casino or poker room and play some of the low-level Sit & Go tournaments. go up against people that are better that you. In my world the way to become excellent at any new skill is three-fold: 1) Learn the basics & learn the rules. You will not improve by going up against people less skilled or who are at the same level as you are. In order to hone your skills and learn to play poker like a pro. Once you understand these. As far as the first one goes. with the betting structure as low as $0. In order to play Texas Hold 'em online. you will need more practice. 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 .015-$0. your online account will get bigger and you can enter the higher-priced games. this book will give you the basics. 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.
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 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. a holiday or even a place at the final table in the next world event. so don't go expecting this for every subsequent deposit you make. Once installed.98 | G OING F ORWARD computer. We have put together a small list of places where you can get started. so keep on the lookout for new offers. Get practising as see if you can become one of the next world poker champions. 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. This can be great for getting started and if you have say $200 to credit your account with. you can then set up an account and play. then they will match this giving you a total of $400 to play with. Each casino will have their own procedure that needs to be followed. giving you the chance to win a prize fund. A whole host of other offers are available for new and existing players. These are constantly changing. This is generally only for your first deposit though. COMPETITIONS Regular competitions are held online. ONLINE BONUSES A lot of casino's these days offer to match your initial account deposit up to a certain amount. . This software is generally supplied free of charge and full instructions will be given as to how to install.
A lot of poker rooms and casinos now offer to double the money that you deposit on your first deposit.G OING F ORWARD | 99 When you do decide to start playing with real money. Now online it's host of tournaments and televised events are second to none. It all began in Las Vegas. the Full Tilt Poker Academy and the Full Tilt Poker Blog. play and have fun. it is a great idea to take up the offer of some bonuses. This means that if you deposit $200 into your account. together with tips from the pros. With the ability to create private online tournaments to .com. Check out some the poker rooms and casino's below.casinogamehub. download the software. With a wide range of tournaments and promotions. the World Series of Poker has become one of the most famous names in poker. you will find everything you need to play with the Pro's. Go to Website: Full Tilt Poker WSOP (WORLD SERIES OF POKER) Starting in 1970. FULL TILT POKER With over 5 years under it's belt. the casino will match this amount bringing your account balance up to $400 and giving you more money to play with. none of the offers have been given here. For the latest offers. 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. but now it's available to you online 24/7. designed and played. Pacific Poker offers a wide variety of games that will have you playing non-stop. check out the information and links at www. Go to Website: World Series of Poker PACIFIC POKER Part of the 888 group of online gaming solutions. Seeing as the bonuses change regularly. by professional poker players. up to a certain value.
it is well worth checking out. Hang out at the Poker Lounge where you can brush up on your skills at the Poker School. watch Poker-related videos. . Go to Website: Pacific Poker PKR Stunning 3D graphics and limitless character configuration makes this the most advanced poker room on the internet. Play for free in daily Freerolls or maybe enter yourself in a $100. read the Blog. Wherever your mood takes you. you are sure to enjoy playing in this very popular poker room. take control of your emotions and spot your opponents tells using PKR's “Emote Control Technology”. Offering some of the highest sign-up bonuses on the internet today and now with the introduction of their own poker rooms. the Golden Palace offers a wealth of casino and poker games. Go to Website: Littlewoods Poker GOLDEN PALACE By far one of the longest standing online casino's around. but even the most poker-hungry professionals. Play at different locations.000 tournament. PKR is definitely worth a look and will satisfy not only absolute beginners. littlewoods poker offers a surprisingly full environment to play in while you build up your poker skills. or whether you become a VIP. Go to Website: Golden Palace Poker Note: Golden Palace does not accept players from North America. Go to Website: PKR LITTLEWOODS POKER Not as crowded as some of the other more popular poker rooms. or learn how to shuffle with poker chips! You will be pleasantly surprised.100 | G OING F ORWARD play with your friends.
HOLD 'EM ODDS Every form of gambling (and poker is one of them) have odds. But use with caution. It's a risky game to play and it has it's place. for example. Party Poker is fast becoming on of the most popular on-line poker rooms around. We shall not go into detail in this section as in my opinion. a basic idea should get you started in the right direction to improving your game. 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. Be careful that your bluff is not called and make sure that your body language does not give you away. With it's many tournaments and challenges there is always a game going on. it is beyond the scope of the beginner. Learning how to bluff can increase your game and sometimes get you out of a sticky situation.G OING F ORWARD PARTY POKER | 101 Awarded the “Poker Operator of the Year” award by eGaming. when the opposite is usually true. In horse-racing you may have a 5:1 chance that your horse will win. or perhaps you want to try to get them to fold. 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. then this is bluffing. When you hold a poor hand but bet as if you have top pair. However. .
odds that you will make a flush on the river and the odds that your opponent has a better hand than you. that's what poker odd calculators were invented for. if there is $20. there are 19.102 | G OING F ORWARD USING ODDS In Texas Hold 'em there are odds for all different elements of the game. Let's look at Pot Odds and Outs. . 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). For instance. Odds of you getting dealt A-K as your pocket cards.000 in the pot and the bet to you is $11. These odds show the probability of you making your desired hand leaving you with better information as to how to progress.600 different combinations to flop these three cards and a 19. The percentage probability is calculated using simple division.000. For instance. two of the most commonly used calculations in Texas Hold 'em Poker. then you have odds of just below 2:1. Anyway. Of course. this area can get extremely complex and although knowing the odds for every eventuality does seem to be a bit overkill. although the number can get a bit on the scary side and I find that knowing some basic numbers. OUTS An out can be defined as the number of cards that are left in the deck that will make your hand. 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. can be a good place to start.599:1 chance of getting the exact three cards that you want. almost by rote. 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. On the flop.
. 6 of them (the outs) will give you a winning hand and the remaining 40 will not. This breaks down further to around 6. 3 for the remaining three Aces and 3 for the remaining three Kings. you will need to determine the number of outs you have in making your hand. for example. There are 6 cards that you can see. Out of these 46 cards. which leaves 46 cards unknown to you. This gives you 40:6 odds on making your hand. you hold A-K and the flop and the turn have produced 2-5-7-9 and you are sure that your opponent holds top pair. Say.6:1 (40 divided by 6).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. In order to calculate the odds. You have 6 outs in this situation.
104 | G OING F ORWARD .
This is done in an attempt to get other players to fold. In tournaments the blinds rise steadily throughout the game thereby promoting game play. 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. BUY-IN The amount that is required to be paid for a place in a tournament. of the community cards. as large blind amounts lost. Normally. The two players positioned to the left of this marker are responsible for paying the small and big blinds. This is an additional forced bet to the blinds that comes into play at the later stages of a tournament and is payable by all players. The amount to be paid when paying a blind.12 ALL-IN ANTE Hold 'em Terminology The term used when a player bets all of their chips on their hand when playing no-limit hold 'em. the small blind and the big blind. when in actuality the player possible has the worst hand at the table. can contribute to a large portion of a players chips. BLUFF Playing as if you have a good hand by betting and raising. BOARD Another name for all. The button moves one position left in a clockwise direction each hand. There are two blind payments. 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. BUTTON A physical marker that is placed on the table in front of a player to mark them as the effective dealer. . It is usually set to a small percentage (¼ or slightly less) of the small blind. the buy-in amount for each player collectively becomes the prize pool. or some. BLINDS Forced bets that are paid every hand to ensure that there is money in the pot to win.
CHECK The action by which you withhold from placing a bet. Also FLOP The first three community cards that are available to the players. which are dealt after completion of the first betting round. FOLD The action of forfeiting your cards stating that you do not wish to play your hand or have any claim in the pot. There are two other types of flush. A ten-handed game will consist of ten players. Also known as pocket cards. after which the only remaining options are call. HEADS-UP A term used when there are only two players left in the game. known as the river. COMMUNITY CARDS The five cards that are dealt face-up on the table and are available to all players. run in sequence and contain the and ace. 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. the three court cards and a 9 and 10. then the player with . HOLE CARDS The two cards that are initially dealt to each player at the start of each hand. These cards are made up of the flop. 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. FIFTH STREET Another name used to identify the last community card to be dealt. A player would return their cards facedown to the dealer. Also known as the turn. playing oneon-one. such as J-J. HANDED Used to refer to the number of players in a game of poker. KICKER The card that is responsible for breaking a tie at the showdown. the turn and the river. raise or fold.106 | H OLD ' EM T ERMINOLOG Y CALL The action of matching a previous players bet. FULL HOUSE A poker hand that consists of three cards of the same value. whereas a six-handed game consists only of six players. FOURTH STREET Another name used to identify the fourth community card to be dealt. FLUSH The term given to a poker hand where all five cards are of the same suit. together with a pair. Also known as pass or mucking in. If the remaining players both hold the same hand.
A raise has to be at least double of the initial bet. NO-LIMIT A game of Texas Hold 'em poker where there are no limits to the bet or raise that can be placed. When enough players are knocked out that the remaining players can play at one table. this is usually referred to as the final table. 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. ante's and all bets placed by the players during the hand. the remaining players are shuffled around to evenly distribute players at each table. POT-LIMIT Refers to a betting structure whereby players are able to bet up to the amount held in the pot. A player would return their cards face-down to the dealer. POCKET CARDS The two cards that are initially dealt to each player at the start of each hand. Also known as hole cards. If player1 held J-J-5 and player2 held J-J-6. Also known as pass or fold. OUTS The number of cards that are potentially remaining in the deck that will allow a player to make a winning poker hand. POCKET ROCKETS The term used when a player holds two ace's as their pocket cards. then player2 would win as their 6 kicker beats player1's 5. PLAYING THE BOARD Term used when a player makes their hand by using just the five community cards. The pot consists of the blinds. RE-RAISE The act of raising a previously raised bet – raising the raise. POCKET PAIR Used when a player receives a matching pair in their two pocket cards dealt by the dealer.H OLD ' EM T ERMINOLOGY | 107 the highest unmatched card becomes the winner. MULTI-TABLE TOURNAMENT A tournament where there are too many players to sit around one table and so are split between several. POT The total number of chips available to all players to win in any given hand. . As players get knocked out of the game. RAISE Increasing the bet by betting more than was bet by the previous player. ON TILT When a player reacts emotionally to an event at the poker table and their play deteriorates due to this.
SINGLE-TABLE TOURNAMENT Otherwise known as a Sit & Go. clubs and spades. the three court cards and a 9 and 10. diamonds.108 | H OLD ' EM T ERMINOLOG Y RIVER The last community card to be dealt. heart. Also known as fourth 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. run in sequence and contain an ace. Also known as fifth street. SET A three of a kind that is made up of two of the players hole cards and one of the community cards. This is the highest hand in poker. SIDE POT When a player goes all-in and there are players left who still have chips. 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. ROYAL FLUSH A flush where all the cards are of the same suit. Also known as three of a kind. SHOWDOWN Takes place after the final betting round. There can be more than one side pot in each hand. TRIPS Trips. this is another pot is created for the remaining players. SIT & GO Also known as a single-table tournament. . above. or Triplets. The player who went allin does not have any claim on the side pot. are when a player holds three cards of the same value. There are four suits to a deck of cards. TURN The fourth community card to be dealt. 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. All player show their hand and determine who holds the best hand and wins the pot.
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