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What is it about Texas Holdem that Makes it so Popular?
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Texas Holdem is probably the most popular variation of poker at Juicy Stakes Poker. In the grand history of poker, Texas Holdem is a relative babe in the woods! It started out in the West Texas oil fields in the rip roaring early years of the 20th century and didn’t achieve some national prominence until Doyle Brunson and Amarillo Slim brought the game to Las Vegas in 1967.
As a service to our many poker players, Juicy Stakes Poker Bonuses would like to talk a bit about Texas Holdem. Let’s use a sort of Texas Holdem FAQ format.
What is Unique about the Rules in Texas Holdem?
Texas Holdem rules are actually pretty straightforward. We can divide the rules that govern how to play Texas Holdem into three categories:
- Community cards
- The blinds
- Players play to have the highest hand
In Texas Holdem, the person who bets first on any round and the size of the blinds are a big part of all there is to the rules. All of the rest is strategy and skill with a giant dollop of luck thrown in!
Why are the Community Cards Important?
In Texas Holdem, there are five community cards. They come out in three separate deals. The first time community cards come out is called the flop and three cards are dealt. The betting before the flop and after the flop are often the most important betting rounds in a game of Texas Holdem.
It is not uncommon for a player to stay in the hand just to see the flop. Many poor hands are improved in grands style by the flop. However, staying in to see the flop is a losing strategy in the long run because in order to stay in to see the flop, a player has to at least call the Big Blind.
After the flop, we have single community cards dealt and separate betting rounds after each of them, as well. So, a Texas Holdem hand could have as many as four betting rounds.
Many players, primarily new players but also some experienced ones, think that the community cards make Texas Holdem a rather simple game. This is a very big error on the part of many players. Just the presence of two hole cards makes Texas Holdem a very complex game, indeed!
What are the Blinds?
There is a big blind and a small blind. The small blind is to the left of the dealer which rotates on every hand. The big blind is to the left of the small blind. The betting in the pre-flop round begins with the player to the left of the big blind. That means that everyone is betting into the big blind, who bets last.
The blinds are in effect the ante in the game. It changes the strategy in Texas Holdem in that any player can fold in the pre-flop betting round and they don’t lose any money. In games where everyone antes, everyone already has some stake in the pot.
Does the Highest Hand Always Win?
It is a simple rule to play for the highest hand but there is a lot of nuance here as well. Many hands are decided not by the highest hand but by the best bluff. This is an aspect more of strategy and expertise but the ability to read an opponent is a major side of Texas Holdem.
Is Betting Early in a Round Different than Betting Later in the Round?
Let’s be absolutely sure that we understand this question. It refers to p0ition in betting. In every game, there will be players who have to bet early while others get to bet later.
So, is betting early in a hand the same as betting later? It is extremely different! When you bet early in a hand, you really need to have very good hands to call the big blind. After all, if you fold, you don’t lose anything since it is only the blinds that “ante” up.
However, if a player never bets with average to mediocre cards in early position, all of their opponents will knew that when they do bet, they have a good hand. This will lead to other players folding and will reduce the size of the pot these players might have won. So, you also have to mix it up in your betting,
This last insight applies to betting in every position but it is most important to betting in early position. In other words, whether you like to or not, you have to bluff in Texas Holdem from time to time just to keep your opponents from reading your hands’ strength before you can build up the pot.
How Do Poker Players Learn to Read Opponents?
There is no easy answer for this question. For some players, reading opponents is an instinct, like having a good ear for music. They just know! For most players, learning to read opponents takes a lot of practice. We hesitate to say years of practice but it could take a very long time.
Texas Holdem is unique in that the only mystery is the two hole cards. Still, they can create such a range of possible hands that players need to think very hard and very deep in order to figure out a hand. That’s one of the reasons why some YouTube players’ favorite line seems to be “this is sick”. It’s just hard!
Is it Smart to Play Texas Holdem for Small Stakes?
Yes, not only is it smart it is a very important first step for the overwhelming percentage of players. You need to start at low stakes in order to play thousands of hands at very little financial risk. Then, when you have the experience and the confidence that you really do belong at higher stakes tables, you can venture forth into the world of higher stakes Texas Holdem.
Even then, you won’t advance immediately to hundred dollar blinds. You might advance first to $5 small blinds and $10 big blinds. This would be challenging enough! The key point is to recognize that Texas Holdem is a very challenging game that you need to play thousands of hands in before you can realistically feel that you are ready to play for bigger pots.
Is it Better to Play Texas Holdem Online or in a Land Based Casino?
As an online casino, Juicy Stakes Poker would like everyone to feel that playing poker online is better than playing on land. However, there are many players who feel that they need to see their opponents in order to get a feel for their tendencies.
The term “tell” refers to a player giving away by their actions or behavior the kind of hand they have. There are plenty of tells that give away valuable information even when you play online and can’t see your opponents. The experience you gain by playing online is invaluable.
Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker in 2003 by qualifying in an online tournament. He probably would not have risked the entry fee if he hadn’t won the online tournament. How did he win the entire World Series of Poker? Simply by applying everything he had learned from many hours and thousands of hands played online to the live tournament!
Playing Texas Holdem online gives you a lot more opportunities to play and gain important experience. So, even if you do feel that you should play on land from time to time, you should take advantage of the availability of Texas Holdem at Juicy Stakes Poker.
Who knows? You might be the next Chris Moneymaker!