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Texas Holdem Strategy

Texas Holdem is the World's most popular poker game, it comes in three popular versions.  They are Limit Holdem, Pot Limit Holdem and No Limit Holdem. The differences between the games are when it comes to the betting structure.  The basic rules and poker hand rankings are all the same. This Texas holdem strategy guide gives you a quick overview of how the game works. Get the Poker Strategy Card for Texas Hold em Starting Hands.

General Game Play - Quick Overview

Texas Holdem uses a standard deck of 52 cards.  Games are usually played between  2 to 10 players per table.  Each player is dealt two cards face down -These are called hole cards.  The first round of betting occurs and if two or more people are still competing the first three of five community cards are dealt this is the flop.  These  cards are dealt face up on the centre of the table and are used by all players in combination with their hole cards to make the best 5 card poker hand. Another round of betting occurs, and a forth card is dealt face up - this is the turn. Another round of betting, then the fifth card is dealt - the river.  Its now time for the final round of betting and then the remaining players show their hole cards to see who has made the best poker hand.

Blinds and Antes

The action is started with two forced bets called the blinds, there is the big blind and the small blind.  The big blind sits two seats to the left of the dealer and puts in the amount of the minimum bet. The small blind sits directly to the left of the dealer and puts in a half of a minimum bet.  Some games, and the later stages of some tournaments have an ante, which is a small forced bet smaller than the small blind that everyone chips in before the start of a hand. The ante is used to increase the action at the table - as more is at stake more betting will occur.

Position

To demonstrate position for our example we will use a 6 person table. To keep track of the deal a "Dealer Button" is used.  The player who has the dealer button is said to be In Position.  The two players to the left of the button are referred to as the blinds.  These players are said to be Out of Position.  The player to the left of the big blind is the first to bet they are said to be in early position.  The next person to bet is said to be in middle position.  The player to the right of the button is in late position. In the first round of betting it is the big blind that bets last.  In the following rounds of betting it is the player in position - on the dealer button.  Position is important in Texas Holdem with being in late or in position preferred.  The reason is that you get to see what the other bet first and you are able to save bets when the hand is not in your favour or to take advantage of it when it is favourable.

Starting Hands Playable in Texas Hold em

Any Position These hands are playable from any position

Pocket Pairs: A-A K-K Q-Q J-J T-T 9-9 8-8 7-7

Suited Connectors: A-K A-Q A-J A-T K-Q K-J K-T Q-J J-9 T-9

Unsuited Big Cards: A-K A-Q A-J A-T K-Q K-J

Middle Position  Add the following hands in middle position

Pocket Pairs: 6-6 5-5

Suited Connectors: A-9 A-8 A-7 A-6 K-9 Q-9 Q-8 J-8 T-8 9-8

Unsuited Cards: K-T Q-J Q-T J-T

Late Position  Add the following hands in late position

Pocket Pairs: 4-4 3-3 2-2

Suited Connectors: A-5 A-4 A-3 A-2 K-8 K-7 K-6 K-5 K-4 K-3 K-2 J-7 T-7 9-7 9-6 8-7 8-6 7-6 7-5 6-5 5-4

Unsuited Cards: A-9 A-8 A-7 K-9 Q-9 J-9 J-8 T-9 T-8 9-8 9-7 8-7

read more on playing pocket pairs

Betting

The first player to bet is the player to the left of the big blind in early position.  The player has three choices at this juncture; they can call by putting in the amount of the big blind; they can raise a minimum of twice the big blind (maximum depends on game type) or they can fold and save their chips for a better hand. The action moves around the table clockwise for one round until each player has had a chance to bet. If their is a raise on the table the action will continue to go around until all participating players have called the same or maximum amount or if their is only one player remaining they win the hand. This first round is called pre flop.  The flop is the second round of betting, after the three community cards flop the action starts with the small blind and moves clockwise to the button again the betting continues until players have the same amount (or maximum) bet or all fold to one player. For the third round the turn and the forth round the river, the betting is the same as in the first.

Limit Holdem

Limit Holdem is a betting structure where there can be a maximum of 4 raises per round with an increase of one times the bet size for each player that raises per round. The pre flop and flop the bet size is the amount of the big blind.  For the flop and the river the bet size is double the big blind with a maximum of 4 increases per round.

Pot Limit Holdem

Pot Limit is a variation in holdem where the maximum bet is the size of the pot.

No Limit Holdem

This is the most popular version of Texas Holdem and the version that is used to determine the World Series of Poker main Event Champion, such as Poker Legend Doyle Brunson won back to back in 1976-77.  In the No Limit version there is "No Limit" to the maximum that you can bet.  You can push all of your chip into the centre of the table at any time.  The other players then have to either call or raise if they can when faced with this bet or and it goes down to a showdown or they fold and you win the hand with no contest.  The move of pushing all of your chips in is said to be going All In.

All In

In all versions of Holdem when a player has all of his chips in the pot they are said to be all In.  If there is only one or no players left with chips then there is a showdown.  The hole cards for each player are flipped face up on the table for all to see and any remaining community cards are dealt and a winner is declared. The All In move is part of the huge draw of Texas No Limit holdem where you can be put your entire stack on the line at any time and lose it all or double it and then some.

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