Before you can successfully play Texas Holdem online, at a casino or even in a home game with your friends, you have to understand the rules of the game. Without this knowledge, you’ll soon be the player with the short stack and your wallet will be a whole lot lighter! Seasoned players use Holdem rules to their advantage during the flop, the turn and the river, and also when bluffing. To prevent being caught with your pants down at the table, it’s best to be prepared. In this article, we’ll go over some of the fundamentals of the game.
One of the most important things to learn are the Holdem rules if you want to play Texas Holdem well, and learning how to discern between good and bad starting hands is a good place to start. Since the two pocket cards are what you will build your hand on, it’s important that they are strong cards. Generally, most players will agree that a pocket pair (aces, kings, or queens) is the best starting hand. When you start getting into mixed suits and combinations, many players will have different preferences. An ace-king (suited is best), also known as “big slick,” or an ace-queen, also known as a “big chick,” or “little slick” are all very strong hands pre-flop. Some players believe that a suited king-jack is also a strong starting hand.
Position is also a very important factor. Being in an early position means you are one of the first to act in a round of betting. The dealer position (called the button) is considered the strongest position because you act last post-flop. Since all of the other players have made their moves, it is an advantage because you can act with more information, which is essential to making the right decision on whether to bet, raise, check, call or fold. Play moves around the table and each player is the dealer in turn.
Good players should also know how to work the fourth and fifth streets. Also know as The Turn and The River, respectively, the fourth and fifth community cards give you two more chances to either get out of the hand before you lose even more money or stay in to increase your winnings. This is where caution is important, especially if you weren’t dealt strong hole cards. After fourth street, don’t stay in the pot hoping for a straight or flush, unless you can do so without putting more chips into the pot. However, if you’ve already put a substantial ante into the pot, you may want to play aggressively by seeing the hand through. This is where good bluffers can really earn their money.
Thoroughly understanding the Holdem rules is the key to winning. As you gain experience, you’ll be able to read other players, bluff strategically and even “predict” cards to some extent. To get some valuable practice, invite your poker buddies over and have a home game, or play online games with or antes. It’s a great way to practice your strategies without losing your shirt.