Playing poker was popular way before casinos were created. Card games were the norm back in the day and they are still thriving today. As a matter of fact, poker might be the only casino game where being lucky won’t help you out. Players need to learn how the game works and improve their skills if they want to be successful when playing poker. With that being said, we are going to focus on Texas Hold’em poker in this article. It’s the most popular variant of poker and is played all around the world. Additionally, we are going to discuss the Casino Hold’em poker version. It’s pretty much the same as Texas Hold’em but instead of playing against players, you play against the computer in an online casino. Some of the rules are different as well but more about that below.
It’s important to note that Texas Hold’em poker is so popular that the game is played in thousands of tournaments all over the world. For instance, the World Poker Tour, the European Poker Tour, the World Series of Poker, and more. In this article, we will share all the important details behind the game of Texas Hold’em. This includes the rules, how to play, payouts, and some tips that can help you win.
The History of Texas Hold’em Poker
We don’t know the exact circumstances that birthed this game but as it has the word Texas in the name, that’s where we will start. Most experts agree that Texas Hold’em Poker first appeared in Robstown at the beginning of the 20th century. It was played for decades in the Lone Star state before anyone noticed this poker variant. Eventually, as Las Vegas slowly became the gambling capital of the world, someone took this game there. Crandell Addington was one of the most prominent figures in Vegas. His contributions created a poker culture that’s still being celebrated. Crendell called Texas Hold’em a “thinking man’s game. What he meant is that, unlike other casino games, you need skills to be able to win a game of Texas Hold’em Poker.
However, the game remained unpopular because it was only played in the Nugget casino in Vegas. This casino rarely welcomed high-rollers and had a bad reputation among casino players. It took two years for the game to break ground in Vegas. The Dune casino had a Texas Hold’em tournament in 1969. This tournament was the stepping stone the game needed. The Dune casino was one of the most popular casinos back then. Players from all around the world came to experience the game. This one event is often hailed as the start of Hold’em’s illustrious rise in popularity. The next year, Benny and Jack Binion created the World Series of Poker. By 1971, Texas Hold’em Poker was the main event at that poker tournament. As the tournament rose in popularity over the years, so did the game of Texas Hold’em.
Texas Hold’em Today
By 1978, poker players were releasing books about the game and how to play it properly. Additionally, the World Series of Poker 1981 tournament was chronicled in Al Alvarez’s “The Biggest Game in Town”. These events catapulted Texas Hold’em Poker game to the future. In just two decades, the game went from total ambiguity to massive popularity. All types of casino players wanted to try it which is why the game spread to all the casinos in Vegas. Today, Texas Hold’em can be played in almost every gambling institution. Land-based casinos have different variants of it but so do online casinos and poker websites. As a matter of fact, you can watch it on TV when there is a huge tournament going on. For instance, the World Series of Poker is broadcasted live all around the world.
What is Texas Hold’em Poker?
Texas Hold’em poker is a community poker game that’s played all over the world. It’s the most popular poker variant and many tournaments are organized. This game is played against other players and the main goal is to have a better hand than everyone else. Keep reading to learn which poker hands Texas Hold’em are the best and how to play the game.
Before we explain how to play the game of Texas Hold’em, we are going to share with you the poker hands you can get in the game. Here is a list going from the weakest to the best hand:
- High Card – You have no combinations, so the highest value card in your hand is taken into consideration.
- Pair – Two cards of the same kind (two aces, two jacks, etc.).
- Two Pairs – A pair of two cards of the same kind + another pair of two cards of the same kind.
- Three of a Kind – Three cards of the same kind (three queens, three fives, etc.).
- Straight – Five cards in a row. For instance, 7-8-9-10-jack.
- Flush – Five cards that have the same symbol (five random cards with a heart symbol).
- Full House – A combination of a three-of-a-kind + a pair (three kings and two tens).
- Four of a Kind – Four cards of the same kind (Four nines, four queens, etc.).
- Straight Flush – Five cards in a row but also of the same suit (5-6-7-8-9 all in spades).
- Royal Flush – The best hand in Texas Hold’em poker (10-J-K-Q-A all of the same suit).
How to Play Texas Hold’em Poker?
The game of Texas Hold’em is played over several rounds. However, before we talk about those rounds, we need to discuss how betting works. At the start of the game, there is a marker, known as “the button” which is placed in front of one of the players. The player that sits to the left of that player has paid the small blind. The player that sits on the left side of the player who has to post the small blind has to place the big blind. In the next round, the button will move one space to the right which means that every round different players place the big and/or small blinds.
The big blind is a poker term for the player who will start that round by making the first bet. It’s a forced bet by the game and the player has to place the bet. Again, every round a different person is placing the big blind. The small blind is the person who sits on the right of the big blind player. He is also forced to place a bet which is only half the amount of the big blind. If that player folds, he will lose the small blind just like the other person loses the big blind if he folds. However, if he wants to play the hand, the small blind player needs to add the other half of the bet to match the big blind before continuing with the round.
A round of Texas Hold’em poker begins when the big and small blind are paid. When that happens, each player gets two face-down cards. For there, this is how the betting rounds go:
The first round of betting begins after players check the two cards they just received. Players who want to continue either check or raise the bet. If a player raises the bet, all the other players have to match that bet before continuing to the next round. Players who believe they have a bad hand can just fold.
The dealer then flips three community cards and starts the second round of betting. This round is called “the flop” and the three cards are now face-up. Players combine their two cards with the three community cards and check to see whether they can form a good hand. They can then check, raise, or fold.
The third round begins when the dealer flips the fourth community card. This round is called “the turn”. Players can once again check, raise, or fold.
When the last community card is flipped, the last round of betting begins. This round is called “the river”. When the players see the last card, they can check, raise, or fold. If someone raises, the others have to match his bet if they want to continue. When no more players are raising the bet, every player shows the two cards in his hand. The player with the best hand wins the pot.
Texas Hold’em Poker Payouts
As we mentioned above, the payouts in this game are obvious. Whoever has the best hand at the end wins the whole pot. When two players have identical hands, then the pot is divided between those players. Nevertheless, there is a Texas Hold’em variant where players play against the dealer instead of other players. It’s called Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker. In this variant, players place the ante bet when the round begins. At the same time, an automatic matching blind bet is placed by the system. You get a payout depending on the strength of your hand. It doesn’t matter whether your hand is better than the dealer’s hand or not. Here are the payouts:
- Royal Flush – 500:1
- Straight Flush – 50:1
- Four of a Kind – 10:1
- Full House – 3:1
- Flush – 3:2
- Straight – 1:1
- All other hands are considered a push (tie)
Best Starting Hands
Texas Hold’em Poker is a casino game that requires a lot of skill. Luck plays a part, as always, but it doesn’t have a major role like in all the other casino games out there. A large part of the gameplay is bluffing and planning ahead as to what hands the other players have and whether are they better than your hand. The easiest and best tip we can give you is to look at the starting hand. There are certain combinations that are great to have while on others you should fold even before you place any bets. Here are the best starting hands you can get:
- High-value pairs – Ace-Ace, King-King, Queen-Queen, Jack-Jack, etc.
- High-value cards of the same suit – Ace-King, Ace-Queen, Ace-Jack, King-Queen, etc.
- High-value cards not of the same suit – Ace-King, Ace-Queen, Ace-Jack, etc.
The two cards in your hand are initially the only thing you have at the start of the game. Knowing the best hands will help you cut your losses and/or win against better players. For instance, a card combination of a two and a seven is one of the worst in the games. Experts suggest that if you have such a hand, you should fold and not wait for the three community cards to be opened.
Additionally, it’s very important to consider your position. For instance, if the big and/or small blinds are on you and your two hands are a bad combination, you should fold right away. However, if you went through all the rounds with the hand you have, you should play until the end, even though other players might have a better hand. In that situation, you have more to lose by folding than seeing the game to the end.
Casino Hold’em Poker
We already mentioned that there is a Texas Hold’em Poker variant where you play against the dealer instead of the player. However, that game is an exception to the rule. In most cases, Texas Hold’em poker online games are known as Casino Hold’em. These games are played at online casinos and it’s always you against the computer. This game is simpler to play because you only have to worry about your hand and you can also win more through it. On the other hand, you depend on the computer to draw you a good hand which means you depend more on luck, rather than on skill.
In Casino Hold’em, the game begins with the player making an Ante bet. When that’s done, the cards are dealt. The player gets two face-up cards, the dealer gets two face-down cards, and there are three face-up community cards in the middle. This is where you decide how to continue the game. If you have a bad hand, you can fold right away and lose the ante bet. On the other hand, you have an option “to call”. This option will double the initial ante bet and then the last two community cards will be dealt. When all five community cards are on the table, the dealer’s two cards are unfolded. Whoever has the better hand, wins the pot.
Additional Betting Options
As we can see, there is only one difference between the Casino Hold’em and Texas Hold’em poker variants. The latter awards payouts only based on what kind of hand the player has. Casino Hold’em, on the other hand, requires the player to have a better hand than the dealer in order to win. However, this is where things become interesting. Casino Hold’em has additional betting options that work exactly like Ultimate Texas Hold’em poker.
So, when the ante bet is placed, you can place an additional bet on the field marked as AA. This bet counts only your two cards and “the flop”. As we know, “the flop” is the first three community cards on the table. With the AA bet, you can make a combination of your two cards and the three community cards. If you have any of the high-value outcomes that poker offers, Casino Hold’em will give you a payout regardless of what happens in the rest of the game and whether your hand is better than the dealer’s hand. The AA bet will only count those five cards and nothing else. Here are the AA payouts:
- Royal Flush – 100:1
- Straight Flush – 50:1
- Four of a Kind – 40:1
- Full House – 30:1
- Flush – 20:1
- Pair of Aces to Straight – 7:1