How To Play Holdem
So you're learning how to play Holdem? Also known as Texas Hold 'Em, the poker game colloquially known as Holdem is one of the most popular card games at home as well as tournaments. Its betting structure is simpler than many other poker games, so if you're a poker beginner, learning how to play Holdem is a good start. Here are some tips for learning how to play Holdem:
- Learn which hands beat which. This is essential for any kind of poker. The order of winning hands is high card (the highest card of any hand, often an ace), one pair (two of the same card), two pairs, three of a kind (just like it sounds), straight (five cards in sequential order of any suit), flush (five cards of the same suit), a full house (three of a kind and a pair), four of a kind, straight flush (five cards in sequential order of the same suit), and royal flush (a straight flush going ace-king-queen-jack-ten).
- Learn how the game is dealt. Learning how to play Holdem is different than many other poker games, because the game is dealt differently than typical draw or stud poker. Each player is dealt two cards face down. These are called the hole cards. Then five community cards are revealed. This is called the board. You use any combination of your hole cards and the five on the board to make the best five card poker hand possible. This differs from stud or draw in that the community cards are used by everyone at the table.
- Learn the betting structure. When learning how to play Holdem, one of the first things to understand is the concept of "blind bets." These bets are put out by the two players directly left of the dealer to ensure action on every pot. Players then bet after looking at their hole cards, before the board is shown. After that round of betting is complete, three of the five community cards are revealed (the flop). There is a round of betting after the flop. Then one more community card is revealed (the turn). There is a round of betting following the turn. Finally, the last community card (the river) is revealed, followed by the final round of betting.
- Learn betting strategy. Depending on whether you are playing limit or no-limit, the betting strategy will be different. Either way, it is important to only play starting hands that have a chance of winning once the final cards are revealed. Good starting hands include pairs, high cards like ace-king (also known as "big slick"), and suited connectors (two cards of the same suit in sequential order, increasing the chances for a straight or flush).
- Practice makes perfect. When learning how to play Holdem, it's important to know that you won't win at first. Other players with more experience will have a better feel for the game. Set aside some money you're willing to lose (think of it as paying for practice) and have fun getting to know how the game works. You'll have a feel for it in no time.