On this page: The Rise of Texas Holdem The Basics and the Rules How to Win The Do’s and Don’t’s FAQs Eligible for the UK and IE Players: No Code Required 4.7/5 DEPOSIT £10 GET £10 IN TOURNAMENT TOKENS Go to Betfred Go to review New Poker customers only. Customers must click ‘Start’ on the Mission prior to making a deposit and/or transfer of £10 or more into Poker to qualify. Customers will receive seven tokens for (worth £4.75 and €6 in total). Tokens will expire one month after crediting. E-Wallet & Prepaid Card restrictions apply. SMS validation may be required. Terms & Conditions Apply No Code Required 4.7/5 35% RAKEBACK €10,000 PRIVATE RAKE RACE EXCLUSIVE €10,000 MICRO CASH RACES Go to Betfair Go to review Only open to customers who have signed up through specific Betfair partners. Please read full terms for breakdown of promotions. 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Since the famous poker boom of the mid-2000s, where televised coverage of the World Series of Poker ensured a worldwide fascination with Texas Holdem Poker, the game has become synonymous with playing poker. Today, when people speak of the game, they are usually referring to Texas Holdem Poker. We are here to provide you with the definitive guide to the most popular card game around. How to play, the different variants and limits, online Texas Holdem poker and the strength of the different hands. Let’s start with the basics – but first, a bit of history. The Rise of Texas Holdem: How Online Poker Conquered the World Within Texas Holdem, there is no bigger prize than the World Series of Poker Main Event, commonly recognised as the unofficial world championship for poker players. In the mid-2000s, it was exactly the World Series of Poker (WSOP) and the World Poker Tour (WPT) that kicked off the online poker boom. People sat at home watching these professionals earn millions of dollars, and soon started flocking to the tables to get their own slice of what seemed like a very sweet cake. The online poker rooms were extremely successful in branding themselves and the poker industry exploded (in a positive sense, that is). Online poker sites such as Poker Stars and Full Tilt Poker were important actors in this process. They sponsored the live-events, started signing professional players to contracts, and invested millions of dollars in developing their online poker skins. Televised exposure created more hype and awareness and the online poker industry grew dramatically with names such as Gus Hansen, Phil Ivey and Daniel Negreanu as its poster boys. How to Play Texas Holdem Poker: The Basics and the Rules In Texas Holdem Poker that’s played at most online casinos, each player is dealt with two cards, which are hidden from the other players at the table (these are known as the Hole Cards). Depending on the type of game, you can play either Heads-Up (2 players), Full Ring (typically 9 players) or Shorthanded (typically 6 players). Naturally, these different variants create widely different dynamics at the table, but the rules remain the same. The objective is to create the strongest possible hand by combining your two Hole Cards with the cards that are gradually presented by the dealer. These are known as Community Cards.For starters, therefore need to learn and memorize the relative strength of the different hands you can hold. Below is a simple overview of the different hands and how they rank in relation to one another: Royal FlushAce, King, Queen, King, and Ace – all of the same suit.Straight FlushFive consecutive cards of the same suit.Four of a kindFour cards of the same sort – such as four Queens.Full HouseThree of a kind and a pair at the same time. Three Queens and two 5s for example.FlushFive cards of the same suit – non-consecutive, that would make it a straight flush.StraightFive consecutive cards.Three of a kindThree cards of the same sort.Two pairsTwo different pairs (Two cards of the same sort twice).One pairTwo cards of the same sort.High cardThe highest card you have. This table shows the strongest hands in Texas Holdem Poker, which will decide who wins the pot if the hand goes to Showdown. Showdown is the point where the river has been presented and all bets completed – but most hands never get this far. In most scenarios, someone wins the pot before showing his hand whatsoever. In poker, there are different streets on which the action happens, and thus also where the hand can be decided. Pre-Flop: To start with, one player is assigned the Dealer Button. The two players to the left of the Dealer then become known as the Small Blind and the Big Blind. Both these players are forced to pay the Small and Big Blind, which moves to the left around the table together with the Dealer-button. The remaining players can either Call the original bet (the Big Blind), fold or decide to raise. Often, the hand can finish as early as pre-flop. Flop: On the flop, three Community Cards from the deck are presented by the Dealer. Unlike pre-flop, the player to the left of the dealer now starts the action, that being the Small Blind, if he didn’t fold before the flop. He is then given the chance to check or bet. Turn: Another card is turned by the Dealer, and a new round of bets ensue. River: The fifth and final card is turned and a new round of bets follow. If the players who remain on the River decide to check, or call each others bets, Showndown follows. The strongest possible hand (5 card) that can be assembled by combining one’s Hole Cards with the Community Cards wins the pot. How to Win in Texas Holdem 1. Get to know your opponents and exploit your edge You might have watched Rounders or Casino Royale, or any movie that incorporates a poker element to its storyline. What do they all have in common? They recognise that Texas Holdem is a game of skill, that in order to win you need to get to know your opponents. However, that is perhaps easier said than done, especially as you suddenly find yourself at an online poker table, and not an actual one where you can magically unlock your opponent’s cards by staring at him. Online poker players have typically approached this by categorising the different players they face off against. That is how the idea of ‘loose’ and ‘tight’ players developed. Loose players are generally undisciplined, they tend to raise a lot of hands and play aggressively. Tight players are more cautious; they only play the top hands and are less likely to be aggressive without a premium hand. Spotting these players at the tables is essential for anyone who wants to be successful. 2. Read your opponents’ hands and understand his range Being dealt premium hands and playing them is not going to make anyone rich; today, online poker requires you to analyse and understand your opponents. The term often used here is that of ‘hand range’ – a range of potential hands that your opponent can hold in particular scenario. By analysing your opponents’ actions pre- and post-flop, you will get an idea of what hands your opponent is likely to hold. 3. Understand the market and pick the right poker site One thing is what happens at the tables, but being successful at poker requires work off the table as well. Most importantly, you need to identify the games you want to play. We have already mentioned the basic variants – No Limit, Fixed Limit and Pot Limit – but there is also the question of Cash Game vs MTTs, SNGs and the many new variants offered by different poker sites. Find your game and focus on it. Understanding these 3 lessons is an excellent start to your poker career, but more is obviously required to succeed. Code: TWENTY 4.5/5 £20 in Free Play Go to Pokerstars Casino Go to review Free play given as tournament tickets and cash, released over 6 days. Unused tickets subject to expiry. Full terms and conditions apply. No Code Required 4.3/5 Play with £20 free NO DEPOSIT NEEDED Go to 888 Go to review New players only • £20 free bonus: includes $1 immediate bonus & $31 in tournament tickets • Bonus will be granted gradually throughout the 7 days after it was claimed • Each part of the bonus will expire 24 hours after it was granted • All immediate bonuses may be withdrawn only after a player has accumulated 2.5 Bonus Points for every $1 of the received Bonus amount • This offer may not be combined with any other offer • Deposit balance is available for withdrawal at any time. • General Withdrawal restrictions & further T&Cs The Do’s and Don’t’s of Texas Holdem Poker Do: Be observant of the players around you. Is there a weak link at the table, someone who plays too cautiously or too aggressively? Pot Control. Controlling the size of the pot is one of the many arts that the world’s best poker players have learned to master. Avoid that the pot gets out of control – especially if you have a weak hand.Learn from your mistakes. This might sound like a trivial piece of advice, but the learning curve is all that matters in Texas Holdem. See for yourself if you can identify errors in your approach – do I call too much when I have a flush draw, do I play too many Pocket Pairs? Don’t: Stay away from weaker hands and being too aggressive. As a new player, learning these two basics will get you a long way. More seasoned and skilled players will be able to exploit and dominate a table by being aggressive, but for beginners that is not the strategy to adopt. Play the cards and don’t overthink.Don’t bluff. You will learn to, eventually, but it causes trouble rather than success for new players.Don’t ‘Hero Call’ when facing a tight player. If you are up against a tight/cautious player who suddenly splashes out with a major bet on the river, then be very cautious about calling. Tight players at beginners level are usually unlikely to bluff – so if they do have a tight image, then just give them the credit they deserve and fold. Best of luck at the tables!