This is the first in a series of articles aimed squarely at beginning hold’em players. My goal is to introduce new players to this exciting game and give them enough background to make them feel comfortable playing casino poker.
Texas hold’em is among the most popular game played in casino poker rooms. Although playing expertly requires a great deal of skill, hold’em is easily learned and deceptively simple. It is a subtle and complex game, typically played with nine or ten players to a table, and is a faster, more action-filled game than stud. Texas hold’em is also the fastest growing poker game in the world, and is the game used to determine the world champion at the World Series of Poker.
In the next few issues, we’ll present a short course in Cheri Casino Texas hold’em, designed for beginning players. You won’t be an expert when at this series’ conclusion, but you’ll have enough information to allow you to hold your own in most lower-limit games.
If You’ve Never Played Hold’em Before
While hold’em may look like seven-card stud, it is a different game altogether. Because hold’em players form the best poker hand by combining exposed communal cards in the center of the table with two hidden cards that are theirs alone, it is more difficult for an opponent to draw-out on you than is in a game like 7-card stud. For example, if you were dealt a pair of jacks and your opponent held a pair of nines, the presence of a pair of fives among the communal cards gives each of you two pair. But you still have the best hand. Unless one of those fives helped an opponent complete a straight, the only player helped by that pair of fives would be an opponent fortunate enough to have another five in his hand.
Before cards are dealt, the first two players to the left of the “dealer” position are required to post blind bets, which are used instead of antes to stimulate action.
In a $10-$20 hold’em game blinds are usually $5 and $10. Each blind is considered live. Because blinds represent a forced, first bet, each of the two blinds can raise (but only on the first round) once the betting has gone around the table and it is their turn to act again.
Unlike stud, where position is determined by the cards showing on the board, the player with the dealer button acts last in every round of betting — with the exception of the first one.
The deal and betting Cheri Casino structure
Two cards are dealt face down to each player, and a round of betting takes place. On the first round players may either call or raise the blind bet, or else they must fold their hand. Most casinos allow a bet and three or four raises per betting round, with one exception. When only two players contest the pot there is no limit on the number of raises permitted.