Online Poker - Texas Hold'em

Introduction

Play Online Poker

Unless you've been living in a cave, with no access to the Internet, you can't help but notice the growing popularity of online Poker.

But did you know, people who like to bet on horse racing are also some of the best Poker players in the world.

The mindset required is very similar. Being able to assess the odds and wait for the best opportunities to place a bet are what it's all about.

No wonder many of the well known bookmakers have set-up online Poker rooms.

Unlike betting on Horse Racing, you're not betting against the bookie. When it comes to Poker the bookmakers are on your side. The more successful you become the more they'll want you to play.

There are several different variations of the Poker you can play online, but by far the most popular is Texas Hold'em.

The rules of Texas Hold'em are very simple and will only take a few minutes to learn. With a few hours practice you should have a pretty good grasp of the game.

If you're already familiar with how to play and are looking for an online Poker room, take a look at our list of Online Poker Rooms. They are all well know and respected names, so you can be sure of a fair game.

The majority of online poker rooms offer of free play tables where you can practice the game against other novices, without the risk of losing your money.

Then when you're ready for the real thing, they have a variety of different stakes tables for you to dip your toe in gently to build up your confidence, before you're ready to take on the big boys.

Learning the Basics

The object of the game is to win the pot (the combined amount bet by each of the players). The pot is won by the player who holds the best 5 cards from seven. The seven cards are made up of 2 individual cards dealt to each player, and 5 community cards dealt face up in the middle of the table.

The Dealer and The Blinds

Before each hand, one player will be given the dealer button. They don't have to physically deal the cards, it's just used in order to signify position as far as the betting goes. The dealer button moves to the left after each hand, so everyone gets a turn at being the virtual dealer.

The player to the immediate left of the dealer bets a small blind, and the player to their left bets a big blind. These are bets placed in the pot to kick-start the betting and give players an incentive to enter the hand. They also mean that the winner of hand will always walk away winning some money.

The stakes of the table that you're playing at dictate the size of the blinds. The small blind is typically half the minimum bet of the game, while the big blind the same as the game's minimum bet.

As the dealer button moves around the table, so do the blinds, so again everyone has to at some point take their turn betting the small and big blinds.

The Opening Cards

Moving clockwise round the table from the dealer, each player is dealt two cards face down, which only they get to see. These are called pocket or hole cards.

Based on these 2 cards players bet on what hand they feel they could lead to. Betting starts to the left of the big blind and finishes up back at the big blind. During this round of betting each players has the choice to Fold (throw away their cards and leave the pot to the remaining players), Call (match the bet amount ) or Raise (call and increase the previous bet).

As the players who posted the blinds have effectively opened the betting, each subsequent player has to at least call this bet to stay in the hand.

If no one has raised by the time the betting returns to the person who posted the big blind, this player may check his own blind, fold or raise.

The Flop

Once the first round of betting is complete, it's time for the flop. The flop is a set of three cards dealt face up in the middle of the table. Each player can use these community cards to build their hand. At this point you can begin to assess the strength of your hand.

After the flop it's time for another round of betting. This time the betting starts with the player to the immediate left of the dealer, regardless of whether the dealer is still active in the hand or not. The betting process is the same as pre-flop betting, except this time, if nobody has already bet, players get the opportunity to Check (pass their turn to bet). If a subsequent player places a bet, the betting will come back round to any players that checked and they will need to call or raise the bet to stay in the hand.

The Turn Card

Once the post-flop betting has finished, it's time for another card to be dealt face up on the board. This fourth card is called the turn card, and again can be used by all players to construct their hand. Following the turn card there is another round of betting, similar to that after the flop, for those players left in the hand.

The River

The fifth and final community card is known as the river card. Now that all the cards have been dealt, each player remaining in the hand can see what their best five-card hand is. It's now time for the final round of betting.

The Showdown

If more than one player remains in the hand after the final round of betting, it's time for the showdown. Each player remaining shows their cards. The winner is decided based upon the universal hand rankings.

If a player wins a pot by default, that is every other player folds, there is no showdown and the winning player can decide whether to show their cards or not. Most people don't, it's a good idea to keep people guessing.

To help your understanding of the above we've included an example hand.