Texas Holdem is the poker game of choice for millions of players everywhere. Poker rooms in casinos feature it for cash games, low limit, and no limit events.
The 2017 World Series of Poker hosted more than 8,000 entrants in the main event at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
The recent poker craze actually began in 2003 when Chris Moneymaker (yes, that's his real name) won a seat at the World Series of Poker main event by winning a tournament online for only a $ 40 entry fee! Chris won the event and took home $ 2.5 Million!
How Tournaments are Played
Perhaps you've seen tournaments on television. You like the excitement but are a little confused when you hear, "he's on the button, she's under the gun, the big blind gets a free flop". Here are some explanations:
Players must first purchase poker chips for a fixed buy-in amount. For example, a $ 100 + $ 25 buy-in may be worth $ 1,000 in poker chips: $ 100 towards the prize pool, and $ 25 for the house. For tournament play all players start with an equal amount of chips.
- The game is played on an oval table that seats six or nine players and a house dealer.
- Before any action, all players must put an an in the pot. The amount is pre-set.
- Before play, the dealer places a white disc called the button in front of the player immediately to his / her left. The button, AKA buck, represents a theoretical dealer and holds an advantage at the table because s / he is the last to act during a hand. The button moves to one player at the left after each round.
- The first player to the left of the button is called the small blind. The player to the immediate left of the small blind is called the big blind. Both players must put a pre-determined amount of money in the pot before any cards are canceled. The amount of the big blind is twice that of the small blind. The purpose is to incite action by ensuring an amount of money in the pot prior to play. The amounts of the ante and blinds increase after certain time periods called levels.
- Two cards are face face down to each player. The first player to the left of the big blind is under the gun and starts the action with one of three actions:
- Muck (fold) the cards to stay out of the hand.
- Call, by betting the amount of the big blind.
- Raise, by betting twice the amount of the big blind.
- The motion continues with each player in turn and ends with the big blind. If players only called, the small blind need only put in one half the amount of the big blind. The big blind will then get a free flop on the next segment.
- The dealer then burns (discards) one card and flops three cards face up. These community cards can be used by all players to strengthen their hands. This action starts with the first player to the left of the big blind who has not mucked their hand.
- Players in turn can check (opt out of betting at that time) or make a bet. If players bet the flop, the players who checked must decide to either fold or stay in by betting. In no-limit games players can raise any including including going all in.
- After the flop, the dealer burns one card and turns one face up. This fourth card is called the turn. The betting proceeds in the same manner.
- Then comes the fifth card called the river, the fifth and final community card. In this element position becomes advantageous. If you're on the button or in a position where others have to act before you, you have the favorable opportunity. The action continues until the player with the best five card poker hand or the best bluffer wins the pot.
If you're curious, many casinos offer free lessons for Texas Holdem and other poker games. You ore than likely will find a poker room at a casino near you.