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Learn how to play poker: Texas holdem hands and rules

July 15, 2019

Learn how to play poker

The name

It does sound a little bit weird, doesn’t it? OK, we all know the word “Poker”. But why “Texas”? And why “Holdem” which sounds like the little brother of Hondor from Game of Thrones? Read below in another of our educational blog entries and learn not only the origin of the famous game, but its hands and rules as well!

The humble start

As all big things in life, Texas Holdem started small. Its advent in the poker world, about a century ago, was quite humble. It is acknowledged, today, that the city where the game was invented was Robstown, Texas. It surely is a great claim to fame for this tiny town with a population of 11,487 and a total area of 31 square kilometers!

There is no real research into the exact conditions of the invention of the game nor any details about its infancy and baby steps. However, it is documented that the game was confined in the Lone Star State until 1967, when it was introduced to Las Vegas.

The Vegas Days

It did not turn out to exactly be “the rest is history”. During its first years in Vegas, Texas Holdem lived up to the hype of the later slogan “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”, by staying in only one casino in Vegas. “The Golden Nugget” was its name, a casino not really attracting the crème de la crème of the high stake players.

So, the game was basically in a status of relative obscurity, waiting for its moment. It did come, in 1969, when a Texas Holdem Tournament was held in the lobby of the glamorous “The Dune” casino. Right on The Strip, right on target! The tournament proved to be a huge success with high rollers and suddenly the popularity of the game increased exponentially.

Other milestones

More than half of a century ago, the World Series of Poker was introduced to the world. And since 1971, only in the second year of the Series, the main event of this special tournament has been a game of Texas Holdem, no-limit. This sealed the deal and catapulted the game into the stratosphere of the playing world.

Its rise to center stage was cemented even further buy some literature supporting this beautiful game. Books about popular poker strategies were published in the seventies, revolutionizing the way the game was played. Texas Holdem in just 10 years had become America’s favorite game!

And then came the movies

The excitement of a game of Texas Holdem could not run under the Hollywood radar for long. Movies came out, some of them instant classics, where the game was illustrated in such a way that gave the poker lover one more reason to try Texas Holdem beyond the Texas Holdem strategy and Texas Holdem tips. The game was cool!

The list of movies including poker scenes of Texas Holdem is quite long and includes, among others, the fantastic, 1998 American drama “Rounders”, starring Matt Damon, “Ocean’s Eleven”, the 2001 heist drama, and the class and glamour of James Bond in “Casino Royale”.

The rules

One of the reasons of Texas Holdem’s popularity is the simplicity of its rules. However, it must be noted that the game has been known as the “Thinking Man’s Game”. The rules of the game may be fairly simple, but a good command of a Texas Holdem Strategy is as hard today, as it was a century ago. Texas Holdem online or Texas Holdem brick and mortar make no real difference. The player has to think!

At the start of the game

When you play Texas Holdem poker, you are dealt two cards face down. These are called your “hole cards”. What follows next is the first round of betting, where you can check, bet or fold. This phase of the game is called the “pre-flop” and what you should do here, depends on your hole cards.

When all the betting has finished, three more cards are dealt in the middle of the table, face up. This triad is called “the flop”. Another round of betting follows.

During the game

A fourth shared card is now dealt, called the “Turn”. As you may presume, another round of betting follows. Finally, there is the fifth and final shared card, called “The River” and the final round of betting. Your two hole cards and the five cards in the middle will make the best possible five card poker hand.

Poker hand rankings

If you are not sure about the poker hand rankings, here follows the complete list of the 10 poker hands from highest to lowest:

  1. Royal flush. An ace five-card straight, all in the same suit.
  2. Straight flush. A five-card straight, all in the same suit.
  3. Four of a kind. Four cards of equal value.
  4. Full house. Three cards of one value and a pair of another value.
  5. Flush. Any 5 cards, all of the same suit.
  6. Straight. A five-card straight with different suits.
  7. Three of a kind. Three cards of the same value.
  8. Two pairs. Two cards of one rank and another two cards of another rank.
  9. Pair. Two cards of the same rank.
  10. High card. The highest card (or cards) wins.

So, how do you win?

There are two ways a Texas holdem game can end. The “showdown” is the case where the players turn over their hole cards and the one with the best hand wins. The other way is that a player bets enough that everybody else folds. This is the magic of the game. You don’t need the best hand to win!

If you are serious about winning in Texas Holdem, you must practice a lot. Consider you are at basketball High School level and you want to play in the NBA! How shall you do it? First of all, you can practice with the King Billy Texas Holdem games. We have so many of them, just pick up your table and start!

As you become better and better, you will develop your own Texas Holdem strategy and an intuitive feel of the game. A mathematical mind is a great plus, as well as a poker player mentality. From there, practice, persevere and you may conquer the Texas Holdem world!

Play long and prosper folks!


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