Texas Hold Em Rules

Hold "˜Em is the game played at WSOP and is easy to learn. It is a card game with rules so straightforward anyone can play.

As The World Series of Poker (WSOP) has become more popular, so has Texas Hold "˜Em. Hold "˜Em is the game played at WSOP and is easy to learn. It is a card game with rules so straightforward anyone can play.

A player makes his or her best hand out of seven cards. Two of the seven cards are in the player's hand. The other five are community cards that the dealer turns up. All players still in the game use three or more of the community cards to make their best hands. The player with the strongest hand wins the pot (Minus a take for the casino).

The Play

In Texas Hold "˜Em, as other casino poker games, the casino dealer keeps the cards and deals each hand. So, to keep track of the "dealer" position among players, a button is rotated clockwise around the table, changing one position after each hand is completed. In Hold "˜Em, a casino's rules often call for one or two blinds rather than an ante. If is common for a game to have two required blinds to the left of the dealer position. The first is the small blind and is half the size of the second, the large blind. These specifics may vary depending upon the individual casino. After blinds are placed, play begins.



The casino dealer deals two cards face down to each player. A round of betting commences, beginning with the player to the left of the blinds. After all bets, raises, and folds are completed, the first of the community cards are dealt.

The first three community cards are turned up all at once and are called "the flop". The flop is often the turning point in the game, determining who will stick it out to see the last two cards. A round of betting occurs immediately after the flop. Most players fold here if the flop did not fit with their hand.

The fourth community cards is called "the turn". As in previous plays, bets are placed.

Finally, the fifth and final community card is turned over. This card is commonly called "the river". The last round of betting is complete then the players turn over their cards. The player with the highest hand wins.

Strategy

The rules of Texas Hold "˜Em are deceptively simple. While anyone can easily learn the rules of the game, consistently winning takes a combination of skill, psychology, and luck. Several experts on the game have written excellent books explaining Texas Hold "˜Em tactics and strategy - David Sklansky, Mason Malmuth, Lou Krieger, and Lee Jones among them. All would agree that many factors determine best play strategy for a particular hand. Even with perfect play, hoever, lady luck sometimes intervenes to give a long-shot hand the win.

Some of the factors affecting the "correct" way to play a hand include:

Position

Your position relative to the "dealer" determines how strong your hand should be to remain in the game. Late position hands, to the right of the dealer, get to bet after most other players have placed bets or folded. Because late position has more information than early position, it is often safe to bet with a weaker hand. In early position, a bet is more at risk since there are many others, with potentially strong hands, that have not yet bet.

The Number of Opponents

The same hand will be played differently against one opponent than against several. The expected winnings go up for some hands against fewer players. The opposite is also true. Professional players adjust their play according to the number of opponents.

Opponent's Playing Style

Knowing the playing style of your opponents will also affect your play. Notice if an opposing player unconsciously changes posture or has a mannerism when he/she has a good hand. Also, if a player bets aggressively on relatively weak hands you may stay in against him/her where against a less aggressive player you may fold with the same hand. There are many intricacies to knowing your opponents. The better you are at reading them, the more you will win.

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