A Beginner’s Guide to Texas Holdem Poker
By Alex J. Coyne (c) Great Bridge Links 2021
Poker is one of the world’s most popular and widely enjoyed card games. Casual games, poker rooms, and online poker attracts millions of card players every year. Celebrities and pop-culture icons are also known to love the game, with fans like Matt Damon, Jennifer Tilly, and Tobey Macguire a regular sight at tournaments. If you’ve never played poker before, now is one of the best times to learn how!
Want to know how to play Texas Holdem poker? Looking for online poker rooms, free online poker games, or poker tournaments? Think you could make it as a professional poker player someday?
Here’s a starting guide that’ll tell you everything you should know.
Why Play Texas-Style?
Texas-based Crandell Addington once said of Holdem, “This was more of a thinking man’s game.”
While other forms of the game were over fast, Holdem brought added complexity and strategy. Games included more cards, and players increased their betting turns.
The game spread to the California Club in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1963. Other casinos including The Golden Nugget, Stardust, and Dunes would introduce poker rooms, too.
It’s popular today because anyone can learn how to play Texas Holdem (but it doesn’t guarantee you’ll win the pot). It’s easy, difficult, and competitive all at the same time.
Dealers & Blinds: The Basics of Holdem
The Stages Of Poker
A round of Texas Holdem is played in different stages, with betting rounds.
- Showdown (All Cards Face-Up)
The Dealer Button
A game of Texas Holdem starts with a dealer button. This indicates which player acts as dealer for this round.
The Big & Small Blinds
Clockwise to the dealer is the Small Blind. Next to this player is the Big Blind. Blinds are the game’s first compulsory bets. The Small/Big Blind have to place their initial bet before hole cards can be dealt to each player. These bets are defined by the game’s stakes.Dealing The Different Stages Of Holdem
A quick explanation of poker’s different stages follows below:
- Players receive two face-down cards, or hole cards (the Pre-Flop).
2. The dealer deals three community cards, called the Flop.
3. The dealer deals the fourth community card, called the Turn.
4. The dealer deals the fifth community card, called the River.
5. The game can proceed to a showdown, where all players turn their cards face-up for comparison with the overall table-hand.
The Basics of Betting in Holdem
Betting starts once players have been dealt their hole cards. Betting rounds occur between each different stage (Blinds/Pre-Flop/Flop/Turn/River). Players can bet, call, fold, or raise as their option continuing the game. Bets will increase the pot.
The last-standing player or best-ranked poker hand receives the pot.
Play moves to the next round, usually with the dealer button moving one player clockwise.
Online Poker Links
Looking for the best sites to learn or play online poker? Need free poker websites to practice your game first? Here’s where to find some of the best online poker rooms and tournaments.
- The Monster Jam Poker Tour
The Monster Jam Poker Tour is one of the largest physical poker tournaments in South Africa. Incorporating the Wild Coast Sun, the tournament draws a huge international crowd of players and spectators.
- Play WSOP
The official website for the World Series of Poker (WSOP) offers free online poker games, poker games online for cash, and entry into larger online poker tournaments. It’s one of the world’s largest poker sites, and a must-visit for any serious poker fans.
- Zynga Poker
Zynga Poker is social media-driven, and has grown to one of the largest websites in free and paid poker games. Look here for online poker practice, live poker games with other players, and more serious online poker tournaments.
- 247 Free Poker
247 Free Poker is one of the best sites for entirely free online poker games. Several different games are available including Holdem, most of them played right in your browser.
- Arkadium: Free Online Poker Games
Arkadium is a free Flash browser game website with thousands of available options. Their page for poker offers a list of free online games, including varieties of Holdem and Stud.
Photo by Oveth Martinez on Unsplash