Poker is a game that requires brainpower. If you ask any pro poker player, going to the poker table without any strategy is one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a gambler. And that’s why we’ve crafted today’s beginners’ guide for the Texas Holdem poker game. This strategy guide will give you all the “ammo” you need to take down your opponents in the poker table. Let’s get to it!
How to win at Texas Holdem
We will first go over the basics of Texas Holdem, and then continue with the Do’s and Don’ts.
The Basics of Texas Holdem
Well, before we dive into the details, let’s brush through a few of the basics. Shall we? For starters, Texas Holdem is one of the most popular poker variants in the USA. Here, the dealer issues two cards which are typically referred to as the hole cards to the players face down.
From there the players will then receive five community cards that are dealt face up by the croupier in three stages; players receive three cards in the first stage known as the flop and one more card in each of the remaining two stages known as a fourth street/the turn and fifth street/the river respectively.
The main aim of the game is for one of the participants to get the best hand composed of 5 cards from any 7-card combination dealt. As you play, you will have choices like to fold, raise, call and check depending on your hand. The betting rounds begin before the croupier deals the flop and continue after every deal.
To win the game eventually, you should have the best hand without folding, and you’ll receive all the cash wagered for the current hand; this is referred to as the pot.
Texas Holdem Do’s & Don’ts
Like any other poker variant, if you want to win at Texas Holdem, you must observe poker etiquette as well. Therefore, here are some of the do’s and don’ts revolving around this card game that you should know about;
Remember, while many of these pointers apply to the land-based settings, they could also come in handy even when you are playing online.
- Wait for your turn
Every time you are on a poker table, make sure that you wait for your turn before playing your hand. This means that you need to pay attention to the game and don’t bet, call, fold your hand or raise until it is your turn to do so. If you accidentally act out of your turn once or twice just apologize to the everybody on the table. But if you keep acting when it is not your turn, it creates a real problem on the table, therefore, causing negative tension among players.
- Always protect your hand
While it is your turn to play, it is your responsibility to protect all the cards you are having. This means that you shouldn’t let anyone see them at all costs. Also, ensure that your cards don’t get placed in the muck accidentally. Moreover, as you play, keep your cards close to you but never take them off the poker table. You can do this by placing a small token like a chip on top of your cards while the hand is in action.
- Show one, show all
This is always a rule in all the card-rooms people play poker. It means that whenever you chose to show your cards to any of the players on the table, you must show it all to everybody after the hand is done.
- Point out mistakes if you see one
When you play poker, it is imperative that you point out the mistakes whenever you see one. This normally doesn’t happen, but sometimes the dealer might misread the cards and declare the wrong person as the winner. Or sometimes the player can count the chip wrongly leading to devastating losses to them. Whenever you see this happening, don’t be afraid to speak up.
- Be gracious when you win and accept when you lose
If you land a big winning, just be proud but never gloat. No good comes with mocking other players who have lost to you. If your opponent has just taken a huge loss, just try and deal with it gracefully. Likewise, you should never throw any tantrums if you end up losing.
- Dress Sensibly
Whenever you are going to a poker table, don’t wear anything that might be offensive to other players on the table. For example, a T-Shirt with an offensive slogan, or clothes that are just too revealing.
- Know the rules
If you are a beginner, it is imperative that you go to the Texas Holdem table when you are fully prepared to play the game. This also includes table manners as well; for instance, knowing how you declare your bets and the general lingo of the game.And when it comes to the rules of the gameplay, you need to familiarize yourself with all the poker rules first so that you don’t get any unpleasant surprises when you play. Going to the poker table while you are unprepared can lead to huge losses.
- Watch your opponents while they play
Each time your opponent’s stay in hand, you need to watch their facial and body movements. Check their nonverbal cues when they are bluffing and when they have the nuts, i.e. the best cards possible for the community cards. These will help you make the right moves depending on your current hand.
Texas Holdem Don’ts
Now that you know what to do, here’s what you shouldn’t do at the poker table in the Texas Holdem game;
- Don’t take too much time when it is your turn
When it is your turn to play, don’t take too much time to think about your next move. It tremendously slows down the game. If you do it every time you play, it will antagonize the rest of the players on the table. But whenever you need a few extra minutes in deciding, you can call out loud the word “time,” and the table will patiently wait for you.
- Don’t splash the pot
Each time you are adding your chips to the pot, you should just stack them in front of you and put them where the dealer can reach them. Let the dealer mingle them with other chips so that you don’t throw them into the pot yourself. This allows the dealer to see how much your bet has raised.
- Never string-raise
String-raising is when a player puts only enough chips for calling the bet and then goes back to their stack to get more chips for raising their bets. You should never do this at the Texas Holdem table. If you are planning to raise your bets, the chips for both the call and the raise must all be put in one single motion. Otherwise, you must call out “raise” before you have put out any of your chips.
- Don’t Talk About your cards while the hand is still in progress
While the hand is in progress, don’t speak about your cards. For instance, if you end up folding 9-7 off-suit before the flop, and then the flop comes down to 9-9-9, don’t start telling everyone how you could have made a four-of-a-kind. Just wait till the hand is over and talk about it.
- Don’t create disturbance in the middle of the game
Creating disturbance will help you with nothing except looking silly and ‘contaminating’ atmosphere of the game at the same time. In some poker tables, causing a disturbance is how you get thrown out of the casino. Therefore, if you ever feel like your temper is taking over you, just take a break and walk around the casino until you cool off. By doing this, you will save money, grief and whenever you feel ready, you can still play.
- Don’t Blame the dealer for bad cards
It is not always the dealer’s fault that you are having a bad day or a string of bad luck. The dealer is just on the table doing their job. We understand that sometimes it can get very frustrating if you lose a hand after another. But if you go ahead and do childish things like yelling or throwing the cards to the dealer, it is very rude. Not to mention that you can be thrown out. Therefore, don’t do it!
- Never criticize other players for playing badly.
Other than winning some good amount of money, the majority of the poker participants are there to chill and have a good time as they blow off steam. Some don’t even care about making the clear-cut textbook moves, and most of them like to play on hunches. Don’t start correcting them and criticizing them for what they did wrong. It just makes them feel terrible and, in some cases, they might even leave the casino because you will have ruined their fun.
The Best Texas Holdem Strategies
While many concepts form great poker strategies, the following are some of the best tried and tested Texas Holdem poker strategies for beginner and intermediate players. They are;
- Starting the game with opening hands
In any Texas Holdem game, the hands that you choose to play with are very important. It is said that starting hands are just a single part of the game. A position is also a major factor when it comes to deciding which hands are the best for you to play with.Generally, just widen the range of your starting hands with the purpose of getting closer to the button. Therefore, when selecting an opening hand, you should also take note of how much money it will make you after the flop. Know that you are playing in the dark if you don’t know how to make money with your current hands.
- Bet-sizing with confidence
If you are playing no-limit Texas Holdem cash games, players can bet on whatever they have. With this freedom, many players end up losing a lot of money in the process. Which is why it is important to know all the bet sizing methods you can use while playing Texas Holdem. Here are some pointers for bet-sizing like a pro;
- Bet Sizing – Pre-Flop;
You and other participants should be able to follow what happens in your table as you play. As a beginner, if the pre-flop raise is 2.5XBB, this is definitely the line you should be taking. Also, your bet size should be understandable to your opponents. If you make unusual bet patterns, you are making it harder for your opponents to make a decision. This makes it harder for your opponents to think.
- Bet Sizing – Post Flop:
A continuation bet is always necessary if you were to raise a pre-flop. Besides, you should always size your continuation bet in between 50% to 70% of the pot. This is because the size of your bet will always determine the strength of your hand. And it normally applies whenever you are playing at a lower level.
In the process of playing with the continuation bet, you want your opponents to think that you have already won. If you bet small, you could end up with a re-raise or a check-raise as per your position. Bet too big, and you could end up being pot-committed to a hand that is probably going to lose.
- Bet sizing – bluffs:
For instance, you want to bluff in a $50 pot, and you have a feeling that your opponent will fold, betting hat $50 you could land in trouble when this guy decides to call. This will be a poor bet if your opponent ends up folding to a $25 bet. That’s because if the bluff fails, you will lose an extra $25, unnecessarily; so, know when to bluff and whether or not it will cost you in case things don’t go your way.
- Limping is not advisable
Here are some of the reasons why limping is not advisable:
- If you limp more than the raise, you are playing too many weak hands. So, if you can’t raise them, fold them.
- Limping into a pot may put you in a post-flop position where you are in the face of several opponents with a run-of-the-mill hand. And the fact that you don’t have any idea what everyone else is holding is not a wise move.
- Limping into the pots when you are out of position, can be very risky.
- Know when to fold
This is a very critical part of winning poker games. Majority of bad players don’t know when to fold thus costing them a lot in a poker table. It is usually the act of folding that will conveniently keep your bankroll intact.
Online Texas Holdem
With the rapid growth of the internet, Texas Holdem has become very popular among all variants of poker. The ability to play online from the comfort of your house or apartment from your computer or mobile is the best development ever made for fans of this game. Before you can start playing online Texas Holdem poker, here are some few things you need to learn about it;
Free Games and Free Rolls
What’s better about playing poker online versus gaming on land, is that there is a lot of free stuff to be salvaged. You can play free games which are very useful in building your skills. Other than that, as you play in major poker rooms, you will come across lots of freerolls and many other amazing promotions
Real Money Stakes
When playing online, there are three different types of real money stakes in Texas Holdem you should know about. These are;
- Micro Limits
After you have mastered all the poker moves from the free poker tournaments, you should consider going for the Micro Limits Texas Holdem tables. It is a great place to start sharpening your skills further. These limits start from as low as 0.01 or 0.02 in some poker rooms. Others, on the other hand, can be played with $1 or less.
- Low Limits
At the Low Limits table, players are familiarizing themselves with the real-money plays. Here you will find players placing bets amounting to $100 or $ 200 because they are more confident with the moves they are making as they play.
- High Limits
At this limit, you are playing with a great deal of money such that pots can reach up to thousands of dollars. This is usually the go-to choice for high-rollers and VIP players in online casinos.
Texas Holdem Apps
Because it is now possible to play Texas Holdem from your mobile device, there are several apps created specifically for poker. Players using Android and iOS devices are the luckiest because these native apps are crafted for their operating systems. The top 3 apps for enjoying Texas Holdem on the go are;
- Pala Poker
- PokerStars Poker