Five Quick Tips—How to Play Texas Hold’em Poker

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Five Quick Tips

HOW TO PLAY TEXAS HOLD’EM

A community card game that originated in Texas, Texas Hold’em has managed to achieve unprecedented popularity after only a few decades of existence. Thanks to the poker boom of the early 2000s, Hold’em is now the most played form of poker in the world and the standard game offered at every casino, both online and traditional land-based establishments. You will have absolutely no trouble finding an active game. Here are five quick tips to help you play Texas Hold’em.

1. PICK YOUR OPPONENTS CAREFULLY

Texas Hold’em has the benefit of having a near limitless player pool. There are always people looking for a game, which means you can afford to be a bit choosy with who you play against. Ideally, you want to be up against players who are either new to the game or less skillful than you. Playing against loose wild amateurs who you can bully and outmaneuver with your superior skill is far more likely to result in wins than playing with solid regular players. Look for tables with people who overplay, underplay, limp into hands, call out of turn, fold the nuts and any other beginner mistakes.

2. PLAY POSITION

Playing position in poker is never a bad idea. That’s to say it’s always a great idea. Play most of your hands when you are first or last to act. It gives you a slight advantage over your opponents by allowing you to set the tone of the round, with a big play, or watch how everyone else acts before deciding what you want to do. It's not always possible to play in position, you can get dealt high-ranked cards at any time, but where possible, you should look to play in position.

3. AVOID SHOWING YOUR CARDS WHERE POSSIBLE

Unless the rules dictate you must show your hand, don’t ever willingly show your cards to the rest of the table. Every time you do, it's providing information to your opponents about your playstyle—what hands you bluff with and what hands you make large plays with. Obviously, there will be some occasions, like during the showdown, where you must show your cards to win the pot, but in every other situation don’t show your cards. Showing your hand when you don’t need to gives away free information, and can hurt your success in future hands.

4. STAY DISCIPLINED NO MATTER WHAT

Discipline is an important trait if you want to succeed at the poker tables. There will be occasions when you are constantly dealt low-ranked cards and are forced to sit on the sidelines, folding hand after hand. In these situations, you need the discipline to hold off and avoid playing your low-ranked cards. Playing weak hands to suppress your boredom will cost you chips and possibly cause you to go on tilt. Eventually, the small losses will add up and you will find yourself with no stack left when you start getting dealt decent hands again.

5. PLAY YOUR POCKET PAIRS AGGRESSIVELY

Statistically, the odds of getting a pocket pair sits at around 6 per cent, which works out to be roughly once every 17 hands, so you will get them relatively often. A good pocket pair can be very profitable, but usually only when they are played with a certain level of aggression.

When you are first or last to act, or if the play is still quite low when it's your turn to act, make a large play, at least ten times the big blind. The goal should be to proceed to the later rounds with only two other opponents or end the round immediately. The longer the round continues, the higher likelihood of someone hitting a hand that will beat your pockets. Stay aggressive throughout, either raise the bet or fold

Now get out there and hold’em.