Tuesday, February 10, 2009


There are many different styles of poker games you can play in live casinos and
online, but of all the styles played today, none is more popular than Texas

Texas Hold’em has received much of its popularity from certain hit TV shows such
as the Traveler’s Channel World Poker Tour, and ESPN’s World Series of Poker.
However, aside from these exciting shows, Hold’em has gained popularity
because it is one of the easiest games to learn, the hands are fast, and the stakes
are high. Thus, many novice players have come to realize that as long as one
masters the skill of the game, there is a lot of money waiting to be won in the
world of Texas Hold’em poker.

If you are interested in such money making opportunities, or a chance to improve
upon your Texas Hold’em poker game, this book is exactly what you need to get
started in the right direction. Nevertheless, understand that although this book
will provide you with the basic rules, as well as strategies for you to keep in mind
and apply to your game, playing Texas Hold’em, or any poker game for that
matter, takes much more than luck – it takes dedication.

The skill you need to become a good poker player can only be learned through
practice, patience and observation. Therefore, if you ever hope to win at poker or
become a champion, you’re going to need to learn how to play like the pros.

So what’s their secret? For starters, not only have they developed their own
poker strategies, but they understand that although knowing how to play their
cards is important, the real talent is playing the other players. Professionals
study their fellow opponents, and come to know how the other players will react
during game play. This gives them an advantage over the other players, because
a pro will know how to weed conservative players out of the pot, or keep the
juvenile player in the hand for as long as they can, so he can milk these hot-
heads for all they’re worth.

Since that is the case, how you gain the advantage over your fellow opponents
will vary depending on if you are playing poker live or online. One of the biggest
problems many players who engage in online poker fail to realize, is that while

the games follow the same rules and similar strategies of live play, the fact that
you can not see the other players makes gaining the upper hand over them
difficult, especially if you don’t know how to apply the right psychology.

Why? Think about it: In a live poker game you can see the facial expressions,
and the reactions of the other players. This allows you to gain a pretty good idea
of the type of player they are, as well as how they play their cards by simply
observing their body language. However, when playing online, you do not have
the luxury of relying on the reactions of your opponents, which means that in
order to figure out the type of players you are up against, you need to mentally
pay attention to the decisions they make in the game, and observe how they
communicate when you converse with them online.

For the purpose of this guide, we will be focusing primarily on the tactics related
to online Texas Hold’em game play. This focus will help you gain a better
understanding of how to not only effectively play against other online players by
learning the online psychology of good game play, but also how to use these skills
to win.

Taking your online Texas Hold’em poker playing abilities to the next level is
possible, and this book is here to show you how you can make this goal a reality.
Within its pages you will find the rules, strategies and fantastic tips related to
online poker and Texas Hold’em. You will even discover the different types of
players you should watch out for, as well as fantastic strategy tools that can help
you uncover the odds, providing you with a better shot at winning the pot.

So without taking up anymore of your precious time, let’s get started.

Relax, get comfortable and get ready, because it’s time to take your online Texas
Hold’em game to the next level.

Have fun, and good Luck!
( but if you read this book you’ll realize luck really isn’t a
major factor when it comes to being a killer poker player! )
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Before we turn our attention towards Texas Hold’em and the strategies you can
apply to your online poker experiences, it is important that you understand the
differences between online and live poker, as well as the advantages of playing

Now more than ever, people are choosing to take part in online poker instead of
going to a casino. One of the major reasons is because visiting an online poker
site is far easier and handier than going to a live casino. Imagine, instead of
having to travel outside of your home to a busy, noisy casino, you can relax and
experience just as much poker enjoyment in the virtual world with a simple
“click” of your mouse.

Here are just a few main highlights of the advantages of online poker:
You can play at any time of the day or night from the comfort of your own
home or place of choosing at your convenience.
You can play against players from all over the world.
You can play for fun.
You can use special strategy tools to assist you when you play.
You don’t have to worry about the other opponent’s seeing your expression
or hearing your comments during a hand.

To further appreciate the advantages of playing online, we’ll take a closer look at
the differences between live and online poker. Following are some notable

Perhaps the single most obvious difference between live and online poker is the
fact that at a live poker table, players are physically present and can therefore
see the moves of their opponents, their emotions, as well as their reactions. This
makes playing live poker far more challenging than online, because players
always need to be conscious of what their opponents are doing, and if they are
being watched. Moreover players need to have control over their body language
emotions and expressions, as sudden reactions or nervous gestures or
movements can often be a dead giveaway to an experienced player.

When playing poker online, however, players do not need to concern themselves
with physical control. You can scream, yell, laugh and make any expression you
want, because even though your family, pets or neighbors may hear or see you
and possibly think you’re crazy, your opponents can only judge you by the way
you converse over a chat dialogue, and by the moves you make in the game.

What’s more is when you play online you don’t have to worry about following a
dress code, which is required at many live casinos. Therefore, whether you feel
inspired to dress to the nines, wear your pajamas or –heaven forbid- your
birthday suit, the point is you can wear whatever you want…just try not to freak
out your neighbours too much!

Generally there are lower limits in online poker rooms than in live casinos. Of
course, there are certain internet casinos that offer tables with higher limits, but
there is usually enough diversity in table limits, to suit the budget of any player.
Furthermore, the lower limit tables makes online poker an ideal environment for
players to learn, develop, and try out new strategies without feeling as though
they are taking a huge gambling risk. Thus, there is no worry of losing a
substantial amount of money when practicing your skills online.

When it comes to choosing poker games and betting limits, no live casino can
provide you with the variety you will find online. Choosing a desired poker table
is important for all players, because it is essential that you feel comfortable while
playing. Online poker rooms allow you the chance of selecting a table with a
betting limit that you deem most suitable for your budget and expertise. You will
also discover that finding a seat at an online poker table of your choosing is far
easier and more probable than in a live casino. Just check out the hundreds of
tables to choose from at www.pokerrewards.com

It is not possible for any players participating in online poker to break the rules of
conduct that apply to the game. Due to computer technology and gaming
software, no player has the ability to see their opponent’s cards, show their cards
to other players, place string bets or act out of turn during a hand. The software
will only permit the conduct that his been programmed to occur, and for the
standard online casino or poker site, this means that you are entitled to see the
number of players taking part in the hand, the money amount of each player, and
the total sum of money that accumulates in the pot. On the other hand, in a live
casino, players can break conduct rules, cause disruptions and stall the hand.

Due to the fact that online poker can be played in the comfort and privacy of your
own home or place of choosing, you can use a variety of special tools and
programs such as calculators, charts and tables when playing a game. The
purpose of these devices is to assist you in finding out the best odds in the hand.
Although they are not considered cheating, and while some are even permitted in
a live casino, the beauty of using these helpful tools online is that no one else can
see you, and therefore no one can judge your actions or intimidate you when you

When it comes to fast hands, live poker doesn’t even compare to online poker.
Online poker games are substantially shorter than those played in a live casino.
The major reasons are due to the fact that internet players continually hop from
table to table, and hands are much shorter as rounds are quick because of
computer software, and players can not see their opponents. This allows online
players the freedom to participate in games for as long or as little as they wish.
Therefore, while one player may only be interested in playing a single game for a
few minutes, another may wish to spend an hour or longer.

A live poker game, however, may last for hours, and this is because the average
round during a hand can last anywhere from 10-20 minutes depending on the
number of players involved in the hand.

Overall, the experiences provided by both live and online poker tables are equally
social, enjoyable and rewarding for players. Furthermore, each environment
requires players to adapt to a different style of game play that is often
challenging and involves skill. However, when it comes down to it, nothing beats
the advantages of comfort, convenience and choice that you will only find with
online poker.
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Have you ever caught yourself racking your brain every now and again trying to
remember the basic rules of poker hands, or forgetting what poker hand beats
what? Don’t worry; this is a common concern among many novice players and
even effects intermediate players from time to time.

Regardless of what player category you fit into, let’s face it; you need to know
the basics of poker in order to really dig your heels into the sport of Texas
Hold’em, or any other style of poker game for that matter. Thus, whether this is
your first time learning about the possible winning poker hands, or you are simply
in need of a little refresher course, here is what you need to know.

First and for most, a standard 52-card deck is used in every poker game,
regardless of the number of players, or the style of game that is being played.
The standard deck features the following cards starting with the highest rank to
the lowest as listed below:

* Ace
* King
* Queen
* Jack
* 10
* 9
* 8
* 7
* 6
* 5
* 4

* 3
* 2
* Ace (an ace can count as both a low or high card)

Each rank is featured in the same 4 equal suits:
♠ Spade
♦ Diamonds
♥ Hearts
♣ Clubs

The object is to achieve the highest hand by obtaining one of the winning card
combinations listed below in the table. Note, the following list begins with
the highest and ends with the lowest possible winning hand:

Royal Flush
Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10 of the same suit
(A♠, K♠, Q♠, J♠, 10♠)

Straight Flush
5 consecutive cards of the same suit
(5, 6, 7, 8, 9)

Four of a Kind
4 cards with the same value
(8, 8♣, 8, 8♠)

Full House
3 of a kind and a pair, with the 3 of a kind valued first
(7, 7♣, 7 - 4♠, 4♣)

Any 5 different cards of the same suit
(3, 5, 7, 9, J)

5 cards of any suit in consecutive order
(7♣, 8, 9♣, 10, J♠)

Three of a Kind
3 cards with the same face value
(10♠, 10, 10)

Two Pair
2 sets of pairs
(2♣, 2 - 6, 6)

One Pair
2 cards with the same face value
(3♠, 3)

If none of the above hands are achieved within a game, the player with the
highest card wins. Additionally, In the event that two players have the same
hand, the player with the highest card wins.

Now that you have familiarized yourself with the types of hands you are trying to
obtain to win the pot, it’s time to learn or “refresh” your memory on how to play
Texas Hold’em.

Of all the games played in card rooms today, Texas Hold’em is by far the most
popular game, and one of the easiest to learn, making it both fun and rewarding
to play. The object of the game is to make the strongest 5 card hand by using a
combination of your 2 hole cards and the 5 community cards on the table.

When playing Texas Hold’em online, every player will have a turn at using the
dealer button, which enables them to act as the virtual dealer. In addition each
player will be required to post blinds at one time or another.

The rules of Hold’em take only a few minutes of your time to learn. Once you
have them down you’ll never forget them, and can begin focusing your energies
on learning, using and developing your own strategies.
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Number of Players - 2 – 10
If a Hold’em game consists only of two players it is referred to as a “heads up”

Dealer Button (“Button”, “Buck”, “Puck”) - This is a device that is used in
online poker rooms to mark the dealer among the players for each hand. The

dealer button is a small disk that is marked with the letter “D”. The dealer button
is not only essential to the players so they know who is dealing, but also because
the two players to the left of the dealer must post the two blinds in the game.
After the completion of each hand, the dealer button moves to the left.

Blinds - In games with blinds, there are two blinds posted – the small blind (half
of the minimum level bet) and the big blind (the full minimum bet). Before the
game begins, the small blind is posted by the first player closest to the dealers
left, and the big blind is posted by the player to the left of the small blind player.

The purpose of the blinds is to make it so that there is money in the pot before
the game starts. That way the betting can begin, encouraging players to take
part in the hand. It also means that no one will walk away empty-handed should
the hand end quickly.

The size of the blinds is determined by the limits of each table. Therefore if you
are playing at a $4/$8 table, and the typical small blind is half the minimum bet,
the small blind will be $2, and the big blind will be the full minimum bet of $4.

Betting Structure - The betting structure is the same for every table. The only
aspect that will change is the amount of money involved, which will correspond to
the limits for the table you choose to play at. For the purpose of this chart we
will use the $4/$8 table example:

Small/Big 1st Round 2nd Round 3rd Round Final Round
$4/$8 $4 $4 $8 $8

Note: For each round of betting, there is a limit of 1 bet and 3 raises.
Therefore, in the $4/$8 example, betting would be restricted to a total of
$16 in rounds 1 and 2, and $32 in rounds 3 and 4.

Hole Cards
- Also known as “pocket” cards, hole cards are those dealt to each
player and are face down, so that only the player can see these cards.

The Flop
- These are the first three community cards issued by the dealer.
Turn - The fourth community card that is dealt
River - The fifth and final community card to be dealt


As soon as a dealer has been selected and the blinds posted, the game begins
with the dealer dealing each player two hole cards clockwise round the table.
Once this is complete, the first round of betting starts and things begin to get

At this point of the game, players must carefully consider their hole cards and
determine if they have potential. Betting commences with the player to the
immediate left of the big blind player, and follows clockwise round the table.

In this betting round, each player, with the possible exception of the player who
posted the big blind, may either choose to fold (quit the game), call (meet the
bet) or raise, increasing the big blind to a full bet. If players still left in the
round choose to only call the big blind, then the player who originally posted the
big blind is the only player who has the option to check (stay in the game
without calling or raising) their own blind.

Players wager using the smaller level of the stakes at the table (Note: Refer to
the section about betting structure listed above to see the example about the
limits and rules for the betting rounds).

By this point of the game, the excitement increases as the dealer deals the first
three community cards face up on the board (the middle of the table). Now
players can use these three communal cards in combination with their two hole
cards to determine their hand possibilities.

For this round, betting commences with the first player closest to the dealers left
(it doesn’t matter if the dealer folds, betting always commences with the player
closest to their left) and continues clockwise round the table. Betting follows the
same structure as in the first round, with players able to fold, call, and raise. The

first player to make a wager may check, and if no other raises are made, the
other players may check also.

Like the first round, players wager using the smaller level of stakes at the table.

Round 3 – THE TURN
Once the second betting round has come to an end, the dealer deals the fourth
community card on the board. Now the game becomes even tenser as the
players left in the game now have 6 cards to work with.

The third betting round follows the same as the second betting round, with the
exception that now players must wager using the higher level of the stakes at the

At this point of the game, palms really start to sweat as the fifth and final
community card is dealt on the board. Players now have all 7 cards at their
disposal, and must make the best possible 5-card hand.

Betting commences as it did in the last round, with the higher level of stakes at
the table making up the wager.

Here it is, the moment every player waits for – when their blood runs cold with
defeat or pumps hot with the victory!

Each player left in the hand show their cards, beginning with the last player to bet
and continuing in that pattern. During the showdown players may also choose to
“muck” (fold out of the game, without showing their cards) their hand.

If in the event, a player wins by default, which means that every other player in
the hand folded, no showdown will occur, and the winner is given the option to
show their cards or not. For the most part, players choose not to show their
winning hand, as it adds to the drama of the game, and keeps the other
opponents guessing what the great hand was.

1. The player with the best hand, in accordance with the poker hands listed in
the “Basic Poker Rules” section of this book, is declared the winner by the
computer software, and takes the pot.

2. If it happens that two players have identical winning hands, they are both
declared the winners and the pot is split evenly between them.

3. If the 5 community cards make the best possible hand, the pot will be split
evenly among all players still left within the hand. When this occurs, it is
known as “the board plays”.
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There are three different types of limit games you can play in Texas Hold’em –

1. Fixed-Limit
2. Pot-Limit
3. No- Limit
A fixed limit game means that during each betting round, limits are placed on the
bets. Thus, a $4/$8 fixed limit table means that during the first two rounds of
betting the maximum bet any player can make is $4, and in the last two rounds
of betting the maximum bet is $8.

During each round of betting, only three raises are allowed, and each raise can
not exceed the betting limit for that round. Therefore, on the first round the
player entitled to the first bet may fold, call or bet $4. The second player, after
the first bet has been made, may fold, call the $4, or raise another $4, which
would make the bet total to $12. If another player decides to make one more
raise, it would be the third and final raise for the round totaling the bet to $16.
After this raise, all the remaining players in the round may either fold, or call.
The same method works for the last two rounds with the max bet of $8, making
the total bet for these rounds no more than $32.
If you are a beginner player, or would like to keep your budget capped, playing
Texas Hold’em at a fixed limit table is a good idea, as it will help you to stay in
control over your losses and improve your game before you start to play with the
big fish. (Note the fixed limit style game was the betting example used in
the above Texas Hold’em rules)

A pot limit Texas Hold’em game begins with a minimum bet designated by the
table which is posted by the big blind. However, as the game gets underway,
players who make a raise can not make one smaller than double the amount of
the previous bet, or one larger than the total money amount in the pot during
any time of the game. Thus, if there is $100 in the pot and the previous bet
before yours is $20, than the minimum raise you could make is $40, and the
maximum raise would be $100.

The only exception to this pot limit betting rule is the all-in. An all-in is when a
player chooses to wager all of his or her remaining chips. For example, should a
player choose to wager all their chips as a raise, but the total amount of their
chips is smaller than the minimum bet, their wager will still count, because the
player has no more chips to offer.
As far as pot limit game goes, there is much more flexibility when it comes to
betting, compared to a fixed limit game. Furthermore, players have more liberty
to use strategies that involve bluffing, and more risky techniques. For this
reason, pot limit games aren’t always the best choice for beginners or
apprehensive players. However, if you are determined to give it a go, try to
enter a pot limit game where the buy-in is reasonably low.

Like the pot limit Texas Hold’em game, the only time a no limit game is
designated by a wager at the table is the minimum bet which is posted by the big
blind. After this initial betting takes place, the minimum raise graduates to
double the amount of the previous bet. However, unlike pot limit games, the
maximum raise is all the chips you have. This means that in a no limit game,
players can wager all of their chips at any point during the game. Players can
raise as much as they like, as long as it does not exceed their total number of
chips, and it is double the amount of the last bet.

If players choose to go all-in, or if they run out of chips they can not be “bet out”
of a hand, just as in the pot limit game. However, if a player runs out of their
chips before the game is finished, a “side pot” is established if there is more than
one player with chips still remaining in the hand. The players who have no more
chips, or who have gone all-in can not win any more than the amount that they
are “in” for. That is why the side pot is created for the remaining players with
chips (Note, this also applies to pot limit games).

There is no question that the no limit game is the most exciting of all limit games,
however, usually only professionals participate in no limit games because the
stakes are so high, and you need exceptional skill in order to win the pot. In fact
it is the no limit style game that is used in The World Series of Poker
championship tournament.

It is essential that you choose the limit game that is most suitable to your skills
as a player. Always know the type of game you are playing as well as the stakes
involved at a table before joining the game. Usually the higher the stakes are,
the better the players you are up against. Take it slow and stick to fixed limit
games before you decide to take big risks.

Just like live casinos, the vast majority of online poker rooms include rakes with
their games. A rake is a profit the house makes from a percentage of money that
is taken from the pot. In some cases, the percentage of the rake may be a
predetermined amount, while in other cases it may depend on the size of the pot.
Therefore, find out if there is a rake and how it works at the online casino or
poker site of your choosing.

Although rare, in some online Texas Hold’em games, especially during
tournaments, players are required to place an ante. An ante is a specific amount
of money which each player must put into the pot before the start of every game.
Unlike the blinds however, the ante is not recognized as a bet during the hand.
However, regardless if there happens to be an ante or not, blinds are still posted
in Hold’em games.
Alright, so now that you know how to play Texas Hold’em,
and are aware of the different stakes involved, it’s time to
learn strategies so that you can develop the skills
to be the last player standing after showdown
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There are many strategies that you can learn when playing Texas Hold’em, and
due to the fact that there are so many, for the purpose of this guide what you will
find are the essential tips and tactics you should keep in mind when playing.
After all, becoming a good Hold’em player is about using your strategies to
determine when you should “hold’em” or “fold’em”.

Knowing whether you should fold or stay in the hand is based on two vital

1. the 5 community cards
2. the 2 hole cards

In other words, the strategies you use are linked to your two hole cards, because
they determine the potential of your starting hand, as well as the community
cards, because they are apart of yours and every other players possible victory.
Thus, evaluating your Hold’em game takes practice, and the decisions you will
make during each hand will depend on different factors such as:

→ Your starting hand
→ The number of players in the game
→ The community cards
→ How high the limit game is
→ Etc.

Nevertheless, despite the number of players or how high the stakes are, it is your
starting hand which is the major key to your survival.
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