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The basics of texas hold'em poker - game history and tactics

Published on July 30, 2018, 7:20 am

by Jeff Grant Twitter account Jeff Grant LinkedIn account

Popularly known as the 'thinking man’s game’, Texas Hold’em is a variant of card poker that’s widely played in casinos and even online. The goal is for gamers to acquire the best 5 card poker hand from a total of 7 cards available on the table, which include 5 community cards and 2 personal hole cards.

Generally, players compete for a sum of money or chips donated by themselves known as the 'pot’. Each individual seeks to control the total amount available in the pot, which can be done either by holding crucial cards, or predicting what other opponents might be holding and their behavior at the poker table.

WSOP 2018 (main event)
Picture from the World Series of Poker tournament (2018 WSOP main event)

Where did it start?

As the name suggests, this game originated in Texas in a small town called Robstown. It’s widely believed that the game was developed during the early stages of 20th century, where it was simply known as hold’em.

In 1967, it was officially introduced to Las Vegas by a couple of professional players such as Crandell Addington, who described it as a game that gives you opportunities to play strategically. This might be one of the reasons why it took off.

Nonetheless, for the first few years in Las Vegas, you could only access hold’em from a single casino in the city known as The Golden Nugget. It was found in Downtown Vegas and didn’t have many high-stake players. The poker game remained relatively obscure until 1969 when a Texas Hold-em tournament was conducted at The Dunes casino lobby.

Since the event occurred right on The Strip, which is the city’s most vibrant street, it gained prominence and attracted a number of high rollers who went ahead to win big money. This increased the game’s popularity immensely.

How can I play to win?

Just like in other poker games, you need to develop a competitive strategy in order to become successful at Texas Hold-em. It’s important to understand the dynamics that exist between players, odds and the benefits of strategic table position. Below are some strategies you can use to succeed in this game:

  1. Choose your position at the table wisely

Typically, the dealer is the strongest gamer at the table since he/she holds the button and has the capacity to bet last. This allows them to make informed decisions on how to continue playing based on other people’s moves. By sitting at the right side of the dealer, you stand a higher chance of gaining advantage since you can easily raise the bet and knock the dealer off play, thereby setting yourself up as the strongest player on deck.

  1. Know your hand-value and calculate the odds accordingly

After receiving your cards, you need to arrange them correctly based on value. Use the community cards found on the table and the 2 hole cards you’ve been dealt to develop a winning 5-card combination.

Additionally, you should know how to calculate the pot odds in order to increase your winning chances. The easiest way to do this is considering the number of un-known cards, in comparison to cards which are helpful to you. By calculating your odds, you’ll be able to determine when is the right time to play tight and when to put it all off. Only place a gamble when the value of the pot matches with the potential loss.

  1. Determine the appropriate time to call

In Texas hold’em, you can call a reverse-bluff if you have an exceptional hand but want to conceal it so as to raise the stakes for later betting rounds. Another good reason to call is when your odds are pretty impressive and you want to continue playing, but also minimize potential losses.

Additionally, you can call in early to hide your intentions for a later bluff in the game, and make the opponents think you have a better hand than is the actual case.

To conclude, Texas Hold'em is a renowned poker game with a rich history dating back to the small town of Robstown, TX. Though it originated in Texas, the game was made popular in Las Vegas after a hold’em poker tournament was held at The Dunes casino along the famous Strip. When playing this game, you need to come up with a viable strategy in order to stay ahead of your competition and win the ultimate price.


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