No Limit Texas Hold 'Em Poker
The most popular poker game in the world is the one with Texas in the title. Somehow, that seems appropriate.
No Limit Texas Hold 'Em Poker has become the most popular type of poker, for the most famous players and newcomers alike. Poker and card junkies are turning to Texas Hold 'Em in droves.
Why the popularity? Credit the World Championship of Poker, held every year in Las Vegas, and the television networks that started broadcasting poker tournaments. Almost every poker tournament that airs on television uses the No Limit Texas Hold 'Em format.
No Limit Texas Hold 'Em poker is pretty easy to pick up. As some of the poker stars says, No Limit Texas Hold 'Em "takes five minutes to learn but a lifetime to master." Don't worry - when they say "master," they mean well enough to become a high-stakes player. Five minutes is all it really takes to learn enough to start playing.
There are two big differences that help make No Limit Texas Hold 'Em an exciting game, and the game of choice for most big poker tournaments these days: Each player at the table is dealt just two cards, and must "share" five other cards with every other player (these are called the "community" cards); and at any time, any player can go "all-in," or bet all the chips they have available (hence the term "no limit").
Playing No Limit Texas Hold 'Em Poker
Harrington on Hold 'Em by Dan Harrington
Phil Gordon's Little Green Book
Ken Warren Teaches Texas Hold 'Em
Doyle Brunson's Super System II
The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky
Phil Hellmuth's Texas Hold 'Em
Illustrated Guide to Texas Hold 'Em
The dealer deals around the table until each player has two cards, face down. These cards are visible only to the individual holding them.
The first round of betting is made based on the two cards you have in your hand. The first player to bet can fold or place a bet. As the betting goes around the table, it eventually reaches the "big blind" and "small blind." In poker, "blinds" are forced bets that two players at the table must make each hand, to get the action rolling. The small blind is usually half the big blind, and the position of the blinds moves one spot the left with each hand.
The player in the big blind can "check," rather than bet or fold, if nobody has raised (bet more than) the amount of his big blind.
Each player at the table can raise, fold or call (match the amount of a previous bet). The first bet is tricky because there are still five cards to the dealt - the community cards.
Following the first betting round, the first three community cards are dealt. This is known as the "flop."
Community cards are dealt face up in front of the dealer - they are visible to all players, and all players share the cards. If two of the three cards in the flop are 5s, for example, then every player at the table has at least a pair of 5s. Community cards are matched with the two cards you were originally dealt. So if two of the first three community cards are 5s, and you also have a 5 among your two individual cards, then you have three of a kind.
The second round of betting takes place, and then another community card is revealed. The dealing of the fourth community card is known as the "turn," or sometimes called "fourth street."
Following the turn, another round of betting takes place. And finally the fifth community card - the "river," or sometimes called "fifth street" - is revealed, and the final round of betting takes place.
Minimum bets are up to the house or to the players' discretion in a friendly game. If there is a maximum bet, then the game is simply called Texas Hold 'Em poker; if there is no maximum, then it's No Limit Texas Hold 'Em and a player can go all-in at any time.
And that covers the basics of No Limit Texas Hold 'Em. Of course, there are dozens of more specific rules and the intricacies of betting and strategy could take pages to cover. If you're interested in learning about No Limit Texas Hold 'Em much more in-depth, we suggest you purchase one of the books recommended above.