Playing Tight

One of the benefits of playing Texas Hold’Em, or any style of poker for that matter, is that when betting at a Casino, you have the advantage of playing against other players instead of the house, which means that if you have a decent strategy, your odds of winning are much higher than they are in any other game of chance.

Of course the challenging part of this is the “decent strategy” bit, but hopefully we’ll take care of that today and start you off on your road to Texas Hold’Em riches with what is known as the “playing tight” strategy.

The Ups and Downs of Playing Tight

The benefit of playing tight is that you can hold on to your money for much longer, which gives you a chance to play more hands. The downside is that this strategy is difficult to stick with, because a single instance of going on tilt or getting antsy can cost you the entire stack of chips at your side, and since playing tight requires you to play a long game, it’s very difficult to catch up. It’s also easy to know when another player is using a tight strategy, because they only bet when they have a decent hand. This is why you’ll need to work on bluffing and keeping your composure.

That said, this is a great beginner’s strategy because it’s simple, and gives you a chance to watch and learn while you wait for your chance to win. Here’s how it works:

Top 10 Hands

The foundation of a tight strategy is to only join the hand when you have pairs of 7’s or higher, and/or AQ/AK. These are the best starting hands you can have in Texas Hold’Em, and when playing them, give you a great chance of making a score or two.

Play the Flop Smart

If you have a pair of 7’s and the flop gives you anything but a 7, then you should fold or check, but never bet. Your best chance of winning is when the flop deals you a card you can play with, so don’t get tricked into thinking you’re just a card away from making magic happen. This is how bad players go broke.

Play the Pot

If you think you’re a card away from a big hand, such as a flush or straight, then you should evaluate the pot before deciding to bet or call a bet. For example, if you can bet ten bucks to get a chance at a $100 pot, then the odds match up. However, if you have to bet $10 to win $10, then that’s a raw deal, and you should avoid the bet. Go with high odds, and choose your battles.

Play and Learn

Once you get the hand of playing tight, you’ll learn how to keep your opponents guessing by using a few misdirection plays and/or mixing your strategy. In the meantime, work on avoiding tilt, and keeping your composure. This will go a long way towards keeping that bankroll growing.

Strategy by Aubrey Maturin – visit blog.

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Rules of Texas Hold Em

If you’ve ever played poker, whether stud, draw, or Omaha, then you probably know most of the rules of Texas Hold Em. Like most games, it scores hands based on several factors:

  • Number/Royalty
  • Suit
  • Any combination of the above

So for example, a pair of 2’s is better than any single card, but a pair of A’s is better than that. Furthermore, three of any card is better than any two, as is with four and three.

For example, even though three A’s is a great hand, four 2’s will beat it. Beyond that though, Texas Hold Em rules get a bit more complex.

Two pair beats a single pair, but is defeated by three of a kind. A straight, which is five cards in a row, beats three of a kind and below, but is beaten by a flush, which is five cards of the same suit. The next highest in the order is full house (three of a kind and two of a kind), four of a kind, straight flush (a straight with same suit), and a royal flush (A, K, Q, J, 10 of the same suit).

As for the playing rules of Texas Hold Em, the round works like this:

  1. Pre-Flop: players bet after being dealt two cards, face down
  2. Post-Flop: players bet after dealer receives three cards, face up
  3. Turn: players bet after dealer deals fourth card, face up
  4. River: players bet after dealer’s fifth card
  5. Showdown: players remaining show cards and winner takes the pot.

There are also different stakes in playing Texas Hold Em, such as limit and no limit, as well as big blind and small blind, which are paid on a rotation basis. For example, player A pays big blind, and player B pays small blind. Next hand, player B pays the big blind, and player C pays the small blind, etc.

In some tournaments, the blinds increase on a timer until the game or tournament is over.

The rules of Texas Hold Em are mostly similar to other forms of poker, save the way the cards are dealt, and the way the blinds are rotated through the table. Other than that, it’s fairly straight forward. The best way to learn though is by playing a few hands with someone that can show you the ropes, or by playing for free online.

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Poker Cards

The game of poker has evolved to the point where there’s actually no such thing as a standard game, or standard set of poker cards. When playing with your friends, you might use poker cards to play something like Texas Hold Em or Stud Poker, while at a casino you’ll have the option to play everything from Omaha to Razz. Go online and you’ll find even more games, with different types of stakes and different types of limits.

One thing that doesn’t really change among poker games and poker cards is the that in order to play, you need two things – a standard deck of cards and a stack of chips, the rest is arbitrary.

In casino games you’ll see dealers use several decks, but they do this in order to alter the stakes and make it easy to keep the games going without interruption. In online poker games, you never really get to see the deck, as it’s computer generated, but it exists all the same.

The great thing about playing poker is that buying poker cards and chips is inexpensive and you can find them at almost any retailer that sells games of any type. To make the game more authentic, you can buy some green felt to place on your table, or buy a poker table from a local supplier. You can usually find them in the same places that you buy pool tables.

When buying poker cards, it’s a good idea to have several denominations or colors of chips, so that you can play more realistic games, and have a better working bank. For example, a great start would be $1, $5, $10, $20, $25, $50, and $100 chips. If you want to break the $1 chips into $.50 and $.25 denominations, that would work too, but it could get aggravating trying to calculate payouts.

Nonetheless, poker is a great game to play with friends (as long as you’re the one winning) over a few beers, or with the family on game night, and because it’s so easy and cheap to get started. Since you can get by with any type of poker cards, it’s quickly becoming an American staple. Also, as poker continues to gain legitimacy on TV outlets, like ESPN, one can only expect the game of poker to keep growing in popularity.

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