Texas Holdem for newbies
The first step for a new player who desires to learn how to play Holdem poker properly is read one of the hundreds of excellent books obtainable about the game. You can find a huge assortment of poker books at online stores such as amazon or ebay, or have a look in your local bookstore. Another good way to learn the game is by watching some of the poker tournaments on TV closely watching how the professionals play; the commentators usually explain the player's actions reasonably well, and talk you through the game. When starting out you should always play at the low limit tables until you begin to grasp the basics of the game.
The play of a hand is as follows: Each player is dealt two cards face down before the first betting round, unless you have placed a small or big blind bet you have the option to continue or fold. The next deal is to the center of the table with the dealer placing three cards face up for everybody to see. This is followed by two more deals of one card each and one card to the center of the table with rounds of betting between, eventually making a total of five cards in the center of the table. These five cards are common to all of the player's hands. When all of the betting is completed the player with the best five-card poker hand created from the seven cards that make up his hand wins. Occasionally the five cards in the center might be the best hand and in this case all of the players who are still in the game would tie and share the pot.
Your starting hands and the advance play are the main reasons to read and watch the way good players play the game. Excellent starting hands start with pocket aces and decline in value to lower pairs. Ace King suited or unsuited are reasonable starting hands, but can also be chip burners if the flop does not pair either the ace or the king. Just watch any tournament on TV to see how often this starting hand is beat by a low pair or forced to fold by aggressive betting.
When you bet and are raised by two or more players, its best to fold unless you have a really good starting hand and you are confident. If two players keep raising it is unlikely they are bluffing. If the table folds or checks to you and you are the last potential better you should consider betting with a raise since they have all checked to your call. When playing poker you must watch out for the "sand bagger" this is a player who is holding a excellent hand but plays it quietly waiting until the end to place a large bet, every now and then you can figure these players out by betting or raising. Some say poker is a game of luck, but there is definitely a skill element involved, which you can become skilled at with practice
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