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Texas Hold’em is the most popular variant of poker around the world, and the one most commonly used in poker tournaments and competitions. The game is easy to understand, yet underneath its deceptively simple gameplay is an addictive and fun experience that takes patience and skill to master.
The game dates back to the early 1900s, with its official origin pinpointed to Robstown, Texas, although it is believed to have been played long before this. The game spread through the state and then the country, eventually arriving in the betting mecca of Las Vegas in the mid-1960s. It spread around the casinos, becoming widely played in the 1970s with the rise of Vegas poker tournaments.
Its proliferation around the globe is largely attributed to the game’s inclusion in two publications – the first being Doyle Brunson’s 1978 poker strategy guide Super/System and its sequel, while the second was the 1983 book The Biggest Game In Town, which documented the events in the 1981 World Series of Poker.
In Texas Hold ’em, players are initially issued with two cards face down. The two players to the left of the dealer or button pay in a big blind and small blind respectively. The big blind is equal to the minimum bet, and the small blind is exactly half of this amount.
After a first round of betting, the flop is dealt; this is the collective term for the first three cards of the community cards that are set face up for all players to see. After another round of betting, a fourth card, known as the turn or fourth street, is dealt. Finally, after another round of betting, the fifth and final community card, called the river or fifth street, is shown.
Players then continue to bet until the bets are equalled. They then enter the showdown and reveal their cards, and the person who can make the best hand with their two cards and three of the community cards wins the cash pot. Players can use both of their cards, one of their cards, or rely on the five community cards.
If two players share an equal hand not using all five cards, then the remaining hole cards, known as the kicker cards, decide the winner. The pot is split if two hands of equal strength are played and no kicker is available.
Standard Texas Hold ’em has three different betting modes. Pot limit is where the maximum bet is equal to whatever amount is held in the pot, no limit means there is no maximum bet, while fixed limit ties the amount the bets can be raised to the size of the big and small blinds. There are also several variants of the game itself:
Be sure to consider all the Texas Hold'em variants on offer when deciding on a game to play. Depending on the your player preference, you might enjoy a Blind Man's Bluff version over a Speed Hold'em or River of Blood versus Crazy Pineapple.
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