What is Texas Holdem Poker? An introduction to Texas Hold'em
You may have played poker in your home games for years without ever having heard of Texas hold'em. These days, however, it's impossible to talk about poker without mentioning this game. If you're interested in playing poker in the 21st Century, you have to know Texas hold'em poker. So what exactly is it?
Community Cards in Texas Holdem
Texas Hold'em is a community card poker game. This differentiates it from older forms of poker such as stud poker and draw poker. In draw, played almost exclusively with five cards, a player's entire hand is concealed from opponents, and each player can discard and draw new cards to improve their hand.
In stud, most often played with seven cards, certain cards are exposed for all to see, with others are "in the hole" and hidden from view. In community card games like hold'em, certain cards, usually five, are exposed and shared by all players, with additional hole cards used by the players to determine their hand.
In Texas hold'em, each player gets two hole cards. A three-card flop is turned over in the middle of the table, followed by a one-card turn and a one-card river. Players make their best five-card poker hand out of the two in their hand plus the five on the board.
How is Texas Hold'em Different Strategically than Other Poker Games?
Hold'em provides the maximum amount of information to the player. Since the five cards on the board are shared, you already know the majority of your opponents' hands.
This may make decisions easier than in draw games, where you have no information about your opponents' hands beyond how many cards they needed to replace, and also easier than in stud games, where good play requires that you remember which cards have been exposed after those cards have been folded, and then you calculate which cards are no longer available to you since they are in the hands of opponents.
What Else Do You Need to Know about Texas Hold'em Poker?
Texas hold'em is the game of choice for tournament poker, especially for televised tournament poker. This is because it is the most viewer friendly, as those watching can easily see the relative strength of each player's hand.
While you may never appear on television playing poker, you should learn Texas hold'em if you plan to play in tournaments, since this will provide you with the widest amount of tournament options.