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During the 19th century, the game of Poker has its early beginnings in the United States. Over time its popularity gained worldwide range. In the 1990s, several gaming historians worked on the origin of the game.
There were divided thoughts about whether it was a direct derivative from As-Nas (Persian card game) or from the Irish Poca, the French Poque. In the working process were also mentioned the Renaissance game of Primero and the French Berlin.
Regarding the clear fact of the similarities between all previously mentioned card games, it was stated that all of them had their influence on the evolution of the poker as we know it now. As the time passed by the modern school of gaming historians came with the firm thought about rejecting these progenitors and presenting the particular features of the poker – the betting, which is not included in any of these older known games.
Nowadays talking about poker or rather playing the game, people in general mean of Texas Hold ‘Em. Yes, it’s a fact that this is the most popular version of the game, but there are also several more divided among 4 families regarding the protocol of betting and dealing the cards.
The first one is Straight poker where the complete hand is being dealt to each player, the players bet in one round with raising and re-raising. As the final showdown sometimes the Straight hand of five cards is ending the game, but nevertheless poker is always the more evaluated form.
The second family or variation of playing is Stud poker. In this case, players are dealt a number of cards (typically 5 or 7) and must use those original cards to make their best hand. Regarding the historic status, this is the oldest poker family gaining its roots from Primero.
The cards are dealt in a predetermined combination of face-up and face-down rounds, or streets which means there is a round of betting between each. Seven-card stud is the most popular stud variation where two extra cards are dealt with each player (three face-down and four face-up) and from this, they have to make the best five-card hand. In the case where a complete hand is dealt to each player, face-down, the players may decide to trade in some of their cards (usually up to 3) in a possibility to improve their hand is called Draw poker.
The fourth variation is the Community card poker which is also known as “flop poker” where the players get an incomplete hand of face-down cards, in the middle of the table a number of face-up community cards are dealt from which the players can use one or more to make a five-card hand. For this variation, the most popular ones are Texas Hold‘Em and Omaha.
Texas Hold'Em is the most popular variation of poker. It’s very easy to learn, and any starting hand, even a bad one, can end up winning the game of poker. However, when making mathematically and psychologically correct decisions, it’s possible to win consistently over a long period of time.
Texas Hold'Em is played with a standard deck of cards consists of 52 cards. The objective of the game is to win the pot which is the sum of chips the players wager during the game. A pot can be either one of the showdowns by the player with the best card combination or by betting and making other players fold their cards.
The number of players in a Texas Hold'Em poker game can go up to 10 on one table. It can be even played heads up against one opponent. There are cash games with a real cash value of the chips or tournaments where the prize pool is shared by the top finishers.
Let’s explain all the basic rules with an example of a Texas Hold'Em poker game. The start of the game is called pre-flop. Cards are dealt by the dealer which is designated by the dealer button before the cards are dealt, the first and second player on the left of the button has to play mandatory bets called “the blinds”.
The first player has to place half of the mandatory bet, a small blind. The second player has to place the full bet, “big blind”, 5 and 10 in our example. The dealer button, as well as the blinds, then move clockwise after each game. The game begins with a first round when each player receives two cards, face down. The first act is to the player on the left of the big blind. He has three options: call the big blind, raise or fold cards.
He calls. Remaining players have the same betting options. First two - fold. Dealer and small blind call. We, as the big blind, can now check or raise. We check. Blinds have a positional advantage because they are the last ones to act. They’re able to assume what card combinations other could hold, based on their actions. All bets placed to go to the pot.
The game continues to the next stadium called the flop. Here, three cards, or “the flop” are dealt face up in the middle of the table so that all players can see them. On the flop, our hand is determined by the combination of our two cards and the three cards on the flop.
The biggest positional advantage on the flop belongs to the dealer who’s the last one to act and can extract valuable information from previous actions. The small blind is first to act and has same betting options and checks. We raise 30. The Dealer calls and small blinds fold.
Next is “the turn”. Another community card that all the players see, “the turn”, is dealt. Our hand is determined by the best five-card combination of our two cards and the four community cards. The third betting round follows in the same order as on the flop. We bet another thirty and the other player calls.
At last, community card “the river” is dealt. Players act in the same order as previously and the same betting options. The player with the best five-card combination, from all the cards and the board, wins the pot. In case two or more players have the same winning card combination, they share the pot. After the poker game is over, the dealer button moves to the next player to the left. Small blind and big blind move as well. In the same direction.
Community cards give you a great opportunity to calculate what other players hold. According to their betting patterns and actions, it is possible to statistically measure if it would be profitable in the long term, to check, call, raise or fold.
The rules can get a little bit tricky in some situations, so make sure you practice Texas Hold'Em by playing poker for virtual money online to get familiar with all the exceptions. It’s important to remember: any starting hand can win in poker, however, many starting hands do not win often to justify playing them on a regular basis. Play your opponents, not just cards.
If you can read your opponent well, you may be able to win a hand against him no matter what cards you hold. These examples are by no means a guide how you should play a hand containing two aces, only for demonstration purposes. The five community cards known as “the board” give you the great opportunity to calculate the other player’s hold and according to their betting patterns, to statistically measure the most profitable long-term view to call.
Be it to call, bet, raise or fold. These calculations are not that complicated as it may look at first sight. The official poker rules are very easy to learn. The basic poker rules can get a bit tricky in certain situations like when determining the winner using kicker. The rules are best practiced when playing for play money.
After the initial understanding of the Texas Hold'Em poker rules, it’s easy to also understand the popularity of this type of poker game. Many players chose to play the way of the starting cards and with a big share of luck sometimes they are able to win against better-starting hands.
However, in the long run, these players are a favorite prey of the better skilled because they lose too often to be profitable. The poker can be seen as a game of proposition meaning that the players that act later have an advantage of their position over the ones that act early.
From a long-term view, card combinations with higher winning probability are more profitable so there is a pure mathematical aspect of the game. Situations, where the starting hand can beat the better one with the help of the board, are not happening often. This short-term action is based on pure luck. Watching the opponents betting patterns and behavior at the table is very important, just as the psychological ability to control the tilt and make your play unreadable.