How to Crush Your Friends at Texas Hold ‘Em

Poker, especially the no-limit Texas hold ‘em format,  took the whole world by storm in the middle of the first decade of the 21st century mostly because of an accountant from Tennessee who turned just a few dollars into $2.5 million by winning the national championship. This is a game of skill, but one where anyone can win with a little bit of grit, fearlessness, and luck. With Texas hold ‘em, people of all walks of life can duke it out for bragging rights. A poker table can be the answer to having a fun game for everyone at your next corporate event. Of course, it’s always fun to win. Here are a few tips to help you beat your friends.

The basics

In the no-limit brand of hold ‘em poker tournaments, each player is given the same amount of chips, and then dealt two down cards that only they can see. From there, the two players next to the dealer have to pay what are called the “blind bets.” This is done to create action, and force players to play. Then going clockwise from the blinds, each player has the choice to fold if they don’t want to play, call (pay the same as the big blinds) if they want, or raise it up if they want to bet more with their hand. If anyone matches the bet, then we move on to the community cards on the table that everyone shares:

  • The flop – The first three cards come up, and everyone gets a chance to check if they don’t want to bet, or bet if they do.
  • The turn – the 4th card, and another round of betting
  • The river – the 5th and final card. One last round of betting before the hands are turned up. The player with the best 5 card combo of their two private cards and the 5 on the board wins.

Strategy

Hold ‘em is a game where you want to play tight (conservatively) until you have a good hand, and one where aggression is awarded exponentially. By betting you have two chances to win, either with the best hand at the end, or by getting your opponents to fold. Let’s cover how to be aggressive the right way:

  • Select good starting hands depending on your position – If you have a full table of 9 people, then you will need a better hand to play if you act before a lot of people. If there are 7 people to act after you, then your hand must be stronger because you have more people to get through. The later to act, the better. A good “range” of hands to play from the first position is a pair of 10’s or better, an AJ or better, and KQ. You can expand as your position gets later. If you are the last to act, then you can play just about anything.
  • Raising – Raising is almost always better than calling, but it must be controlled. If you want to raise the pot, make it 3 times the size of the big blind. Calling is sometimes OK, but if you open the pot, do so with a raise, and if you have a really good hand like QQ or better, then make a big raise.
  • Betting – Once the flop comes out, you need to continue along with your aggression. Proper strategy dictates that you should continue your betting with a bet that is about half the size of the pot regardless of what cards come out.

Texas hold ‘em involves luck, but it is also a game rewards skill. That is why so many players make a living playing the game and beating weaker players. With proper strategy, you can beat all of your friends at the poker table at your next corporate event.

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