Texas Holdem Poker the Basics of the Poker Game

This page gets back to the basics about Texas Holdem Poker. Every now and then I get an email about various aspects of the game. So, I decided to go over the game from the beginning. And while this article isn’t all there is, it’s a step in the right direction, instead of hearing about poker superstars or the latest tournaments.
History of Texas holdem poker
Today’s top poker players have people like Doyle Brunson, Amarillo Slim and Jack Binion to thank for the game of Holdem Poker played today. Then professional card players were looked at like seedy people. Often games were held in out of the way locations and crime at these events occurred often. The game originally started in Texas and moved to Nevada. In hopes to attract wealthy clients, the game originally played at the Golden Nugget. It was moved to what was the Dunes hotel, a better environment. Interest in the game grew and exploded with television broadcasts. This really became the turning point. Suddenly millions of people would watch these players at round tables playing this game. Next, the internet made it so much easier.
In the early internet, porn and gambling were the two biggest money makers. One lucky player named Chris Moneymaker managed to win the WSOP and entered through an online casino operator for $50. He is cited by many players today as the reason they got into poker and this has been coined the “moneymaker effect”. Now, everyone had access to the big bucks that poker offered. It was a wide open field all you had to do was win. Online poker is making players millionaires and top operators billionaires. Pokerstars was recently sold for five billion dollars and several of their top players have annual earnings in the seven figures. This is one of several online poker sites. Poker today is truly hot. For all the money on the table, poker is a simple game to play.
Poker is a community card game. Players have cards in their hands called hole or pocket cards and there are community cards that are displayed face on the table. The combination of the two decides the winning hands.
The first round is pre-flop. This is when all members are dealt their two cards. Players then get to bet, raise or fold. After this the first of three card come out. This is the flop phase of the of the round. Players get to raise, check or fold. To check is to neither raise or fold but indicate you’re still in the game. If a player raises everyone has to raise or fold. The next round is the turn. A fourth card comes out followed by another round of raising, checking or folding. Then a fifth card comes out. This is the river where everyone can add it all up and decide again to raise, check or fold. Afterwards is the showdown where everyone shows what cards they have and the player with the highest card value wins.
As in most forms of poker the ranking of hands is royal flush. A royal flush are all the face cards of the same suit and a ten.
royalflush
A straight flush is the next rank the hand rankings. A straight flush is the same suit in sequence as in the diagram. In case of two straight flushes in a hand, the higher of the flush will win. For example, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 of spades will beat Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5 of the same suit.
straightflush
Four of a kind ranks next.
fourofakind
A full house is next. A full house is made three of kind and a pair. As in the straight flush the highest of the full houses will win if there are two full houses.
Next is a flush. A flush is five cards of the same suit. The highest card value will win if there are two flushes here as well.
A straight ranks next. Like a royal flush, a straight flush is all the same cards in sequence of mixed suits.
Three of a kind ranks next. This is self-explanatory. and finally a pair is the next ranking card.
Also, there is high card, in the event no one has any matching pair. An ace will trump a king, as an example.
Players are seated in a oval table. As a betting round finishes the dealer position rotates by one clockwise. The two players to the left of the dealer, right if you’re online, are called the blinds. There is the big blind and small bind. These are the first bettors with the big blind betting the round amount and the small bind betting half that.
AmericasCardroom-Table
There is much written on strategy in poker. There’s always someone who has a new way of strategy. For beginners, this is sometimes good. There’s often a tip or two that will help you win tournaments. One of the best I’ve found is Gripsed Poker. He has a massive amounts of free videos on Youtube and he has thousands of subscribers. It’s a free channel also and you can learn lots of things that will improve your game. Experienced players can also benefit especially if stuck in rut.
There is also software called huds, pokertracker, is an example. You use these as a companion while playing online . The computer will indicate whether it’s a good time to bet or not. The decision is up to you. Some swear by them other people don’t. By the way online poker is the way many of today’s poker players are working the poker scene today.
Online poker has many benefits. You can learn without distractions of a casino. You can create a comfortable atmosphere to work in and excel. One of my favorite sites for poker is Americas Cardroom.

So, here are the basics of Texas Holdem Poker. There’s so much out there in terms of abstracts of poker it’s amazing. Staying focused with a strategy of some sort often works out best even though poker is an ever changing sport with very little predictable. It’s an exciting sport and many will continue to play for a long time.

High Five Tournament at Americas Cardroom

Americas Cardroom is holding its first High Five tournament of the year. It’s a great way to get in with small buy-ins from satellites as low as .25 cents and up. Over $840,000 in prize pools are on the table for the taking. And there will be winners. It may as well be you. Bonuses for first timers are in effect, up to $1000. So you can get money back from that as well.

It’s extremely competitive and the tournaments have many players. Give yourself 8 to 10 hours and the amount of players is around 2000 per tourney. Some of the tournaments are going over their original prize pool. It’s a very exciting place to be. The tournament schedule is below and include Pot Luck Omaha, PLO, tourneys as well.

Date Time (ET) Event # Guarantee Buy in Type
Wednesday, January 20th 3:00pm #1 $6,000 $3+$0.30 5 HR LR
Wednesday, January 20th 5:00pm #2 $7,000 $15+$1.50 Regular
Wednesday, January 20th 7:00pm #3 $25,000 $60+$6 Regular
Wednesday, January 20th 8:00pm #4 $10,000 $8+$0.80 6 Max
Wednesday, January 20th 9:30pm #5 $2,500 $10+$1 PLO8 Turbo
Thursday, January 21st 3:00pm #6 $3,000 $2+$0.20 Rebuys/Addon
Thursday, January 21st 5:00pm #7 $15,000 $80+$8 PLO
Thursday, January 21st 7:00pm #8 $50,000 $200+$15 Regular
Thursday, January 21st 8:00pm #9 $35,000 $20+$2 Rebuys/Addon
Thursday, January 21st 9:30pm #10 $15,000 $60+$3 Mega Stack Hyper
Friday, January 22nd 3:00pm #11 $15,000 $15+$1.50 6-Max 5 HR LR
Friday, January 22nd 5:00pm #12 $20,000 $40+$4 Regular
Friday, January 22nd 7:00pm #13 $30,000 $100+$9 Regular
Friday, January 22nd 8:30pm #14 $10,000 $15+$1 Mega Stack Turbo
Friday, January 22nd 9:00pm #15 $3,500 $7+$0.70 4 Max
Saturday, January 23rd 3:00pm #16 $5,000 $10+$0.50 Hyper Mega Stack
Saturday, January 23rd 5:00pm #17 $15,000 $60+$6 6 Max PLO8 KO $50 Buyin, 10 bounty
Saturday, January 23rd 7:00pm #18 $30,000 $150+$10 6-Max KO $110 Buyin, 40 Bounty
Saturday, January 23rd 8:00pm #19 $14,000 $30+$3 Regular
Saturday, January 23rd 9:00pm #20 $4,000 $10+$1 Regular
Sunday, January 24th 12:00pm #21 $10,000 $5+$0.50 5 HR LR
Sunday, January 24th 2:00pm #22 $50,000 $50+$5 5 HR LR
Sunday, January 24th 4:00pm #23 $420,000 $420+$35 Main
Sunday, January 24th 5:00pm #24 $25,000 $60+$6 PLO
Sunday, January 24th 9:00pm #25 $20,000 $100+$9 Megastack Turbo

Satellite Schedule

DIRECT SATELLITES

Date Buy-in Time (ET) Name
Wednesday, January 20th $30+$3 7:30 PM 10-Seat GTD High Five #23 $420K GTD Sat
Thursday, January 21st $30+$3 7:30 PM 10-Seat GTD High Five #23 $420K GTD Sat
Friday, January 22nd $60+$6 7:30 PM 20-Seat GTD High Five #23 $420K GTD Sat
Saturday, January 23rd $60+$6 7:30 PM 40-Seat GTD High Five #23 $420K GTD Sat
Sunday, January 24th $60+$6 1:30 PM 50-Seat GTD High Five #23 $420K GTD Sat
On Going $51+$4 9 Players  High Five #23 $420K GTD Satellite
From January 13th to January 24th $3+0.30 12:30 AM 3-Seat GTD High Five #23 $420K GTD Sat
From January 13th to January 24th $6+0.60 1:25 PM 3-Seat GTD High Five #23 $420K GTD Sat
From January 13th to January 24th $6+0.60 4:20 PM 3-Seat GTD High Five #23 $420K GTD Sat
From January 13th to January 24th  $4+0.40 6:00 PM 3-Seat GTD High Five #23 $420K GTD Sat

MEGA SATELLITES

Date Buy-in Time (ET) Name
Wednesday, January 20th $30+$3 7:30 PM 10-Seat GTD High Five #23 $420K GTD Sat
Thursday, January 21st $30+$3 7:30 PM 10-Seat GTD High Five #23 $420K GTD Sat
Friday, January 22nd $60+$6 7:30 PM 20-Seat GTD High Five #23 $420K GTD Sat
Saturday, January 23rd $60+$6 7:30 PM 40-Seat GTD High Five #23 $420K GTD Sat
Sunday, January 24th $60+$6 1:30 PM 50-Seat GTD High Five #23 $420K GTD Sat

SUPER SATELLITES

Date Buy-in Time (ET) Name
From January 13th to January 24th $0.25+0.02 12:05 AM High Five #23 Super Sat. 5 Seats GTD
From January 13th to January 24th $0.25+0.02 10:05 AM High Five #23 Super Sat. 3 Seats GTD
From January 13th to January 24th $0.25+0.02 11:05 AM High Five #23 Super Sat. 3 Seats GTD
From January 13th to January 24th $0.25+0.02 12:05 PM High Five #23 Super Sat. 3 Seats GTD
From January 13th to January 24th $0.25+0.02 1:05 PM High Five #23 Super Sat. 3 Seats GTD
From January 13th to January 24th $0.25+0.02 2:05 PM High Five #23 Super Sat. 3 Seats GTD
From January 13th to January 24th $0.25+0.02 3:05 PM High Five #23 Super Sat. 3 Seats GTD
From January 13th to January 24th $0.25+0.02 4:05 PM High Five #23 Super Sat. 5 Seats GTD
From January 13th to January 24th $0.25+0.02 5:05 PM High Five #23 Super Sat. 5 Seats GTD
From January 13th to January 24th $0.25+0.02 9:05 PM High Five #23 Super Sat. 5 Seats GTD
From January 13th to January 24th $0.25+0.02 10:05 PM High Five #23 Super Sat. 5 Seats GTD
From January 13th to January 24th $0.25+0.02 11:05 PM High Five #23 Super Sat. 5 Seats GTD

Super High Roller Bowl Returns to Vegas

From May 29 to June 1 the Super High Roller Bowl will the most exciting game in town. Scheduled to join include Daniel Negreanu and Phil Helmuth among others. The tournament will have max of 49 players and at $300,000 an entry fee the pots are astronomical. If all seats are filled it will give a prize pool of $15,000,000 and $5,000,000 to the first place winner.

The event will be held at the Aria Hotel. The Aria has allready reserved 14 seats for its own high rollers leaving 35 seats for the public. It’s open to the public.

The potential payouts, assuming a field of 49:

1st place: $5,000,000
2nd place: $3,500,000
3rd place: $2,400,000
4th place: $1,600,000
5th place: $1,100,000
6th place: $800,000
7th place: $600,000

Effective Strategies for Freeroll Poker Tournaments

Freeroll poker tournaments are great for all poker players and online casinos. Many of today’s top poker professionals got their start in an online freeroll tournament. And freerolls bring in many new players who will later play with real money increasing revenue for the casino. You don’t want to be the latter just the winner. Freerolls usually have a mixture of poker players from new players to experienced players. There is an effective strategy to winning most of them and this method will usually place you well in most poker tournaments whether it is a freeroll or not. This write up will cover effective strategies to win freeroll poker tournaments.

In the first period of a freeroll, you tend to see many inexperienced players going all-in with very little in terms of hands. Some players will go all-in with an unsuited two and five. But the fact is cards are cards and they still might win. In my experience, though it may be tempting, don’t go all-in based on seeing a fellow player go all-in and feel you will get their chips. Stick to good strategy – high pairs and high cards win more often. Also to note, some of these players might not be inexperienced but instead have a freeroll is free attitude and not be applying themselves the way they would in a fee to join tournament. Your goal is to win as many chips as possible with the least chips invested.

One strategy that really counts is to get the most from a good hand . For example, you get dealt a pair of aces and the flop reveals one ace and two kings. Next to a four of a kind or royal flush, you have no competition. If you go all-in right away, you will probably cause people to fold missing out on a chip accumulation opportunity. Instead, raise in graduated amounts. With a high card like king or ace fellow players are more likely to bet if they have these cards in their hand increasing the size of the pot. Or if fellow players have pairs, they may increase their bets as well. At each betting round, increase the pot by betting again. At the showdown, you’ll see many more chips than going all-in at the start of the betting rounds. This tight aggressive strategy works across the board with all tournaments.

Another excellent strategy is to sit it out. You may be dealt an unsuited ace and five and a fellow player goes all-in. It may be to your advantage to sit it out. Don’t forget any pair will beat the unsuited ace five combo and you’ll have fewer chips. Don’t take risks with your stack and fold. An alternative strategy is to check out the flop if there is a raise and assess the landscape from that position. If it looks good, raise and if not fold. Don’t get in the practice of chasing an ideal hand.

Chasing an ideal hand is the surest way to lose. If you look at most poker wins, they are usually a pair or three of a kind. At the WSOP 2015, it was won with a pair of 10s. It was also a three of kind of 10s that won the WSOP in 2014. The likelihood of a straight or flush is rare. Of course, they happen but they’re nothing to bet your stack over. You might look at that tempting pot and your hand and think it’s going to win, only to find yourself with less chips because a fellow player has a pair. The best strategy for those hands that may be flushes or straights is to see the flop even if there is a raise and evaluate from the next betting round. You might have a flush or straight and then you can make graduated betting increases from there or fold if it’s an unlikely combination. Now you see how to bet in a freeroll tournament. I’ll go over the stages.

There are basically four stages of a freeroll poker tourney. The initial stage, the middle stage, the final table stage, and the heads up stage. The initial stage covers the entry period where anyone can enter usually it’s one hour though some poker sites vary and have variable time limits up to several hours. It is still a one entry free game and play from there. The second stage is the middle. There are no more new players and it’s often the middle stage. The final table is the third stage . This stage is marked by various all-in scenarios as players hope for a heads up tourney. Heads up is the last stage of a tournament. If you have held on this long , congratulations. You are now at the top of the prize level and will get either the first or second place prize. Back to the phases and observations.

During the initial phase of freeroll poker tournaments, there tends to be many all-in betting scenarios. This is the time to sit it out and wait for great hands only. You might find your chip stack down but you are still in the game. After the initial phase, you will see fewer all-in bets since everyone wants to keep their chips. Your chips should be accumulating by now by playing the winning hands. During the later phases and up to a heads up match, this strategy will work fine. The best place to bet is more often than not at late position.

Betting at the late position is good for three reasons. First, you get to see the raises on the board and can decide if you want to bet. Second, you get to know your fellow players and decide who is a bluffer and who bets only solid hands. Knowing how your fellow players bet will help you in many plays. If a player goes all-in or raises frequently, the chances are slim that each hand is a winning hand. It may be accurate to raise against them as compared to a player who only raises with great hands in the first place. The third reason late position is great is that if a following bettor has a pair of aces or goes all-in, it may be tempting to go all-in and lose chips in the process. For all phases of a poker tournament, these tight, aggressive strategies will work and lead you to the final table if not heads up. One additional strategy is called gut instinct.

Gut instinct varies from all of these strategies in that it’s simply a matter of self-trust. You feel it and it works. Like in the freeroll example mentioned above where someone goes all-in with an unsuited two and five and they win against a pair of aces. Tuning into your instinct is as important as using rational strategy. There will be a good hand, a pair of aces for example ,where you should fold. And the flop reveals a pair of fives and your opponent just happens to have one five that trumps your ace pair. Only your gut instincts will lead you accurately here but using them and trusting them is another strategy that is most effective.

In conclusion, freeroll poker tournaments are a great way to play poker , learn the game and build a bankroll. Strategies learned in freeroll are easily applicable to tournaments you have pay to play. Following an effective strategy and taking notes will increase your empirical knowledge and lead to better outcomes than playing without any strategy at all. Key points are not to chase ideal hands, pairs and three of kinds win more often than straights or flushes and betting at late position will give you more leverage than betting at early position. Also, developing and using gut instincts will take your poker game to a high level.
America’s Cardroom has freerolls 24/7. As soon as a required amount of players are in, the tournament starts!!