Texas Hold’em is poker’s most popular variant and has become one of the most-played forms of poker. Its substantial growth can be attributed to the explosion of online poker.
If you’re a beginner wanting to start out in the comfort of your home, Texas Hold’em can be enjoyed in the form of in-person games with friends, or by joining a top online poker site.
Both choices are fun and potentially rewarding ways to master poker without having to travel to a casino. Read on to discover more about this popular variant, how to play Texas Hold’em poker, and how the experience of playing it at home compares to playing it as in-person casino table games.
How Texas Hold’em Is Played
The aim of the game in Texas Hold’em poker is to make the best possible betting decisions to ensure you win as many chips as possible over multiple hands.
In each hand, players attempt to create the best possible five-card hand according to the poker-hand rankings, such as straights or flushes. They do this using their two hole cards and the five community cards that are revealed as the game progresses. This results in winning the pot, that is, the total of all bets made on the hand.
Unless you’re playing Ultimate Texas Hold’em poker, players bet based on their perception of how good their potential hand is compared to that of their rivals. Players can also attempt to bluff opponents into folding and continue to bet knowing their hand isn’t necessarily a strong one.
Texas Hold’em Basic Rules
In a Texas Hold’em game hands can be won after any round of betting if all except one player folds. To determine the winner, it’s not necessary to wait until the fifth and final community card has been dealt.
It’s important to know that the five community cards are dealt in three stages:
- The flop: The first three community cards.
- The turn: The fourth community card.
- The river: The fifth and final community card.
If two or more players make it all of the way to the showdown after the last community card is dealt and all betting is complete, the only way to win the pot is by having the highest-ranking five-card poker hand.
How To Play Texas Hold’em at Home With Friends
If you decide to play in-person Texas Hold’em at home, there are a few things you need to do to prepare. Here are some basics to help you with your set-up.
Decide on Stakes
The first thing you need to do is decide on the stakes. One of the benefits of hosting your own Texas Hold’em game is that you’re in complete control of the stakes of the game. Deciding on the stakes will also help you narrow down the list of potential players you’d like to invite.
Many poker fans host friendly games where no one is actually risking any money. This is a great option if you’re just looking to bond with friends without risking a ton of cash.
Once you’ve decided on the stakes for your Texas Hold’em game, you can start recruiting players. If you find that your stakes are too high, you can always lower them to make your game accessible to more players.
Ideally, you should try to get players who all have roughly the same level of experience and competence. This is beyond your control in live dealer casino games. For example, beginner players may not understand why you should only call with stronger hands, whereas veterans will understand the gap concept in poker. A shark could scare off less experienced players while an inexperienced player could have trouble finding their footing.
Find a Poker Table
For casual games with friends, you may be able to get away with a regular table. If you want to take your game to the next level, though, you should consider purchasing a poker table.
You can find poker tables online for under $200. There are foldable tables available and even table tops that can transform any table into a poker table.
What Are You Using as Chips?
Another important bit of equipment to consider is what to use as chips. If you’re running a low-stakes cash game you can get away with using regular coins (that already have values assigned to them).
Alternatively, you could buy a set of poker chips. Once you have your chips, you can assign them values according to the stakes of the game — imitating chips you may find at a casino.
Playing Poker Online
Playing online poker is the fastest way to learn and enjoy Texas Hold’em from the comfort of your home. Using your phone or tablet allows you to access Texas Hold’em games from just about anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection.
For longer sessions when you play poker online you’ll be better off using a desktop or laptop computer. Consider whether you want to participate in an online poker tournament or play cash games, which will help you create your bankroll and decide which bonus options are the most suitable.