With the popularity of the World Series of Poker on television, not to mention my insatiable desire to know everything, and be better at it than everyone else, right now, dammit. I was forced to learn how to play Texas Hold ‘Em Poker. The game is pretty simple, actually it is much easier than any other poker game that comes to mind. There are certain hands that are good, certain hands that are bad, and certain hands that you wish were never dealt to you.
If you are not familiar with the game I will break it down for you, in a nutshell; to win you have to have the best 5card poker hand, based on two cards that are your own and five that are common. The highest possible hand is calculated based on your cards (and your opponents as well), whoever has the best hand wins. Really a simple game.
The problem with the game comes into play when you are doing your initial bet, after you have been dealt two cards you have to bet. If you have a pair of aces you should be guaranteed of the victory, right? Nope. If someone else has a pair of threes and another three gets dealt during the game your coveted aces will lose to a three of a kind, of threes no less.
I know that I am over simplifying the concept of the game but, there are 300+ page books written about it, odds and all, and that is not the purpose of this post. Without getting into a lot of strategy, I will simply say that a pair, even in aces, is not the best possible scenario. If you have two aces that means that there are only two more in the deck, odds of someone else having one are pretty good. If, however, you have a King and a Jack, you are in pretty good shape for making a straight that is either king or ace high. There is the possibility that you have the pair of aces and will get dealt an ace, but that is unlikely. Most winning hands in Texas Hold ‘Em are won by a pair or two pair. The three-of-a-kind is rare, as are all hands above it.
I spent some time learning how to play the game at pokerstars.net, but quickly found that to be either boring or requiring money, depending on the room (I did actually pocket a robust 34 cents for my curiosity while playing with real money though).
The most humorous thing happened when I logged into POGO and played for tokens though. I said to the room, after I had been dealt a King of diamonds and three of spades, “Beware my off suit 3 king”. Which got a couple of LOLs from the room, but that was what I actually had. The flop turned a king, seven, nine so I stayed in it. The turn was a 7 of diamonds, but I stayed in it (possible four-of-a-kind at that point ((in sevens, not for me))). When the river came up a King, I told everyone to just fold since I had the hand, they didn’t believe me and a raising war happened. I won almost 20,000 on that single hand…even after I told the room what I had at the beginning.
Also it is hard to bluff when playing on the pc. If you take too long they boot you, sunglasses don’t mask a damn thing, and for the most part the money isn’t real. If you do play for real money however, the bets are more realistic and the bluffs not as often, at least in my meager experience.