Even if you’ve played poker at home for years, you may have never heard of the game of Texas hold ’em. However, the game is immensely popular; it’s played in tournaments everywhere and it is even featured on television. If you want to play poker today, you need to know the rules and objectives of Texas hold ’em.
Texas hold ’em is a community game; a fact that sets it apart from other poker variants such as draw and stud poker. Draw poker is played with five cards, and the player’s hand is hidden from their opponents. Each player has the option to discard the cards they don’t want and to draw new ones in order to better their hand. Stud poker is played with seven cards, and certain cards are shown while others are not. In games like Texas hold ’em, up to five cards are shown to all players, and hole cards are used to comprise the remainder of each player’s hand. With Texas hold ’em, each player receives two hole cards. The flop is turned over in the midst of the table, then there are a turn and a river of one card each. Players aim to make the best hand possible out of the turn and river cards plus the flop cards. Texas hold ’em has a different strategy than other types of poker. In hold ’em games, players get the maximum amount of information. Since the flop cards are shown to the entire table, you already have a pretty good idea of what your opponents’ hands are like. The higher exposure makes for easier decisions than in draw games, or in stud games, where you have to remember which cards were exposed after they have been folded. Texas hold ’em is a popular choice in poker tournaments, especially those we’ve all seen on television. It is a very viewer-friendly game, because those watching the action can quickly and easily see how strong each player’s hand is. While you may never make it to the final table at the WSOP Main Event, you should learn to play Texas hold ’em because it will provide you with the greatest number of options if you ever do decide to engage in tournament play.
In order to play razz poker and win on a consistent basis, you will need to first learn the basics of the game. Understanding the game of razz poker isn’t hard, but if you’re switching over from seven-card stud or Hi/lo, you may be in for an awkward transition. Razz poker is similar to stud and Hi/lo games, but the requirements to win are very different. Razz is played in the same manner as a stud game, except that you’re aiming to get the worst possible hand instead of the best. Razz is most easily compared to the lower part of seven-card stud hi/lo, since the objective is to get a low hand. However, the hand development rules are more relaxed in razz poker. In seven-card stud hi/lo, you have to have a qualifying hand in order to win (meaning that you must have five cards with nothing higher than an eight). Razz has no such requirement, so any player’s hand can win. Another element of razz poker is that there are no blinds, unlike many other modern poker variants. Instead, razz poker uses bring-ins and forced antes. Antes are smaller, percentage-based bets, but every participant has to place an ante before the hand is dealt. Ante is generally between 10-25% of the stakes, and when they are used, every player has a stake, encouraging more to remain in the game. Bring-ins are comparable to the blind, except that they are placed after the hand is dealt. The player in bring-in position cannot fold once they have their cards; they must place their bet (equal to half the low-end stakes). The bet has to come back around to that player before they have the option to fold. Razz poker is different from other poker styles, and understanding it will go a long way in minimizing your chip loss and increasing your profits.