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Limit Texas Holdem poker - a brief introduction
by Pendil

If you want to start playing poker, you had better decide to play texas hold'em! This game, though arguably not the best game of poker, has somehow superceded other forms of poker, particularly online.

Within texas holdem there are still decisions to be made. Do you want to play limit poker, no limit poker or poker tournaments?

This introduction only concerns LIMIT TEXAS HOLDEM.

Why ?.Well the tactics you use in no limit poker, and tournament poker will be completely different to those used in limit poker.
Also limit poker, I feel, is the best test for a poker player.

No limit poker can leave a player potless after hours of good play, just by going "all in" on what seems an unbeatable hand, only for a bad player, or loaded player who can go with you, to pull off a fluke. The player has done nothing wrong, they have to go with their hand, but the bottom line is they are going home with nothing to show for all the good play that went before.

Tournament play is also largely down to luck (and patience). Also as with no limit poker, you can play great for hours only to lose out just before the share-out stage on one bad stroke of luck. Again the player does nothing wrong, but hours of play goes up in smoke with nothing to show for it.
Limit poker is the game - you can play for as long as you feel good, and you can manipulate the stake you want to play for each and every hand.

THE PROCEDURE.
Take your online seat.

Wait for large blind(2 players pay large and small blind every hand to start pot) - you will be prompted, just click to pay)

Two cards will be shown to you, and no one else.

A round of betting will now take place by other players round the table.
If there has not been a "raise" (increase in your large blind stake you have already paid) then just "check" (it costs you nothing and you get to see next card for free).

If there has been a "raise" you can either go with them ("call")and increase your stake or cut your losses and "fold" - We will show whether you should stay in or fold hands later.

Next the "flop" occurs - this is when 3 cards are dealt onto table, which everyone can see.

There is now another round of betting, and apply same procedure as in first round of betting.

Every player will now see another card dealt - the "turn" card.

There is now another round of betting, and apply same procedure as in first round of betting.

Every player will now see another card - the 5th and final card - the "river" card.

There is now another round of betting, and apply same procedure as in first round of betting.

The game is now finished - the player with the best hand wins the pot - less the poker house cut, the "rake"

Another game now begins, this time you will be prompted to pay the "small blind"-click to pay. After this game you will get a respite from paying to play, and will only pay again (unless you have good hand that you do want to play) when big blind rotates the table.

THESE ARE THE BEST HANDS IN RANK ORDER
1. Royal Flush
This is the highest poker hand. It consists of ace, king, queen, jack, ten, all in the same suit. As all suits are equal, all royal flushes are equal.
2. Straight Flush
Five cards of the same suit in sequence - such asJ-10-9-8-7. Between two straight flushes, the one containing the higher top card is higher. An ace can be counted as low, so 5-4-3-2-A is a straight flush, but its top card is the five, not the ace, so it is the lowest type of straight flush.
3. Four of a kind
Four cards of the same rank - such as four queens. The fifth card can be anything. This combination is sometimes known as "quads", and in some parts of Europe it is called a "poker", though this term for it is unknown in English. Between two fours of a kind, the one with the higher set of four cards is higher - so 3-3-3-3-A is beaten by 4-4-4-4-2. It can't happen in standard poker, but if in some other game you need to compare two fours of a kind where the sets of four cards are of the same rank, then the one with the higher fifth card is better.
4. Full House
This consists of three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank - for example three sevens and two tens (colloquially known as "sevens full" or more specifically "sevens on tens"). When comparing full houses, the rank of the three cards determines which is higher. For example 9-9-9-4-4 beats 8-8-8-A-A. If the threes of a kind were equal, the rank of the pairs would decide.
5. Flush
Five cards of the same suit. When comparing two flushes, the highest card determines which is higher. If the highest cards are equal then the second highest card is compared; if those are equal too, then the third highest card, and so on. For example K-J-9-3-2 beats K-J-7-6-5 because the nine beats the seven.
6. Straight
Five cards of mixed suits in sequence - for example Q-J-10-9-8. When comparing two sequences, the one with the higher ranking top card is better. Ace can count high or low in a straight, but not both at once, so A-K-Q-J-10 and 5-4-3-2-A are valid straights, but 2-A-K-Q-J is not. 5-4-3-2-A is the lowest kind of straight, the top card being the five.
7. Three of a Kind
When comparing two threes of a kind the hand in which the three equal cards are of higher rank is better. So for example 5-5-5-3-2 beats 4-4-4-K-Q. If you have to compare two threes of a kind where the sets of three are of equal rank, then the higher of the two remaining cards in each hand are compared, and if those are equal, the lower odd card is compared.
8. Two Pairs
A pair is two cards of equal rank. In a hand with two pairs, the two pairs are of different ranks (otherwise you would have four of a kind), and there is an odd card to make the hand up to five cards. When comparing hands with two pairs, the hand with the highest pair wins, irrespective of the rank of the other cards - so J-J-2-2-4 beats 10-10-9-9-8 because the jacks beat the tens. If the higher pairs are equal, the lower pairs are compared, so that for example 8-8-6-6-3 beats 8-8-5-5-K. Finally, if both pairs are the same, the odd cards are compared, so Q-Q-5-5-8 beats Q-Q-5-5-4.
9. Pair
A hand with two cards of equal rank and three other cards which do not match these or each other. When comparing two such hands, the hand with the higher pair is better - so for example 6-6-4-3-2 beats 5-5-A-K-Q. If the pairs are equal, compare the highest ranking odd cards from each hand; if these are equal compare the second highest odd card, and if these are equal too compare the lowest odd cards. So J-J-A-9-3 beats J-J-A-7-6 because the 9 beats the 7.
10. High Card
Five cards which do not form any of the combinations listed above. When comparing two such hands, the one with the better highest card wins. If the highest cards are equal the second cards are compared; if they are equal too the third cards are compared, and so on. So A-J-9-5-3 beats A-10-9-5-4 because the jack beats the ten.

HANDS TO PLAY.
To stress again this is an introduction to limit poker, after time you will not stick to any strict guidelines, you get a feel for the game, there might be an idiot playing who you want to get involved with, it is your lucky day, and also you do not want to become too predictable.

But for now some guidelines may be useful.

Position is often portrayed as very important - it may be in no limit, but in limit not so important, if a hand is worth playing there is no need to be put off by an increase in stakes. If it is not a great hand, and you are early player (in other words you may get raised by later player) then fold, whereas if you are late player( fewer players have opportunity to raise you) then you might run with it.

Also you should always defend your big blind stake to at least one raise. One of the biggest pots i have ever won at limit poker was a situation where i was dragged unwillingly into a raising game holding a 6 - 2 unsuited, and you can't get much worse than that.T he flop threw down 3 sixes !.
Let the small blind go unless you have at least a half decent hand.

These are hands you must play, or raise even if raised previousley.
AA, KK, QQ,
A K, AQ, AJ, KQ, KJ,
A - anything suited

Include these hands to check, and call if raised.
QJ, 10 - 10, J - J
4 - 5 suited, 5 - 6 suited, etc......through to.............10 - J suited.

Include these hands to play and check (discard or play, depending on your, and the games circumstances)
Any pair
4 - 5 unsuited etc..........through to ....................10 - J.

THINGS TO BEAR IN MIND.

Players bluff a lot.

Players bluff much more than you would imagine - if you hold at least a pair from flop, it may pay to see it through to the end. Particularly if 2 suited cards, or a possible straight was flopped, and now their straight can't be made, and their flush busted.

Have rough idea of odds involved.

You can exhaust yourself, and make poker pretty hard work if you take the maths to extreme lengths, but a rough idea of the odds to draw is a must.
Just have in front of you the odds involved to make your hand. For these examples the river (last card) is to come, and below are the approximate odds. If, say for example, you have a pair of 3's and know you need another 3 to win the pot, there are only 2 cards in the pack that can win it for you. The odds are 22/1,if the pot, plus what will be played this round is only paying you 10/1 you have to fold, if the pot has potential for paying 30/1 you have to play.
 
Odds below are for river card - last card only to come.
It is roughly half the odds given below for turn plus river card - last 2 cards still to come
2 cards wanted is app 22/1
3...............................14/1
4...............................11/1
5............................ ... 8/1
6................................ 7/1
7...............................11/2
8................................ 5/1
9.................................4/1
10 cards wanted just play!

Most players are now too aggresive.

Almost everyone has read the poker instruction books, and the recurring theme within those books is be aggressive. Don't be intimidated, when someone raises and reraises ,if you have the hand, go with them, let them up the ante, wait and hit them late, particularly if the raiser does it all the time - the table will go with this player, but maybe fold if you raise. This is the reverse of popular tactics, but i have tried both, and at least you have the option of bailing out if it goes wrong, most players having raised aggressively early feel they have to stay with it whatever they end up with, and try to bluff their way out of trouble.

Play in the highest stakes table you dare play in.

Poker can be a drudge sometimes, particularly if you have a sequence of poor hands that you can't play. Even if you do have hands to play, the norm is you will win the stake of the table each hour - $5/10 table will return about $10 - $15,for a GOOD player, not that much really. So what to do ? - play on a big stakes table, and win or lose play for a shorter time, enjoy the thrill, and if you do win, you will make a decent return.

By Pendil at British Betting and Gaming Sites


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