Most American people who play at online poker sites have at least tried Texas Hold’em in 2018. After all, this is the most popular online poker game in the world right now. It is also offered at just about every internet poker room, not only the best real cash websites. However, it should still be realized that playing at poker sites will be different than playing real money Texas Hold’em in the offline world. The primary differences are that there is more trapping and slow-playing online.
All of this means that even if you have played Hold’em offline before, you should still really polish up on your strategy and be ready for a new type of play at your chosen top online poker rooms. This guide has been designed to do just that. Although it is primarily written for beginning players, even those with quite a bit of experience should gain some value here as well. Particularly in some of the strategy tips and playing the later rounds. So enjoy our Texas Hold’em online game guide, poker online winnings are only a few paragraphs away.
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Texas Hold’em poker is a game of high skill which uses community cards, dealt in the middle of the table. These cards can be used by anyone, along with both of their two hole (or face down) cards—which must be used—to make up your best five-card poker hand. In this respect, the game is played the same whether at a physical casino, card room, or one of the top online poker sites.
The game will start with each player being dealt their two hole cards, face down. This is followed by a betting round. It should also be noted that two players will normally be designated, on a clockwise rotating basis, to contribute real money before seeing any of their cards. These two positions are called the blinds. In most online poker sites, the player with the big blind will put in the minimum bet and the player with the small blind will contribute approximately half of this amount. During the first betting round both blinds count towards the amount, if any, that those players must contribute.
An example of an initial betting round might help for clarification. Assume the big blind is $10 and the small blind is $5 at this particular poker room. After wagering, starting with the player to the left of the person with the big blind, everyone ends up betting $10, the minimum. The player with the small blind would therefore have added an additional $5 while the big blind player could have simply checked.
The next stage of the hand starts the community cards. Initially, there are three cards dealt, each face-up, in the center of the table. This happens all at once with a betting round following the revelation of the third community card. This is referred to as the flop. Betting starts with the player to the dealer's left (and will continue in this fashion for each subsequent betting round). A single community card is then dealt, called the turn (or, less commonly, fourth street), followed by another betting round. Finally, a fifth community card is dealt up in the center of the table, known as the river. The fourth and final betting round now follows, and then the final showdown.
With a total of four betting rounds taking place, Hold’em is very exciting game. One of the big draws of online poker sites is the fact that people don't have to look you in the eye. This can usually have the sense of reducing inhibitions and making people reject conservative principles of play. Just knowing this interesting fact about playing at online poker rooms means you have a good chance of coming out ahead; but, you will need to plan your playing strategy properly.
There are many important decisions to make when it comes to playing Texas Hold’em at top real money online poker sites. You should obviously have a very strong grounding in basic, general poker skills including knowing the hand rankings and the odds of poker (you can find these and more in our poker strategy guide). It would also be very helpful if you know how to calculate pot odds, i.e. the ratio of the money currently in the pot to how much money a call or a bet will cost you to see the next round (and take a chance on drawing to your hand).
Another basic strategy tip is to always read the board. This could also be called situational awareness at these online poker rooms. Consider the potential hands other players might have given the community cards which are shown. Everything really depends on the situation. There are even times when you have a very strong hand but the correct move is to fold, given the board and exactly which players are betting or raising.
Play the players. In every type of online poker site game, you need to be able to assess your opponents. The quicker you are able to do this, the better off you will be. Learn when a player bets, when they raise, when they bluff, and even when and why they fold. This is critical information that will have you sitting in the driver's seat when playing at these poker online sites, Texas Hold’em just became a whole lot easier.
Have general criteria for which starting hands you want to play. This will depend on the specific situation, but if your two hole cards are pretty bad, it probably is not going to do you a whole lot of good to keep playing. You will also find professionals at online poker rooms spend a lot more of their time folding rather than trying to force something and playing through bad starting cards. See the next section for ideas about your own starting hand criteria.
Although a number of online poker sites and players will give different advice regarding which starting hands to play at Texas Hold’em, here is a list of the best and some of the worst starting hands you can have (i.e. it will probably be a good move to play the best and fold whenever you have any of the poor hands):
The big pairs listed above are some of the highest which means you really don't need to improve much in order to win a showdown. Of course, the higher the pair, the smaller the chance that someone else will make a better hand. Also, the unpaired hands make top pairs when they hit the board (most of the time) and will also already have a very high/strong kicker for added value. Plus, they can make high straights and the suited hands also have great chances of turning into nut flushes. When playing these types of starting hands at online poker rooms, you are going to find it much easier making decisions throughout the hand.
As for the other list, the worst hands need to have some major improvement by the flop or else there will not be much showdown value. Plus, even if you do improve to a pair, it is likely going to be a low pair, with several overcards on the board to give opponents a very favorable chance of beating you. Most of the worst hands also don't give you the potential for hitting flushes or straights with both cards.
This guide will help you to get started, but it is just the beginning in terms of learning how to play and analyze your hands at online poker sites. You also need to bring together the basic elements of online poker strategy like your position and the amount of action going on in front of you. Also consider how much in the way of chips each player has and definitely play the players by knowing their tendencies and your own poker skills.
When playing the later betting rounds of Hold’em at online poker rooms, you are going to need to focus a lot more on positional and psychological factors. Obviously, this means watching the board a lot more closely, but you need to develop the skill of reading other players. At online poker sites, this is certainly not as easy to do as in physical casinos or poker rooms, but you can still make determinations based on what your opponents have done before and their current wagers.
When considering your own position and situation, think about what major goal you have for the hand. Maybe you have the nut flush or a set, or maybe even more. In that case, you want to consider using some trapping strategies, getting one or more specific players to come along for the ride. Maybe a good check-raise could work. This is why you need to combine all of the strategic skills mentioned above in order to really be a well-rounded online poker site Texas Hold’em player.
Playing too many hands is the top mistake made by beginning and even intermediate players online. The way out of this is to always pay attention to your starting hands and maintain strict discipline about which hands to play and then fold everything else. Other newbies typically play marginal hands without considering their position (or the board).
Many players are not aggressive enough when playing at online poker rooms. Above, we said that a lot of players go pretty hard and fast, but then they end up calling or betting instead of raising. If you are only playing about 30% of the time, about half of those hands should involve a raise. This also goes for making inconsistent bet sizes. In fact, that could be an unconscious tell if you are betting low pocket pairs more lightly than high pocket pairs. Make things more equal and your opponents will have a harder time trying to figure you out.
Don't try to bluff someone who is basically a calling station. Once you have figured out which opponents at your favorite online poker sites are going to call just about every hand, forget about bluffing them, this will save you a lot of real money in the long run. It is also always a good idea to have your hand showing at least some value before you show real aggression.
Having read through our Texas Hold’em online poker game guide for 2018, why not check out our list of recommended US poker online sites and start putting them into practicing, winning some big jackpots.