Learning the basics: No-Limits Texas Hold 'Em Parts I + II

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Learning the basics: No-Limits Texas Hold 'Em Parts I + II

Postby Docca on Sat Nov 27, 2004 1:17 pm

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Learning the basics: No-Limits Texas Hold 'Em Part I

Hi folks, welcome to Kiwi's Poker Forum. The plan is to establish this little oasis as a place to discuss all things poker. Whilst there is a huge variety of poker games out there, it would be absolute madness for me to try an talk about most of them as i simply would not have a clue. In view of this, i will attempt to form a basic guide to the main form of poker i play- Texas Hold 'Em .

This guide is not intended to be the definitive guide to poker, or indeed an experts take on the game. To pretend to be either would be somewhat misleading.However, it IS meant to provide an introduction for beginners to the game that so many of us now love and adore. Oh, by the way you can discuss other poker formats- and if you feel like posting up your own guide for beginners (like myself), then even better! :)

No Limit Texas Hold 'Em Poker

The bare minimum players required to play a game of hold 'em is 2. This is also refered to 'heads up' play (but more on that later!). Typically however you are looking at tables with more players than that, with the maximum players able to sit at any one table being 10.

Casino play more often has the 'house' (casino croupier) as the dealer, but for home and online play each player takes it in turn to be the dealer. When in this position, you are usually referred to as the 'button' -identified with a chip marker with 'D' or 'Dealer' on it.

Going clockwise around the table, the first person to the left of the dealer is the SMALL BLIND and the person to their left is the BIG BLIND. These are both compulsory bets and ensure that every hand in hold 'em has money in the pot. The level of these blinds are determined by the limit of the table. There are two types of table setup; RING GAMES and TOURNAMENT GAMES. In a ring game the cost of playing is determined by the price of the set blinds. For example, if the table is a $2-$4 table then the small blind MUST place half the minimum bet ( $1) and the big blind the minimum bet ( $2) before any cards are even dealt.
In tournament play the numbers of players may be restricted by the size of the tournament, and each player wishing to play pays a set fee upfront in order to participate, with all players being started off with the same amount of chips.

This diagram demonstrates the dealer, small blind and big blind positions at a table-


Once the blinds are posted, each player is dealt two cards face down. These cards are known as POCKET or Hole cards;


There then follows the first round of betting, which starts at the position iimmediately after and to the left of the big blind as the player in the big blind position has already made one complete bet. If the player in this position wants to play, they have to at least match the big blind or 'call'.

They also have the option of folding. The player may RAISE the bet by matching the amount of the first bet (big blind) and adding an equal amount to it thereby making it 2 bets. This then continues clockwise around the table,with each player matching or 'calling' the big blind, folding or raising. If a player decides to raise then all subsequent players left in must mach the valuie of the raise if they wish to continue.

Once betting has come back round to the big blind, the player in that position can choose to either; 'check' which is in effect a free call and can only be played if there have been no other bets on the way round , or they can raise. Again, if they raise then all other players wishing to remain in the hand must match that amount until everyone left in the pot has paid the same amount As this is 'No Limit' then how much you choose to raise, is up to you.If you so decide, you can put ALL your chips in as there really is no limit :)

Once the betting is matched, three cards are dealt face up in the centre of the table. These are called the community cards or the FLOP. A further round of betting then takes place, following the same pattern as before. After this is another community card is dealt, this is called fourth street or the TURN. Another round of betting takes place, and then the final community card- 5th street or the RIVER is dealt. A last round of betting takes place, and then it's time to show your cards and see who's won.

So, what's the aim of the game? Well, as you can see aswell as the two pocket cards each player is dealth there are also 5 further community cards. The object of the game is to make the best FIVE card hand out of the seven cards available to you.

It's probably a good idea at this juncture to describe the various hands in poker. The hierarchy from highest possible winning hand to lowest hand looks like this;

Royal Flush

An Ace high straight of the same suit-

Image Image Image Image Image

This hand is as rare as rocking horse manure, infact you have 1 chance in every 649,739 hands dealt of hitting it.

Straight Flush

A straight of entirely one suit-

Image Image Image Image Image

About as likely as scoring with Carmen Electra and Angelina Jolie at the same time, or even 1 chance in every 72,192 hands.

Four of a Kind (quads)

Four cards of the same rank-

Image Image Image Image Image

Full House (full boat, boat)

Three-of-a-kind and a pair. The example below would be called "Queens over Aces" or "Queens full of Aces".

Image Image Image Image Image


Five cards of the same suit-

Image Image Image Image Image

Straight (run)

ANY Five cards of sequential rank. Note that in hold 'em, Aces can be high or low-

Image Image Image Image Image

Three of a kind (trips, set)

Three cards of the same rank-

Image Image Image Image Image

Two Pair

Two cards of the same rank and another two cards of the same rank. The example below would be called "Jacks and Twos".

Image Image Image Image Image

One Pair

Two cards of the same rank-

Image Image Image Image Image

High Card

When you don't have any of the above, your highest card determines your hand

That's the very basics and a good starting point to learn the hands in hold 'em poker. Part 2 will look at; pocket cards and their associated terminology along with other poker slang, what to play and what to fold when in the pocket position and also touch on playing from your position in the hand. :D


Learning the basics: No-Limits Texas Hold 'Em Part II

So part one introduced you to the table and got to show you the value and hierarchy of all the poker hands. So it's about time we started looking at the mechanics of the game.

As you now understand, each player is dealt two 'pocket' cards at the start of each hand. How do you know whether your pocket cards are worth entering a hand with though? Are certain pockets stronger than others?

Well there are 1326 possible starting hands in poker. That's a LOT, but only a fraction of those will bring your profit. Why? Well Hold 'em is a game with community cards so it is more than possible that your oponent will pick up a good hand from flop onwards. Statistically speaking in Hold 'em- on average the best starting hand will finish as the best hand overall in hold 'em more than in any other form of poker.

Taking this into consideration, it is worthwhile crunching the numbers on what are considered the best starting hands in Hold 'em poker. Back in '76 Dave Sklansky gave what is considered the definitive listing to the value of each of the possible pocket hands you could be dealt and has only been slightly modified since. Anyways, i will now put up a list of these hands in a manner that should explain things nicely.

All these hands will be split into one of 8 groups to help us identify them at a glance (more on these groups after)

Group I

Image Image Ace|Ace

Image Image Ace|King suited

Image Image King|king

Image Image Ace|Queen SUITED

Image Image Queen|Queen

Image Image Jack|Jack

Group II

Image Image Ace|King Not-Suited

Image Image Ace|Queen Not-Suited

Image Image Ace|Jack Not-Suited

Image Image King|Queen Not-Suited

Image Image Ten|Ten

Group III

Image Image Ace|Ten Suited

Image Image King|Jack Suited

Image Image Queen|Jack Suited

Image Image Jack|Ten Suited

Image Image 9|9

Image Image 8|8

Group IV

Image Image Ace|Jack Not-Suited

Image Image King|Queen Not-Suited

Image Image King|Ten Suited

Image Image Queen|Ten Suited

Image Image Ten|9 Suited

Image Image 7|7

Group V

Image Image Ace|9 Suited

Image Image Queen|9 Suited

Image Image Jack|9 Suited

Image Image 6|6

Image Image 5|5

Image Image 4|4

Group VI

Image Image Ace|?= Any card not already listed in an above group

Image Image King|9 Suited

Image Image Ten|8 Suited

Image Image 9|8 Suited

Image Image 8|7 Suited

Image Image 7|6 Suited

Image Image 3|3

Image Image 2|2

Group VII

Image Image King| ?= any card that has not already been listed in above

Image Image Queen|8 Suited

Image Image Jack|8 Suited

Image Image 9|7 Suited

Image Image 8|6 Suited

Image Image 7|5 Suited

Image Image 6|5 Suited

Image Image 5|4 Suited

Group VIII

Image Image Ace|Ten Not-Suited

Image Image King|Jack Not-Suited

Image Image King|ten Not-Suited

Image Image Jack|Ten Not-Suited

Any pocket combination that is not listed above is on the whole not worth playing at all. An exception to this would be if you were big blind, and no previous player had bet then you could just 'check' and so see the flop for free.

Groups I and II

When starting out, i recommend that you ONLY play pocket cards that are listed in these two groups. These cards are statistically the best cards you will have in the pocket from which you could win the hand from at that position. Also, if you start out by ONLY playing cards listed in these groups then you will afford yourself the luxury of seeing more of the game- they will come up less frequently and you will therefore have to pay to enter hands less frequently. This is called playing 'tight' (i will provide a comprehensive list of poker terminology later in the guide). Basically, it means you are only paying to play the good stuff- a 'loose' player will pay to see more flops.

I would almost always recommend playing any pocket hand listed in groups I and II, infact i would usually raise the pot if i held such cards. There are of course exceptions to this though, e.g if someone had re-raised the bet pre-flop and i had A|Qos (os=off-suit) then i might place them as having something stronger than me- say K|K etc. How you play these cards depends on your position in the hand, but more on positioning later. :matron:

Groups III to VII

Consider playing these hands when you have had some practice at the game. I say that as these hands usually play best when you have an understanding of the importance of your positioning in the hand. Pocket cards in these groups tend to make straights or be the lower of the pocket pair. For example, you get 6|5 os in your pocket. You would not usually consider playing this hand at all, especially if you were under the gun (the first position after the big blind and therefore the first to make the decision whether to call, raise or fold) Although you MIGHT call the big blind if you were sitting in a later position (closer to, or even the 'button'). It's possible that the flop will help make a straight, or you could flop a set ( 3 of a kind) or maybe 2pair. Cheap to call the original blind if that was the case.

Another example when you may consider entering the hand is if there have been several callers before you. This would mean that you are risking more by entering with such a weak hand, especially if all the other callers have stronger pockets, but you will stand the chance of breaking them if the flop is kind and therefore earning BIG. ALso consider that the more players call before you pre-flop, the more of a chance that all the good pocket cards have been sponged which could benefit you tremendously if the flop is favourable.

Group VIII

It may surprise you to see such pocket hands as A|Tos and K|Jos in this group- but these are dangerous pockets. Consider this as an example- i have A|Tos you have A|Qos. Now at this point, the only way i can possibly win is if i land one of the three remaining tens in the pack or maybe even land a jammy straight (NOT going to happen, so stop thinking like that!!) If the flop brings a Queen, then i am really up against it and would need to catch 'running' TENS- one on the turn and one on the river. If the flop brings an ACE then i still need a TEN as you have an ACE too. If the flop brings neither an ACE, Queen or TEN then you would win as you have A|Q and the Queen is a higher 'kicker' than the TEN in my A|T. Too many people have gone tits-up playing pocket cards from this group. Sure, you can win big but it's not so often that it's worth the risk.

Poker Terminology and Associated Slang

You may wonder why i want to cover the various terminology used in poker at this stage? Well, later in the guide i will be using a lot of this slang to not only familiarise you with the terms when you hit the tables, but also because i can't be arsed to explain each term again and again :P

For Pocket Hands

A|A -Pocket Rockets,American Airlines, Bullits
A|K- Big Slick
A|Q- Little Slick, Miss Slick
A|J- Blackjack (when spades or clubs)
A|T- Johnny Moss (Moss won Pokers 'World Series' 3 times in the '70s)
A|8- Dead Mans hand, reputedly named after 'Wild' Bill Hickok who was shot whilst holding aces and 8's
A|4- Transvestite, Filipino Rockets (both because if the ACE lands first, when the 4 lands the hood initially looks like another ace..but isn't)
A|3- Ashtray (ace + trey)
A|2- Hunting season
K|K- Cowboys,King Kong, Kangaroos
K|Q- Royal Couple
K|J- Kojak, King John
K|9- Sawmill, pair of dogs
Q|Q- Ladies, Siegried & Roy ("a pair of queens" alledging that these fine circus acts are shirt lifters), snowshoes, Canadian Rockets
Q|J- Oedipus
Q|9- Quinine
Q|4- B-Diddy
Q|3- Gay waiter/San Francisco busboy ("queen with a tray|trey")
Q|3s- Posh Gay Waiter
J|A- Jackass
J|J- Fishooks or hooks, Jaybirds, SHIP ('Shittest Hand in Poker' as you always raise pre-flop and usually get beat)
J|8- Jeffrey Dahmer (ate Jack)
J|5- Motown (Jacks on Five)
J|4- Flat Tyre ("what's the jack for?")
T|4- good buddy, over and out
T|2-Doyle Brunson (another famous poker player/author- won the world series twice with this hand)
9|9- Wayne Gretsky (the number on his shirt), the flake
9|8- Oldsmobile
9|5- Dolly Parton (working 9 til 5)
9|4- Joe Montana banana
8|8- snowmen, two fat ladies, dogs bollocks
7|8- RPM
7|7- walking sticks, sunset strip, Saturn, Mullets (my fave)
7|2- beer hand (if you win with this crap, you have to buy a round :) )
6|9- big lick
6|9s- prom night
6|6- Route 66
5|t- Woolworth
5|5- presto, speed limit
4c|4s- Darth Vader (the dark fours)
4|4- magnum
4|5- Jesse James colt 45
3|3- Crabs
3|2- mississippi slick, Norfolk slick
2|2- Ducks, Dueces

Some winning hands;

KKKK- Posse
KKKAA- OK Coral, Cowboys full of bullets
JJJJ- Trout line
JJJ- 5 knuckle shuffle (a jack off)
2222- Flock of ducks
Any Ace high Straight- Broadway

ALL IN When you have bet all of your money and chips in a hand, you are said to be 'all in'. The ability to go all in is what makes no-limit hold 'em different to the rest.

Aces-Wired Back to back pocket Aces

Act When it's your turn to act, you either; check, fold, open bet or raise

Action A bet of any kind, or putting money into the pot. A place where there was a lot of betting would be described as having 'a lot of action'

Aggressive A player who frequently raises or even re-raises is said to be aggressive.

Aliigator Blood A yank term given as a sign of respect for someone who is good under pressure. They are cool and must have alligator blood running through them.

Back Door A winning hand made using the turn AND river cards is said to have snuck in through the back door-the last two community cards. (usually followed by "you jammy mother f%$££&^!!!! :D )

Bad Beat Losing a pot when you hold a very strong hand where you should have been odds on to win.

Bankroll The total amount of money you have the intention of wagering with.

Base Deal Dealing from the bottom of the deck. It's cheating , don't do it.

Berry Patch An EXTREMELY easy game (another US term)

Belly Buster An inside straight draw. For example, if you held J|T and the flop brought Q|A|3, there is only one card that could make your straight- a KING. This is different to an open straight,where there are two cards that could make your straight. E.G, you have J|T and the flop lands Q|K|3- you can make your straight by landing either a 9 or an ace.

BET The act of placing a wager in turn into the pot on any betting round, or the chips put into the pot.

Bicycle Wheel The hand- A|2|3|4|5, also called a wheel or bicycle.

Blind A compulsory bet that must be made before any cards are dealt.

Small blind The smaller of the compulsory bets, made by the player in the position immediately to the left of the dealer.

Big Blind The larger of the compulsory bets, made by the player to the immediate left of the small blind. The big blind is double the amount of the small blind.

Blank Also called a 'brick'. A community card that appears to not help anyone.

Bluff A bet typically made with a weak hand. You are lying about the cards you actually hold in an attempt to mislead your opponents into folding their hands.

Board The community cards. In hold 'em that means the three 'flop' cards, the turn and the river.

Boat Another term for a full house

Bottom Pair Making a pair with the lowest valued card on the flop

Bring In To 'bring it in' is to make the first bet on the first round of a hand

bump To raise

Bust To run out of money

Burn To discard the top card from the deck, face down. This is done between each betting round before putting out the next community card(s). It is security against any player recognizing or glimpsing the next card to be used on the board.

Busted Hand A hand of less value than a pair (e.g. if you miss a straight, you have a busted straight).

Button A flat disc called the dealer button. The player with the button is the last to receive cards on the deal.

Buy To 'buy' a pot is to make a bet that is large enough so other players would be unlikely to call

Buy In The minimum amount of money required to enter any game

Call To call is to match any existing bet.

Calling Station A player who calls bets too often is said to be a 'calling station'. Usually meant as a derogatory term for an unskilled

Card Sharp A person who is expert at cards

Catching Cards If the cards are helping you, or treating you well, you are said to be catching cards. For example, if a player needs one card to land to make his hand- and gets it, then it's a nice catch.

Check To waive the right to initiate the betting in a round, but to retain the right to act if another player initiates the betting. If there has been no betting before you in a betting round, you may check, which is like calling a bet of £0.

Community Cards See 'Board'.

Coffehousing To talk about your hand DURING a game, usually with the intention of misleading your oponents. It can also be to egg on another player to make a play during a hand. Both a serious no-no's, and you should be taken out the back and shot if you commit either.

Cold Call To call more than one bet. For example, if one player bets and another raises and you call when it comes to you-you have 'cold called' the play.

Connector Cards of consecutive rank, particularly in your pocket, are called connectors. For example, if you held 5|6 in your pocket, these would be connecting cards. If they were of the same suit, they would be suited connectors!

Crack When a powerful hand (say A|A) is beat, it is 'cracked'

DeadA hand that is no longer elligible to win the pot.

Draw To draw a card you are hoping for a card to be dealt that will make your hand. For example, if you need a card to make a straight, you are on a 'straight draw' or 'drawing to a straight'

Down to the Felt Totally out of chips, broke. Your stack has been lost, and now all you can see is the felt of the table.

Family Pot When a lot, or even all the players at a table enter a hand.

Fast To play fast is to play aggressively.

Fast Company Tough players, veterans-can mean unscrupulous.

Fifth Street The river, the 5th community card dealt

Flop The flop are the three community cards that are dealt after the first round of betting.

Fish A poor player

Fishing A player who stays in a hand for longer than is adviseable is looking for the card(or two) that will make his hand is said to be 'fishing'

Flat Call As opposed to just calling, flat calling emphasises that you did not raise.

Flush Five cards of the same suit

Fold To throw away or abandon a poker hand. If you decline a bet, you fold and drop out of that hand.

Four of a kind Four cards of the same rank, e.g four Kings

Fourth Street The fourth community card to be dealt, also known as the 'turn'

Freeroll A chance to win something at no risk or cost

Full House A hand consisting of three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank, e.g 3|3|3|T|T

Grinder An un-ambitious player who is only out to win a little money each day

Gutshot Another term for a 'belly buster' or inside straight draw.

HandRefers to the cards that you hold, or to everything that happens in a card game between shuffles of the deck. A hand begins with the shuffling of the cards, dealing and then betting until a winner is declared which is when the hand is over. To 'play a hand' means to be dealt in or to call the initial bet.

Heads Up A play between only two players

High Society The highest denomination of chips in a casino/card room

Hole Your first two down cards. Also known as your 'pocket' cards.

Kicker The highest un-paired card in your hand that doesn't participate in a straight or a flush- that is that the card does not contribute to the strength of your hand on its own.

Limp To flat call an opening blind is to 'limp' into a hand. Usually indicates that the player does not hold a hand that is valuable enough to bet with.

Live Card A card that has yet to be seen

Live Game A game with lots of betting action. A 'loose' game

Lock A hand that is guarenteed to win at least a portion of the pot.

Loose A loose player is one who enters more hands, and holds on to them for longer.

Maniac A player who plays extremely loose and aggressive, often raising with just about anything.

Mechanic A cheater who manipulates the cards to his benefit when dealing, for example dealing off the bottom of the deck.

Mechanic's Grip The way the mechanic (cheat!!!) holds their deck when dealing.

MuckThe pile of folded and burned cards in front of the dealer. Also used as a verb - "He didn't have any outs so he mucked his hand."

Monster An extremely strong hand, with an excellent chance of winning the pot

No-LimitA betting structure in poker that allows for the player to wager any amount he has in front of him

Nuts The 'nuts' is the top hand. If you hold a hand that simply cannot be beaten, then you have the 'stone cold nuts'

On the finger Money given on credit

Odds The probability of making or not making a hand.

Off-Suit Cards not of the same suit

On-tilt This is the plague. Usually when you get a 'bad beat' or a poor run in poker, you can start to play off your emotions which cloud your judgement making ability. To do this is to go on tilt. Every player does it, it sucks. The mark of a good player is someone who can recover quickly from being 'on-tilt'

Outdraw To make a better hand than your opponents by drawing more cards.

Outs Live cards left in the deck that can improve your hand. To be able to work out your number of 'outs' in a hand is VERY important and will be discussed later in the guide.

Overpair/Overcard Any card you hold in your pocket that is higher than the highest card on the board

Paint A card with a picture on it. 'Lots of paint on the board'

Pass To not bet, to fold

Passive A style of play that is characterised by a players reluctance to bet and raise

Play Back To play back at someone is to raise their bet

Play on your belly To play without cheating

Playing the rush Also known as 'on a rush' 'on fire'. A poker term referring to a player who has just enjoyed a short-run of good luck marked by winning a very large pot of money in one hand or winning several hands in close succession. If the player subsequently begins to play more loosely or more aggressively they are said to be 'playing the rush'.

Playing the board In hold 'em, if your best FIVE card hand is made up of the 5 community cards, you are 'playing the board'. For example, your pocket is; 3|6os and the board drops 4|8|T|K|A of one suit, then the board has made a flush, which you can use!

Poker Hand A collection of exactly FIVE cards constitute a hand. These can be your pocket cards and three community, one pocket card and four community or just the community or 'board' cards.

Position Refers to your betting position at the table (e.g. the first players to act are in an early position)

Post To post a bet is to place your chips in the pot (or, commonly, out in front of you, so that your bet can be counted). In poker, posting usually means a forced bet, such as a blind

Pot In a poker game, the amount of money that accumulates in the middle of the table as each player antes, bets, and raises. The pot goes to the winner of the hand

Pot Odds The ratio of the amount of money in the pot to the amount of money it will cost you to call a bet

Protect To protect a hand is to bet so that more people will fold, reducing the chances of anyone outdrawing you

Quads Four of a kind,four cards of the same rank

RagsA card, usually a low card, that, when it appears, has no apparent impact on the hand

Railroad Bible A deck of cards

Raisea player raises by matching the previous bet and then betting more (adding more money to the pot), to increase the stake for remaining players

Railbirds Spectators

Rake The percentage of a pot that the casino/house keeps. The money that the casino charges for each hand of poker. It is usually a percentage (5-10%) or flat fee that is taken from the pot after each round of betting

Represent To play or bet as if you hold a certain hand. For instance, if you raised before the flop, and then raised again when the flop came ace high, you would be representing that you had at least an ACE.

ReadTo read someone is to have a good idea what their cards are based on the way they play (or by spotting tells)

River The 5th and last community card to be dealt

Re-Buy When you first sit down at a game, you buy in with a certain amount of money. Re-buying is what you do when you buy more chips before you leave. Re-buys are also allowed in some tournaments to players who fall below a certain point - usually only up until a certain point and often limited to a fixed number of re-buys. The time during which one may re-buy, usually lasting from the start through the early stages of the tournament, is called the re-buy period. Tournaments with re-buys are called, generically, re-buy tournaments

Rock Garden A game of 'tight' players

Round Can refer to a round of betting or a round of hands

Rounder A player who knows all the angles and earns his living at the poker table. The absolute opposite of a 'sucker.'

Running Two needed cards that come as the last two cards dealt are said to be running

Rush A player who wins a large number of pots in a short period of time is said to be on a rush

Sandbagging To represent you have a weaker hand than you actually do. Can be achieved by check-raising an opponent, where you check and they may assume you have nothing, only for them to bet and then you bet over them.

Slow Rolling An antagonistic way of revealing that you have the winning hand a little at a time

Snap off To beat someone, often a bluffer, and usually with a not especially powerful hand, is to snap them off

Splash the pot To throw, instead of place, ones chips while betting. This is frowned upon because it may obscure the amount of money actually wagered

See To 'call' a bet

Straighten OutTo introduce an acquaintance to an underground poker club

Straight FlushA hand consisting of five cards of consecutive ranks of the same suit

SetThree of a kind with two of the three in your 'pocket'

Shark The opposite of a fish. A shark is a strong player who will earn his money feeding off weaker players (fish)

Shorthanded A game is said to be short-handed when it falls below a certain number of players

Short-Stack A player who is 'short stacked' has only a few chips left

Showdown When all the betting's done, if more than one player is still in the pot, the players who remain in the pot must show their hands in the showdown to determine the winner

Shuffle Before each hand the dealer mixes up the order of the cards

Side Pot An example of a side-pot would be; If the call bet or the raise bet is $20 and a player has $15 only, this player makes an 'all in' bet (he puts all his money into the pot). In this case a side pot is created for those players who have more money to bet. The $5 difference is placed into this side pot. All other active players carry on betting and and their money is placed into this side pot and if at the end one of them has the best hand, he or she wins both; the main pot and the side pot. If the 'all in' player has the best hand, he or she claims the main pot, and the side pot is awarded to the best hand among those players who were still active in betting. You win a pot that you put money into

Skin A dollar

Skin Game A game having cheaters working in collusion

Slowplay To slowplay is to underbet a very strong hand in an attempt to draw more opponents into the pot

Small Blind The smaller of the compulsory antes. Usually half the amount of the smaller of the two amounts at a tabkle. For example, if you were at a $3 - $6 table, the small blind would be $1.5

smooth call To call one or more bets with a hand that's strong enough for a raise

snarker A player who wins a pot and then ridicules the loser

Squeeze bet To bet or raise against another strong hand in order to extract more money from a third player holding a weaker hand

Stack All your chips

Steal To (attempt to) steal a pot is to make a bet when it appears no one else has anything. To win the pot by bluffing

Steam A player who is on 'Tilt' is sometimes said to be steaming

Stonewall A player who calls to the end with a poor hand

Straight Five cards of consecutive ranks or in sequence

Tap Tap the table means to check. Also (USA), to bet the amount of an opponent's entire stack, forcing him to go 'all in' if he calls the bet

Tapioca Out of money

Tell An unconscious gesture that reveals information about your hand. For example, if you get a good hand you may unconsciously scratch your nose. That would be one of your 'tells'

Tight Conservative play

Tigh Player A player who seldom bets unless they hold a strong hand

Trap You're 'trapped' if after putting some money in the pot you're faced with the proposition of calling a raise in order to continue, especially an uncomfortably large raise

Turn The fourth of five community cards, also known as 'fourth street'

Under the Gun The first player to act after the blind bets is said to be under the gun

Washing A card shuffling technique where the dealer spreads the cards on the table face down and then proceeds to mix them around with his hands flat in a face-washing-like action before gathering them up and performing a more normal shuffle. Card washing is intended to remove any consistencies in the sequencing among the cards that new decks of cards have, or that were produced in play prior to the present shuffle. In standard table poker the cards are washed after every hand before they are subjected to a more conventional shuffling. In blackjack and baccarat, the the cards are washed when old decks are taken out of play and fresh new decks brought in to replace them

Weak A style of play characterized by a readiness to fold and a reluctance to raise. Also describes a poor player

White Meat Profit

Now you have familiarised yourself with some of the slang i will take the rod out of my arse and start to incoporate this language within the rest of the giude (it's been difficult so far! :P ) So let's look at some basic examples of how a hand might be played in a no-limit hold 'em game.

Examples of play I

Ok- let's say that it's a six player tournament game and the blinds are $10 and $20 and each player is started with $1000. The cards are shuffled and each player is dealt their pocket cards. Player 1 is the button, with player 2 the small and posts $5 blind, player 3 the big blind who posts $10.

The Deal

Player1hasImage ImagePlayer2hasImage ImagePlayer3hasImage Image

Player4hasImage ImagePlayer5hasImage ImagePlayer6hasImage Image

From here we can see that player 1 has landed the big slick, player 2 has an Ace|Ten, player 3 has suited connectors, player 4 has made the worst hand in poker, player 5 has pocket 9's and finally player 6 has an off suit kojak. From here, the strongest hand would be player 1's- the slick is suited so they not only have two high cards but also an outside chance of hitting the nuts flush..

First Round of Betting

The first person to act is the player to the left of the big blind, in this case player 3.They have suited connectors and decide to call the blind ($10)

The play then moves onto player 4 (seated to player 3's left, going clockwise around the table). They have the beer hand, the worst possible pocket hand, so decide to fold. This action means player 4 takes no further part in the hand.

Play moves round to player 5, who has pocket 9's. He decides to RAISE the blind, and sticks in the blind ($10) plus an additional $50.

On to player 6, who must at least CALL the $60 ($10 blind+$50previous bet) if they wish to continue in the hand. They have K|J and decide to call.

Play moves back round to player 1, in the button. They have the slick and also call the $60 needed to now stay in the hand.

Player 2, who was the small blind, now needs to cough up $55 should they wish to participate any further in the hand, which they do.

Finally, back round to player 3- the big blind, who submits the additional $50 required. All players left in the hand have now submitted an equal amount of money into the pot, so we can move on to the next stage. There are currently 5 of the 6 starting hands remaining in the game, and $300 in the pot.

The Flop

Image Image Image

Second Round of Betting

The first active player to the left of the button is the first to act, in this instance it's player 2 and the play moves clockwise around the table as before.

Player 2 has hit the high card pair (Aces) and so raises $100.

Player 3 now has 4 cards of the same suit, and is on a flush draw-needing only one more club to make their flush. What's more, they are also on an open ended straight draw AND an open ended straight flush draw. A VERY strong drawing hand, although at this stage they have made nothing. The decide to call the $100.

Player 5 has made a set of 9's (trips) and holds a very strong hand. Three of a kind is certainly worth a raise, which the do- re-raising $300- and so putting $400 into the pot ($100 to call the first bet + their raise).

Player 6 has not made anything from the flop, and rightly decides to fold.

On to player 1, who has also made the top pair with their ACE andhas a KING kicker from his pocket. The kicker is strong, so player 1 calls the $400.

Player 2- who made the original bet- does not fancy his chances with only a TEN for a kicker, so folds.

Finally, back to player 3 who calls the $300 required to stay in the hand.

We are down to 3 players, with $1600 now in the pot. Each of the remaining 3 players have $540 left from their starting bankroll of $1000.

The Turn

Image Image Image Image

Third Round of Betting

The 4 of spades is a brick and has not strengthened any of the players hands.

First to act is player 3. They check, as they can do if no previous bets have been entered in that round.

Player 5 still has trips, and raises $200.

Player 1 still has Ace with the King kicker, and decides to call the $200.

Finally, back round to player 3 who calls the $200.

There is now $2200 in the pot, and each player is left with $340.

The River

Image Image Image Image Image

Final Round of Betting

Ok, now things are hotting up. First to act is player 3, who has made their flush!! however, it's only 9 high (the 9 on the board). They bet $100.

Player 5 has made the boat (full house!!) and is in a strong position. They re-raise ALL IN and submit the remainder of their stack- $340 (the $100 call and $240 left went all in)

Player one has made trips ACES!!! with a king kicker- another terrific hand. They call the all in, and play moves back round to player 3 who chucks his remaining $240 in and calls the bet. The final pot being an impressive $3220!

It's now time for the showdown and all the players turn over their cards, but who won?

Well, remembering the hierarchy previously mentioned;

Full house (player 5) beats a flush (player 3) which in turn beats three of a kind (player 1).

Player 5 wins this time, winning the money AND knocking 2 players out of the tournament in one go. With 4 players left, they are in a commanding position!
Even a blind Squirrel can hold the nuts


Postby Rupert on Thu Dec 02, 2004 11:01 pm

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Postby Kiwi on Tue Dec 14, 2004 3:57 pm

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fucking awesome post docca - seriously impressed with that.

Reading the terminoligy is like a trip down late-night-poker lane

Postby Monie on Tue Dec 14, 2004 5:27 pm

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Docca - Winning hands... A/2/3/4/5 - the Wheel.

Postby Mike TV on Thu Jan 06, 2005 12:22 pm

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Casino play more often has the 'house' (casino croupier) as the dealer, but for home and online play each player takes it in turn to be the dealer. When in this position, you are usually referred to as the 'button' -identified with a chip marker with 'D' or 'Dealer' on it.

Casino play will still use a button m8, the dealer is effectively dealing for each person. As the button moves, the dealer will start dealing the hand with the player left of the button.

<m8, i didn't say that a casino wouldn't use the button- doc >

I'm guessing you already know that, since it is also what determines who plays the small and big blinds :D But it would be worth clarifying for the newbies.

Also depending on what book you are reading, the grouping changes considerably. FOr instance, some would argue rightly or wrongly that Q10s should come above J10s in winning odds.

Postby Dan on Thu Jan 06, 2005 4:54 pm

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JT suited is one of my favourite hands.

Think its one of Docca's too! :E

Re: Learning the basics: No-Limits Texas Hold 'Em Parts I +

Postby Tonster on Mon Nov 21, 2005 3:53 pm

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Docca wrote:The player may RAISE the bet by matching the amount of the first bet (big blind) and adding an equal amount to it thereby making it 2 bets. This then continues clockwise around the table,with each player matching or 'calling' the big blind, folding or raising. If a player decides to raise then all subsequent players left in must match the valuie of the raise if they wish to continue.

Once betting has come back round to the big blind, the player in that position can choose to either; 'check' which is in effect a free call and can only be played if there have been no other bets on the way round , or they can raise. Again, if they raise then all other players wishing to remain in the hand must match that amount until everyone left in the pot has paid the same amount As this is 'No Limit' then how much you choose to raise, is up to you.If you so decide, you can put ALL your chips in as there really is no limit :)

Awesome post Docca! As a n00b it's the betting methods that are confusing the bejesus out of me.

You say each player must match the Big Blind or fold or raise. If someone has raised I take it subsequent players must then match this higher bet and not the original Big Blind... is that right? Does that higher value become the new Big Blind? Or is the Big Blind name solely allocated to the person 2 places to the left of the dealer? This terminology can get a bit confuddling.

Secondly, you say, "Once betting has come back round to the big blind, the player in that position can choose to either; 'check' which is in effect a free call and can only be played if there have been no other bets on the way round , or they can raise.". If there has been a raise, what if the Big Blind does not wish to add a further raise, but call instead? If this is not possible does that mean that ultimately, in each round everyone must call the Big Blind at some point (or fold of course)? If they don't the ante would just keep going up and up, but I guess that's the pressure of it.

Finally, what happens if the Big Blind folds? As he seems to be the lynch pin, what happens when he packs it in?

Last thing, but I can't see any of the pictures (all red x's) :D

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