Texas Holdem

Welcome to Texas Holdem page offering Online Poker education for fun & profit. Poker Rules, Game Strategy, Tips and Tricks are the focus of this website.

For a complete overview of the Texas Hold em game visit our Learn About Poker pages. New players should start with poker rules page while advanced players can improve by reading poker articles.

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Titan Poker in a relatively short time period has managed to muscle its way in, and complete with the biggest of poker rooms. It is part of the iPoker Network, Titan guarantees a good supply of players and just as importantly lots of "fish" (see Glossary). Play is loose due to the mixed crowd. You do have poker players but Titan also draws a casino crowd. Many of the casino players believe that poker is simply another form of gambling and such ignorance is clearly to our advantage.

There is a wide variety of game types and good levels of players at all tables with online numbers hitting the 55,000 mark at peak times. There is plenty of freerole and satellite opportunities with the key attraction being the multi million dollar European Championship. If you are starting out as a poker player this is a good place to start the journey.

Titan Poker Review in Detail.

How to use Texas Holdem Odds Calculators in Online play

Posted by root on Monday, March 19 @ 03:07:18 UTC (6372 reads)

This article focuses on poker strategy and the practical use of odds calculators in the online game.

Hopefully if you are reading this then you are already aware of the advantages offered by online odds calculators. If not, then here is a summary recap:

1) Mathematical calculations are performed automatically and leave your available brainpower free to concentrate on other aspects of the game such as table position, bluffing, opponents’ playing style etc.

2) Accurate mathematics aids playing discipline. If you know that you are playing starting hands less than say 50 in rank, and can see that statistically you are likely to be behind chasing cards then you are less likely to do it!

3) Education – the basis of poor poker play is a lack of discipline, education and often both. Most players underestimate the complexity of the game and while experience is something that can only come with time and effort, learning the mathematics of the game through exposure to calculations in this way is undoubtedly beneficial to the quality of your own play.

Stop chasing cards! Card discipline is the first benefit any odds calculator is likely to bring to your game. Do you play starting hands such as A9? Do you realise that it has a hand rank of 72 out of 169? I am constantly amazed at the number of people who play rather than fold marginal hands like this, and this hand in particular is a killer because if you pair your Ace then you are probably still behind. Take a look at our member survey of this question survey19.htm to see how many people play this and many other marginal hands badly. Odds calculators can therefore point out your game weaknesses and help you stem losses in addition to highlight when you are likely to be ahead.

Understanding and accepting that Texas Holdem is a very complex game where even in its online form a deep understanding of your opponent playing style, the value of Table Position play, and knowledge of how and when to bluff are essential elements to success will lead you to conclude that removing the complex mathematics to an automated aid has to be beneficial to all of the other facets of the game that must be monitored.

Highlighting outs that you may have overlooked. Given the number of variables that have to be assessed in any particular hand it is very easy to overlook straights, flushes and other potential hands for either yourself or your opponents. Overlooking opportunities presented by your own cards will happen from time to time, but seeing what your opponents could have and understanding the statistical likelihood of them catching big hands is difficult on your own. Complex Poker Odds Calculators such as HoldemPokerCalc are able to detail opponent odds for up to 9 opponents holding 18 cards you cannot see.

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Odds Calculators for Texas Holdem

Posted by root on Wednesday, February 28 @ 12:23:17 UTC (6347 reads)

In the world of online poker, as in so many fields, information is king. To be successful in poker you need to beware of the statistical reality of the game. The first and most shocking statistic is that only 5% of players make money playing poker leaving the rest of us to either play for the enjoyment of the game or lose money gracefully under the delusion of self brilliance. Most new poker players underestimate the skills required and by definition they don’t have the experience to succeed (hence the term “fish”).

The first step in advancing your game is to accept the reality above and learn from it – learn by understanding the weakness in your game and accepting help as and when it presents itself. Help can come in many forms but the most obvious is to accept that you are not a mathematical genius and therefore unlikely to instantly be able to rework the statistics of each card on the Flop, Turn and River. Even if you are a gifted mathematician you’d be foolish to apply brainpower to the mathematical side of the card game when there are so many other facets to be mastered such as table position, player reading and situational bluffing strategies.

With the above in mind I set out to find and deploy a poker odds calculator to aid my own personal play. Having played the game for years I have a good sense of the maths but occasional reminders of odds faced in certain hands can be a good aid to playing strategy. Looking at the existing market for odds calculators I struggled to find one that covered all the bases I was looking for. In general odds calculators provide a mix of the following functions:

  • Initial hole card hand ranking (out of 169 possible starting combinations)
  • Odds of winning based on a simple calculation of your starting hand rank and the number of opponents at the table
  • Auto screen reading of cards
  • The odds of you making a hand based on what you currently have and the likelihood of the remaining cards to come improving your hand. This can be either a simple percentage improvement or preferably percentage likelihood of making each type of hand.
  • Number of outs – a point in time count of the number of cards that can improve your position based on a single card to come.
  • Pot odds
  • Opponent odds – Odds of your opponents beating you based on numbers of opponents, Community Cards on display and the mathematical possibilities based on the 2 cards they hold that you can’t see.

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The Psychology of Tilt - Recognising and coping with this poker problem

Posted by root on Monday, August 28 @ 15:59:01 UTC (6944 reads)

It does not matter how cool you think you are, all players are susceptible to and will be punished from time to time for going on Tilt. For the uninitiated "Tilt" is the descriptive used to explain irrational, illogical poker play immediately following a bad beat or significant table loss. Simply put, the symptoms of Tilt are:

1. Large calls or raises that are not justified by pot-odds immediately or shortly after a large loss.
2. Chat room rage.
3. Constant action, with little folding - again immediately or shortly after a large loss.

The best example I've ever seen of a player on Tilt was in a $3/$6 No Limit Holdem game. My opponent took a bad outdraw when his flopped Straight failed to stand up against a Set which became a Full House on the River. The very next hand I'm dealt a pair of 5s and bet them aggressively. I thought I'd be playing a tilted player, and sure enough my bet was called. At this point he only had $120 to my $600 in poker chips. The flop came 2,4,8 different suits so with only 1 over card I expected to be ahead. I led out betting a stiff $40 and was called. Turn comes a 9 which was an over-card but not a scare card as such. I bet $30 and was called again. River card was a 5 guaranteeing my win. I put him allin and he calls his remaining $42 into the pot. The most amazing part was that he only had 10 Jack unsuited which in this encounter was Jack high. I sat back amazed at the easiest $120 I've ever made playing poker and wondered at the psychology of the final $40 call. Whichever way you look at it, that was the worst call I'm ever likely to see as he couldn't possibly hope to win with Jack high.

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Playing High Stakes No Limit Texas Holdem

Posted by root on Wednesday, August 23 @ 03:16:49 UTC (7803 reads)

Having played poker for many years, both online and offline, I continue to be surprised by the depth of the No-Limit game and the challenges / opportunities offered by high stakes play. First I must define "high stakes", because the statement obviously means different things to each player. Most online poker players begin at low stakes and over a period of time advance to 50c/$1 or $1/$2 NL. Higher than that and they run into difficulty as the style of play takes a dramatic and rather aggressive shift. Scared off, they often settle into their comfort zone which may well sensibly be 50c/$1 NL Holdem games. I myself stayed in this zone for years playing low limit cash and medium sized multi-table tournaments (with great success). High stakes for the purposes of this article can be defined as $3/$6 No Limit and higher.

The first, and most obvious point is that to enter the room with maximum chips costs $600 - no small change to most people. Many choose to enter with less, say $150 in a conscious attempt to limit prospective downside to that figure. From my experience that's a mistake - it sends all the wrong signals such as "you're scared of losing, or can't afford to lose $600." If there is even an element of truth in that statement then my advice to you would be to go down a number of levels or stop playing poker altogether. Poker is without question a skill game, but there is significant risk in the outcome of any hand. Therefore enter with $600 or don't enter the room. I typically look for tables with one or more shortstacked players and push them around with marginal cards.

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The 13th Texas Holdem Poker $1000 Monthly Freeroll Tournament

Posted by root on Sunday, August 20 @ 15:50:17 UTC (8521 reads)

Announcing the 13th Texas Holdem Poker $1000 monthly freeroll tournament. We are having a change of scene this month after 10 monthly $1000 freeroll tourneys held at Titan poker. This month's freeroll tournament will be held at our site's latest addition DoylesRoom poker on Saturday 2nd of September 2006 at 7pm eastern (New york) time.

Anyone who knows anything about Texas Holdem poker knows that Doyle Brunson is the man, so I thought we'd check out his poker room with a freeroll tournament. You can also play against the man himself at Doyles room. Watch out for his screen name TexDolly at the tables.

As ever for us, free means free. There are no entry requirements for this tourney other than to follow the simple 3 step joining instructions on the Freeroll Tournament page. Taking part in our monthly freeroll tournament is fast, free and simple.

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Final Table Play in Texas Holdem Tournaments

Posted by root on Saturday, May 06 @ 16:10:53 UTC (15225 reads)

One of the best feelings you can get in an Online Poker game is making it to the Final Table of a major tournament. Whether you paid or made it to the end of a Freeroll, you know you are in the money, and in many cases could be in for a considerable prize. You now have a couple of problems:

1) Dealing with quality players (almost by definition the players at the end know how to play Holdem)

2) Ensuring that however large your chipstack is, you make it to a top 3 position.

The second point may seem rather obvious, but it's worth remembering that prize increments at this point are usually very significant indeed and the difference between 1st and 10th will likely be counted in the thousands.

One problem a lot of players have when they find themselves at the final table that they have no real master plan, but know that being aggressive has been a successful strategy up to this point. If you have not played sections of the tournament aggressively up this point then you are very lucky to have made it this far. Mistake number 1 then is misplaced over-aggression. When you are down to the last 10, the blinds will be huge. This forces players to gamble to stay in contention far more than they would have in the earlier stages. Play aggressively now with weak hole cards and you will find yourself with a 50/50 chance at best.

The next problem at the Final Table is that you will likely see a dominating chipstack. Holdem Poker players often worry about the size of this persons lead and feel a need to challenge it. My advice would be don't do so. Ok so you have some idea what not to do - how should you play?

The first thing to do is to recognise that the game has entered a final and most dangerous phase. At this stage in the game you will see lots of bluffing, aggression (particularly by the chip leader) and play with less than perfect cards. Assess your position relative to the others on your table. If you are on the short stack then clearly you must take risk. Do not blind yourself away to a point where even if you do win you'll not benefit from doubling up. Go all-in with Ace anything or any pair to have a chance at the double. If you are not short-stacked then sit back, relax and only play premium hands. By premium we are talking 1010 or higher pair and Ace King, Ace Queen. By playing this part of your tournament slowly you'll be able to watch as others put themselves out in all-in confrontations. Obviously if you get a premium hand you have to hope someone will attempt to bluff you, but even if they all fold you'll end up with some sizeable blinds.

If you are the dominant chip leader then being careful not to lose it pick off your opponents one by one, and throw plenty of chips around when medium stacked players try to dip a toe in the water. Always be on guard for high cards on the flop because these will generally be matched, especially so by the all-in short stack.

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Watched Poker on Television, now you want to play Texas Holdem online?

Posted by root on Sunday, April 23 @ 20:21:56 UTC (7849 reads)

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a prospective online poker player is to watch say the finals of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) on the television and dream of replicating Chris Moneymakers (real name) success as a new online player taking the title and the multi-million dollar prize. It can happen, but you have to realise that you have more chance of catching a flesh eating virus.

Televised poker while undoubtedly exciting to watch, leads new players to believe they have as good a chance as the next person of becoming the champion. I guess you are more likely to get to the top of poker than say win the Olympics starting in your 40's but you should not forget that poker is truly a game of skill, with a small element of luck.

Televised online poker games are edited for excitement. The plays you see are not sequential, they are the occasional dramatic moments from perhaps three days of play. Obviously the channels only show the best parts and they have to fit within a 1 or 2 hour slot.

With regard to the skill side of Texas Holdem ask yourself this "why do I keep seeing Doyle Brunson at the final table?" Well it's no coincidence, and the Godfather of Poker didn't get a free celebrity pass. He makes the final table because he is quite simply the most skillful player in the world and living proof that this is a skill game.

One of the many mistakes new players make is to see the glamour of televised events and watch the rather unusual style of quality players like Gus Hanson and conclude that Texas Holdem is a game of luck (because you can win with Q3) so lets get online and play. Obviously these people are fish food for the sharks. What the television does not show is the tight play that Gus and others played to get to the final table or, quite often, the hands he folded at the Flop playing Rags.

If you watch enough televised poker on ESPN or the Travel Channel you'll see the same faces time and again - Gus Hanson, Howard Lederer, Phil Ivey, and the most annoying person in the world (you've guessed it Phil Hellmuth) and yet there are as many as 8000 people chipping up at the start of each event.

My advice to all new players is this:

1) Take it slow. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither are quality poker players.

2) Practice makes perfect, in poker as in so many other fields.

3) Realise your limitations before you start. Read my articles on www.texashold-empoker.com to avoid all the standard pitfalls and traps that you will likely fall into otherwise.

4) Make good use of cheap tournaments as a learning tool. Not only are they good value but they offer the whole range of play throughout the various stages of a tourney that you may not see playing cash games.

5) Look at online poker as a means of getting sufficient low level hands of practice in before you play for any significant value.

If you do succeed in the poker business we'll no doubt see you opening your own brand! Good luck at the tables.

Graham Easton is the webmaster at www.texashold-empoker.com. He has a track record in large multi-player tournaments making heads up in 5 of the last 20 entered.

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Online Poker - How it differs from Land Based Play

Posted by root on Monday, April 17 @ 08:00:19 UTC (7990 reads)

In recent years online poker and particularly the Texas Holdem variant of the game has come to dominate our television sets. I'm often asked to comment on the differences in play between online poker and land based rooms which I look to set out in this article.

1) Speed of online poker play is roughly twice that of land based poker play. The number of hands per hour in a land poker room would be circa 30 per hour at best, perhaps as low as 20. Typical online poker game would see 50-60 hands per hour, and anything up to 120 per hour for short handed "Turbo" play.

2) Rake collected by an online poker room will be 5% or less of each pot whereas land based rooms will be 10% or even higher. In this regard online play is the better value option. Some countries, such as the United Kingdom have laws against the taking of rake. Instead they either charge by the hour or by the tournament. This is the reason that Caribbean Poker is favoured over Texas Holdem in land based casinos in the UK.

3) The quality of player found in an online poker room will generally be lower than that in land based rooms. There are many reasons for this but to actually go to a land based smoky room sitting down at a table of 10 takes an element of confidence that you don't need in an online poker environment. Land based players are often better in that they usually understand the game before playing it. By way of contrast your average online poker newbie has just watched the World Poker Tour on the Travel Channel or ESPN. The only exceptions to this that I've found occur in Las Vegas where you get the full range of extremes from holiday makers trying their hand to the best in the world.

4) Online poker players can pick and choose the time of day they play 24 hrs a day 7 days a week and do so from the comfort of their own home. Land based players must plan ahead and get to the venue at the due starting time.

5) Online poker players have more choice, in the number and variety of games to choose from ranging from free play to cash games to tournaments of all sizes. If you want to win a seat at the upcoming 2006 World Series of Poker (WSOP) then you need to be looking towards online poker tournaments where a far greater range of choices await such as satellite entries from as little as $5.

6) Poker Tells between online and land based poker play are very different. Land based players spend more time observing body language and voice tells through opponent questioning than they do observing time delays between bets and bet size relative to the potential odds of higher hands. Online Poker Tells have more to do with timing, bet size, and table position rather than the judgement of facial expression.

7) Poker etiquette is more disciplined in land based poker rooms. The online poker experience can often be spoiled by drunken fools who believe they have Phil Ivey's skill level even though they clearly don't. Catch a lucky card in an online poker room and you may find yourself on the end of some verbal abuse (through the typed chat system). Phrases such as "you're an idiot" and worse would not be tolerated in a land based room but go largely unchecked online. You always have the option to turn off player chat but my preferred playing style is to goad the offending player into playing on tilt (usually a simple thing to do). One recourse you do have against abuse is to report the player to the pit boss and they will be either banned from chat or thrown out of the room altogether.

8) Online poker gives you the unique ability to play more than one room at a time. Clearly this is not an option open to land based players. I know of people who play up to six tables simultaneously.

As you can see both environments have the potential for a really good game of poker. Different experiences to suit different player needs. Personally I don't have a preference between the two. I value the convenience of online play, but still enjoy the interaction of a live room.

Graham Easton is the author of this article. He is webmaster at www.texashold-empoker.com.

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Identify your opponent to maximise value at the Texas Holdem Poker Table

Posted by root on Tuesday, March 21 @ 21:09:17 UTC (7754 reads)

There are many types of Texas Holdem Poker player and of course many levels of experience between those players. Texas Holdem the card game is though similar to pushing spaghetti around a plate - some will get more, others will get less and the house always takes a slice. The statistics of cards over time dictate that we all have the same opportunities. The key to maximise our potential gains therefore is to quickly identify your opponent type and skill level. If you can correctly identify your opponent then you will be able to alter your playing style to maximise your win, but just as significantly minimise your loss.

Let's review the various playing styles that you will come across in an average Texas Holdem Poker cash game. Players will either be:

  • Rocks
  • Tight Players
  • Calling Stations
  • Maniacs
And within this you will find a range of aggression that goes from Passive to Aggressive. What follows are some strategic hints and tips to help you play against each form of poker player in an online environment.

Rocks

Rocks are the most common type of Texas Holdem Player. They are the easiest to beat and usually come in the form of inexperienced new players who think the game revolves around the cards you are dealt. It's also the most natural playing style so you will find them regularly. These are the people you should look to play against. Controlled aggression is the way to proceed. Bet at these players when flops look ugly and they'll most likely fold. If they re-raise you in return, step aside and let them take the hand, coming right back at them next round. A rock who has been sitting folding the last 20 hands only to come out betting is the easiest read of all. If you can't see them coming then I'd suggest you take up a different game.

Tight Players

Tight players are usually battle hardened. The difference between a tight player and a rock is that they understand the need to come out more often, the occasional bluff here and there but more importantly they usually use the time spent sitting out to identify opponent characteristics in order to play their weaknesses. The best of all players sit in this category - Tight Aggressive No Limit Texas Holdem players need to be identified early on and avoided at all cost. Find one and you should re-examine your table selection (yes you should move table). Real life examples would be Howard Lederer and Erick Lindgren.

Calling Stations

An interesting playing style and the second most common you'll find in online poker. By definition fairly weak, these players rarely take the initiative and thereby have to rely on the luck of running up against an aggressive player while holding the nut or near nut hand. More often than not these people will lose because they are:

1) Playing their cards and not their opponent
2) Have no initiative
3) Regularly rely on card catching strategies

It's worth pointing out at this stage that card catching is a bad idea in almost any cir*****stances (except as part of a semi-bluff play).

Maniacs

Are a rare breed of player seldom seen in low limit or tournament Texas Holdem Poker games. They have no fear of losing, indeed it'll look like they want to, and it is this that sets them apart from most players online today. Difficult to play against, these opponents rely on your fear of losing your stack to gain chips. Often seen with large chip stacks relative to the table Maniacs will bet large regularly and whatever hand you choose to play it is likely that you will have to be prepared to go all-in with it. No card catching against these opponents - if you try you will be punished.

The identification of Maniacs is easy, as is your assault on their playing style. Clearly the weakness these players have is that they are susceptible to large pocket pairs (AA, KK, QQ, even AK). The difficulty is that you will likely have to wait a good number of cards before you get to play such a hand. Maniacs are far from stupid (they often evolve in experience terms from Rocks or Calling Stations that have read Doyle Brunson's Super System books and progressed from there. To hit them properly you have to either get lucky early on with the big pair or play enough cards so you are not identified as a waiting Rock (obviously you don't want them to get out of your way when the time is right).

If you beat an aggressive Maniac once, you'll find they go on Tilt really easily which provides further opportunity for the brave. I recall hitting one for $800 from $200 in 3 hands because he went all-in 3 times in a row with no cards at all. He incorrectly judged that I would fold rather than re-stake my entire winnings on each of the next 2 poker hands. Fortunately for me they were fairly solid starting hands in the cir*****stances but I can tell you it's no easy going all-in pre-flop for $500 with just King Jack. I'd be mad to do that in any other cir*****stance but I felt I had a good read on the player type and his hand which turned out to be 92 unsuited didn't stand up.

Hopefully you'll observe playing styles and look to pick off Rocks and Calling Stations. If you come up against a tight (particularly Tight Aggressive) players with no other easy to beat players around you should move on. I've been at many tables where the poor players have lost and left, the good ones remain and one off those triggers the table's break up by saying "no easy money here, the only winner will be the rake, lets move on." If you've not had this said to you, or you've not made the statement yourself then consider that you may be a fish.

Graham Easton is webmaster of www.texashold-empoker.com . He has a track record in No-Limit Texas Holdem Poker Tournament play of 1 win, 4 second places and a 10th out of his last 20 large online tournaments in fields ranging from 300-1500 players.

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Playing Ace King in Texas Holdem Poker

Posted by root on Saturday, March 11 @ 19:50:49 UTC (9690 reads)

Ace King, otherwise known as "Big Slick" provides an interesting conundrum for many Texas Holdem Poker players. It's an exciting hand to be dealt because it gives you the expectation that you've won already, even though it is only the third highest starting hand in a 10 handed game.

Ace King is however a double edged sword that must be played correctly to maximise its value. 50% of the time it will not hit leaving you with only Ace high.

The downsides of the Ace King starting hand need to be seen and appreciated first in order to formulate a strategy to play. Big Slick is the downfall of many inexperienced Texas Holdem players because they cannot get away from the hand. It's a poker hand that lends itself to chasing cards and that is what many people do when they miss either the Ace or King on the flop. The other rather obvious downside is that if you come up against AA then you are in big trouble especially if you hit on the flop.

Ok, so here's my strategy for playing Big Slick in a 10 handed poker game:

As ever, table position is of paramount importance when playing AK. If you are in early position then all you can really do is call the big blind. To raise it up from early position is to give away the strength of your hand and will most probably be met with folding all around the table. The best seating position to have with his hand is to be a blind. In middle or late position the best play is to raise it up, but not by too much - perhaps 2x or 3x the big blind. This way it looks like you are attempting to steal the blinds and will often be met with a re-raise by holders of cards such as Ace Queen or Ace Jack.

The best of all situations is to come up against AQ or AJ or another dominated hand. If you raise it early these hands will almost certainly call and you may be re-raised. If on the other hand you do not raise pre-flop then the holders of Ace Queen will see a free flop which if they miss then you'll find them reluctant to engage when you bet post flop. The motto of the story is don't be afraid to raise.

From time to time you will be put all-in with AK and there are many situations where you would wish for that - particularly in the later stages of Texas Holdem Tournament play. Where this happens you may find yourself up against a pair in which case the all-in will be a coin toss (48% chance of winning with AK against a lower pair pre-flop). However it has to be said that 50% of these calls will be made against inexperienced players going all-in with AQ, AJ, A10 etc and they will be dominated 12 to 1 underdogs.

Getting away from Ace King:

It's important to understand when to push with AK but it's equally important to know when to run from it. Typically these would be situations where you were unable to raise pre-flop (due to say early position) and the flop comes out with no Aces or Kings. In this situation you need to be prepared to fold your hand. Folding is the correct play here to a post flop raise. It will not pay to attempt a bluff or call down the bet in the hope of catching because the odds against improving your hand (hitting and Ace or King on the Turn or River card) are less than 33%.

Graham Easton is the webmaster of www.texashold-empoker.com. He has a track record of 1 win, 4 runners up positions our of his last 15 major online Texas Holdem Poker tournaments entered. These were all poker games in excess of 400 players.

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