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Subject: How to Play Texas Hold 'Em rss

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Matt Keyes
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i'm going to a poker game tonight, and i'm used to the "kid" version of poker (five card draw). i understand how Texas Hold 'Em plays in terms of the actual playing rules (i.e. you have two cards and share a common pool of cards), but i'm baffled by the betting process (small blind/big blind, etc.).

Here was the description:

"No limit, all chips are $0.25 or $0.50 and blinds are $0.25/$0.50."

Help a newbie poker player!!!
 
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Robin Wilkes
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Blinds are bets placed before cards are dealt. Their purpose is to kickstart the pot, and force people to bet in order to continue playing.

The player to the left of the dealer will put in the small blind ($0.25 in your case), and the player to the left of the small blind will put in the big blind ($0.50). The dealer - and thusly the blinds - will rotate clockwise after every hand.

Once the cards are dealt, betting begins with the player to the left of the big blind, who must put in at least as much as the big blind - "call" - to continue playing. Betting proceeds clockwise; the small blind will only have to put in $0.25, since he has already bet the other half.

If nobody has raised the bet before it comes around to the big blind, he has the option of either doing so, or checking - ie, standing pat. If he checks, the betting round is over, chips are gathered into the pot, and the first 3 cards of the community pool are dealt. Betting begins again, with the player to the left of the dealer.

Hope that helps!

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Mark McEvoy
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the_grip wrote:
i'm going to a poker game tonight, and i'm used to the "kid" version of poker (five card draw). i understand how Texas Hold 'Em plays in terms of the actual playing rules (i.e. you have two cards and share a common pool of cards), but i'm baffled by the betting process (small blind/big blind, etc.).

Here was the description:

"No limit, all chips are $0.25 or $0.50 and blinds are $0.25/$0.50."

Help a newbie poker player!!!


The blinds are forced bets made automatically by the first and second player clockwise after the dealer. They have to bet the specified amounts (it's like the first player is forced to bet .25 and the second player is forced to raise it by another .25; the first person to 'act' in the pre-flop betting round of a hand is the third person clockwise after the dealer). This only affects the first round of betting - in the last 3 rounds of a hand (after the flop - that's the first three community cards, after the turn - the 4th, and after the river - the fifth), these are rounds of betting that start with the first still-active player clockwise after the dealer.

No limit means players can bet as much as they want (usually with a minimum, being the amount of the large blind) rather than with a fixed bid increment or pot size limit. If a player wants to bet all his/her remaining chips (either as a raise or as a best-I-can-do effort to call the current bid), that player goes 'all in', and is only eligible to win as much from each other player as the all-in player bet (any further bets are put in a 'side pot', won by the best hand at showdown among those who contributed to it).
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Paul Lister
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You can play with pretend money on most of the well known poker sites. This is a good way of getting a feel for how the betting works. Personally, I would not recommend going straight into a No Limit .25/.50 game without some prior poker knowledge - it is very easy to lose a lot of money very quickly.
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Billy McBoatface
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Other notes:

- Usually with unlimited bets, you need some other mechanism to keep the player who starts with the most money from using that as an unfair advantage. The most common ways are:

-- Tournament style. All players pay to play, and they all start with the same amount of cash. When you are broke you are out of the game and you go home. The last player with any chips is the winner. Often the last few players share the cash paid at the start of the game, with larger prizes to the players who lasted longest. With tournament style, you usually ratchet up the blind bid amounts over time to force the game to end faster.

-- Forgot the name of this style. All players start by buying the same amount of chips (say, $5.00 worth). Any time you want you can quit the game and turn your chips back into money. When you run out of chips, you can buy $5.00 worth again if you want. That way, you can only have more than the $5.00 if you won it at the table.

Have fun. I love a good game of tournament-style Texas hold 'em.
 
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Robin Wilkes
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Sorp222 wrote:
You can play with pretend money on most of the well known poker sites. This is a good way of getting a feel for how the betting works. Personally, I would not recommend going straight into a No Limit .25/.50 game without some prior poker knowledge - it is very easy to lose a lot of money very quickly.



I've been playing at www.triplejack.com recently. It's easy and fun, and no real money involved.
 
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Chris Ferejohn
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People have described the mechanics well enough (and I'm sure folks at the game will help out). Since it sounds like you are pretty new to this sort of poker, here are a few very general tips from someone who made his living at hold em for ~2 years while in school:

*You should think about your bet sizes in relation to the size of the pot. If there is $1 in the pot, making a $3 bet is unusually large. However, if there's $10 in the pot $3 is pretty small. A "standard bet" should probably be from 2/3 the size of the pot to the size of the pot.

*Preflop raises should be to 3-4 times the big blind assuming no one else has entered the pot (i.e. in this game you'd probably want to raise $1.50-$2). If other people have called you'll want to increase this amount to adjust for the extra money in the pot (i.e. if 2 people have called and you want to raise you should probably make it around $3.)

*.25/.50 doesn't sound like a lot of money, but in no limit you can easily end up with $50+ pots. I would want to have at least $100 in my pocket (and really more like $200-300) to play in this game. Just be aware that if you are showing up with $20, you're probably going to be pretty short stacked.

*I haven't even gotten into strategy because it would be difficult to do it in less than, well, the full text of Theory of Poker (Sklansky & Malmouth, 2+2 publishing). However, just try to keep in mind that the object is *not* to win hands. You can't control the cards. If you're playing with 8 people, you will win about 1 hand in 8 if everyone saw every hand to the end (which of course they won't). The object is to make as much as possible on your good hands and lose as little as possible on your bad ones.

Calling a bet is often a mistake. If you find yourself calling, really think about whether you would be better off raising or folding.

Umm, good luck.
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Matt Keyes
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Wow, thanks y'all for the help!

This is just a "friendly" neighborhood game, and i'll only be able to show up for a couple of hours. i am showing up with $20 simply b/c i'm more in it for the socialization, but i do want to get more poker experience and i'm going to make a concerted effort here.

Question - after the flop, is the minimum betting size the big blind (i.e. $0.50 in this case)? i just want to make sure i don't do something stupid and try to bet $0.50 and everyone's like, "Dude, what's up?"

Also, Chris, when you say that a "standard bet" is 2/3 the size of the pot to the size of the pot, do you mean that after the pot has the bets from a round that the next round i should be betting 2/3 to the size of the pot for each round (provided nobody has raised above that size)? Or do you mean that i should only be playing over bets that size if i have a good hand?
 
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Chris Crosbie
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You are going to need a basic understading of strategy if you don't just want to lose money in this game tonight.

There isn't much discussion on here about poker strategy, so I hope linking to a site where there is is allowed. The following site has a great high level beginner's guide that should keep your head above water tonight (hope you have time to read it): http://www.flopturnriver.com/Toasty-Beginner-Guide.html

Good luck tonight.
 
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Chris Crosbie
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the_grip wrote:
Wow, thanks y'all for the help!
Question - after the flop, is the minimum betting size the big blind (i.e. $0.50 in this case)?


Yes, the minimum bet after the flop is $0.50. Although, as others have hinted towards, in NLHE (No Limit Hold'Em) you should be more concerned with the size of the pot. If you read the beginner's guide that I posted in my first post, you'll learn quickly about odds and why that is the case.
 
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Matt Keyes
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Thanks!

i'll have to check later b/c our firewall blocks most sites involving betting or gaming (including that one).
 
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James Ludlow
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cferejohn wrote:
*I haven't even gotten into strategy because it would be difficult to do it in less than, well, the full text of Theory of Poker (Sklansky & Malmouth, 2+2 publishing).


Excellent book. From the 2+2 library (http://twoplustwo.com/books.php) these are required reading if you're serious about playing well at low limits.

* Theory of Poker (Sklansky)

Applies generally to all poker games.


* Small Stakes Holdem: Winning Big With Expert Play (Sklanksky / Miller)

For limit.


* No Limit Hold'em Theory and Practice (Sklanksky / Miller)

For no limit.


If you ever catch yourself saying, "Wow, these players are so terrible that I can't possibly win" you need to stop playing and get back to studying these books again.

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Paul M
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Run to the bookstore ASAP. Get Getting Started In Hold 'em by Ed Miller. That's your best chance of breaking even or maybe even winning a little money.

There's a lot of bad advice in this thread if you are new to No-Limit-Hold-Em. Ignore it.

Your basic strategy is to buy in short (20 to 30 big blinds), you will play tight as a drum, and when you do play you'll be all-in on the flop at the latest with the probable best hand. Unless you are one of the 2 or 3 best players at the game, it's the only way to play. GSIH goes into all the details. The more decisions you have to make, the worse off you will be as a new player. The short-buy-in strategy is perfect for you since it will minimize the decisions you have to make. It doesn't matter if people know how tight you are playing, because they want to gamble and will play pots with you anyway.

Edit - added details
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Chris Ferejohn
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Quote:
Also, Chris, when you say that a "standard bet" is 2/3 the size of the pot to the size of the pot, do you mean that after the pot has the bets from a round that the next round i should be betting 2/3 to the size of the pot for each round (provided nobody has raised above that size)? Or do you mean that i should only be playing over bets that size if i have a good hand?


What I mean is that *if* you are going to bet (either because you think your have the best hand or you think you can get everyone else to fold or because you hate money), the bet size you should contemplate is 2/3 - 1 times the size of the pot. That's something of a gross overgeneralization since there may well be reasons to bet less or more than that, but it should give you a good baseline when you are in the situation of "I want to bet but I have no idea how much" which is pretty common with inexperienced no limit players.

$20 is pretty short, but as pointed out above, buying in short probably is not a bad idea given that you are inexperienced. You might even see if you can get away with buying in for $10 (and save the other $10 for if you lose it).

I second the book recommendations above, and I heartily endorse the 2+2 forums if you really want to get serious about poker.
 
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J.L. Robert
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Since it's a neighborhood game, and not at the Bicycle Club, or on the Vegas Strip, the only advice I can add to the others is:

HAVE FUN!
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Matt Keyes
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ipgyst wrote:
Your basic strategy is to buy in short (20 to 30 big blinds), you will play tight as a drum, and when you do play you'll be all-in on the flop at the latest with the probable best hand.


Dumb question - what is buy in short?
 
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Larry Welborn
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the_grip wrote:
ipgyst wrote:
Your basic strategy is to buy in short (20 to 30 big blinds), you will play tight as a drum, and when you do play you'll be all-in on the flop at the latest with the probable best hand.


Dumb question - what is buy in short?


"Buy in Short" means that you bought a smaller than normal amount of chips to play the limits at that particular table. As Chris noted earlier, for the limits you mentioned, $100-$120 would be considered a normal buy in, so anything much less than that is considered short.

Disadvantages to buying short: You start the game with fewer chips than your opponents so it is harder to make money. You run the risk of being bullied by players with bigger stacks. In other words, some players may constantly put you in a position of having to go "all-in" to stay in the hand, hoping that you will fold a winning hand.

Advantages: As a new player, you are probably going to lose anyway so you might as well limit your losses. A short stack will probably make you play tighter, so you will get to play longer.
 
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Donald Walsh
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I would say if it is a "friendly" game, then buy-ins will probably be more like $40-$60, as opposed to $100-$120, which sounds more like a casino card room "less-than-friendly" game.
 
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MSV Burns
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Dude,

No offense, but you are going to get murdered. Slaughtered. Consumed. So you may as well try and have a little fun.

Try and have a few laughs, and eat enough snacks to justify your investment.

Forget Sklansky, Malmuth and anybody else, no matter how good of a poker writer they are -- book learning ain't going to be of much use at this time.

Play tight, try to make your money last long enough to have a sandwich.
 
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Matt Keyes
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Yep, i got slowly bled to zero, but i had a good time and a bunch of beers. It was good, however, to get a feel for what goes on, and for $20 i can't complain... night off for daddy, drinks, food, and a bunch of guys. Sounds like a meathead slobberfest, but it was really fun.

i could only stay for about two and a half hours due to our little one, so everything worked out.

i also held pretty good by playing tight... i just am too conservative and let three winning hands go by the wayside (which would have won some big chips).
 
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MSV Burns
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the_grip wrote:
Yep, i got slowly bled to zero, but i had a good time and a bunch of beers. It was good, however, to get a feel for what goes on, and for $20 i can't complain... night off for daddy, drinks, food, and a bunch of guys. Sounds like a meathead slobberfest, but it was really fun.


Haha! You have hit upon the fundamental theorem of poker!

It's way, way, way more fun to play this game at home with your pals than it is to play live with strangers in a casino or cardroom. It just is.

If I drop $40 bucks with my group, I know I got some laughs, beers and some good food. If I lose the same amount at a card room, I just got irritated.
 
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