The number one game in New Zealand poker is No Limit Texas Hold'em (NLH). Playing Hold'em poker online is both exciting and challenging. It can be played by young and old, and it takes minutes to learn. No wonder it was chosen as the format for the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event.
Here you will find an easy-to-follow guide to Hold'em poker hands and the main aspects of the game. NZ poker players new to the game can also get a heads up on where to play with our shortlist of the top 5 poker sites for 2017. You'll be able to play Hold'em poker for free or real money, and enjoy a great gaming experience with these online poker rooms' features:
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The Basic Texas Hold'em Rules
A famous poker saying goes, “Poker takes minutes to learn but a lifetime to master.” We couldn't agree more!
The rules of Texas Hold’em poker are quite simple. In fact, like that truism says, the game “takes minutes to learn”. For the purposes of this article, we are going to concentrate on online poker with Hold'em.
In online poker games, tables can sit up to 6 (6-max) or 9 (9-max) players at a time. There are also heads-up tables, but we won't focus on those here. When playing Texas Hold'em online for real money, whether you are in a tournament or cash game poker, there will always be a player on the small blind (SB), a player on the big blind (BB) and a player on the button (BTN) in each and every hand.
These three positions at the table are extremely important. Both the small and big blinds are forced bets. They have to post these mandatory real money bets before the cards are dealt out. The player on the button has an equally important role. Their position is considered the strongest at the table. Why? Because the button player gets to act last in each round of betting, apart from the first round. This is a big advantage when it comes to playing your hand. You are able to use your position to maximise your winnings with your big hands and minimise the losses with the weak ones.
Table Action – Pre-Flop
Once the blinds are in place, the cards are dealt. First to act is the player directly to the left of the BB. Action then moves from one player to the next. Each player has the following three options available before the flop is dealt (pre-flop):
- Fold - Choose not to play the hand.
- Call - Match the current real money bet or raise.
- Raise - Increase the size of the current bet or raise.
In this first round of table action, the BB is actually last to act. The SB only has to post 50% of the BB amount as the mandatory real money bet. If they fold, they will lose that bet.
Also, to keep things fair, the button moves clockwise around the table, allowing each player to be on the small and big blinds, as well as the button. If the button folds in this first round, the player closest to the (right of the) button gets to act last in each of the subsequent betting rounds.
We have already looked at the first round of betting, called “pre-flop”. The rounds that follow are called, “post-flop”, “post-turn” and “post-river”.
After the pre-flop betting round ends, a flop is dealt, face up. It consists of three “community” cards, which can be used by all players remaining in the hand.
First to act is the active player closest to the left of the button. They have the following options open to them:
- Check - Choose not to bet. Action moves along to the next player.
- Bet – Wager an amount at least equal to, or greater than, the BB.
Players acting after them can either fold, call any bet, raise any bet (3-bet) or raise any raise (4-bet, or more).
Next up is a fourth community card, also dealt face up. This card is called the “turn”. A third round of betting starts and follows the same rules as post-flop.
The fifth and final community card, dealt face-up, is called the “river”. The last round of betting takes place, and we head to the post-river showdown.
The Texas Hold'em Showdown
At this stage of the game, as long as there are at least two players remaining, we have the quintessential Texas Hold'em showdown. Players have to show their cards to claim the pot and win some real cash. The best hand is determined according to the Texas Hold'em standard poker hand ranking system, and the winner gets to drag the pot.
Think you've got it figured out? Pull up a chair!