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 2018. 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:
- Hold'em & other poker variants in real cash games
- Sophisticated gaming software with the best graphics & speed
- Healthy bonuses & promotions to top up your player account
Playing Texas Hold'em for Free Vs Playing for Real Money
Texas Hold'em is one of the most popular poker variation out there. There are almost no poker sites that do not offer it. However, not every poker room offers it at the same quality, so it is important to choose carefully before signing up. Most top poker sites offer Hold'em games for free – you can play for as long as you want without signing up or depositing any real cash. In this way you can test out the game, its graphics and performance, the speed of the game and your chances at winning without risking anything.
That being said, once you decide that you are enjoying the game, signing up and depositing some cash will give you instant access to various bonuses, design features and further game variations. It will also mean that you can start winning some real money from all those Hold'em poker hands you have become accustomed to. So while playing for free holds no risk, it also holds no gain.
Which sites are best for New Zealand Hold'em fans
There are plenty of poker rooms online, but only some of them are worth your time. When choosing an online poker site to deposit your money in and start playing, there are a couple of things you should keep your eyes peeled for:
- Poker sites that are externally certified by quality and fairness monitoring authorities such as eCOGRA.
- A wide selection of different game varieties to keep you interested.
- Welcome and no deposit bonuses to keep your bankroll healthy.
- A variety of different banking methods available to ensure quick payouts.
- Customer care that is helpful and supportive towards players' needs.
With these features in place, you should be in for the Hold'em game of your life!
The Various Hold'em Poker Hands
Playing Texas Hold'em online for real money means every hand can make you a winner if you know how to use it, so it is important to be closely familiar with the type of hands you may end up holding. Poker hands come into several categories:
- Flush – any five cards, all of the same suit. If these 5 cards are consequential, it is a straight flush, while if they are a A-K-Q-J-10 combo, it is what is known as a royal flush, which is the hand with the highest possible value in poker.
- Straight –five cards of sequential value. A straight can be of mixed suits.
- Pair – having two cards of the same value. A two-pair is having two pairs of cards with the same value, three of a kind is having three cards of the same rank, and four of a kind is having all four cards of the same value, for example four kings.
- Full house – having a pair and a three of a kind in the same hand. It is one of the stronger hands you can have.
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!
Where Can New Zealanders Start Playing No Limit Texas Hold'em?
No Limit Texas Hold'em poker is an easy game to learn – the rules are simple, the different hands are easy to memorize, and the betting is a straightforward process. Its popularity both online and at land casinos means that you can always find a game to match your betting capability, time availability and interests, making it an excellent poker game of choice.
Our experienced team of reviewers thus analyse Hold'em poker sites online for a range of security and fairness criteria to ensure that the games we recommend you both perform well and will keep on doing so throughout any conditions and snags you may encounter with them. You can find a list of the top 5 poker sites on our recommendations pages, so just head that way to start playing today!
Frequently Asked Questions
Texas Hold'em has straightforward rules, which involve dealing five cards to each player – two blinds that only the player can see, and three community cards, which players can pick off the table at each round of betting. Once the players are holding five cards and all betting is done comes the showdown where players have to show their cards in order to win some real money.
New Zealanders enjoy a game of Hold'em poker online as much as the next player, so you will always find enough players for any site and variety you choose to engage with.
Software downloads often run somewhat smoother, as the bulk of the game is already on your device. However, no download versions can be lighter in terms of space and memory constraints on your device. In 2018, both options can be equally attractive, depending on your device of choice.
While there are plenty of free Texas Hold'em games at online poker sites, large online casinos offer you excellent real money options, where you can play and win NZ dollars, especially if you pick the fishier online poker sites.
Practice is always a good idea and free poker games are the best way to do that. Free games allow you to get used to your casino and table of choice, and be prepared when you start betting real money against other players.