Texas Holdem Games

Texas Holdem Guide to Games

Texas holdem games and variations come in a wide variety. The purpose of this page is to cover all of the most common variants along with some of the more interesting but less common versions. We even include details of house-banked, casino-game versions. We're also including information about poker games held in various locations throughout the globe.

Betting Limits

The first and most common way to look at Texas holdem games is by the differences in how betting limits are handled. Betting is fundamental to any game of poker—without it, you're not even playing poker. So it should be no surprise that the differences in betting limits makes such a big difference that the games are considered different from each other.

Texas holdem is played in one of the following 3 betting formats:

1Limit
2Pot limit
3No limit
Limit Holdem

In limit holdem, the sizes of the bets are pre-determined by the rules of the game. Everyone agrees to the size of the bets before entering the game. Texas holdem takes place over 4 betting rounds, and the size of the bets on the first 2 rounds are half the size of the bets on the final 2 rounds.

Here's how that works:

You're playing in a $5/$10 limit holdem game. When you get your cards, your bets have to be made in $5 increments. On the flop, you also have to bet in $5 increments. But on the turn and then again on the river, you have to bet in $10 increments.

This is the lowest volatility Texas holdem game you can play. People who play limit holdem professionally are sometimes called "grinders", because they grind out small wins over time. Large pots are possible, but they don't get as large as quickly as they can in other types of Texas holdem.

Pot Limit Holdem

In pot limit holdem, the sizes of the bets are limited by the size of the pot. You can bet or raise the size of the pot, but no more than that. This is a stop-gap game between no limit and limit. If you're not ready for the big action at the no limit tables, playing pot limit might be a better fit for you.

Example

You're next in line to bet, and there's $20 in the pot. You can raise the bet by the size of the pot, $20. Or you can just call the bet, which might well be smaller than that.

The implications to the pot odds and odds of hitting your hand are tremendous when it comes to strategy. We cover that in more detail on our comprehensive guides to these games.

No Limit Holdem

In no limit holdem, you can bet or raise with no limits other than the size of the stack of chips in front of you. You're not allowed to raise by more than the amount of money you have on the table, even if you can cover the action from the cash in your wallet.

Here's an example of how that works:

You're in a pot which has $25 in it, but you have $100 in chips in front of you. You can declare, "I'm all in." When you do, that raises the bet to a total of $100. You can also bet any increment between the amount of money and the total value of the chips in front of you.

You do have to bet or raise a minimum amount, though. It might be as low as the size of the big blind, but if that's been raised, you have to raise at least by the amount of the previous bet, unless you don't have enough chips to do so. You always have the option of going all in. (In that case, the extra chips go in a side pot.)

Those are the 3 major variations of Texas holdem based on betting limits, but the variants aren't limited to that. Some people might consider various forms of Omaha to be variants of Texas holdem. For the sake of completeness, we cover those here, too.

Omaha Holdem

Omaha is also sometimes called "Omaha holdem". Purists might argue that this is not a variant of Texas holdem, but we're not purists. We're more interested in providing a comprehensive guide for interested readers.

Omaha comes in multiple flavors, too:

1Omaha
2Omaha 8 (aka Omaha hi-lo)

Both versions are played similarly to Texas holdem, with 2 major differences:

1Players get 4 hole cards instead of 2.
2Players must combine 2 cards from their hands and 3 cards from the board.
Omaha

Omaha is played "high", which means that the best possible poker hand wins the pot at the showdown. This might seem like the only way to play this game, but the reality becomes clear once you learn about Omaha 8.

Omaha 8

Omaha 8 is often also called hi-lo or high-low. In this variation, everything works the same, but the pot is split between the highest hand at the showdown and the best qualifying low hand.

You have specific rules for how to qualify a low hand, too. For purposes of this game, the lowest possible hand is A2345. Any 5 card hand with a card higher than 8 doesn't qualify. 45678 is the worst possible qualifying low hand. Your goal in this variation is to "scoop" the pot—you want to win the high hand, but you also want to win the low hand, so you get the entire pot.

The implications for your strategy are dramatic because of the low hand wrinkle.

Betting Limits in Omaha

Like Texas holdem, Omaha can be categorized according to its betting limits. No limit Omaha is rare but possible. Pot limit Omaha, especially Omaha/8, is common. In fact, Omaha/8 pot limit is the most common variation of this game.

Other Texas Holdem Variations

As you might imagine, the number of hole cards is flexible. Pineapple holdem is also considered a Texas holdem game, but instead of 2 hole cards or 4 cards, you get 3 hole cards. Pineapple holdem is available in 2 variations, too:

1Pineapple Holdem
2Crazy Pineapple
3Lazy Pineapple
Pineapple Holdem versus Crazy Pineapple versus Lazy Pineapple

All 3 games are played just like Texas holdem, but you get 3 hole cards instead of 2. The difference is that in regular pineapple, you have to discard one of those 3 cards before the flop. In Crazy Pineapple, you don't have to discard one of your 3 hole cards until after the flop. And in Lazy Pineapple (which is also called Tahoe Pineapple), you don't have to discard a hole card until all the cards have been dealt.

The general strategic rule as it relates to these cousins of Texas holdem is that with more cards, you need a stronger hand to compete. In other words, you will fold less often in Texas holdem than in Pineapple. And you'll fold even more of the time in Omaha and Omaha/8.

Other Variations of Texas Holdem

We've only scratched the surface. Those are the most common cousins and variants of the game, but in home games, all kinds of variations are possible. We've listed some of the ones we're played and/or read about below:

  • 3 Card Holdem

    This is similar to Pineapple, but you get to use all 3 hole cards to make up your final hand. (In all variations of Pineapple, you can only use 2 of your hole cards.) This is also sometimes called Super Eight.

  • Double Flop Holdem

    In this variation, you get 2 flops, 2 turns, and 2 rivers. You'll wind up with 2 separate hands. The pot is split between the winners of the 2 hands. (It's possible to win the entire pot.)

  • Irish Poker

    This resembles Omaha. You get 4 hole cards. But you have to choose 2 of those cards to discard before the flop.

  • River of Blood

    This is played just like regular Texas holdem, with one major exception. If the river is a red card, there's another betting round and another river. This continues until there's a black river card.

  • Speed Holdem

    This is similar to Irish Poker—you get 4 hole cards and discard 2 before the flop. But in Irish Poker, you only have one more betting round—you flop all 5 community cards at once instead of having a separate flop, turn, and river.

  • Speed River Runs Wild

    In this game, a straight consists of 4 cards, not 5 cards, which makes it a lot easier to make a straight.

  • Two-Time Holdem

    In this variation, you get 4 hole cards, but you have to split them into 2 separate hands. At the time of showdown, you can decide which of those 2 hands to play.

Texas Holdem Casino Games

All the previous variations that we've discussed were traditional poker games. That means that you're playing against the other players. But casino games, like blackjack, "3 Card Holdem", or "Casino Holdem", are played against the house. How the other players' hands stack up doesn't matter.

3 Card Holdem

In 3 Card Holdem, you win if you can get a better 3-card hand than the dealer. In this game, there are only 5 cards instead of 7. You make 2 decisions during the game.

The game uses the following poker hand rankings:

  • Straight flush
  • 3 of a Kind
  • Straight
  • Flush
  • Pair
  • High card

You start by making an ante bet. You also have the following side bets available:

  • Pair or Suited
  • Straight or Up

Once you've placed your bet, you get 2 cards, and so does the dealer. Then there's a community card dealt face up and 2 more dealt face down. You look at your hole cards and decide whether to fold or raise. If you fold, you lose your ante bet. If you raise, you have to place a 2nd bet the same size as your ante.

Then the dealer turns over the next community card. You can check or make another raise at this point. After this action, the final community card is flipped over, along with the dealer's hole cards. The following possibilities exist:

1The dealer has a better hand than you do. In this case, you lose your ante and your raise bet.
2The dealer ties you. In this case, both bets are treated as a push.
3You beat the dealer. The payouts for this vary depending on whether or not the dealer has a pair of 4s or better. If he doesn't, then your raise bet pays even money, and the ante is treated as a push. If he does have a pair of 4s or better, both your ante and raise bets pay even money.
Casino Holdem

Casino Holdem is popular in multiple foreign countries and online. If you're going to play, you start by placing an ante bet. You then get 2 hole cards, and so does the dealer. There's also an immediate flop (3 community cards).

At this point, you can fold or call. If you fold, you lose your ante. If you call, you have to put up another bet, this one twice as large as your ante.

Then the dealer deals the turn and the river at the same time, and he turns over his hole cards. There are 4 possibilities at this point:

1The dealer doesn't qualify. (This means he doesn't have a pair of 4s or better.) In this case, the ante bet pays off according to the ante pay table, and the call bet is treated as a push.
2The dealer qualifies and has a better hand than you do. In that case, you lose your ante bet and the call bet.
3The dealer qualifies and you have a better hand than he does. In this case, the ante pays off according to the ante pay table, and the call bet pays even money.
4The dealer qualifies and the dealer and player tie. Both the ante and call bets are treated as a push in this situation.

Casino Holdem is sometimes played as "Caribbean Holdem". When it's played under that name, the rules vary slightly. You only get even money on the ante bet if the dealer doesn't qualify. You also have the option of making a side bet on a progressive jackpot. This version of the game is available only at RTG casinos.

Mini-Tex

Mini-Tex uses 2 hole cards and 3 community cards. Your goal is to make a better 3 card hand than the dealer. You use the same hand rankings as in 3 Card Holdem.

You start by placing an ante bet. Then you get 2 hole cards, and so does the dealer. Once you've looked at your cards, you can fold or make a flop bet. The flop bet must be the same size as the ante bet.

After the betting round, the dealer deals a 2-card flop. You now have the option to either fold or place a river bet of the same size as the ante and flop bet.

Then the dealer plays the final card (the river). At this point, you can fold or raise again. This time the raise is called a play bet, and it has to be twice the size of the ante bet.

In this variant, you have to use at least one hole card to make your final 3 card hand. Also, the dealer has to qualify by having at least a pair. If he doesn't qualify, you get even money on all bets except the play bet, which is considered a push.

If the dealer qualifies, you get paid even money on all your bets if you win. On the other hand, if the dealer qualifies, you lose all your bets if you lose. And if you tie, all bets are treated as a push.

Riverboat Holdem

You start a game of Riverboat Holdem by placing an ante bet. Another bet is available but optional—it's called the river bet.

You get 2 hole cards, and so does the dealer. At this point, you can fold and lose your ante bet (but not your river bet). You can also call, which requires you to place another bet the same size as the ante. You can also raise, which requires you to place another bet twice the size as the ante.

After the betting, the dealer deals a 3-card flop. He also flips over his hole cards. The dealer qualifies if he has a KJ or better. If the dealer doesn't qualify, the ante bet is paid at even money, and the other bets are treated as a push.

If the dealer does qualify, the player wins even money on all bets if he has the better hand. If he doesn't, then he loses all his bets.

The river bet is paid off based on a pay table. The better the player's hand, the bigger the payout.

Texas Holdem Bonus

Texas Holdem Bonus is similar to traditional holdem, but you're not able to place a bet after the river. The payoffs on all your bets are even money except for the ante, which only pays off if you have a straight or higher (or a flush or higher—rules vary based on where you play.)

You start by placing an ante bet. You also have the option of placing a bonus bet.

You and the dealer both get 2 hole cards. After looking at your cards, you can choose to fold or place a flop bet. The flop bet is twice the size of the ante bet.

Then the 3-card flop is dealt. At this point, you can check or place a turn bet. The size of the turn bet is the same as the size of your ante bet.

Then the 4th community card (the turn) is dealt. You get the option of checking or placing a river bet. The river bet, like the turn bet, is the same size as your ante bet.

Then the river is dealt, and you make the best 5 card hand that you can. If the dealer has a better hand, you lose all your wagers. If you have a better hand, all the bets (besides the ante) pay off at even money. In order to get paid off on the ante, you have to have a straight or better. (In some casinos, you need a flush or better.) If you don't, then the ante is treated as a push.

If your hand ties with the dealer, all bets are treated as a push.

The bonus bet is treated separately from all of the other action. It pays off based on your 2 hole cards and the dealer's 2 hole cards, based on the pay table posted at the casino.

Triple Action Holdem

Triple Action Holdem uses 5 cards during the game, and it's dealt from a 28-card deck. All of the cards lower than 8 are removed. (Aces count as high for this purpose.)

You have 3 bets available:

1Ante
2Flop
3Bonus

You start by placing an ante bet. You and the dealer then each get 2 hole cards, but one of the dealer's hole cards is dealt face up. There's also a 3 card flop dealt face down.

Once you've looked at your hole cards, you have to fold or raise. If you raise, you have to place another bet the same size as your ante. Once you've made your decision, the dealer flips over his face-down hole card and the flop.

The dealer qualifies with a pair of 9s or better. If he doesn't qualify, your ante pays off even money, but the raise is a push.

If the dealer qualifies, you win even money if you have the better hand. If the dealer has a better hand, you lose. If you tie, the bets are considered a push.

If you didn't fold and have a full house or better, you get an ante bonus based on the pay table posted by the casino. You win this bonus even if the dealer has a better hand. The flop bet also pays off according to the pay table, even if the dealer has your hand beat.

Ultimate Texas Holdem

Ultimate Texas Holdem resembles some of the other house-banked holdem variations we've discussed, but the difference is that you only get to make a single raise during a hand. The later you make this raise, the lower it has to be.

You start by placing an ante and a blind bet, both of which have to be the same size. You can also place a trips bet if you want to.

You get 2 cards, and so does the dealer. You can then check or place a play bet. The play bet has to be either 3 or 4 times the size of the ante.

Then the dealer deals a 3 card flop. If you checked before, you now have the option of making a play bet, but it can only be twice the size of the ante.

Then the dealer deals a turn and a river card. If you checked on the previous 2 betting rounds, you can make a play bet now the same size as your ante. If the dealer has at least a pair, he opens.

You're scored according to how your hand compares to the dealer's hand, and the bets pay off according to the pay table. You can win as much as 500 to 1 if you have a royal flush, but you might only win as little as even money (if you have a straight).

The important thing to remember in this game is that once you've made a raise, you can't raise on subsequent betting rounds. Also, the size of your possible bets goes down if you wait.

Ultimate Texas Holdem is also available in a variant called "Heads-Up Holdem". In this version, you can only raise 3x your ante bet before the flop. The other difference is the bad beat bonus, which pays off if you lose with a straight or better.

Texas Holdem Games Near Me

Looking for "Texas holdem games near me"? No matter where you live in the United States, you can almost certainly find some Texas holdem action within driving distance of where you live. You might have to find someone who's hosting a home poker game, but almost everyone now lives within an hour drive or less of an actual casino—and most casinos now have cardrooms offering Texas holdem.

If you're the type that prefers privately hosted home poker games, you might take a look at Home Poker Games. You might think of this site as being similar to Craigslist, but with a much narrower focus. If you're hosting a home poker game, you can list it here in order to recruit player. If you're looking for a game in which to play, then you can find listings here.

The listings are organized by state, but the site doesn't focus exclusively on the USA. They also offer listings for Canada by province and for other countries. The listings include a name for each poker game, an optional image that the host can upload, the date the listing was created , and how many members and posts are included in each listing. You click on the name of each listing to find the details for that listing.

Those details include the city, zip code, and schedule for the game listed. The host also describes the games available, what limits they're playing for, whether or not they're hosting tournaments, and what the average ages of the players are. They also have the option of listing any house rules and describing the quality of the players in their group.

You contact the hosts of these games by private message. The site runs on forum software, so if you have any experience with message boards, you'll be able to figure out how to do things here easily.

We'd like to include a couple of observations about Texas holdem as it's played in home poker games. Often these home poker games have a rake just like you would find in a casino cardroom, but in some cases, there's no rake at all. In other cases, you might pay a fee when you buy your chips. For example, if you buy $100 in chips, you might have to pay $110 for them.

We've played in home poker games in various locations throughout Texas, and most of them had free food and beverages (including beer) available. If you want hard liquor, you're usually welcome to bring it. We've even played in home poker games where you had waitresses who would bring you burgers from the grill.

Of course, these home poker games pose their own potential problems. In Texas, for example, a string of these games got busted by the police department a few years ago. Apparently it's a felony to run a gambling operation in that state. If you were playing in those games, you faced a possible misdemeanor charge, but hosting meant that you faced a felony. Either outcome is inconvenient.

There are also questions related to your personal security. Licensed and regulated casinos have professional security staff on hand 24 hours a day. But the quality of the security (if any) at a home game is anyone's guess. And unless you know the other players, you might feel (justifiably) uncomfortable with them.

Texas Holdem Games by State

Atlantic City Texas Holdem Games

Atlantic City is known for many things, but casinos are probably close to the top of the list. But not all of the casinos in the city host poker games. We've listed the ones that do below, along with a few notes about what you can expect from each of them:

Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa Logo Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa

This is home to the largest poker room in ACY. They have over 85 tables. They're also the only cardroom in the city offering regular events. They host tournaments and cash games, too. You can buy in for as little as $60 at their $1/$2 no limit holdem tables. They also have high roller games with a buy-in of $5000 and $25/$50 blinds. They also have the widest variety of available games, offering Texas holdem, Omaha, mixed games, and even stud.

Golden Nugget, Atlantic City Logo Golden Nugget, Atlantic City

This is one of the smaller poker rooms in the city, with only 10 tables. They cater mostly to a low-rolling crowd, offering $1/$2 and $2/$4 Texas holdem games.

Harrah's Atlantic City Logo Harrah's Atlantic City

Harrah's has a medium-sized poker room with 40 tables. (Only in a town like Atlantic City would that be considered medium-sized.) Most of their games are lower-stakes Texas holdem games, although they usually have one mixed game table running with $10/$20 blinds.

Tropicana Casino Logo Tropicana Casino

The Tropicana has 22 poker tables. They only run $1/$2 no limit and $2/$4 limit games on a regular basis, although they do sometimes have higher limit no limit games. They have flat screen TVs, but the cardroom itself is not well-reviewed by players.

Trump Taj Mahal Casino Logo Trump Taj Mahal Casino

The Trump Taj Mahal is the only cardroom in town to not offer occasional tournaments. They offer the usual assortment of Texas holdem games at the usual limits. They also offer a surprisingly wide variety of stud games, but they don't always have enough players.

WWSOP Poker Room at Bally's Logo WWSOP Poker Room at Bally's

This is a distant 2nd place behind Borgata's cardroom. They have 42 tables, but they focus almost exclusively on lower limit Texas holdem games.

Kansas City Texas Holdem Games

Compared to Atlantic City, the poker rooms in Kansas City are much smaller and less impressive. But there are plenty of Texas holdem games to be found. We've listed the main properties
Ameristar Casino Logo Ameristar Casino

This is the biggest and best cardroom in Kansas City, with 15 tables. Most of the action there is Texas holdem, but they do offer Omaha/8 on weekends.

Boot Hill Casino Logo Boot Hill Casino

With only 5 tables, this is one of the smallest cardrooms in the city. The only game available here is no limit holdem with $2/$5 blinds and a buy-in of between $200 and $500.

Harrah's North Logo Harrah's North

Harrah's North has 15 tables and is one of the only cardrooms in town to offer Omaha high. They also offer some of the biggest stakes ($20/$40) limit holdem games in town.

Hollywood Casino Kansas Speedway Logo Hollywood Casino

This is the 3rd largest cardroom in Kansas City, with a dozen tables and a wide variety of games to choose from at various limits.

Kansas Star Casino Logo Kansas Star Casino

The Kansas Star Casino has 13 tables. If you're looking for low stakes Omaha high, this is the place to find it. They have $1/$2 pot limit games there. Of course, they also offer Texas holdem games.

Prairie Band Casino Logo Prairie Band Casino

This is tied with Boot Hill Casino for smallest cardroom, but they have a surprisingly wide variety of games available, including mixed games. It's worth a visit.

Las Vegas Texas Holdem Games

The biggest Texas holdem games in the world can be found in Las Vegas. But you can also find plenty of games for players with small bankrolls. In fact, no matter what your preference is when it comes to poker, you'll be able to find it in Sin City.

Most casinos in Las Vegas operate cardrooms which are open 24/7. Most of them feature games like Omaha and stud in addition to the holdem action. Even if you want to make money as a dealer, Vegas is the place to do it.

We have a comprehensive guide to all the major cardrooms in Las Vegas here on our site. Below we've listed the poker rooms that we review there with no comment, as there are too many of them to review on this page.

  • Aria Resort and Casino
  • Arizona Charlie's
  • Bally's
  • Bellagio
  • Binion's
  • Boulder Station
  • Caesars Palace
  • Cannery Casino
  • Club Fortune Casino
  • Excalibur
  • Flamingo
  • Golden Nugget
  • Green Valley Ranch
  • Hard Rock
  • Harrah's
  • Luxor
  • Mandalay Bay
  • MGM Grand
  • Mirage
  • Monte Carlo
  • The Orleans
  • Palace Station
  • Planet Hollywood
  • Poker Palace
  • Red Rock Casino
  • Rio
  • Sam's Town
  • Santa Fe Station
  • Silver Sevens
  • Skyline
  • South Point
  • Stratosphere
  • Suncoast
  • Treasure Island
  • The Venetian
  • The Wynn

If that looks like a lot of places to choose from, it's because it is. Our favorite place to play Texas holdem in Vegas, though, is at the Bellagio. The high limit room at the Bellagio is where a lot of poker celebs, like Doyle Brunson and David Sklansky, can be spotted. In fact, if you have the bankroll, you can sit down and play with them.

Macau Texas Holdem Games

Macau has become one of the biggest and most important gambling destinations in the world. The country has achieved this in less than a decade, too. The gamblers there spend most of their time playing baccarat, and over 80% of the floor space in Macau casinos is devoted to that game.

You can find Texas holdem in Macau, but since it's not that popular, its availability is limited. A few casinos offer poker cardrooms, though. The number varies—at times, you might find half a dozen casinos offering poker. At other times, that number might be as low as 3. And the casinos that do offer Texas holdem don't have large rooms. You're looking at half a dozen tables, tops.

The following 3 casinos have cardrooms:

1StarWorld
2Venetian
3Wynn Macau

You can find full details about Texas holdem in Macau casinos at our comprehensive page dedicated to that subject.

Oklahoma Texas Holdem Games

At one time, Dallas, Texas was rife with underground cardrooms and poker games. But with the rise of legal and regulated gambling just across the border in Oklahoma, the prevalence of such businesses has declined. (Law enforcement got involved about a decade ago, too, about the time the Oklahoma casinos were ramping up. We don't think that's a coincidence.)

We offer a comprehensive guide to Oklahoma Texas holdem games and cardrooms on a dedicated page on this site, but know this:

Almost every casino in Oklahoma has a cardroom, and all of the cardrooms features Texas holdem. A good percentage of your opponents in this cardrooms will consist of Texans who traveled north across the border to find some action without fear of law enforcement involvement. Many of these players work for a living, but the competition at some of the larger properties can be tough.

Some of the major cardrooms there are located at the following casinos:

  • Choctaw Casino Durant
  • Choctaw Casino Gran
  • Comanche Nation
  • Firelake Casino
  • Grand Casino
  • Lucky Star Casino Concho
  • Riverwind Casino
  • WinStar World Casino

Of those, WinStar and Choctaw (Durant) are the 2 largest poker rooms. The WinStar has 46 tables, and Choctaw has 30.

Reno Texas Holdem Games

Reno, like Las Vegas, is located in Nevada, and it's a popular gambling destination. You'll find almost 20 different poker rooms from which to choose there. We have an entire dedicated page for Reno Texas holdem games, and that page features detailed descriptions of what's available where.

Here's a list of the major cardrooms in Reno, Nevada:

  • Alamo Casino
  • Atlantis Casino
  • Boomtown Casino
  • Cactus Jack's
  • Carson
  • Nugget
  • Carson Valley Inn
  • Club Cal Neva
  • Eldorado
  • Fernley Nugget
  • Grand Lodge Casino at Hyatt Regency
  • Grand Sierra Resort
  • Harveys Lake Tahoe
  • Jackpot Crossing
  • Lakeside Inn and Casino
  • Nugget Reno
  • Peppermill Casino
  • Sands Regency

You'll notice that some of these are located in Lake Tahoe. If you're not familiar with the area, that might seem confusing, but Lake Tahoe is located right next to Reno. The biggest cardroom in the area is at the Peppermill, which has 19 tables, but Harveys and Eldorado also have a lot of tables and lots of action.

Texas Holdem Events

Texas holdem events are not exactly the same thing as Texas holdem tournaments. The word "event" connotes something with a little more prestige than just a standard tournament. Examples of events include the World Series of Poker (WSOP) and the World Poker Tour (WPT). Those are not, by any stretch of the imagination, the only events available.

We have a page which offers comprehensive coverage of Texas holdem events, but we cover some information about the WSOP and the WPT right here on this page, too.

Texas Holdem Live

"Texas holdem live" is a term used to describe the game as it's played in person versus how it's played online. The rules for both versions are almost identical, but the strategy considerations for a live game change considerably. We've written a comprehensive guide to the differences, which you can read by clicking on this link. But here's a brief overview of some of the considerations involved in playing live poker versus poker over the computer:

The biggest difference is the physical presence of your opponents. For some people, it's easier to put your opponents on tilt in person than it is online. Intimidating states, facial expressions, and even the physical size of an opponent can make a difference in how easy or hard it is to rattle a Texas holdem opponent.

But most people with even a passing familiarity with poker know that the real issue has to do with poker tells. A tell is a physical clue to what an opponent is holding. These aren't always 100% accurate, but in a game where every percentage point counts, it's important to get as much of an edge as you can.

Example

You're facing a player whose hands tremble as he bets into a pot. Trembling hands are usually indicative of excitement brought on by a strong hand. Knowing this can help you make decisions about whether or not you want to try to bluff, semi-bluff, or even get into a pot with this player. A lot of that depends on the quality of your hole cards, but what you think your opponent is holding matters too.

Another common tell has to do with how the opponent stacks his chips. Neat, uniform stacks indicate (usually) that your opponent plays conservative, tight-aggressive poker. If he bets, he usually has a strong hand. On the other hand, a player who stacks his chips sloppily is probably a little looser and more aggressive. You might be more willing to get involved in a pot with someone like this.

Texas Holdem on TV

We have a detailed guide to Texas holdem on TV on our site, but we provide an overview, here, too. Texas holdem on television has grown steadily in popularity since 2002, but its popularity is now declining. Much of this is related to the invention of the "pocket cam". This is the device that enables television viewers to see what hole cards each player has.

But poker has been televised since the late 1970s, when CBS aired the final table of the WSOP Main Event as a one-hour show. It didn't become as popular as it is now for almost 3 decades, though. Poker is dull to watch unless you know what the players are holding. Commentators used to guess at what the players might have in the hole, but it turns out that this guesswork is far less compelling than actually seeing which cards the players have in the hole.

Another factor that increased the popularity of poker on television is the rise of computer graphics. It's now relatively easy to include information on the screen about who has what percentage to win. This increases viewer involvement and makes the shows more interesting.

The most popular poker TV show is the World Poker Tour (WPT). Over the years, a number of shows have met with varying degrees of success. Notable examples include:

  • World Series of Poker
  • United States Poker Championship
  • World Poker Tour
  • European Poker Tour
  • Celebrity Poker Showdown
  • Ultimate Poker Challenge
  • High Stakes Poker
  • Professional Poker Tour

Texas Holdem Games on ESPN

ESPN stands for Entertainment and Sports Programming Network. The station has been broadcasting sports programming since its inception in 1979. It's co-owned by Disney and the Hearst Corporation. Texas holdem games are televised there, although we think calling poker a sport is stretching the definition of "sport" a bit.

The following programs feature Texas holdem games on ESPN:

World Series of Poker Logo World Series of Poker

This is an annual event. We offer detailed coverage of this series of tournaments on a page devoted just to that subject. The main event is a $10,000 buy-in no limit holdem tournament, and the winner of that event is considered the winner of the entire series. It's been broadcast in varying degrees of coverage on ESPN since the late 1980s.

United States Poker Championship Logo US Poker Championship

This event is often abbreviated USPC. It's held at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. Like the WSOP, it's a series of smaller poker tournaments capped off with a $10,000 buy-in main event.

Pro-Am Poker Equalizer Logo Pro-Am Poker Equalizer

This was a televised event where celebrities played against pro poker players. It aired in 2007. The "equalizer" in the name comes from the extra chips that the celebs received—these were meant to "equalize" the playing field. There were 6 episodes with a $500,000 grand prize awarded in the finale.

Some of the celebrities featured on the show included:

  • Cheryle Hines
  • Jose Canseco
  • Penn Jillette
  • Cindy Margolis
  • Don Cheadle
  • Jason Alexander

Some of the professional poker players featured on the show included:

  • Phil Ivey
  • Daniel Negreanu
  • Johnny Chan
  • Clonie Gowen
  • Chris Ferguson
  • Gabe Kaplan

Andy Bloch was the big winner at the end of the series.

Texas Holdem Games at the World Series of Poker

The World Series of Poker is a series of poker tournaments held every year in Las Vegas. Since 2005, it's been a production of Caesars, but the event has its origins in 1970 at Binions. Winners of each tournament get a bracelet as well as a cash prize. The winner of the main event is considered the top dog of the Series.

The World Series of Poker always hosts multiple Texas holdem games. In fact, the main event is a $10,000 buy-in no limit holdem tournament. But that's only one event among many at the big event. The number and types tournaments vary from year to year, but here's a look at which Texas holdem events were available in 2016. There are over 60 different events each year.

  • The Casino Employees Tournament

    This is a $565 buy-in no limit Texas holdem tournament only available to employees of casinos. You're eligible to enter as long as you work for a casino company somewhere in the world. They require a pay stub or employee identification to enter.

  • The Colossus II No-Limit Holdem Event

    Another $565 buy-in tournament, this one has a $7 million guaranteed prize pool.

  • The Top Up Turbo No-Limit Holdem

    This 2-day event has a $1000 buy-in and 20 minute levels.

  • The $1500 Buy-in No Limit Holdem Event

    Exactly what its name implies.

  • The Heads Up No-Limit Holdem Championship

    This one has a $10,000 buy-in and a 512 player cap. All tables are played 2-handed throughout.

  • The $1500 6-Handed No-Limit Holdem Event

    Again, exactly what it says.

  • The $1500 Millionaire Maker No-Limit Holdem Event

    This one has a guaranteed $1 million prize for the winner.

  • The $1000 Seniors No-Limit Holdem Championship

    You have to be 50 years old or older to enter.

TThose are just examples. A whole host of other events are also available, including a "super-senior" event where you have to be over 65 to enter, limit holdem events, multiple no-limit tournaments with different buy-in sizes, and plenty of mixed game tournaments. (Holdem is always one of the games in those kinds of events.) We provide detailed coverage of the World Series of Poker on a dedicated page on our site.

Texas Holdem Video Games

If you're looking for an experience that doesn't cost money but simulates some of the excitement of playing in a local cardroom or a major event, you can play a wide variety of video games on various platforms. These Texas holdem video games often offer scenarios and storylines that add to the fun.

Here are some examples:

Full House Poker Video Game for the Xbox 360 Full House Poker Xbox 360

This is a 2011 game with RPG elements. If you've ever played one of those baseball games where you can play an entire season with a team, you'll be familiar with how this one works. We like the various characters in the game, most of which are unlocked when you win various tournaments.

High Stakes On The Vegas Strip Poker Edition Video Game for the PS3 High Stakes on the Vegas Strip

This one's a 2007 release that's played with multiple players. You can now download it from the Playstation store.

Poker Night 2 Video Game for the PS3 and Xbox 360 Poker Night 2

This 2013 release is a lot of fun. You get to play with famous characters from other video games, like Ash from Evil Dead, Claptrap from Borderlands, and Sam from Sam & Max. It's more about jokes and fun than it is about poker.

We've published an extensive guide to these types of games, providing detailed reviews of 10 more of these games.

Conclusion

Texas holdem games are available in a dizzying number of varieties now. Some of these are traditional and date back a hundred years or so, while others—like the casino game versions which are becoming increasingly popular—are less than a decade old. This section of our site links to over a dozen other pages on our site, each of which covers a specific Texas holdem game related subject comprehensively. Click on those links to find detailed, thorough coverage of each of those topics.

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