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How to play Texas Hold'em Poker

Poker is a game that has been enjoyed for a few centuries now. All the way from the time where cowboys roamed the land to now, where most people play online, it's a game that has enjoyed a modest amount of popularity and success. However, there are still many people out there that have no clue how to play poker. There are three common variants of poker available to play. They are Texas Hold'em, Omaha, and 5 card stud. The most popular and most played variant is Texas Hold'em, so that's what this tutorial is going to be covering.

So, what exactly is Texas Hold'em? Great question, Texas Hold'em is usually played with 2 hole cards and 5 community cards. The hole cards are cards that are exclusively yours, and are not known to other players. However, the community cards are available to everyone and can be used in co-ordination with your hole cards to make stronger hands. There is one caveat to this fact though. Your final hand must only contain 5 of the 7 cards that you can use. This can comprise of both of your hole cards, 1 of your hole cards, or neither if the community cards form a stronger hand without the use of your hole cards.

The hand strengths are as follows:
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A high card is the worst possible hand you can have, meanwhile a royal flush is the best. A royal flush is exactly like a straight flush, but one major difference: It's Ace through 10, and all of the same suit. This means that Ace through 10, and they all are suited diamond is a royal flush and it's unbeatable. However, you are unlikely to see hands higher than a full house on a regular basis. You can still win with a high card, that is if all players in the final showdown also only have high cards, and you have the highest out of remaining players.

So, the next part to this puzzle is how you would play your hand. I can't exactly provide a detailed tutorial on how to play hands as there's thousands of ways to do so and I can't possibly cover them all. I can however go over the mechanics of the game of Texas Hold'em Poker. There are 4 things you can do while you are playing a hand. Folding, which is discarding your hand but you don't lose any chips/money. Calling, which is matching the bet that is currently the standard set. Checking, which is passing if you have already made that bet amount earlier on. Finally, raising, which is increasing the bet amount that other players have to call in order to stay in the hand. You can use these moves strategically to make players think you have a weaker hand or a stronger hand than they think you have.

After all, the key to being successful in poker is to eliminated your opponents with strong hands and deception. Bluffing people off of pots helps you bolster your chip stack and in turn, gives you more leverage over other players at the table.
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Learning how to manage your chip stack is another important aspect of the game of poker. Managing it poorly can ensure that you have a swift exit out of your table or tournament. However, on the flip side, managing it well can prepare you for the late stages of the game. Always consider the other players chip stack as well as yours when you are considering to make a bet or raise. Ask yourself: "Is this safe enough to do without worrying about a re-raise.". Most players will raise your bet, usually 3x what you started it at and will leave you with a tough decision on whether to call or fold your hand. In this situation, you will have to calculate how likely you are to get a strong hand from the remaining community cards that still haven't been drawn. You will also have to consider what your opponent might be sitting on, or what he isn't sitting on and rather trying to trick you to fold to get an easy pot win.

However, those are more intricate parts of the game, and aren't exactly basics. Once you get a better grip of the game you can look up resources to help you understand advanced mechanics.

I hope that this tutorial has been of help to any players who needed a pointer on how to play poker, but could never understand it before. I wish you the best, and good luck!
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Author Cyphix
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