Texas Holdem is considered to be one of the most popular variations of poker. Almost anyone who has come into contact with poker at least once in their lives has heard of this game. But having heard of the game is one thing, actually playing it and putting theory into practice is quite another. It’s having good knowledge of all Texas Holdem rules that forms the key to success. It’s impossible to play (and win!) without having the right knowledge. Surely each of us has heard of the lucky ones who once went to the casino table and won millions. But that’s just beginners luck.
If you don’t want to purely depend on luck, it’s a good idea to take matters into your own hands. If you know all the rules and learn to play, surely you will win many times. And that’s exactly what it’s about. The most fun is had not by simply winning a hand which you will owe to luck and good card placement. The most pleasing is the winning hand which is by your own merit – the right decisions made, good bets and…a little luck. Because as always, a pinch of luck always comes in handy.
Poker hands worth fighting for
Regardless of whether you went to the casino or you stumbled upon a free poker games site, you should be completely familiar with poker hand rankings. How the game is played and getting the right hand can be read about in another guide on our site (you will find out how all rounds in Texas Holdem Poker look like). This time, however, we will take a look at card layouts that will help you defeat all your opponents. This type of knowledge is really worth having at your disposal.
Royal-Flush: Royal Poker
This is the highest and thus least probable layout of five sequential cards. The hand consists of an Ace, King, Queen, Jack and Ten – of the same suit, of course. The probability of this arrangement is so low and the following English saying describes perfectly its low probability: “If you wanna see a Royal-Flush in a casino, you must go to the toilet”.
A straight flush is five cards in sequential order – five cards of the same suit. This combination will give you a poker – and just like a Royal Flush, it also rarely occurs during a poker game.
Four of a kind
This is a hand of four cards of the same value (also known as quads). What’s important, if two players have the same four of a kind, the winner is decided by the “kicker”, meaning a fifth card (or side card).
A full house consists of three of a kind with one pair. In other words, three cards of the same value alongside two cards of the same value. When two players have a full house, the one with the strongest set of three cards wins. If the three cards are of the same value, the pairs decide who wins. If the pairs are also identical, then it is a draw.
A flush is a set of five cards of the same suit (of course we’re not talking about black and red, but rather club, diamonds etc – but that’s clear, isn’t it?). When two players have a flush, the player whose suit is strongest is declared the winner.
A straight is a set of five cards of sequential value, of any suit. If two players have a straight, the one with the strongest card “at the top” wins. It’s worth noting that in this case an ace can be used as both the highest and lowest card – but never in the same hand. A straight that starts with an ace and ends with a five is called a wheel or bicycle.
Drilling – three of a kind
This is simply a set of three cards of the same value. It’s also called trips. If there is only one pair at hand which together with the community card creates a three, we are then talking about a set. When two players have the same three, the fourth card (the kicker) becomes the deciding card. If the players have the same kicker card, then we need to look at the fifth card. When even these are identical, a draw is then declared.
Two pairs consist of two sets of two cards of identical value (such as two kings or two aces). In a situation where two players have an identical pair of pairs, the fifth card decides who wins. When the pairs are different, the highest value cards win.
Obviously, one pair is an arrangement of two cards of the same value. If we have a pair already “at hand” we can call it a pocket-pair. If we lay down one card from our hand and the highest card from the community card pool, we then have a top-pair. Likewise, by laying down a pair from the lowest card from the community cards, we will be holding a bottom-pair. If two players have an identical pair, the kicker decides who will win.
If the player has not been dealt any of the above hands, he then has only a high card at his disposal. It’s worth noting that unlike other games, in poker, the suit plays no role. If the other player also has a high card, the one with the highest value card will be the winner. If they are the same, the third, fourth highest cards will decide who is the winner.
This is fundamental knowledge that is really essential to have to play any poker game. It’s worth memorizing all possible card combinations by heart, regardless of whether we’re at the casino or we choose to play free poker online. In this case, learning really pays off (and you will see for yourself after the first deal!).