Texas Holdem Online

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Play Texas Hold'em Online

How to Play Holdem on the Internet

by Halli Pinson
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Play Texas Hold'em OnlineThere are several good reasons to play Texas Hold’em poker online versus in a live casino. The first thing that most players will notice is the speed at which the games are played online. Not relying on a human dealer to run the game is an incredible advantage and will allow players to see many, many more hands per hour than they would in a brick and mortar casino. Because online poker has eliminated human error, you will never have to wait impatiently while the floorman is called for a decision or see an exposed card. Online players also have the option of playing multiple tables at once (called “multi-tabling”) which greatly increases their hand volume. If you ever hear players complain that online poker delivers more bad beats than a live casino, you can rest assured that this is for good reason: when you see so many more hands, you will inevitably see more bad beats as well. Another reason to play Texas Holdem on the internet is because it is much cheaper than playing in a live casino. The rake (the money collected from each pot by the casino) is considerably less, you don’t have to tip the dealers and floorstaff, and you don’t even need to fill up your car’s gas tank because you are playing from the comfort of your home. All of these expenses of playing live add up quickly and will definitely cut into your profits.

While playing online has its advantages, you should be warned that the games in a live casino tend to be considerably softer. In general, there are many more novice players who go to their local card room to socialize and drink – but don’t usually expect to make money. If you play Texas Hold'em poker online, you will find many fish but will also encounter many tough opponents who play on a regular basis and have a positive expectation in the game. It’s no surprise that online players tend to be superior players, mainly due to the sheer volume of play that they get into every session. There is no substitute for experience, and the virtual poker world delivers that in a much shorter time period. That being said, playing Texas Holdem on the internet is a terrific way to learn and experiment with your game.

Now that you understand the advantages to playing Texas Hold’em poker online, you can begin to explore the different ways the game is offered. Cash games are a great way to start learning Texas Hold’em because there are limits available online for every sized bankroll. If you have the tournament bug, you will be happy to find that there are thousands of them running every day. Or maybe you only have an hour or two to kill and want to play a couple of sit n goes (single table tournaments). Whether it be Fixed Limit, No Limit or Pot Limit that you prefer, there are always more games of Texas Hold’em running online than any other poker game.

Learning to play Texas Hold’em is simple, but playing it well enough to turn a profit is no easy task. There are several strategy articles on Poker Vibe that will surely improve your game, but for now we will discuss a few basics that will help you get started. Here are some tips to assist you when you play Texas Hold'em poker online:

Hand Selection
Knowing which hands to play can be tricky at first, and this is where most novice players get themselves into trouble. When it comes to hand selection, there are many factors to consider, but perhaps most important is your position in relation to the button and the other players at the table. When you have the dealer button in front of you, you have the best position because you have the luxury of being the last to act and therefore gaining information by observing all the play before you. The sooner you are required to act in the hand, the worse your position and the stronger your cards need to be. Playing weak hands out of position can lead to big problems and big losses, and this needs to be considered each time you enter a pot. The better your position, the wider range of hands can be comfortably played.

Put Your Opponents on a Range of Hands
Texas Hold’em is a game of incomplete information and each hand should be treated as a puzzle that needs solving. If you can figure out how to gain information from your opponents, you will be that much closer to solving the puzzles that will ultimately put money into your pocket. Unfortunately, online poker doesn’t offer the physical tells that can be observed in a brick and mortar casino; you can’t see who you are playing with or how nervous they might look when they just raised you. Therefore, carefully observing your opponents’ betting patterns and playing style is very important online. For example, if a tight opponent raises in early position, you can narrow his range to a premium hand because you have observed him playing selectively out of position. If you treat each hand as a puzzle, and keep gathering clues, you will have an easier time putting your opponents on a range of hands – which will help you make the right decisions along the way.

Play an Opposite Style than Your Table
Playing poker requires you to be flexible. In order to be a successful player, you should be capable of changing gears and adjusting to how your table is playing at the time. It is widely accepted that the best way to adjust to your game is to generally play against the grain. For example, say you take a seat at a table that is generally playing very loose. Every pot is raised and there are several people always involved. The pots are big and people are playing crazy. In a situation like this, the best strategy would be to play a tight game; wait for premium hands and then trap those who are playing loose and aggressive. Conversely, if you sit down at a table full of players that are mostly folding and only playing premium hands, feel free to run them over. Raise frequently, push them around, and take the money that they aren’t going after. Remember to continuously observe how the table is changing and keep adapting your game accordingly.

If you feel comfortable enough to play Texas Holdem poker online now, visit PokerStars and download their free software. If you don't think you are ready, take a look at all the articles this site has to offer and jump in when you feel up to it.

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(c) Shirley Rosario

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