Between the early 1900s and the end of the century, the poker game called Texas Holdem has become the most popular poker game that is played today. Several events happened during the almost 110 year spread. Some Texas road gamblers, Doyle Brunson, Amarillo Slim, and Crandell Addington brought the game to Las Vegas (1967), where it got a very small start until it became the game of stature at the new World Series of Poker at Binion's Horseshoe Casino. The WSOP got its start with a 1972 tournament of eight players and then mushroomed to 8773 entrants in 2006. This tournament gained an audience, as it was shown on TV on the Wide World of Sports after it was completed each year. It is now shown on ESPN each year after it is completed and is far more fun to watch as the lipstick camera shows the two cards the players are holding. This showing of the hole cards lets the viewers see how the betting is going and the enjoyment of playing right along with the players.
Another event has added to the popularity of Holdem with the showing of the World Poker Tour (2003) on TV. This weekly tournament has again captured an audience and added to the growing popularity of this game of skill. The other simultaneous event was the growth of online gaming, which included the playing of Holdem. Until the US put a damper on US players gambling by making it very difficult to fund an online casino account, the online gaming growth was astronomical. Poker was being played around the world on a 24/7 basis. Online casinos set up the games of Holdem, and poker players from all over the world showed up to play.
Movies and several books were published about the game, which added to the interest in the game. Doyle Brunson's book, "Super/System," was self-published and became a must have and read book even though it sold for $100 a book. The movie, "Rounders," also captured some of the inside look at professional poker playing.
All the events, like a perfect storm, came to pass one after another, providing a self-generating popularity. The Internet and TV were the most prominent of this montage of events. The interest of people who were not avid poker players is the most amazing element of this story of how poker has swept the world. The TV shows have been a terrific advertisement for the world of tournament poker, as people watched the tournaments and thought to themselves, "I can do that." What these novices did not realize was that the pros on TV had logged hours of play to gain the knowledge to play so effortlessly. Their experience was born from playing a huge number of poker hands. Viewers see the large prize money and think about how nice it would be to win these large payoffs. What they do not realize is how much skill it takes to get to the final table in a tournament.
How to Play Holdem
Holdem is a seven card per hand poker game, with the winner having the best five-card poker hand. Holdem hands start with each player being dealt two hole cards face down. A round of betting follows this deal. The dealer then deals three cards face up in the center of the table. This is the beginning of the Flop, which is common to all players. A round of betting follows the three-card deal. The dealer then deals the Turn card to the Flop face up and a round of betting is completed. There are now four cards in the Flop that are common to all hands. The River card is then dealt to the Flop bringing the Flop to five cards. The final round of betting is completed. Those players who have not folded then expose their two cards, and the best five-card poker hand using the Flop and each player's two cards wins the pot. Any good Holdem book will state which two cards are the best starting hands and will also speak to areas like table position and slow playing or aggressive betting to win the pot. The only way to learn the game in the long run is to play a large number of hands. This is very easy to do on the Internet. Solid players win pots all the time with second best hands by betting them in such a way as to run off the best hand. This skill to win with less than the best hand is a significant part of playing winning Holdem. Another factor on winning and losing over a session of play is the ability to know when to call and when to fold. This takes time to learn and develop the feel for the game that tells the player what to do and when. Again, playing time makes a player a better poker player.
Holdem is a game of skill, risk taking, intelligent betting, reading the play, and being aggressive at the right time. Learning to play takes playing a large number of hands. Before the Internet play came into being, the old-time players had an advantage over the new players. The Internet play has made the game easier to learn and develop the skill to play well, as the play on the Internet can give a player real time playing experience. This accounts for how well these new young players are doing in TV tournaments. They have put in the playing time on the Net and learned to play the game. In fact, they have changed the game by making Power Poker more of a factor in tournaments. The all-in bet has become par for the course among these Internet players. Recognized pros have had to learn and play a different game than the one they played before the advent of Internet poker. Power Poker has become a hard fact of life in the modern tournaments.
About the Author: A. Awwad is the webmaster of Free Online Casino Games
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