Texas Hold’em is the most popular poker variant in the world. It owes its name to the fact that it appeared in the state of Texas, specifically in the city of Robstown, and spread thanks to the role played by the casino tycoons at that time, especially Benny Binion, who arrived in Las Vegas after World War II. That would be the settlement of poker in the future city of gambling.
It was precisely Binion who invented the World Series of Poker, WSP, in the 1970s. This set of live poker tournaments is still consolidated today, being one of the main showcases where Texas Hold’em is played. Thanks to the rapid popularization of Texas Hold’em poker games, this variety began to spread rapidly. Only 50 years later, today, Texas Hold’em is the most played and best-known poker variant in the world.
Origin of Texas Hold’em and popularization
The popularization of Texas Hold’em cannot be understood without the role played by the great casino magnates in the United States. It is true that the Texas Hold’em game system was fresh and innovative. All types of players liked it very much, but without the support of these great figures of the moment, Texas Hold’em would not have reached the levels of popularity that it has today so quickly.
The origin of what today we call Texas Hold’em is in a very specific game modality, the game of five cards by discard or Five Card Draw. It is usually the starting point for many players who want to begin to know in depth the dynamics of Texas Hold’em, but have never had a contact with this game.
The game mode of Five Card Draw is very simple: each player receives a total of 5 cards and discards those that are not to his liking to receive others. Without seeing the cards of his rivals, the player must place the bet. A simple premise that is the core of Texas Hold’em.
From the 70’s and 80’s the rules of Texas Hold’em were consolidated, the type of poker that would be destined to become the top variant. At the same time, Omaha poker began to become popular as an evolution of Two by Three, a card game that originated in Detroit.
History of Texas Hold’em Poker
The history of Texas Hold’em is full of great moments. You already know its origin: where it emerged, when it did and how it became popular. But do you know the best moments in the history of Texas Hold’em and recent poker?
One of those key moments is the 1970 World Series. In an event organized by Benny Binion in Las Vegas, Johnny Moss and Stu Ungar, who has long been considered the best Texas Hold’em player in history, faced each other.
It’s hard to know what’s true and what’s urban legend in the story about the world’s first Texas Hold’em winner, but it’s certain that both Moss and Ungar share a good share of the spoils, with three wins each in this event.
If we go to a more recent moment in history, to 2003, we have another key moment. This time from Chris Moneymaker – I’m sure you’ve heard of him!
In a move we bet Moneymaker will never forget, his inexperience didn’t stop him from grabbing a major haul, entering the $10,000 Main Event via a satellite of 39.
The prize was two and a half million dollars. But what really matters is the legacy he left behind, as it is one of the most impressive plays in Texas Hold’em and poker in general. Not only because of the size of the prize compared to the buy-in, but because Moneymaker was, in 2003, an amateur player.
How to play Texas Hold’em poker: basic notions
If you have never had a first contact with poker in general or with Texas Hold’em and you want to learn how to play, it is important that you have some basic notions to start playing.
The rules of the game are simple, but what you have to keep in mind is that your brain has to work in the background to read moves, calculate probabilities and make decisions in time. That is achieved with experience and training, but you must develop that ability to improve until you become a high-level poker player.
To know how to play poker, you have to learn the fundamentals of Texas Hold’em. The objective is to get the pot that is accumulated among the players. When the cards are dealt, each player must bet and compete against the other players to beat them, either by betting, by bluffing (this is only for advanced players and in very special circumstances) or by folding on time. Mental toughness and the ability to make calculations and probabilities is essential to be strong and beat the opponents.
Texas Hold’em games are divided into several phases: first, 2 cards are dealt to each player and they have to decide whether to bet and play or to fold. The bets are marked on the table by the so-called “blinds”, a small one and the other, the double, the big one. This is the bet to be matched by all the players at the table, who will “talk” in turns to decide whether to play or not, matching or raising the bet of the “big blind”.
The turns are conditioned by the player who speaks last, represented by the token called “Button”, which indicates who occupies that position and which moves in turns around the table, so that everyone has the option to play in this position.
After the players have spoken, the dealer will draw the first three common cards face up on the table, the cards with which, together with the two cards they have in their hand, the players will have to calculate and think about their moves. Once again there will be a betting turn (or not, if no one “raises” the bets, everyone can see the next free card) and then the fourth community card will come: the Turn. Once again the bets will follow (or the people who will not go to bet and “fold”) and finally the final card will come, the dreaded “River”, which will complete the sequence of 5 face up community cards, which added to the two hole cards, will be used for the players to compose their plays and defend or not their bets.
And when does a hand end? In the showdown, when the cards are shown and the player with the best combination of cards that binds the best hand wins. If a player loses his chips, he is out. When each hand ends, the player who wins takes the pot that has been building up throughout the game.
In Texas Hold’em you must take into account the community cards to form your hand. This peculiarity makes that the strategic factor is triggered, having to calculate your chances based on your cards and those that you can sense that your rivals have.
The study of the rival, his behavior and his way of playing can give you valuable information about his situation and determine your strategy based on the possibilities you consider you have in that hand.