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Texas hold ’em strategy and practice

Tony G in World Poker Tour (Tony G in World Poker Tour 2004 Five Diamond at the Bellagio, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tony_G_the_Poker_Player.jpg)

Texas hold ’em, commonly hold’em (HE) is a variant of poker. It is the most played variant, particularly in its no-limit  (NL) form, that is to say without restriction for maximum bet or raise, used during the main event of World Series of Poker, world’s biggest poker tournament in terms of earnings and popularity.

Hold’em is played from two players face to face (heads-up) and up to ten players for a complete table (full ring).

Each player receives two hole cards (visible only to him) at the beginning of each game. Gradually there are added 5 community cards (visible to all) in the middle of the table. To have the best hand in Texas Holdem poker, it is necessary to have the best combination of 5 cards from the 7 whose dispose the player.

The winner can be determined only when the five community cards (Flop + Turn + River) have all been distributed. Apart from, if the players fold (throw their cards) that game can not be completed before the “River” is output by the croupier or dealer since players have seven cards in total in order to have the best possible combination.

The goal is to win the chips of the other players having the best hand or by making them fold their cards.


In addition to common strategies with other variants of poker, the rules of Texas Hold’em involve specific strategies, with differences between variants (no limit, pot limit, fixed limit) and the games between cash games and tournaments.

Most authors recommend a tight-aggressive approach to playing Texas hold’em. This strategy involves playing relatively few hands (tight), but often betting and raising during the played hands. Although this strategy is usually recommended, some professional players successfully use other strategies, depending on

  • position
  • starting hands
  • betting structures
  • pot odds and implied odds


In addition to the sit & go or cash games, Texas hold’em is primarily played as a tournament. Tournaments are very numerous and vary according to the online poker site. Tournaments include a limited number of participants, minimum and maximum, and therefore a number of resulting tables. The tables each have usually 9 players. After each elimination of a player, another player from another table is moved on the table in question during rebalancing. Every tournament has a specific price based on the number of tournament participants and depending on the buy-in (that is to say the amount of the registration to the tournament). This price varies according to the final place of the player. Some also have rebuy tournaments, that is to say an ability to repay its place when the player is all in and looses, remaining without chips.

Among the most known international tournaments it can be included:

  • WSOP, World Series of Poker, the reference event. These poker world championships are played last 4 decades in Las Vegas for several weeks during the summer. In recent years, more than 50 tournaments (with different entry fees and covering all currently played variants) are organized, offering a bracelet of the World Championships. The festival concludes with the Main Event to $ 10 000, played in Texas Hold’em No Limit, which was attended by about 6,500 people in recent years. After two weeks of competition and a final postponed in November last 4 years, the winner is considered the world champion of the year.
  • WPT, World Poker Tour, a series of tournaments that annually celebrates in 2016 its 12th season. The circuit has directly contributed to the development of poker in the world, since the final tables of tournaments were televised and revealed the “stars” of today. Since 2010, the WPT, with many tournaments in the US, internationalized and provides steps in Europe and even in Africa (Marrakech).
  • EPT, European Poker Tour, a series of annual tournaments that brings together the best European players but also global. The influx of this reference circuit on the Old Continent is important because many players have qualified on the organizer’s website.

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