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Texas Hold'em takes a minute to learn, but a lifetime to master, the old saying goes.
But with these top 10 tips, you can make that journey a little shorter. So, if you don't have time to plough through 1,000-page strategy books and want a few pointers before hitting the online tables, take a look at these helpful hints.
Before you know it, you'll be slaughtering those Sit 'n' Gos, mastering the weekly MTTs and crushing the cash games.
Position is the most important factor in Texas Hold'em. If sitting in Late Position (LP) like Seat 9 or the Button, you'll be last to act and will have a lot more information before the action comes to you. If the action has limped round to you, you can open with a strong bet to take advantage and win the pot. When you're out of position and first to act (Small Blind or Big Blind) you're acting first and at the mercy of the players to act after you.
Most Hold'em players play too many hands when they start playing the game. As you get more experienced you'll learn that you need to fold the majority of your starting hands.
Tight, solid hand selection is a good strategy: stick to high pairs like 10-10, J-J, Q-Q, K-K and A-A to raise with in early position, while you can add pairs like 7-7, 8-8 and 9-9 to raise with when in late position.
Similarly, you can add in suited connectors like A-K, K-Q, and Q-J in early position, and J-10, 10-9 and suited K-10 and Q-10 when in late position.
Hand selection can change depending on the dynamics at the table, of course. If the table is full of weak players who will fold most holdings, you can widen that range even further if you think the bets and raises will get through.
Although a game of skill, Texas Hold'em is a game of assessing the odds. If the pot odds aren't as good as the odds of you hitting that miracle card to complete your straight or flush, you need to toss away your hand.
Pot odds can be easy to work out - especially online - but you don't need to be a math whiz to calculate if a hand's worth carrying on with.
A Continuation Bet (c-bet) is a key strategy of Texas Hold'em. Essentially, it's bet you make post-flop when you're first to bet, regardless of the strength of your hand.
Let's say you are dealt Q-10 early in an online cash game. You raise, every player folds, and one player calls. The flop comes 2-7-K. You decide to continue your line that your hand is strong - even though you've missed entirely - and decide to carry on with a bet.
Your opponent may buy the story that you hit the flop hard, and fold, or he may raise as he's made a draw or hand himself. Either way, your decision is easy - you take the hand down there and then, or you simply fold.
C-bets are great for low-stakes cash games where so many hands are dealt. Many players will just let hands go if they have missed the flop and are bet into. Over time, and with enough volume, the c-bet can be the Texas Hold'em player's strongest weapon.
OK, so you've tried a sneaky c-bet to get rid of your opponent. Bad news - he's still in the hand and has called. Now, the turn card comes and it looks like it could have completed his straight or flush draw, or paired the board.
Normally, a check on the turn slows things done a lot, but if you bet with a draw and are raised, it's time to get out of there.
You and your opponent are playing the river. You're heads-up and now you have to remember what he did at the start of the hand. Was he aggressive pre-flop? Did he raise in early position, limp in late position, or call your c-bet on the flop?
It's now you have to start assigning a hand range to your opponent. You need to make a decision whether your hand is good against a whole range of possible hands he may have.
You also need to calculate the odds. If your opponent makes a strong bet on the river, work out whether a call to go to showdown is worth it based on how much has already gone into the pot.
So many hands take place in a typical online game it can often be a good idea to just let a hand go and fight another day. Another hand is always just around the corner.
Bluffing online is just as possible as it is in a live casino or cardroom. You can quickly gauge weak, passive or aggressive players when playing online and learn who will succumb to a well-timed bluff.
While no-surprises ABC poker is good, it's also worth throwing in a few bluffs with marginal hands now and again. Better still, show your cards if you win a pot to reveal the bluff. Then, when you win a hand with a genuine hand, also show it to your opponent. This will sew doubt in their minds as to what the hell you're betting and raising with.
The beauty of No Limit is that you can use your chips to bully your opponents. Many recreational players are loathe to lose all their chips during a small tournament or cash session, so make sure you apply some well-timed aggression at the right moments. You want to be the one forcing opponents to make decisions, not the other way round.
There are so many stake levels online, especially in Texas Hold'em, it can be tempting to jump into the bigger stakes to try your luck.
But be aware: at a certain level the aggression will get too hot to handle and the skill level higher.
Start off low, even if you can afford the bigger games. Once you've comfortably mastered the lower stakes games (.02/.04 - .25/.50 in cash games and - tournaments) over a period of time, tentatively start to move up the levels. If you find it too difficult you can safely move back down a level to build up your bankroll again.
Read our dedicated page on Bankroll Management to see the kinds of funds you'll need to comfortably handle the levels.
Walking away in a land-based casino if you're on a downswing is tough; logging off and shutting the laptop can be even harder.
Never be tempted by 'just one more cash hand' or 'one more Sit n' Go'; that way lies financial ruin and a return to grinding up a roll at the freerolls.
If you're on tilt, have had a bad beat or just can't seem to catch a river card, just walk away. Don't turn off the computer, don't log off: just hit the 'Sit Out' button and go out of the house to take your mind off poker for an hour.
Coming back refreshed and ready for another fight is essential for a healthy poker mindset.
Most sites will let you type in notes on your opponents, but a pen and paper is just as good. Make use of them and come up with short-hand to make note-taking quicker.
A lot of players you'll meet online are regulars (regs) and they rarely change their play. Poker players are creatures of habit, especially at the lower-stakes levels, so whether it's a cash game, Sit n' Go or tournament, get a handle on your opponents and keep coming back to your notes to see what they'll do in any given situation.
Ready to play Ultimate Texas Hold em like a pro? We are going to teach you how easy it is to play Ultimate Texas Hold em online and give you our top tips to help you win. You can even put your skills to the test with our free Ultimate Texas Holdem game, with no download or registration required.
Our experts have created this comprehensive guide to teach you everything you need to know about the exciting Ultimate Texas Hold em table game. And to save you the hassle of spending hours of your time researching the best real money casinos for Ultimate Texas Hold em, we ve found them for you.
Wondering where you can play Ultimate Texas Hold em online for real money?
To save you wasting hours reviewing and comparing different casinos, we have created a list of the best casino sites for you:
Casumo casino has been in the business since 2012 and knows what it s doing. Licensed in Malta and the UK, this award-winning casino offers 2,000+ games powered by top providers. You can claim bonuses as you accumulate points and participate in regular tournaments against other players for your chance to win prizes. You could even become part of the exclusive VIP Club for additional perks. All while enjoying dedicated 24/7 customer support.
Wondering how we came up with our list of the top casinos for Ultimate Texas Hold em? We take many factors into consideration when evaluating online casino sites. The key factors we consider include:
As a new player, you should be warmly welcomed at every online casino you join. We look for casinos that offer generous deposit bonuses and perks like free spins. These offers must offer fair terms and conditions, including realistic wagering requirements. You should also be treated to exciting promotions.
Our recommended Ultimate Texas Hold em casinos take your security and safety seriously. The first thing we look for is 128-bit SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption. If there is no little green padlock, we instantly exit the webpage. Two-factor Authentication (2FA) is also another important security measure.
Every online casino should leave you spoilt for choice when it comes to game selection. While Ultimate Texas Hold em may be your game of choice, you should find plenty of other games to enjoy. Whether it s hundreds of slot games or Three Card Poker you re after, our casinos have you covered.
Gone are the days of desktop-only online casinos. Nowadays, you can play Ultimate Texas Hold em and all your other favorite casino games on desktop or mobile. Most casino sites are programmed using HTML5 technology these days to provide the same great experience across all platforms and devices.
Instant deposits and lightning-fast cashouts are guaranteed at all our recommended casinos. You should have a long list of deposit methods to choose from when making your first deposit. And when you win big, you should receive your winnings in the blink of an eye. Friendly banking limits are also imperative.
Trust us, we know how frustrating it can be dealing with poor support agents. For this very reason, we look for online casinos that have a friendly and knowledgeable customer support team. You should be able to get in touch with them via live chat, telephone, or email on the rare occasions that issues arise.
One of the biggest dilemma s players have after leaning how to play Ultimate Texas Holdem is whether to play for free or real money. We re going to compare the two versions and let you make up your own mind.
The five main benefits of playing Ultimate Texas Hold em games for real money versus free are:
Playing Ultimate Texas Hold em is easy once you wrap your head around the game s rules. To show you just how easy it is to play this great casino game, we have created a step-by-step guide to help you:
Ultimate Texas Hold em is a table game that pits the player against the dealer in a one-on-one poker matchup. Like the game it is based on, each hand is dealt out of a standard 52-card deck. While it helps to have a basic understanding of how Hold em works, it is not entirely necessary, and here we cover the relevant rules you need to know about Ultimate Texas Holdem. Practice these rules on our free game above so you ll know exactly what you re doing when you hit the casinos.
At the start of each hand, the player must make two equal-sized bets, one known as the Ante, and the other known as the Blind. There is also an optional bet known as Trips, which we will talk more about in a bit. Once the bets have been made, both the player and the dealer will receive two face down cards, with the player being allowed to look at their hand.
The player has the choice to check meaning that they pass on the option to make a bet or make the Play bet. This bet can be for either three or four times the size of the Ante. It s worth noting at this point that after the player has made that Play bet, they are done with making decisions in the hand; the rest of the cards will be dealt out, but no more bets will be made.
Once the player has made their decision, three community cards will be dealt in the middle of the table. If the player checked in the last round, they now have another chance to make a play bet, though this time it will only be twice the size of the Ante. The player also has the option to check once again.
Finally, the last two community cards will be dealt. If the player has checked up until this point, they now have a decision to make. They have one last chance to make a Play bet this time equal to the size of the Ante or to fold, thereby forfeiting their Ante and Blind wagers.
At this point, the player and dealer will reveal their hands. If the player has not yet folded, then the hands are compared. Each side will make the best five-card poker hand they can using any combination of their two cards and the five community cards.
Much like the poker room version of the game, Ultimate Texas Hold em offers players plenty of chances to flex their strategic muscles. The fact that there are several decision points during each hand complicates things greatly, and perfect, optimal strategy can be rather complicated. Remember that if you want to get better at developing your strategy in Ultimate Texas Holdem, practice and practice until you get a better feel of the game. That way it will be much easier for you to make the right moves.
However, it s fairly simple to come up with a plan that will stop you from making any major mistakes. We ve presented one here that should help you get started, allowing you to approach the table with confidence, knowing that you are playing well enough to avoid leaving very much money on the table in the long run.
First, we need to decide whether or not we are going to make the initial 4x raise with our initial hand. We recommend raising with any of the following hands:
If you get to the flop (the first three community cards) without raising, you ll have another chance to make a Play bet for 2x your Ante. You should do so any time you have the following:
If you still haven t made a bet by the time you get to the river (when all five community cards are dealt), you ll need to decide whether or not to fold or make the small Play bet. At this point, it is safe to make the bet if you have at least a pair that uses at least one of your hole cards. If you do not have that strong a hand, try to count how many single dealer cards could possibly beat you. If the total number of possible cards is 20 or less, you should make the bet; if it is 21 or more, it is time to fold.
If you are having trouble doing the math on this final decision, it is okay to estimate; anything around the cutoff point will be a fairly marginal situation. However, you do not want to pass up a situation where you have a big edge, or bet one when it is almost certain that the dealer has you beaten, so try to at least make a rough assessment of where you stand if you did not connect with the board at all.
Overall, the house edge in this game is only about 2.19%, which is very competitive when compared to the whole range of casino games. Using this strategy won t get the casino s advantage quite that low, but we re confident that it will keep it well under 3%, meaning you won t be giving up much by following only these simple suggestions.
Ultimate Texas Hold em uses standard poker hand rankings, meaning that hands rank from best to worst in the following order:
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