Live Texas Hold’em

The most popular form of poker in the world is Texas hold’em. It’s no surprise that so many live dealer casino versions of the game are available. Here we break down everything you need to know about this game and its many live dealer casino variations.


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An Introduction to Live Texas Hold’em

In 2003, a man by the fortune name of Chris Moneymaker picked up a win in the World Series of Poker Main Event. That event was in Texas hold’em, and he was the first person to win a major tournament by qualifying online. This event kicked off the early 2000s poker boom and really changed the shape of casino-based poker table games as well.

Casino Hold'em Betting
Casino Hold’em Betting

Decades later, the influence of his win is still felt as live Texas hold’em games are still incredibly popular.

While the basic format remains the same, there are still multiple versions of the game to be had. Players who want to learn about the genre as a whole will want to learn the general rules first. From there, you can branch off to popular variations and specific styles of play. All of this is particularly popular in the live dealer environment, which is what we’ll focus on here.

The Best Casinos for Live Texas Hold’em

When you’re looking for the best casinos for live dealer Texas hold’em, there are a few key things to focus on outside of the usual things you’d think about when looking at casinos in general. The following factors become more important than usual for most players:

  1. The live dealer offering should include the specific styles of Texas hold’em poker that you want.
  2. It’s preferable that promotions, specials, bonuses and other deals be applicable to the live dealer games.
  3. If you’re going to play via mobile, make sure that their mobile client is available. Also check that it’s compatible with your phone, tablet or other mobile device.

With all of these things in mind, you’ll also look for the usual. Only play with sites that are properly licensed and have a good reputation. Newer online casinos can be judged by the reputation of the company that operates them. Also look for a strong loyalty program with good rewards if you plan to stay for a while.

The Basic Rules of Live Texas Hold’em Poker

The details of the different variations can be a bit different from game to game. However, the essence of the rules stays the same. Here we’re going to break down this essence in terms of the things you’ll want to know before you get started.

Live Dealer Ultimate Texas Hold'em Betting
Live Dealer Ultimate Texas Hold’em Betting

Five-card Poker Hand Rankings

Texas hold’em poker is a bit atypical in a way. This is because it uses seven potential cards as a part of your hand. However, you’ll only be choosing five of them to form a hand. Along these lines, you need to know the five-card poker hand rankings as follows:

  • Royal Flush – The A-K-Q-J-T combination of a single suit
  • Straight Flush – A combination of five consecutive cards in a single suit
  • Four of a Kind – Four cards in a combination that are of a single rank
  • Full House – Three cards of a single rank paired with two other cards of a different matching rank
  • Flush – A combination of five cards in a single suit (rank doesn’t matter)
  • Straight – A combination of five consecutive cards (suit doesn’t matter)*
  • Three of a Kind – Three cards of a matching rank
  • Two Pair – Two cards of a single rank paired with two additional cards of a different matching rank
  • One Pair – Two cards of the same rank
  • High Card – None of the above

* Note that an ace can be a high or a low here to make A-2-3-4-5 or A-K-Q-J-T, but it can’t act as both at the same time for something like Q-K-A-2-3.

The idea is that you pick the five cards from your available seven that make the best hand listed. This is almost always done for you by the house, so you don’t have to worry about making mistakes. This process is known as declaring your hand. In the live dealer environment, mistakes in declaring your hand can be very serious, but you dodge those issues when they are declared automatically.

Gameplay and Hand Determination

In the various live dealer Texas hold’em games, the rules for betting can vary. However, the way the cards are dealt is always the same. It follows these rules:

  • Players and the dealer are given two cards face-down. These are known as the hole cards or the pocket cards. The pocket cards can only be used by the individual they’re dealt to.
  • Five community cards are dealt face-up in the middle of the playing area. This is known as the board. The first three are usually dealt together and is collectively called the flop. The fourth and fifth card are called the turn and the river, respectively.
  • Each player can use any combination of five cards from the two pocket cards dealt to them and the five community cards dealt in the center.
  • The five cards used will be the five that give the best available hand from the rankings listed above.

The shared community cards can be a little tricky to get used to at first. However, just understand that each individual (including the dealer) must make their own hand. The community cards are shared, but the same community cards can be used by multiple players plus the dealer. Only the pocket cards are exclusive, and you don’t see them until the end of the hand.

2 Hand Casino Holdem Side View
2 Hand Casino Holdem Side View

Basic Betting Scenarios

Generally speaking, there are a few different types of bets you can make in the variations of live Texas hold’em online. Each game will have a different combination of those bets. Additionally, the sizes and proportions of those wagers will vary as well. Here are a few of the types of bets you can see.

  1. Blinds and Antes – Blinds and antes are wagers made before you see any cards.
  2. Pre-flop – Pre-flop wagers are made after receiving the two pocket cards. However, they’re made before any community cards are dealt.
  3. Flop – The flop wagers are made after the pocket cards and initial three community cards are dealt.
  4. Turn and River – Similarly, turn and river bets are made after the turn and river cards, respectively.

There are strategic considerations to be had for each of these wagers. For example, wagers before the flop when you only have two cards are based on pure math. However, wagers that come on the flop have more cards showing, so it’s more about hand strength.

The Essentials of Live Texas Hold’em Strategy

Despite playing against the house, these games tend to have fairly high levels of strategy compared to most. Along these lines, there are two areas to focus on if you want to get better at this game as a whole.

Hand Equities

Hand equities in Texas hold’em variations refers to understanding the chances to win for different types of hands. For example, if you have AK in your pocket cards pre-flop and want to understand your chances of winning against a random hand.

However, this doesn’t just include pre-flop equities. In most live dealer variations, your biggest betting decision comes on the flop. You will have seen five of the seven cards that will make up your hand. That’s a lot of information to have, and knowing how the equities work out will help you make good decisions.

Pot Odds

The other main thing to learn about is pot odds. This is basically an understanding of how often you have to win after making a wager in order to turn a profit. For example, if you have to make a wager of €5 on the flop to stay in the hand and see the river, and there’s already €10 at stake, you only need to win 33.3 percent of the time or more to break even or turn a profit. Most players are used to needing to win more than 50 percent of the time. That’s why learning the basics of pot odds will go a long ways towards understanding in these games.

Games in This Genre

A number of different games can be found in the live Texas hold’em genre. Here we’re going to take a brief look at some of the most popular ones and what sets them apart from others.

  • Live Casino Hold’em is one of the most basic titles in the genre. It often offers a progressive jackpot, and the strategies involved are fairly straightforward.
  • 2 Hand Casino Hold’em is a special variation of the game where you play two different hands at once. What stands out here is a special side bet that awards extra wins you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.
  • Live Ultimate Texas Hold’em is a poker game with more strategy than most. The betting is broken down in a way that gives more nuance to what you’re doing. As a result, this is the kind of game where you’ll find yourself thinking more.

Each of these titles, and others like them, have similarities and differences. Some players like all of them as a group. Others only have certain favorites. Any way you want to play is fine, and there is no “correct” way to go about picking what you want in that regard.

Evolution Gaming - Live Casino Holdem
Evolution Gaming – Live Casino Holdem

Overview

Live dealer Texas hold’em games give players the opportunity to enjoy the strategic nature of the most popular poker game in the world without having to go up against other individuals. It also allows for shorter sessions than what you can get from the typical table poker games. Overall, it’s a very strategic genre with a lot of variety and a lot to look forward to if you like card games.

FAQ

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