How about a short and easy explanation of the rules of Texas Hold Em, for us clueless newbies to the game?

~Holly in Albuquerque

Holly, they say Texas Hold' em takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to master.
You might even say Hold 'em is closer to "Liar's dice" than a regular draw or stud poker game.

In a Hold 'em tournament like we play, you already know the most you can lose because
you paid that to get in. The times we've played, we had a $50 entry fee for the first tournament
and $100 for the second tournament right after taking a short break. This way, if you have the
worst luck in the world, all you can lose is $50, or $150 if you play in both games.

Sidebar: The poker game is just an excuse for us to get together and party.

The whole idea of Hold 'em is to bet so much that your opponent is afraid to call you.
When I was learning, they kept saying "It doesn't matter what cards you have,"
and that confused a small IQ guy like me. It took me a year to understand the simple fact
that you can win every hand with the worst cards if you just scare the other guys into folding.

You get dealt 2 cards face down, then you bet.
The whole tone of the hand is set at this moment.

Two Aces is the best possible hand, of course, but if you have a 2-7 and bet like you have Aces,
the others will assume you have a great hand and most of them will fold.

For those still in, the dealer deals "the flop," which is three cards at once, face up, then you bet again.
Next comes "fourth street," which just means the fourth card, then you bet again.
If there's still two or more people in the hand, you finally get "the river," the fifth card.

With a total of seven cards, you use your two and the best three cards on the table to make a hand,
and then you have the final bet - which is often the bluffer's last desperate chance to win.

So about 60 percent of the game is lying and betting, and 40 percent is in the cards.
It's a crazy game because you can lose with a full house or win with a Jack high.
If you bet like you know what you're doing, it scares the others.

On TV, the most fun comes from the high drama of watching a player with nothing betting
$300,000 while you know he's got no hand at all.   Meanwhile, the other guy with three Kings
and two Aces considers folding because he's worried that you have that other Ace.

I'd love to watch a replay of the TV games with the players present.
Watching a player fold a great hand when you have absolute zero is part of the thrill.
Wednesday night, the eventual winner did just that. He had the worst hand ever, but went
"all in" with by pushing all his chips into the pot and the other guys got scared and folded

Sure wish you could join us in Chicago.
Maybe someday we'll do a Pokerfest Albuquerque :)

From Cleveland, Chicago is $49 each way on Southwest
From Detroit, Chicago is $49 each way on Southwest
From Columbus, Chicago is $49 each way on Southwest
From St Louis, Chicago is $58 each way on Southwest
From the dreaded Kansas City airport, Chicago is $58 each way on Southwest
From St Louis, Chicago is $58 each way on Southwest
From Los Angeles, Chicago is just $109 each way on Southwest
From Orlando, Chicago is only $109 each way on Southwest
From Hartford, CT, Chicago is only $109 each way on Southwest

C'mon, join the party.
You only live once, so do like Ol' Bart and have a good time every day.

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