There are a number of reasons why hold’em poker has become such a well-known and popular betting game, not the least of which is the high-profile, high-stakes hold’em tournaments that attract some of the world’s best players and are televised all over the globe. This version of the classic card game has several other inherent qualities that make it attractive.
The ability of all players to make up hands using the communal pool cards means that more high-ranking poker combinations are possible on each deal, compared to other versions of the game. That, in turn, makes the betting more complex; a player with four of a kind in straight poker knows the hand is immensely strong, but in hold’em, if two of those four of a kind are in the pool, or the pool contains a higher pair, any other player could just as easily have the same four of a kind, or even a better one. Hold’em also exercises another poker skill: the three or four betting rounds on each hand give players more chance to interpret other players’ bets and weigh up opponents’ bluffing skills.
With all these advantages, it’s not surprising that high rollers and small-time players alike are discovering the joys of the game, especially since online casino hold’em has made finding a game simplicity itself.
For those unfamiliar with the game, the rules of online casino hold’em are quite easy to grasp. The two players to the right of the dealer will start any hand by betting the big blind and the small blind (usually half the big blind), and all players are then dealt two cards each, face down. After all players have checked their cards, the first round of betting commences; starting with the player on the dealer’s left.
Players must either bet a stake equal to the big blind, raise the big blind, or fold. If the small blind chooses to play, they need to double their initial bet to match the big blind. If the big blind has not been raised, the big blind gets to check, raise or fold. Once the first betting round finishes, with all bets called, the dealer deals three communal cards face-up: “the flop”. Players bet again until all bets are called, and the dealer deals a fourth communal card; “the turn”. After another round of betting, the final communal card, “the river” is dealt, and the final betting round commences. Once every player has called or folded, the hands are compared and the winner decided according to standard rankings.
The dealer and blinds shift one player to the left after each hand. There are now hundreds of sites offering online casino hold’em, both for free and for real stakes, so it isn’t hard for newcomers to log on and learn the basics of the game. Getting good at it, on the other hand, is a matter of practice and experience.
It’s possible to play online casino hold’em against computer players only, an option that is especially useful in free online casinos. But the real skill in any poker game involves interpreting opponents’ bets and knowing when they’re bluffing, and to learn these skills, you can’t beat having real opponents.
Happily, that option is also available in online casino hold’em; some sites are even introducing live dealers and real-time interaction to enhance the genuine casino experience even more. Whatever version players choose, they’re guaranteed hours of online entertainment.