It might be hard to believe but it wasn’t too long ago the poker variation known as Texas Hold’em – the game you see all over television these days – was barely a blip on the poker radar screen.
Five-Card Draw, Five-Card Stud, Seven-Card Stud, even Razz and Lowball… all were the games of choice at card rooms and poker dens across the country long before – and for much, much longer than – Texas Hold’em.
Road Gamblers Bring Hold'em to Vegas
It wasn’t until the late 60s/early 70s when a group of “Texas Road Gamblers,” including Doyle Brunson, Amarillo Slim Preston and Crandell Addington, brought the game to Vegas and it begin its rise to the most popular poker variation in the world.
With a fairly simple formula – each player receives two hole cards face down before a flop of three community cards followed by the turn card and river card – Hold’em looks, on the surface, like a strategically-limited game.
Once you add in multiple betting rounds, changing mathematical odds and the complexities of human psychology, though, you’ve got a magical game with intricacies that go far beyond how many cards are dealt and in what order.
With no cap on the betting in any round and the chance to put all of your money in the middle at any point in the hand, the No-Limit variation of Hold’em also became the game that really separated the men from the boys.
Poker Boom Fueled By Hold'em
Once the Main Event of the World Series of Poker was switched to Hold’em in its second year, it’s been the marquee game ever since and the fuel for the poker boom that hit the world after Chris Moneymaker’s win at the WSOP in 2003.
Walk into any casino poker room today and 90% of the action will be in No-Limit Hold’em, from limits typically starting at $1/$2 up to $1,000/$2,000 in the biggest games in the world.
Online you can get your feet wet in Hold’em for much, much less with micro-stakes games starting as low as 1c/2c and one-table sit-and-go’s – tournaments that start when all the seats at a table are full – for $1 and up.
A Minute to Learn, Lifetime to Master
As Mike Sexton of the World Poker Tour likes to say, Texas Hold’em takes “a minute to learn and a lifetime to master,” so it’s good we have the chance to start small.
For a game with less dramatic action and more of a math-based optimal strategy, players can also try out Limit Hold’em with capped bets on each street.
Whichever variation you choose, the subtle nuances and complex strategies of Holdem will keep you entertained for as long as you play it. Since it’s also the most popular game right now, you’ll have no problem finding a massive wealth of strategy tips and instructional videos to help you improve quickly.
Check out our extensive selection of Texas Hold’em strategy articles and find our toplist of the best online poker sites for Hold’em up to the right. Open up a new account via our review link and be eligible for all of our excusive bonuses and freerolls.
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