Best Texas Holdem Sites in the US
Why Play Real Money Texas Holdem Online?
Perhaps the best thing about playing Texas Holdem poker online is that you don’t have to be near a casino to find a game. Just rev up your poker app of choice and you can find a game anywhere, any time. Aside from the convenience, there are several reasons why Texas Holdem online is better than in a live casino:
Less Stressful – Walking into a poker room can be intimidating. If you are new to poker, it can be nerve-wracking knowing how to properly handle your cards and chips, when to act in a hand, what the right things are to say, etc. When playing online Texas Holdem for real money, everything is automatic. You won’t get any angry stares or grumbles from other players if you do something wrong because you really can’t do something wrong online.
Less Math – Everyone’s chip counts, the pot, and all the bets are displayed in numerical form on the screen. Don’t fret about counting out your chips when you make a bet – you can just use the bet buttons or type in your bet amount.
More Hands Per Hour – You don’t have to wait for the dealer to shuffle the deck or count chips. The deal takes but a second. There are never any chip miscounts or arguments that require the poker room manager to come over.
Fits Your Budget – You can play Texas Holdem poker online for almost any stakes. There are even penny games, something you won’t find in a brick-and-mortar casino.
Real Money Texas Holdem vs. Real Money Omaha
Texas Holdem and Omaha (formally known as Omaha Holdem) are very similar. There are two main differences, however:
- Players are dealt two hole cards in Texas Holdem and four hole cards in Omaha.
- In Texas Holdem, players can use any combination of their hole cards and the five community cards to make their best five-card poker hand. In Omaha, players must use exactly two hole cards and three community cards.
Hand rankings remain the same, so in the end, the winner is still the player with the best five-card poker hand. Omaha games tend to be more action-packed because players have many more hand possibilities with four starting cards. And because they have more combinations of hole cards to use, the winning hands are usually much stronger than in Texas Holdem.
How to Play Texas Holdem Online
As the saying goes, Texas Holdem takes five minutes to learn and a lifetime to master. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to play Texas Holdem:
- The two players to the left of the dealer button (the “dealer” in this case is not the actual dealer, but rather denotes a specific seat at the table) make forced bets called “blinds.” The blinds juice the pot and give players an incentive to bet.
- Dealer gives every player two cards face down, called “hole cards.”
- Action proceeds clockwise, starting to the left of the blinds. If you want to continue in the hand, you can “call” or match the highest bet, “raise” to increase the bet, or “check” if you are in the “big blind” and nobody has raised.
- If you do not wish to continue in the hand, you can “fold,” or give up your cards.
- The dealer lays out three “community” or “board” cards for everyone to see, called the “flop.”
- Players still in the hand make their betting decisions in order of play, clockwise starting from the person to the left of the dealer button. Like pre-flop, players can bet, raise, check, or fold, depending on the action in front of them.
- The dealer puts out the fourth card, called the “turn.”
- Another betting round ensues.
- The dealer deals the fifth and final community card, the “river.”
- Another betting round.
- Once everyone has acted, if there is more than one person remaining in the hand, hands are compared. This is called the “showdown.” The player who makes the best five-card poker hand using any combination of their hole cards and community cards is the winner.
- If everybody has folded except for one person, that person is automatically the winner.
Hand Rankings and Winning Hands
The following Texas Holdem hand rankings are listed from strongest to weakest.
- Royal Flush – 10 through Ace, all of the same suit
- Straight Flush – Five consecutive cards, all of the same suit
- Four-of-a-Kind – Four cards of the same value
- Full house – A Pair and Three-of-a-Kind in the same hand
- Flush – Five cards of the same suit
- Straight – Five consecutive cards; Ace can be low or high (A-2-3-4-5 or 10-J-K-Q-A)
- Three-of-a-Kind – Three cards of the same value
- Two Pair – Two different Pairs in the same hand
- Pair – Two cards of the same value
- High Card – Five cards that fit none of the above
- If two players have the same ranked hand, the person with the highest version of the hand wins. Examples are as follows:
- Straight Flush – 5-6-7-8-9 beats 3-4-5-6-7 (“9-high” Straight Flush beats “7-high” Straight Flush)
- Four-of-a-Kind – Q-Q-Q-Q beats 3-3-3-3
- Full House – J-J-J-5-5 beats 5-5-5-J-J (hands are ranked by the Three-of-a-Kind)
- Flush – K-J-8-7-5 beats Q-J-8-7-5 (highest cards of each Flush are compared)
- Straight – 8-9-10-J-Q beats 7-8-9-10-J (“Queen-high” Straight beats “Jack-high” Straight)
- Three-of-a-Kind – 4-4-4 beats 3-3-3
- Two Pair – K-K, 5-5 beats Q-Q, J-J (highest Pair of each hand is compared)
- Pair – 7-7 beats 6-6
- High Card – 10-9-6-4-2 beats 9-8-6-4-2 (highest card of each hand is compared)
- Keep in mind that Aces are always the highest card except when being used as the low end of an A-2-3-4-5 Straight.
Additionally, if players have matching Pairs, Two Pair, Three-of-a-Kinds, or Four-of-a-Kinds, the winner is the player with the highest non-matched card, called a “kicker.” For example, if Player A has 3-3-9-J-K and Player B has 3-3-9-J-A, Player B wins because his kicker is an Ace versus Player A’s King.
Starting Hands and Basic Strategy for Texas Holdem Online
Stick with Strong Hole Cards – If you are just learning Texas Holdem, keep it simple. Stick to premium starting hands such as A-A, K-K, Q-Q, J-J, and A-Ks (“s” means “suited,” or both cards are of the same suit). As you gain experience, you can expand your starting range. Keep in mind that the more players in the hand (i.e. players that don’t fold pre-flop), the more vulnerable even the best hands become.
Range Grows With the Pot – If several players limp into the pot pre-flop before you (that is, they bet the minimum), you can expand your starting hand range and play lower pairs, connectors (consecutive cards like 6-7, 7-8, K-Q, etc.), or suited cards. There is enough money in the pot to make a cheap pre-flop call worth it. Just know that you are looking for a specific flop and be willing to get out if you don’t hit the cards you need.
Be Aggressive – If you are going to play a hand, PLAY the hand! If you are the first to act pre-flop, raise. Don’t be the first to limp. If someone raises pre-flop and you have premium hole cards, re-raise! Remember, you don’t need to go all the way to showdown to win. You can get everyone to fold.
Don’t Be Afraid to Fold – If you are uncertain or things just aren’t looking good, get out of the hand. You can’t lose what you don’t bet.
Put Yourself in Their Shoes – Try to think about what your opponent might have, based on how she bets. Betting is information and can help you figure out if you should bail or if it’s time to build the pot.
Play Within Your Means – Never deposit more money than you can afford to lose. When you buy into a game, don’t put your entire bankroll on the table. Try to buy-in for no more than 10% of your bankroll. If that means you must play at lower stakes than you’d like, so be it. Additionally, try to buy-in for the maximum that the table allows so that you aren’t at a chip disadvantage.
This advice is just the beginning. There are even lots of “it depends” and exceptions within the above tips. You can spend decades playing Texas Holdem and still have more to learn. But the above should be a good place to start if you want to try one of our recommended sites for playing Texas Holdem online.
Texas Holdem Basic Terms
- Hole cards – The two face-down cards dealt to each player, also called “pocket cards.”
- Community cards – The face-up cards dealt by the dealer for all players to use, also called “the board.”
- Blind – A forced bet before cards are dealt to create an initial pot. The blinds rotate clockwise each hand.
- Bet – To commit chips to the pot when nobody has done so during the betting round.
- Raise – To bet more than the largest bet of the current betting round.
- Check – To opt to not bet while still staying in the hand if nobody has bet or you are in the big blind and nobody has raised pre-flop.
- Fold – To quit the hand, forfeiting your cards to the dealer.
- Flop – The first three community cards.
- Turn – The fourth community card.
- River – The fifth community card.