The growing worldwide phenomenon called Texas Hold Em

Thank Texas Hold Em for this huge poker craze that has swept over the country. This unique kind of poker is in large part responsible for the rise in popularity of poker in general in the last few years. Perhaps it’s because the game is so different than your run of the mill five card draws and seven card studs. Maybe it’s because the game is new and fascinating. Or maybe it’s simply because people love to gamble!

Whatever the reason, this poker game has a grip on American culture. It’s featured in weekly television shows, special star-studded celebrity battle offs that seem to happen once a month, and now even in one-hour dramas. Casinos from Atlantic City to Sin City offer special rooms just for it, where hundreds of players compete on dozens of tables until all they have left are the cigarettes in their hard pack (and sometimes not even them).

The basis of Texas Hold Em is the same as any poker game. You want to get the best hand at your table, and if you don’t have this hand, then you want to bluff to make other people think you do. In Texas, unlike standard draw pokers, each player gets two cards of their own. Five other cards are dealt in the middle of the table. Any player can “use” those cards, as well as his two private cards, to create the best hand.

Typically, the game is played with eight or nine players, though fewer is possible. However, you want to play with as many as possible. This means more money in the pot, and less competition as the worse players drop out before the real hands begin.

The game begins with the dealer giving each play their two cards face down. Bets are placed. People drop out. Then three community cards are flipped face up in the middle of the table, called the flop. More bets are placed, followed by another community card being flipped and more bets. Finally, the most exciting moment in Texas Hold Em occurs. The final community card is turned up.

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