Why you better off play Texas Holdem rather than video poker? Because the chance of you winning on video poker is very low. (We are talking about long-term winning. You can certainly have a few big winning days. However if you keep your book carefully, most likely you are in the red.) The reason is obvious: the house controls the machines and their purpose is making a profit! Perhaps I was not a good video poker player – I have hit around 15 Royal flushes and ended up losing tens of thousands of dollars. All I got was excitement – pretty expensive excitement! That was 10 years ago. Now I am older and I am smarter (or more precisely, more careful and more of a coward if you insist 🙂 At least I have not been hitting the ATM and credit card machines with shaking hands and weak knees…
If you know how to play video poker, you already know how to play (well, the basic rules anyway) Texas holdem – the ultimate poker game. The obvious advantage is that you do not play against the house. In a live poker game, you do not play to hit a jackpot – you play just to beat your opponents! You can take a quick review of the Texas Holdem rules here, if you are not sure what it is about.
If you are new to Texas Holdem, it might be a little intimidating. However, just like any other games, you do better when you know more about the game. Unfortunately, a lot of players just dive in the game thinking the game is so simple and easy. Some of them gradually learn the game at a cost (tuition, you might call it), while some others never learn. That will be your advantage – because you need losers to make you a winner, obviously.
There is no dispute that bluffing is a big part of Texas Holdem, which can only be learned by experience. It is also very circumstantial, depending on the game, the timing, and the player, etc. However, knowing which hand is better and the odds of winning, can certainly help you face intimidating opponents.
I once told a beginner, who never played the game before, to play only hands with both cards 10 or better or only pocket pairs no smaller than 7’s. Some hands obvious, while others are not so obvious. For example, you might think that a suited connector hand (e.g., J 10 ) looks “pretty,” but what’s the chance of you hitting a straight flush, or even a straight, or a flush? You might think A K (often known as the big slick) is a very good hand, but do you know the chance of winning with the hand?
In a previous article, I summarized the winning percentages of each possible Texas Holdem hand. This will give you a start on knowing how good your hand is, which you can use to decide how aggressively you can play your hand.
Finally, I want to point out that another advantage of the game over video poker is that there are a lot of holdem tournaments anywhere (especially online) anytime. Tournament means that each player starts with the same (which can be as small as $1 or smaller) entry fee and at the end winner(s) take all. The risk-to-return ratio is low. So stop agonizing yourself by sliding those $20-bills or even $100-bill into those blood-sucking machines! You can control your own luck!
You can get in a “sit-and-go” tournament just about anytime at
PokerStars (which is the largest internet poker site) and double your money in 30 minutes. There you can also start with “play money” just to get a feel of the game.
Remember that you play to win. Don’t let excitement blind you.
According to sharkscope, top 10 winning players from all internet poker sites have profit from $62K to over $200K. 7 out of the top 10 players are from
PokerStars. PokerStars also send thousands of player to attend the annual Wolrd Series of Poker each year.