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Getting to Know the Game

An introduction to the wonderful world of poker - all the variants, betting conventions and the difference between tournament play and cash

Before we get on with the Poker Basics course, which will guide you through everything you need to know as a new player, there are a few fundamentals about the game that will aid your general understanding. 
In particular you should have an idea of the numerous variants of the game, including the differences between no limit and fixed limit, and between "cash" and "tournament" poker. 
All of what you learn in these early stages will be explained in greater depth throughout the many courses. You can progress at your own pace and should get in the habit of going back to re-read articles to refresh your memory.


There are many different variants of the game of poker, some of which seem similar but have specific quirks and different strategy. In old-school gangster movies, for example, they might be playing games known as five-card draw or seven-card stud, while some of today's whizz kids could be playing Omaha hi-lo, with any number of their own personal rules tagged on.

But let's forget about all of those for a moment. By far the most common poker variant is no limit Texas Hold'em - sometimes abbreviated to NLHE. Specifically, this is the game where each player receives two personal "hole" cards and can bet all of their chips at any time. 
All of the rules and mechanics of the game will be explained as this course progresses, but bear in mind that when we are talking about "poker", we are almost always talking about no limit Texas Hold'em, unless otherwise stated. It is the easiest variant to learn and is justifiably the most popular.
Most televised tournaments are NLHE competitions, including main events on the European Poker Tour (EPT), Latin America Poker Tour (LAPT), Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) and all other regional PokerStars tours. The main event of the World Series of Poker, held in Las Vegas every year, is also a no limit Texas Hold'em tournament.
If you see two concealed "hole" cards in front of a player, he or she is playing Texas Hold'em. You will find hundreds of Texas Hold'em tables on offer when you first look round the PokerStars lobby.

No Limit or Fixed Limit

As stated above, the beginner's courses at PokerSchoolOnline focus almost exclusively on no limit Texas Hold'em. It is therefore important to understand what "no limit" means in a poker context.

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Texas Hold'em Rules

Your poker career should begin by making sure you understand the rules. Here are the key concepts you need to k ...

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