Texas Hold'em Newbie: The River Cometh

Texas hold'em is one of the fun variations of poker. There are five phases in this card game - the pre-flop, the flop, the turn, the river, and the showdown. The river, also known as the fifth street, is when the fifth and last card is shown on the table and the last bet is made. Your move on the river depends on how good a five-card hand you got - with the two you're holding and the five that's on the table - and make that call at showdown.

When one's pressured at this position, it should be remembered that in this style of poker, all suits have equal value. It's the hand combination one can make at this exciting point of the game that can make or lose money. One can't just lay two cards on the table and let the dealer or anyone else call out the combination the cards made, one needs to call it out or the other players will be pissed.

Gauging one's chances at pre-flop is tricky, especially if there are ten players on hand. 20 cards of the 52-card deck have been spread out. The best hand at this point is double aces, or other double combinations. Also, high cards are a great start, even if they are single aces, kings or queens. Don't discount the potential of two consecutive cards too, these are possible straights.

Post-flop is the time to visualize the best hand that can be created. Sequentially, the community cards build up: the first three at the flop, one at the turn, and the last on the river. Keep in mind, when on the river, there'll be seven to make up that optimal hand... that's two more than what's required. Or in some cases the highest extra card can make or break the chances of winning because if more than one card player has the same hand rank, the one with highest unused card is the winner of the pot.

Newbies or beginners seem to be always lucky, at any game, it seems. But it ends there. In some way, how Texas hold'em is played gives leeway for winning possibility since each player only gets two cards and five are on the table face-up. And how beginner's luck comes into play is that it's the reason why most players get started and eventually want to learn more about it and go on playing.

The tip for the newbie in Texas hold'em poker: On the river, the hand rank should be known and it has to be called out at showdown - and be quick about it. There's no time for thinking at this juncture, it's assumed that one has a good hand if one were to last and reach this point. Mentally build up that hand after the flop and don't wait till the last card is turned. Don't be intimated, practice makes perfect. Learn the combos and see the potential hand from pre-flop and don't depend on beginner's luck alone because later on, luck favors the prepared.

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