Texas Hold’em Poker

Texas Hold’em is a poker variant where two cards are dealt face down to each player, followed by 3 + 1 +1 community card dealt face up by the dealer. The term “hold’em” is used for various types of poker played with community cards, such as Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hold’em and Royal Hold’em.

Texas Hold’em is one of the most popular forms of poker. Although originally invented as a cash game, it is used in poker tournaments as well and the Main Event of major poker events is nearly always a No Limit Texas Hold’em tournament. World Series of Poker (WSOP), European Poker Tour (EPT) and World Poker Tour (WPT) are just a few examples of events where the Main Event is a No Limit Texas Hold’em tournament.

The growth of Texas Hold’em

The origins of Texas Hold’em are unknown. Robstown, Texas claims to be the birthplace of Texas but has not been able to prove it. According to Robstown officials, the game was invented in Robstown in the early 1900’s.

Texas Hold’em spread throughout Texas during the first half of the 20th century and eventually made its way to Las Vegas in 1967. It was a group of professional card players (including Doyle Brunson, Amarillo Slim and Crandell Addington) that brought Texas Hold’em to Las Vegas and managed to give it a foothold in the city of gambling.

According to Crandell Addington, his first encounter with the game took place in 1959. Back then, it wasn’t called Texas Hold’em – it was simply known as hold’em poker. “I thought then that if it were to catch on, it would become the game. Draw poker, you bet only twice; hold ’em, you bet four times. That meant you could play strategically. This was more of a thinking man’s game,” Addington explained in an interview.

Texas Hold’em in Las Vegas

Simply arriving to Las Vegas wasn’t enough to make Texas Hold’em popular. For several years, the game was only offered by the Golden Nugget Casino in Downtown Las Vegas. Back then, poker variants such as Seven Card Stud dominated the scene.

In 1969, Dunes Casino on the Las Vegas Strip invited professional poker players to play Texas Hold’em at the entrance of the Dune. This was a much more prominent location than the rough card room of downtown’s Golden Nugget and served to introduce Texas Hold’em to a more upscale clientele.

Tournament Texas Hold’em

In 1969, Tom Moore arranged poker tournaments at the Second Annual Gambling Fraternity Convention and some of these tournaments were Texas Hold’em tournaments. The following year, Benny and Jack Binion acquired the rights to the convention, renamed in World Series of Poker (WSOP) and moved it to Binion’s Horseshoe. This was the birth of what is now the most famous poker event in the world.

Texas Hold’em in California

The spread of Texas Hold’em into California was hampered by a law against a poker game called Stud Horse. Even though Stud Horse is not the same game as Texas Hold’em, most California card rooms took the safe route and stuck to Draw Poker. This changed in 1988, when Texas Hold’em was declared legally distinct from Stud Horse in Tibbetts v. Van De Kamp. The ruling of the court was eagerly anticipated by card room owners and managers and within short you could play Texas Hold’em in card rooms across the state.

The advent of the hole card camera

Texas Hold’em tournaments has been shown on TV since the late 1970s, but they didn’t really become popular until the early 2000s. A great deal of the recent success and growth of Texas Hold’em as a spectator sport can be attributed to the so called “hole card camera”. (The hole cards are the two face-down cards given to each player in Texas Hold’em.)

1999 marked the year when hidden lipstick cameras were first used to show player’s hole cards on the show Late Night Poker in the United Kingdom. A few months later, ESPN used similar cameras during 2003 World Series of Poker.

The hole card camera made poker much more fun to watch and poker’s popularity as a spectator sport exploded during the next few years.

Texas Hold’em in popular culture

This is just a few examples of Texas Hold’em in popular culture:

  • No Limit Texas Hold’em was the game of choice in the 1998 poker movie Rounders, starring Matt Damon and Edward Norton. The movie even included a clip of the classic 1998 WSOP Main Event showdown between Erik Seidel and Johnny Chan.
  • In Ian Flemming’s novel Casino Royale, a game of baccarat is integral to the plot. However, in the Casino Royale movie of 2006, baccarat was replaced by Texas Hold’em.
  • Shark Out of Water (2008) is a critically acclaimed short film where two poker-obsessed young men must come to terms with their addiction. Both Brad Booth and Phil Hellmuth appears in the movie.

Online Texas Hold’em Poker

Texas Hold’em Poker has become a very popular game on the internet the last couple of years. Read more about online poker at and choose a online poker site to try the game on. You’ll find several poker rooms and different twists of the game that makes it even more exciting.

We can also recommend to all Scandinavian readers that are want to try other casino games online.

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