Critical Play: Texas Hold’Em

Texas Hold’em is a game that borders a combination of math, psychology and luck. The main mechanics of the game are the playing cards and chips. Each player gets two cards every hand, but must use hands from the middle to form the best 5 carded hand they can make. The mechanics of turn involve each player deciding whether they want to fold, call or raise with chips. This creates an extremely fun dynamic of bluffing and value betting. A psychological dynamic is also created by this chip mechanic, since players can look for reads of their opponents in hopes of getting information. This game promises a combination of fellowship and challenge. The act of figuring out what your opponent has or predicting if you can beat them makes this game a challenge game. At the same time poker can be just as much of a social and psychological game. 

Texas Hold’em differentiates itself from other poker games because of its unique combination of the aspects I mentioned above. Pot limit omaha is another game under the poker genre. However, top players always use the same mathy strategy since the game relies on effective calculations of expected value. There is less room to be creative in betting size and therefore touches less on the fellowship type of fun that is central to Texas Hold’em. 

In my opinion, there is a steep learning curve for beginners in poker. The rules are complicated, especially the ones regarding hand rankings. This makes the game less fun for beginners since they enter a hand and place bets under the wrong intuitions. Furthermore, new players can’t ask for help during a hand because that would reveal information about their hand to other players. Thus, beginners learn from a long series of trial and error which can be a very annoying process. One way to ease this pain is to allow beginners to possibly use an app that gives them slight tips for strategy and betting during each turn. Players would receive their two cards and input them into the app which would guide them through a generally solid but basic poker strategy. In fact, ideas such as hand strength meters and strategy tips are sometimes implemented in online games. 


This was an interesting hand because I called my opponent’s large bet with a very weak hand. I only called because I had an intuition that he might be bluffing. 

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