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Old 05-19-2020, 10:41 AM
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When/why did Texas Hold'em become synonymous with poker?


Back when I was a kid we would play 5 card draw for pebbles and then eventually graduated to 7-card stud, and then all sorts of other variations, baseball, criss-cross, lowball etc. But it wasn't I was in my mid 20's in the 90's that I learned about Hold'm. Now hold'em is all there is. If you are looking for a poker computer game, you have to struggle to find anything but hold'em with an occasional instance of Omaha (Hold'em second cousin). Now if you say you play poker people assume you mean Hold'em and may even be surprised to learn that there are other versions.

When did this happen? Was it always around but I just never heard of it, or was there at some point a Hold'em revolution. If the latter what was it that started it. Also as an aside can anyone recommend a good play vs computer poker game that out there that has variants other than Hold'em and Omaha?

Last edited by Buck Godot; 05-19-2020 at 10:42 AM.
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Old 05-19-2020, 10:53 AM
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Probably because that's what they were playing on Celebrity Poker Showdown, United States Poker Championship, World Series of Poker and I assume plenty of others.
I'm willing to bet the vast majority of non-poker players and probably most of the people that randomly play poker with their friends once every few years had never heard of Texas Hold'em until those shows, specifically the ones with celebrities, got really popular in the early 2000's.

Last edited by Joey P; 05-19-2020 at 10:54 AM.
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Old 05-19-2020, 11:02 AM
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I think the primary blame falls on Rounders and The World Series of Poker. Texas Hold ‘Em and other community card games have more appeal to viewers because there is competition over the community cards versus various forms of stud or draw where each player has their own pool of hole and/or face up cards, the rules are fairly straightforward, and the betting strategy in such a game is particularly prone to reversals of fortune. I made some friends watch The Cincinnati Kid after hearing them rave about Rounders, and while the former is arguably a better movie (nothing wrong with Rounders but Matt Damon is not Steve McQueen and John Malkovich should stick to comedies when attempting an accent) I have to admit that the poker scenes in the latter are much more engaging by the nature of the game.

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Old 05-19-2020, 03:16 PM
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I also blame late 1990s TV coverage of the World Series of Poker and other TV tournaments.

Much like the OP, I learned 5 card draw as a kid, and slowly picked up other variations at neighborhood or friends games. Poker night was always "dealer's choice", which meant a combination of serious and goofy games like Spit In the Ocean, Follow the Queen, Pass the Trash, 7 card stud. Sometimes we'd even grab a deck of Uno cards - add up your points at the end, round up to the next nickel, and pay the winner. That was the standard for neighborhood games from the 70s to the mid-90s.

I first learned Hold 'em in the late 90s at poker night with work buddies, when one guy called for "this game I saw on TV". He couldn't even remember the name. We just called it the "TV game" and we worked it into the rotation.

Jump ahead to 2001 or so and a new job. Every single poker discussion is flop this, river that. Poker night meant Hold 'em tournament. At the time all I could think was responsible was the ubiquitous TV coverage of Hold 'em.

I remember my old feature phone from around 2003 or so had a built in 5-card draw game. That may be the last non-Hold 'em computerized poker game I played.

Last edited by ChockFullOfHeadyGoodness; 05-19-2020 at 03:17 PM.
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Old 05-19-2020, 03:24 PM
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Back when I was a kid we would play 5 card draw for pebbles and then eventually graduated to 7-card stud, and then all sorts of other variations, baseball, criss-cross, lowball etc. But it wasn't I was in my mid 20's in the 90's that I learned about Hold'm. Now hold'em is all there is. If you are looking for a poker computer game, you have to struggle to find anything but hold'em with an occasional instance of Omaha (Hold'em second cousin). Now if you say you play poker people assume you mean Hold'em and may even be surprised to learn that there are other versions.

When did this happen? Was it always around but I just never heard of it, or was there at some point a Hold'em revolution. If the latter what was it that started it. Also as an aside can anyone recommend a good play vs computer poker game that out there that has variants other than Hold'em and Omaha?
World Class Poker with TJ Cloutier is a fun little diversion, that has 7 Stud and 5 Draw games in it. In addition to the usual Hold 'Em and Omaha. Not super difficult to beat, but better than most that I played. The AI players will do bizarre stuff, but they do in every computer game.
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Old 05-19-2020, 03:30 PM
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As others have said, the major reason was poker on TV.

Another reason was that TV programs showed the hole cards.
This meant newbies could see follow the hand easily and in particular spot if a player was bluffing.

Texas Hold'em has several advantages over 5 card draw:

- you can have more players round a table (as cards are shared)
- there's more information about possible hands
- having the two blinds puts money into every pot, encouraging more exciting play
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Old 05-19-2020, 05:36 PM
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Another reason was that TV programs showed the hole cards.
This meant newbies could see follow the hand easily and in particular spot if a player was bluffing.
Where's the fun in that? Isn't the whole point, for viewers, to increase dramatic tension by not knowing if they're bluffing or not?
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Old 05-19-2020, 05:55 PM
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2003 was when ESPN really started covering the WSOP like other sports which is when it really took off.:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_...of_Poker#2000s

Celebrity Poker showdown also started in 2003. And then you had Casino Royale (which changed Baccarat to Texas Hold 'Em) in 2006.
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Old 05-19-2020, 05:58 PM
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Where's the fun in that? Isn't the whole point, for viewers, to increase dramatic tension by not knowing if they're bluffing or not?
No. A couple of years ago they had the WSOP Final Table and the hole cards were not shown to the viewers. Damn was it boring.
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Old 05-19-2020, 06:41 PM
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Where's the fun in that? Isn't the whole point, for viewers, to increase dramatic tension by not knowing if they're bluffing or not?
I think it was Hitchcock who said "Surprise is when the bomb blows up unexpectedly - suspense is when the audience know the bomb will go off in 5 minutes, and the characters don't" - the same applies here, probably (the fun is not guessing whether player X is bluffing; it's guessing whether player A will realize X is bluffing).
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Old 05-19-2020, 07:13 PM
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When/why did Texas Hold'em become synonymous with poker?


Around about the time that strippers became pole dancers. Part of the homogenization of society, sadly.
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Old 05-19-2020, 08:58 PM
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While it's easy to say that televised poker and Rounders are what did this, I'm sorry, guys, but that's not fully correct.

Those two things - along with the key third factor, Internet poker - popularized poker in general. They made it way, way more widespread, but they obviously aren't the reason hold 'em became the dominant kind of poker. It already was winning the poker wars. Texas Hold 'Em was the king of poker varieties - that's why movies and televised poker were about Texas Hold 'Em. There's a reason Matt Damon and Edward Norton aren't playing Razz. It's not like everyone was playing seven card stud until they put poker on TV and they all switched. TV and movie poker might have made hold 'em even more dominant, but it was already the majority of games spread in casinos; it surpassed seven card stud before Rounders. It has since blown seven card totally out of most venues, but it was winning before that.

Texas Hold 'Em, in fact, was the game played to win the World Series of Poker Main Event literally since there was a Main Event, starting in 1971. Since this variety was pretty obscure until the 1960s that was a fascinating choice, but by the 1980s it was the most popular type in professional and casino settings. Brunson's "Super System," which came out in 1978, was largely about hold 'em. Also released for the first time in 1978 was Sklansky's "The Theory of Poker," although I think it had a different title then but it, too, was heavily about hold 'em. Those guys didn't start out with books about five card draw.

Okay, so why did Hold 'Em suddenly take over the poker world in the 1970s and 1980s? I think it's really kind of simple; it's the best poker variety. Consider the two halves of Mike Sexton's line about hold 'em:

1. "Thirty minutes to learn..." Texas Hold 'Em is very, very easy to learn. Even as varieties of poker go it's pretty simple in terms of the rules and is incredibly well designed.

I taught a bunch of people at work last year how to play. All of them had the game basically figured out very quickly. I taught my wife to play. I taught my kids to play. Everyone has it down in no time. What I tell anyone I teach, if they get concerned it might be too hard to learn, is "just watch; every rule makes perfect sense. Every rule totally helps the next rule. Once you see a rule happen you will instantly understand why it's a rule." It's true.

2. "...A lifetime to master." Despite its simplicity and logic, the strategy just keeps unfolding. You never get good enough. This very simple game can cause people to debate strategy for hours. My wife and I have played poker for an afternoon and then had just as much fun talking about critical hands while driving home.

Because the game largely uses community cards but has four rounds of betting, it has a tremendous ratio of decisions to rules. You can learn the game really quickly and just get on to learning the strategy, and that's the fun part. You can be put to an interesting test several times in every hand. It's just a fabulous game. I like other poker types too, don't get me wrong; Omaha, draw, razz, they're all great, but Hold 'Em is the best.
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Old 05-19-2020, 09:32 PM
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I’ve come to believe that Hold Em gives bad players the illusion that they can beat good players consistently. You ask 10 amateurs that play a regular game every Friday night to rate themselves from 1 to 10, and at least 8 will give themselves a 7 or higher. I admit that I suck at the game due to not having patience, but I walked away with large pots on a couple of poker nights last year. I remember the lure of the confirmation bias convincing me that I was actually a good player. My friend later reminded me of my very poor decisions that turned into lucky wins. So maybe the game isn’t as immediately meritocratic as other pokers games, and thus draws in more players.
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Old 05-19-2020, 10:13 PM
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While it's easy to say that televised poker and Rounders are what did this, I'm sorry, guys, but that's not fully correct.
You’ve given reasons why Texas Hold ‘Em is the best game of poker (which, IMHO, are largely true, especially for people watching the game) but not why it suddenly became synonymous with poker in the minds of the general public in the late 90s and early 2000s, which has to do with how it was popularized to the non-playing public.

Hold ‘Em games in general have a lot of ‘cinematic appeal’ because of how quickly reversals can occur and because of the ramping blind betting structure in tournament play they aren’t the kind of grind that stud can be, but it took the promotion of the game to generate the awareness of guys playing weekend garage games. Relatively few non-professional poker players have ever read Doyle Brunson’s books cover to cover, but I can pretty much guarantee that 95% of even casual poker enthusiasts have watched Rounders multiple time; which is not surprising because Rounders is basically a perfect execution of narrative structure for the classic “Hero’s Journey” in film.

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Old 05-19-2020, 10:55 PM
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Okay, so why did Hold 'Em suddenly take over the poker world in the 1970s and 1980s? I think it's really kind of simple; it's the best poker variety. Consider the two halves of Mike Sexton's line about hold 'em:

1. "Thirty minutes to learn..." Texas Hold 'Em is very, very easy to learn. Even as varieties of poker go it's pretty simple in terms of the rules and is incredibly well designed.

I taught a bunch of people at work last year how to play. All of them had the game basically figured out very quickly. I taught my wife to play. I taught my kids to play. Everyone has it down in no time. What I tell anyone I teach, if they get concerned it might be too hard to learn, is "just watch; every rule makes perfect sense. Every rule totally helps the next rule. Once you see a rule happen you will instantly understand why it's a rule." It's true.

2. "...A lifetime to master." Despite its simplicity and logic, the strategy just keeps unfolding. You never get good enough. This very simple game can cause people to debate strategy for hours. My wife and I have played poker for an afternoon and then had just as much fun talking about critical hands while driving home.

Because the game largely uses community cards but has four rounds of betting, it has a tremendous ratio of decisions to rules. You can learn the game really quickly and just get on to learning the strategy, and that's the fun part. You can be put to an interesting test several times in every hand. It's just a fabulous game. I like other poker types too, don't get me wrong; Omaha, draw, razz, they're all great, but Hold 'Em is the best.
I had learned 5-card draw from a Hoyle book when I was a kid. Against my friends, I was pretty good at it (at least I knew the hands). Later, when my little brother had gown enough to hold cards, my dad decided on one boring afternoon that he would play poker with us for toothpicks. He taught us Texas hold-em. I'm not certain where he had picked that particular game up, possibly working grain elevators or being in the military. This was probably the late 70's or early 80's. He owned us, of course. But, I do think even my little brother understood the rules before he ran out of toothpicks.
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Old 05-19-2020, 11:33 PM
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You’ve given reasons why Texas Hold ‘Em is the best game of poker (which, IMHO, are largely true, especially for people watching the game) but not why it suddenly became synonymous with poker in the minds of the general public in the late 90s and early 2000s, which has to do with how it was popularized to the non-playing public.
Yeah, I know, and I said that in my post; TV poker and Rounders were reasons why poker in general became more popular. But the question asked by the OP isn't why poker became more popular back then, it's why Hold 'Em specifically took over from other forms of poker. That process started before Rounders and TV poker. The dominance of hold 'em was something that happened before the poker boom.

Now, let's play hypotheticals; what if Texas Hold 'Em in the late 1990s wasn't popular? It already was, before Rounders and whatever network it was first starting showing poker games started doing that. They wouldn't have had hold 'em in Rounders; hell, I'm not sure the movie gets made. It's hold 'em that made that movie as cinematic as it was (thought I don't think it really was all that good a movie) and that made poker work on TV. Hold 'em made those things, not the other way around.

I do think internet poker, which of course led to the Chris Moneymaker thing, might really have been the biggest factor. Rounders is overstated - it didn't do well on release and became popular after the fact.
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Old 05-20-2020, 12:43 AM
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Yeah, I know, and I said that in my post; TV poker and Rounders were reasons why poker in general became more popular. But the question asked by the OP isn't why poker became more popular back then, it's why Hold 'Em specifically took over from other forms of poker. That process started before Rounders and TV poker. The dominance of hold 'em was something that happened before the poker boom.

Now, let's play hypotheticals; what if Texas Hold 'Em in the late 1990s wasn't popular? It already was, before Rounders and whatever network it was first starting showing poker games started doing that. They wouldn't have had hold 'em in Rounders; hell, I'm not sure the movie gets made. It's hold 'em that made that movie as cinematic as it was (thought I don't think it really was all that good a movie) and that made poker work on TV. Hold 'em made those things, not the other way around.

I do think internet poker, which of course led to the Chris Moneymaker thing, might really have been the biggest factor. Rounders is overstated - it didn't do well on release and became popular after the fact.
I don’t know about Vegas but in Atlantic City there were at least 10 7 card stud tables to every Hold ‘em table. I never once played it, I only ever played stud. The change came after the TV coverage when every frat boy thought he was a poker genius by being obnoxious and going all in every other hand.

Last edited by Loach; 05-20-2020 at 11:12 AM.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:39 AM
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In the early days of Hold ‘em it was played No Limit; it was an ugly game, designed to (very quickly) take large sums money from rich Texans in backroom games where cheating was often rampant.

Las Vegas card rooms ran a wide variety of games. Hold ‘em started becoming popular in Vegas in the mid 1970s but it was played Limit; when the old school Texas sharpies came to town the game of No Limit Texas Hold ‘em completely died. It was only played during the World Series tournaments.

In California, Draw was the only game until 1987 when Stud and Hold ‘em were legalized. That was when Hold ‘em really exploded. Sklansky and Malmuth taught people to play well, but the game was still “fair” – a game where the poor players could occasionally get lucky and have a winning night but the pros had a long term advantage.

In Las Vegas Stud retained some popularity because it is still a pretty fair game, well balanced skill factor. Draw was too slow and didn’t really have enough of a skill factor to make the pros shine. Razz also had a pretty low skill factor, complicated by a poor reputation for cheating.

Then came TV and the huge drama of the World Series of Poker. Everybody wanted to play the game they saw on television. No Limit was reborn.

It’s still a horrible game – boring as hell except for the instant where somebody loses all his money in one shot. Skill factor is all messed up. Is it very easy to become skilled enough to become a winning player but most players never do actually bother to learn. The skill factor is huge once small winners learn to become bigger winners. It’s not a well balanced game at all, but it’s the one people see on TV.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:50 AM
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I also blame late 1990s TV coverage of the World Series of Poker and other TV tournaments.
I also agree, but mainly from ESPN's early WSOP coverage. I think it really took off when Chris Moneymaker won - the number of entries the following year tripled, and from that point on, Hold'em (and usually No Limit Hold'em at that) was pretty much the only game in town.

I remember when ABC would air it on Wide World of Sports - especially back when it was winner take all. Keep in mind that the entry fee has always been $10,000 - and (a) $10,000 in the early 1970s is much different than $10,000 in the early 2000s, and (b) they didn't have cheaper "satellite qualifiers" in the early days.
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:00 AM
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I would agree that TV probably is responsible for pushing No Limit ahead of Limit. It's hard to find limit tables. I am very lucky, when there isn't a plague, to live near a casino where all kind of limit games are spread every day, from 4/8 to 20/40 and even 50/100 on weekends. It's the only place I know of that does that.

I disagree that no limit's a horrible game. It's a terrific game. I love limit, of course. Maybe even more so, but no limit is a fabulous game. I enjoy going back and forth; they require entirely different disciplines, and tournament play adds even more nuances.

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Is it very easy to become skilled enough to become a winning player but most players never do actually bother to learn.
I'm not certain that's a fair criticism. Maybe it's a Canadian thing, but around here the great majority of players have some level of skill; there are few outright fish, unless someone is genuinely new to the game (and there really aren't many of those.) There aren't any Phil Iveys playing at Casino Niagara's Tuesday tournaments, but almost all players I see have clearly learned the fundamentals and play solid, if unspectacular, poker.

Of course, we can still play online, enabling people to play huge numbers of hands of practice at affordable levels.
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:29 AM
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I also agree, but mainly from ESPN's early WSOP coverage. I think it really took off when Chris Moneymaker won - the number of entries the following year tripled, and from that point on, Hold'em (and usually No Limit Hold'em at that) was pretty much the only game in town.

I remember when ABC would air it on Wide World of Sports - especially back when it was winner take all. Keep in mind that the entry fee has always been $10,000 - and (a) $10,000 in the early 1970s is much different than $10,000 in the early 2000s, and (b) they didn't have cheaper "satellite qualifiers" in the early days.
I was watching the change in real time in AC casinos and the change came before Moneymaker. Hold ‘em is just better to see on TV than any other game and when they figured out the camera technology the game took off in the casinos. There were many years when I would not play anything but 7 card stud. Then it became hard to find a table because the 1 or 2 Hold ‘em tables suddenly began 98% of the tables. It was already hard to find a stud table before Moneymaker won.

In many ways TV killed the enjoyment of the game for me. Especially early on there were several prominent players who were obnoxious as a strategy. So many players adopted that. Along with that many did not seem to know that TV was edited to only show the exciting hands so they thought that “all in” was a winning strategy every other hand. I really hated playing with those assholes. Usually young and only knew poker from tv.
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:50 AM
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Where's the fun in that? Isn't the whole point, for viewers, to increase dramatic tension by not knowing if they're bluffing or not?
No, because if a player is bluffing, he might just fold his hand and you never learn what he had.

Plus if a player is basically behind, but has a slim chance on the last card, the viewers can see that and get excited.

Finally it makes the commentators' life far easier. They can give percentages of winning, state that this player has made several bluffs in the last 10 minutes, say what the best move is and select the most exciting hands for viewing.
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Old 05-20-2020, 12:25 PM
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Another vote for Rounders and World Series of Poker. Though, I think the popularity of the latter was influenced primarily by the former. The movie caused a huge spike in popularity, and the televised events made it synonymous with Poker.
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Old 05-20-2020, 12:36 PM
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I think it was Hitchcock who said "Surprise is when the bomb blows up unexpectedly - suspense is when the audience know the bomb will go off in 5 minutes, and the characters don't" - the same applies here, probably (the fun is not guessing whether player X is bluffing; it's guessing whether player A will realize X is bluffing).
I think it was Celebrity Poker Showdown (which I really wish would come back) would do a round each episode where they didn't show cards and the commentators would talk through what they think the players have based on their hands. It was interesting to watch, but an entire show like that would be no fun.
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Old 05-20-2020, 12:41 PM
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I think people are overestimating Rounders. It didn't do that well on release (80th overall for that year). Poker becoming more popular made Rounders more popular, not the other way around.
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Old 05-20-2020, 03:54 PM
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Okay, so why did Hold 'Em suddenly take over the poker world in the 1970s and 1980s? I think it's really kind of simple; it's the best poker variety. Consider the two halves of Mike Sexton's line about hold 'em:

1. "Thirty minutes to learn..." Texas Hold 'Em is very, very easy to learn. Even as varieties of poker go it's pretty simple in terms of the rules and is incredibly well designed.

I taught a bunch of people at work last year how to play. All of them had the game basically figured out very quickly. I taught my wife to play. I taught my kids to play. Everyone has it down in no time. What I tell anyone I teach, if they get concerned it might be too hard to learn, is "just watch; every rule makes perfect sense. Every rule totally helps the next rule. Once you see a rule happen you will instantly understand why it's a rule." It's true.

2. "...A lifetime to master." Despite its simplicity and logic, the strategy just keeps unfolding. You never get good enough. This very simple game can cause people to debate strategy for hours. My wife and I have played poker for an afternoon and then had just as much fun talking about critical hands while driving home.

Because the game largely uses community cards but has four rounds of betting, it has a tremendous ratio of decisions to rules. You can learn the game really quickly and just get on to learning the strategy, and that's the fun part. You can be put to an interesting test several times in every hand. It's just a fabulous game. I like other poker types too, don't get me wrong; Omaha, draw, razz, they're all great, but Hold 'Em is the best.
This. I'm not really a poker guy at all, so I don't know the timeline of Texas Hold 'Em basically taking over the poker world, but this is the why.

I didn't know about Texas Hold 'Em at all until a co-worker's husband started hosting these poker parties at his house maybe 15 years ago. And yeah, easy to learn, and a far, far more interesting game than the 5- and 7-card stud and 5-card draw that I was exposed to, growing up in the 1960s and early 1970s. I read Loach's lament about the disappearance of 7-card stud tables, but I can't imagine why one would play stud poker rather than Texas Hold 'Em.

I stink as a poker player, but losing is at least reasonably entertaining while playing Texas Hold 'Em.
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Old 05-20-2020, 04:23 PM
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...I read Loach's lament about the disappearance of 7-card stud tables, but I can't imagine why one would play stud poker rather than Texas Hold 'Em...
There's a lot of quick observations, memorization, and really quick math required to play 7 Stud well. A lot of the cards necessary to make your hand, or what you think your opponent has, may already have been played. If you're not paying really good attention, you might miss that. Then you have all of the other observations of other players you should be doing, like in Hold 'Em.

Also, though this may just be the games I've played in, it can be a really aggressive form of poker. With a lot of trying to knock people out with reraises on 3rd and 4th street. OTOH, it kind of plays itself from 6th street on, and usually 5th street, in a way that NLHE definitely doesn't. The pot is often big enough that putting an additional bet in to continue eligibility for the pot is the right play, even if you're pretty sure you're going to lose. But that's true for a lot of Limit games.
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Old 05-20-2020, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Stranger On A Train View Post
I think the primary blame falls on Rounders and The World Series of Poker.
This is pretty much spot on. I did not grow up knowing about Texas Hold'em, but began watching poker when Rounders was big(saw it in the theater) and Scotty Nguyen won the World Series(1998). His huge win moment was big for the game.



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Originally Posted by Gray Ghost View Post
You just got me looking up TJ Cloutier. Wow, dude is still alive. He was always smoking like crazy when he was on TV playing poker(poker was one of the last things on TV where people were smoking while doing it).

And Doyle Brunson is alive as well. Incredible!
  #29  
Old 05-20-2020, 06:58 PM
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I think people are overestimating Rounders. It didn't do that well on release (80th overall for that year). Poker becoming more popular made Rounders more popular, not the other way around.
This.

Rounders was a huge commercial failure. It vanished from the cinema in a month, an immense disappointment.

It become popular on video because of the popularity of poker.
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  #30  
Old 05-21-2020, 09:40 AM
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As others have said, the major reason was poker on TV.

Another reason was that TV programs showed the hole cards.
This meant newbies could see follow the hand easily and in particular spot if a player was bluffing.

Texas Hold'em has several advantages over 5 card draw:

- you can have more players round a table (as cards are shared)
- there's more information about possible hands
- having the two blinds puts money into every pot, encouraging more exciting play
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Originally Posted by Alessan View Post
Where's the fun in that? Isn't the whole point, for viewers, to increase dramatic tension by not knowing if they're bluffing or not?
Showing viewers the hole cards makes the players’ strategy more visible - without seeing the hole cards, spectators would never see a great read, or a heroic laydown.

There’s also a bit of schadenfreude, too, when the viewers can see a player has what he wrongly thinks is the nuts, and is setting himself up for a bad beat. YouTube has a clip of a tournament from London, where the two players in the hand had pocket 9s and pocket queens. Both flopped a set, the turn was a queen, and the river was a 9. Watching the poor guy with quad nines figure out how to bet them, not realizing he was about get slaughtered, had an undeniable trainwreck fascination. (Another player at the table has a wonderful reaction when both sets of quads are turned up; he’s utterly stunned, like he’s just taken a 2x4 to the back of the head.) This is especially so if the player taking the beat is a notable “heel”, like Phil Hellmuth or Tony G; a YouTube clip of Daniel Negreanu tilting Hellmuth on three straight hands has over 3.8 million views.
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  #31  
Old 05-21-2020, 09:59 AM
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Showing viewers the hole cards makes the players’ strategy more visible - without seeing the hole cards, spectators would never see a great read, or a heroic laydown.
I forgot about this. I am struggling to remember when they began showing the hole card. I definitely saw it when Scotty Nguyen won the WSP, but a few years before that, I don't think so.

Here is footage from 1989 that shows them as well.
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Old 05-21-2020, 06:04 PM
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The old cliche (somewhat) applies, No Limit Hold'm takes a minute to learn, and a lifetime to master.

Don't under estimate how quick hold'm is to deal vs Omaha and Stud. More hands per hour means the casino gets more rake, A difference of 4 hands per hour could be an additional $20 of rake.
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Old 05-22-2020, 08:57 PM
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Just saw this tweet come across my timeline

https://twitter.com/AndySlater/statu...35447613468674
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Old 05-22-2020, 09:08 PM
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Hold'm basically ruined the friendly game. It's the worst game for a poker night. People forgot, or never learned, all the split games that spread out the wins/loses and kept everyone in it.
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Old 05-28-2020, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by notfrommensa View Post
Just saw this tweet come across my timeline

https://twitter.com/AndySlater/statu...35447613468674
Best comment ever: "Looks like a lot of players are holding aces over eights."

For those of you who don't get it, two pair, aces and eights, are the Dead Man's Hand.
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Old 05-28-2020, 10:53 AM
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Best comment ever: "Looks like a lot of players are holding aces over eights."

For those of you who don't get it, two pair, aces and eights, are the Dead Man's Hand.
Like live poker players have the healthiest of lifestyles anyway... Nothing like playing cards next to someone eating at the table. Yuck.

For the vast majority of those players, COVID'll be a non-issue. Brunson and Cloutier, being both obese and older than Methuselah, might want to stay away for the time being though.

Sitchensis, Hold'em in and of itself isn't a bad game. The more skill based variants, which HE and Stud are, are going to be tougher for newcomers than variants with a lot of wild cards and much more luck required, but that by itself shouldn't kill a game. The No-Limit part of it, for people who don't realize that a player needs 20-25 buy-ins or more in their bankroll to weather variance, and should reasonably expect to lose 3 or 4 buy ins in a session: that though can kill games. As Turble has pointed out.

Last edited by Gray Ghost; 05-28-2020 at 10:54 AM.
  #37  
Old 05-28-2020, 11:37 AM
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Casinos are filthy. They are filthy at the best of times. As much as I love poker, casinos are the second to last thing that should be opened up during this pandemic, the last being nursing homes.

If gamblers wanna risk their own lives that's up to them, but the thing is they don't stay in the casino. They then leave and transmit the germs elsewhere. A casino is Virus Grand Central Station.
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  #38  
Old 05-31-2020, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Gray Ghost View Post
Sitchensis, Hold'em in and of itself isn't a bad game. The more skill based variants, which HE and Stud are, are going to be tougher for newcomers than variants with a lot of wild cards and much more luck required, but that by itself shouldn't kill a game. The No-Limit part of it, for people who don't realize that a player needs 20-25 buy-ins or more in their bankroll to weather variance, and should reasonably expect to lose 3 or 4 buy ins in a session: that though can kill games. As Turble has pointed out.
I don't think it was the game per se, and I agree that having lot's of buy-ins could fix the issue. It was the attitude. If you play an aggressive no-limit game in a friendly poker night. You're not really playing the odds, you're really playing that persons desire to spend time with their friends.
We used to play a lot of Pineapple, which is a hold'em variant. The added discard improved the quality of the hands just enough that it could stand on it's own and wasn't just a fold and bluff fest.
High Chicago was a split game that payed half to the highest spade in the hole. You never really knew why someone was in the action and the split pot moved money around.
Any of the high/low splits put just about everyone in the action depending on the hand.
Maybe instead of a 100$ buy-in you play 10, 10$ buy-ins and it works. I don't know.
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Old 05-31-2020, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by sitchensis View Post
I don't think it was the game per se, and I agree that having lot's of buy-ins could fix the issue. It was the attitude. If you play an aggressive no-limit game in a friendly poker night. You're not really playing the odds, you're really playing that persons desire to spend time with their friends.
We used to play a lot of Pineapple, which is a hold'em variant. The added discard improved the quality of the hands just enough that it could stand on it's own and wasn't just a fold and bluff fest.
High Chicago was a split game that payed half to the highest spade in the hole. You never really knew why someone was in the action and the split pot moved money around.
Any of the high/low splits put just about everyone in the action depending on the hand.
Maybe instead of a 100$ buy-in you play 10, 10$ buy-ins and it works. I don't know.
It may just be that those people you played Hold 'Em with had a much more aggressive mindset than those you played other poker variants with. HE, and NLHE especially, are tremendously dependent on the position of the player in relation to the action. It can be incredibly frustrating sitting in front of a loose aggressive player, and because relative position doesn't change other than the one time a cycle that you get the button, it can be really annoying.

In Stud, the position changes from hand to hand. You're not always watching Mr. Aggro raise every hand you try to play with.

Winning poker is a game of aggression though. It's inherent to the game. Even in friendly games.

If Mr. Aggro is playing too many hands, then get into it with him when you're likely to have a superior range. You don't always have to have QQ+ when re-raising into his aggression. 77+, Axo, would be fine. Stuff that you really don't want to take a flop with, but does well heads-up against the garbage he likely has. Semi-bluff more if you think he's paying attention to what you have and what you likely think he has. If you want to see five anyway with your hand and preserve your equity, when you've something like an OESD, 4 to a flush, especially with a suited ace, why not get it in first? At least he'll likely stop picking on you,.
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Old 05-31-2020, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Gray Ghost View Post
It may just be that those people you played Hold 'Em with had a much more aggressive mindset than those you played other poker variants with. HE, and NLHE especially, are tremendously dependent on the position of the player in relation to the action. It can be incredibly frustrating sitting in front of a loose aggressive player, and because relative position doesn't change other than the one time a cycle that you get the button, it can be really annoying.

In Stud, the position changes from hand to hand. You're not always watching Mr. Aggro raise every hand you try to play with.

Winning poker is a game of aggression though. It's inherent to the game. Even in friendly games.

If Mr. Aggro is playing too many hands, then get into it with him when you're likely to have a superior range. You don't always have to have QQ+ when re-raising into his aggression. 77+, Axo, would be fine. Stuff that you really don't want to take a flop with, but does well heads-up against the garbage he likely has. Semi-bluff more if you think he's paying attention to what you have and what you likely think he has. If you want to see five anyway with your hand and preserve your equity, when you've something like an OESD, 4 to a flush, especially with a suited ace, why not get it in first? At least he'll likely stop picking on you,.
I agree that the aggression thing is more of an aspect of poker in general. The betting math means that with conventional bet sizes of 1/2 to 3/4 of the pot, value bets, bluffs and calls are breaking even if you're wrong the majority of the time. And when multiple rounds of betting factor into the equation, if you call without a plan of betting or raising at some point on a later street it becomes less profitable, which skews the game even more towards aggressively bluffing and going for thin value.

As someone who has played a lot of Hold'Em home games and has some interest in the more advanced theoretical side of it as a byproduct of watching pros, I think most very casual players don't realize how many bluffs should exist in a balanced strategy, and they don't understand how many strategic concepts go into being able to outplay an opponent (especially an aggressive one).

I think the thought process of most casual/new poker players when someone else is betting into them is "do they have it or not" and they don't realize that when you call on early streets it needs to be with a plan that incorporates your equity, what your opponent could be repping, and what you have the ability to rep on later streets.

I do think the Hold'Em is a great game for encouraging new players to start thinking about the right things, because when you share the visible cards with everyone else at the table, it almost forces you to start comparing how likely your opponent is to have a flush to how likely you are to have a flush from their perspective which is a great starting point down the path of taking more of a strategic approach to the game than "I think he's bluffing so I'm going to call."
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Old 06-01-2020, 10:27 AM
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[… encouraging new players to start thinking … ]

I suggest that this is a major flaw in your game. It costs you a lot of money,

When a player makes a costly mistake, if you feel you just have to say something, the correct thing to say is “Good hand.”
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Old 06-01-2020, 03:06 PM
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Yes, don't tap on the tank, but I think the idea there was in helping friends and family members learn the game. I'm gonna coach my kids and the friends at work who literally learned the game from me when I'm giving them lessons.

In an actual game where you're playing against strangers for money, criticizing another player's strategy isn't just a costly mistake, it's incredibly rude.
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Old 06-01-2020, 03:34 PM
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Berating someone for their play is such a delightful indication though that the bully is about to go on Tilt. Further, I don't mind discussing strat---away from the table!---with people. It's how I've learned I have a poor memory for how past hands have gone.

Like counting cards in blackjack, most people aren't going to know how to apply what they've learned, but it will keep them coming back, trying to figure it out. A la the old jape of the older gambler sitting at the table, peeling off 300 to his girlfriend, and sending her off to play slots for a few hours. She comes back in an hour, asking for another 300.

"What?! You lost that already?"

"Well yeah, but why are you so mad? How much have you lost?"

"3,000. But I know what I'm doing!!!"
  #44  
Old 06-01-2020, 04:03 PM
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I think it was TV poker that hold'em into the limelight for non-serious games. Hold 'em may have already been dominating professional play, but for little penny-ante or 'random marker with no cash value' pickup games it wasn't until after the poker TV explosion that hold-em was something I'd even see. Before that, it was mostly 'draw with mild variant rules and wild cards' (like 'San Francisco' where 'Queens are wild and straights don't count') with an occasional other game for variety. Also I don't think Rounders had anything to do with popularizing poker, the only people I've seen talk about that move or bring it out for a movie night are people who were already very into poker.

I also think TV had a lot to do with popularizing no-limit games, though No-Limit or Pot-Limit have a lot more room for dynamic play and psychological games than limit games do. Limit poker has a lot of 'keep calling bets until you see what happens', and if you're making bad choices it takes a long time to catch up with you, while in no/pot limit games there are a lot of bets you shouldn't take and you can lose a lot if you're not careful. Bluffing in limit poker is very grindy, while bluffing in NL/PL tends to be one or a few dramatic decisions. OTOH, limit poker for friendly games has the advantage that people don't tend to get knocked out, since you usually want everyone to stay at the table all night.

My 'don't tap the tank story': When I used to play in NL tournament games, I remember one guy who kept complaining that I'd "suck out" (bet against a better hand, then end up winning from a late draw) who never seemed to get that it always happened when there was a big pot and his little blind-sized bets were 1/10 or 1/20 of it. He didn't get that there are a lot of hands that are good enough to be worth gambling on for a 20:1 payout that I would fold in a heartbeat to one solid (half-pot or pot-sized) bet, and I didn't educate him on it.
  #45  
Old 06-01-2020, 07:13 PM
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[… encouraging new players to start thinking … ]

I suggest that this is a major flaw in your game. It costs you a lot of money,

When a player makes a costly mistake, if you feel you just have to say something, the correct thing to say is “Good hand.”
Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay View Post
Yes, don't tap on the tank, but I think the idea there was in helping friends and family members learn the game. I'm gonna coach my kids and the friends at work who literally learned the game from me when I'm giving them lessons.

In an actual game where you're playing against strangers for money, criticizing another player's strategy isn't just a costly mistake, it's incredibly rude.
What I mean to say is the game itself teaches you things about how to get better. The way the community cards work are going to make people naturally think about why they could easily have paired the ace on the board whereas if you try to rep the ace it's not as credible or vice versa. IMO if you ignore the gambling aspect of it, this is a quality that makes games better. Sure if you already know how everything works, you'll make more money if the fish can figure out what you're doing more easily, but by that logic the best gambling game in existence is 3-card monty.

I think most forms of stud/hold'em poker are really strong as far as being easy to learn and hard to master, so texas hold'em giving people new players training wheels as opposed to overwhelming them with different things they can't process makes the game as a whole better.
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