Top Online Sites For Texas Holdem

Texas Hold’em continues to explode in popularity around the world. Card rooms in every country and city, as well as online poker rooms, are crowded with players trying their best to become the next big winner. Texas Hold’em is not only challenging, lucrative, and fun, but also presents the opportunity for an average Joe to ascent through the ranks and compete against the best in the world.

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Surprisingly enough, real money poker’s most famous variant brandishes the name of a state with very limited legal real cash poker gambling options. Yes, the Lone Star State may have given rise to Texas Hold’em poker and the iconic Doyle “Texas Dolly” Brunson poker betting pro, but it’s proven far from proactive with regards to gambling expansion, particularly in regards to online poker at Internet poker legislation.

To date, Texas features exactly one live real money poker room. Given TX’s sheer size and dense population, that’s not exactly saying much for their poker gambling residents. Making matters worse, Texas’ gambling statues are generally intolerant of unregulated poker gambling behavior. Which leads us to believe that Texas stands a below average chance of entering the iGaming real money lawful Internet poker market anytime soon.

But there is hope, as one of online poker’s biggest proponents and believer in all things Internet poker related hails from none other than Texas.

Lone Star state gamblers won’t have much trouble signing up for one of our online real money US poker site accounts.

Texas Rep. Joe Barton Leads Internet Poker Push

Quick Jump

  • 5 The Facts
In July 2013, Rep. Joe Barton – a Republican from Texas – introduced HR 2666. Otherwise known as the Internet Poker Freedom Act of 2013[1], the legal poker websites bill would effectively facilitate the growth of real cash online poker websites on a state-by-state basis sans Federal government intervention. The Internet poker gambling only act would also classify the American pastime of games like Texas Hold’em poker as a betting game of skill, as per the landmark United States v. DiCristina case.

Barton’s proposal calls for poker website gambling operators to abide by a strict set of regulations and guidelines, many of which are designed to protect player interests. For example, minors and players who choose to self-exclude themselves from legal real money poker betting would be prohibited from playing, as would those trying to log in from a state exempt from the proposed real cash Internet poker bill.

Although Barton’s previous poker website proposals have failed to gain momentum in Congress, it appears that the Internet Poker Freedom Act is garnering the attention of several influential figures in the Internet gambling world. The bill’s newfound respect is largely due to the efforts of long-time online poker websites advocate and Poker Player Alliance Executive Director John Pappas and American Gaming Association’s Geoff Freeman. Both were said to make compelling pro-iGaming Internet poker arguments at The State of Online Gaming hearing, which took place in December 2013 [2].

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Can Players From Texas Play Online Poker?

Overall, the vast majority of online poker websites that accept players from the United States are welcoming to those residing in the Lone Star State. That being said, some legit US-facing Internet poker websites offer better depositing bonuses and action then others. Which is why we’ve hand-selected the very best online poker real money Internet poker websites just for you. So save yourself the trouble of scouring the Internet in search of great sites to do your Internet poker gambling at: We’ve done the busy work so you don’t have to.

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Is Online Poker Legal In Texas?


Texas’ outdated gambling and betting statues criminalize the act of communicating gambling or poker betting information, which could indirectly apply to the Internet poker websites issue. However, the TX real cash poker law seems to apply only to poker gambling operators, and not players:

  • A person commits an offense if, with the intent to further gambling, he knowingly communicates information as to bets, betting odds, or changes in betting odds or he knowingly provides, installs, or maintains equipment for the transmission or receipt of such information. Section 47.05

Furthermore, TX state’s statutes make no mention of online poker or Internet poker websites. But in order to grasp the full breadth of the real money gambling law, one must first understand how the state defines gambling. It begins with the meaning of bet, defined as:

  • An agreement to win or lose something of value, including real cash, solely or partially by chance. Section 47.01(1)

Certainly, real money poker would be included under the scope of this broad definition, as anyone who’s been on the wrong side of a coin-flip in a Texas Hold’em poker game can attest.

The term bet is then wielded in the over-arching definition of gambling according to TX betting laws:

  • A person commits an offense if he: (1) makes a bet on the partial or final result of a game or contest or on the performance of a participant in a game or contest; (2) makes a bet on the result of any political nomination, appointment, or election or on the degree of success of any nominee, appointee, or candidate; or (3) plays and bets for money or other thing of value at any game played with cards, dice, balls, or any other gambling device. Section 47.02

That’s a fairly all-encompassing definition of real money betting; far more comprehensive than most state’s poker gambling laws. It would certainly be difficult to find ways to circumvent the law, should you be caught for illicit poker gambling activity.

Texas does make notable exceptions for those participating in social gambling activities like casual home real money poker games, such that players who engage in gambling in a private place, do not receive economic benefit other than personal winnings and except for the advantage of skill or luck, the risks of losing and chances of winning were the same for all participants. In other words, playing real cash poker at a private home game in TX that doesn’t charge a house fee or take a rake seems to be an acceptable poker gambling practice.

The penalties for being caught gambling in Texas aren’t intuitively clear, only stating that an offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor. We’re guessing that’s the worst penalty anyone can receive other than a Class D misdemeanor. As expected, Gambling Promotion, (or operating a poker gambling or real money betting facility) carries harsher penalties, up to but not including a Class A misdemeanor. Notably, participation in Texas’ underground poker gambling industry is not felony worthy.

That being said, Texas’ law enforcement authorities are somewhat aggressive in pursuing violators of legal poker gambling laws. In 2010 alone, over 600 gambling related arrests were made.

Of course, if you have further questions regarding the legality of online poker, it’s best to consult a legal professional who knows about lawful real money Internet poker. To equip yourself further, you can find Texas’ full gambling and poker betting statues via our “References” section [3].

The Facts

The History Of Gambling In Texas

1933

1933

Like many other states, this was the year where Pari-mutuel betting became legal at horse racing tracks.

1937

1937

Unfortunately, this only last four years as betting was banned again at racing tracks.

1971

1971

The Legislature exempted charities from the anti-lottery statute throughout the state.

1973

1973

This was reversed in 1973 by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

1982

1982

A poll on the Republican primary ballot found majority support for betting. This could be a big influence for the return of pari-mutuel betting in years to come.

1987

1987

Five years later this was the case as a referendum passed which allows for pari-mutuel betting to return to racetracks.

1988

1988

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The casino cruise industry began to develop in the 1980’s and the first sign that the industry was growing and developing came in 1988. The first “Casino Cruise” launched which allows gambling in international waters after setting sail from the coast of Texas.

1992

1992

The Texas lottery launched in 1992 and also offers scratch-off and drawing games. Additionally, the Mega Millions and Powerball were included.

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1996-2002

1996-2002

The Kickapoo casino opened in 1996, which offered bingo, poker, a variant of blackjack and slot-like electronic dispensers. Unfortunately, this was the only tribal casino to remain open as legal battles took place regarding other tribal groups and the Texas government. This saw the closure of a number of high stakes bingo halls and the decline of tribal casinos.

2011

2011

Local referendums required to allow bingo and passed in 226 of the state’s 254 counties. As of 2011, a total of $533 million was awarded in prizes throughout the organisations that were authorized to conduct bingo games.

2013

2013

Gambling regulation started to be pushed forward with a few new acts that were introduced. The main aim of these was to expand gambling in different areas e.g. allowing Video Lottery Terminals at racetracks.

Texas is perhaps more famous for the iconic poker betting figures and game formats that have originated from the state, than for its place in legal real money gambling history. Doc Holiday, Doyle Brunson and Benny Binion, among others: all at one point called the Lone Star State their home. And let’s not forget that poker’s most prestigious poker gambling championship, the WSOP Main Event, takes place over a game of Texas No-Limit Hold’em.

Texas’ gambling origins date back to the days when part of the state still belonged to Mexico. The natives introduced the early settlers to a variety of card games and real cash poker variants and over the years, gambling houses and other gambling institutions like legal real money poker rooms in TX became prevalent.

After the Civil War, gambling became an integral facet of the Old West, and Texas proved no exception. In fact, by the 1870s gambling and poker betting had spread so far out of control that law enforcement agencies were forced to crack down on it, but to little avail. In particular, Houston and Texas’ other major cities boasted real money poker gambling facilities well into the mid 1900s.

Eventually, the state’s conservative factions called for an end to illicit gambling and poker betting, resulting in the closure of most gambling houses by the 1970s. In the years that followed, several forms of real money gambling were reintroduced to the state, including pari-mutuel wagering in 1987 and a statewide lottery in 1991.

Native Americans are also permitted to operate gambling venues and lawful real cash poker facilities in Texas, although to date only one – the Kickapoos – have been successful in doing so. Their casino, Eagle Pass [4], is the only casino in the state, and even that resides on the Mexican border, far from any of Texas State’s major metropolises full of poker gambling enthusiasts.

Sadly, the state that gave birth to Texas Hold’em classifies real money poker in the same category as prostitution.

Regulated Gambling Options In Texas

Texas features far fewer regulated, legit real money poker and general gambling options than one would expect. The Texas Lottery offers ball drawing and scratch-off games, and is part of the multi-jurisdiction Mega Millions and Powerball drawings. Charitable gambling is also legal, albeit in limited forms. More specifically, bingo and raffles are legal while casino nights (including Texas Hold’em poker and other real money poker betting) are not.

Pari-mutuel wagering is overseen by the Texas Racing Commission, allowing residents of TX to wager on Class I horse and greyhound tracks in designated areas. The state also boasts one Indian Casino. Commercial gambling and real cash poker betting is strictly prohibited by law.

If you want to play Texas Hold’em legally at an online poker room in Texas, you are out of luck, but you can still enjoy that game and others at many online sites.

The Future Of Regulating Online Gambling In Texas

If anything, Texas’ powers-that-be are seeking to roll back gambling and poker betting expansion, not facilitate it. The state’s Republicans, with of course the exception of Joe Barton, are widely opposed to gambling and Internet poker and until power changes hands, we have no reason to believe that online poker websites, or any form of iGaming, will be introduced to Texas’ residents. Compounding matters, Texas’ residents tend towards conservatism, and are doing little to nothing to redirect government opinion on the issue of legal real money Internet poker gambling in TX.

Fun Fact

From 2001 to 2004, billionaire and long-time Dallas, Texas native Andy Beal, challenged the world’s finest real money poker players to a series of increasingly high-stakes fixed-limit poker games. Playing at limits as high as $50,000/$100,000, Beal enticed fear in his poker gambling opponents, who had to pool their money together to match Andy’s demands.

For a time, Andy fared well against The Corporation, which included real money poker betting pros Doyle Brunson, his son Todd, Jennifer Harman, Ted Forrest and Howard Lederer, among others. But in 2006, he ran into arguably the best real cash poker player to ever play the game, Phil Ivey, and would lose a total of $16.6 million in real money poker winnings over a three day stretch [5].

The Bottom Line

Despite Joe Barton, despite the origins of No-Limit Texas Hold’em and despite serving as the home to real money poker’s most legendary icon, Texas is widely regarded as one of the states least likely to regulate online poker and launch lawful real money poker gambling websites. Which is a shame really, as it currently inhabits over 8% of the United States population (26.5 million) – trailing only California in that regard.

Thus, not only could Texas sustain a thriving online poker community of Internet poker gambling fans, it could easily influence other states to get behind regulated online poker and legal real money Internet poker. But even the optimist in us has a hard time believing it will ever happen.

References

[1] ↑Rep. Joe Barton Introduces HR 2666 Internet Poker Freedom Act of 2013

[2] ↑Rep. Barton’s Online Poker Bill Gains Respect

[3] ↑Texas Gambling Laws – Texas Statues

[4] ↑Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel

[5] ↑Phil Ivey vs. Andy Beal – Out $16.6 Million, Beal Heads Home

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Over the past two decades, we’ve seen Texas Holdem explode in popularity
among gamblers and gamers of all ages from all over the world. Most of this
explosion can be attributed to the growth of online poker and its ability to
enable anyone with a computer and an internet connection to get in on the
action.

Thanks to there being no need to pay for dealers for additional tables,
online poker also allows players to play for much lower stakes and for much less
money than they would have to in a brick-and-mortar setting. No matter how new
you are to the game, you can get realistic practice with real money, without
putting your whole bankroll on the line.

If you’re here looking for the best Texas Holdem poker sites available
anywhere on the net, you’re in luck. Below you’ll find a list of the top rated
and most trusted sites available that are sure to give you the experience and
opportunities you’re looking for.

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Why These Sites Are the Best

If you make a habit out of blindly trusting every recommendation you read on
the internet, you’re going to have an awful time. You always need to ask whether
you can trust the recommendations and information you’re getting or if there is
an ulterior motive you need to be aware of. Sadly, in the online review world,
many review sites are paid for more favorable reviews or higher placement in
recommendations. Effectively, you’re just looking at an advertisement, and not
an honest and accurate review.

That’s not how we operate here.

The sites you see recommended above are the
best the web has to offer.

We continuously monitor and update the list as poker
sites better their product or lose some steam and fall from the list. We never
have and never will allow a site to pay us for a better review or for higher
placement on our recommendation lists. The only way for a Texas Holdem poker
site to increase their stock with us and how we view them is by putting out a
better product for you, their customers.

It’s as simple as that. You can take our reviews to the bank knowing that
you’re getting an honest and accurate view of how things are with each of these
sites. We take our review process seriously because we know you take your money
seriously. In order for us to succeed, you need to have the best online gaming
experience possible, and that starts with playing at a site that carries its own
weight. With so many options to choose from in the poker world today, there is
no room for mediocrity.

Criteria for Selecting a Texas Holdem Betting Site

We didn’t just pull these recommended sites out of thin air. Our experts use
a long list of criteria to identify the winners and the losers within the
industry. As is the case with any industry, there are some great companies and
some serious bad apples within the online poker industry. This is why we take
our review process so seriously.

For those of you that are curious what we like to look at, we’ve included a
list of the most important criteria below. While these are not all of the
factors that we look at, these are the big ones that we feel are the most
important and play the biggest role in our decisions.

If you happen to be living life on the edge and trying a site that we haven’t
recommended here, you can use these criteria to try your best to form an opinion
on whether or not the site is worth your time and should be trusted. While we
know you’re all smart cookies, some of this information is more challenging to
find, and you may struggle to get an honest under the hood look. This is why we
strongly recommend you take advantage of our expert recommendations. If you’re a
free spirit and need to be out on the range by yourself, we hope this list helps
protect you.

Trust and Reliability

The number one factor in deciding the value of an online poker site is the
trust and reliability of the company running the show. If the owners and the
management of the site can’t be fully trusted, you’re putting yourself and your
money in danger.

While we’re willing to accept less than perfect marks on some
of the factors on this list, with trust and reliability, we are not. An online
poker site needs to be able to be trusted 100% with no red flags or warning
signs, or it’s a no-go from our team.

In order to calculate trust and reliability, we look a lot of places. We look
at the management and ownership of the company and what their track record
within and outside of the industry is. We utilize several different means of
gauging the company’s current industry reputation and look into any complaints
that have been filed against them in the past.

On top of this, we look through their public company records, licensing
regulations, terms of service, and anything else we can get our hands on to make
sure that everything they are doing is on the up and up.

Again, if there is even
the hint of something not right, the poker site will not be receiving a
recommendation from us.

Speed of Payouts

How much fun is winning on the felt if you don’t actually get your winnings?
The correct answer is 0% fun. In the early days of online poker, there were
issues with the processing of money. It would take a while for you to get your
money and that left a pretty sour taste in a lot of player’s mouths. As more and
more transfer options became available and the online poker world grew, these
problems started to diminish.

Nowadays, there are plenty of great mainstream mediums for you to get your
money fast from online poker sites. That being said, these options only work if
the site you’re requesting your winnings from has its processes set up properly.

If they’re lazy, slow, or disorganized, you’re going to be waiting a while to
get your money. This is not okay with us.

One of the most important factors we look at when selecting our favorite
online poker sites is how quickly they process and pay cashout requests. If
you’re going to be an old man or woman by the time they get you the money, we’re
not going to recommend them. You shouldn’t ever have to worry about the speed at
which you receive your cashouts. This is why payout speed is high on our list of
important factors when choosing the top online poker sites.

Volume of Action

You can’t win any money playing Texas Holdem if you don’t have anyone to
play against. It’s important that an online poker site have enough active
players to run games regularly. This goes for cash games, sit and gos, and for
tournaments. If a site is too brand new or not doing a good enough job
recruiting players, it’s most likely not going to be a site that you want to
waste your time on. Nobody wants to sit around at empty tables waiting hours for
action.

Does this mean that we only select the sites with the most players? Not
necessarily. For some people, the goliath poker sites with hundreds of thousands
of players are great. For others, though, they like the smaller sites because
they attract more fish and have tournaments that don’t take nineteen years to
complete. This all comes down to personal choice. For that reason, you’re going
to see us recommend sites that are large and sites that are smaller. You’ll
never see us recommend a Texas Holdem site that is too small that there’s no
action whatsoever.

Types and Stakes of Action

This criterion is a continuation of the one that we just covered. If you’re
looking to play $1/$2 Texas Holdem, but every single player on a particular
site only plays up to the .05/.10 level, you’re not going to be a happy camper.
Not only do poker sites need to have a decent volume of players, but these
players need to be spread out amongst the different buy-in and stake levels.

There doesn’t need to be an even distribution or anything like that as we
know that the higher stakes will inevitably have fewer players. We don’t even
need there to be any players at the super-high, nosebleed levels. What we’re
looking for is a site that offers as much as possible to different levels of
players. If they only have enough players to sustain one or two buy-in levels,
we’re not going to be big fans. But, if they have games running all across the
buy-in spectrum, we’re going to be pretty pleased.

This goes for tournaments as well. While some tournament players prefer
smaller field sizes, there is such thing as too small.

If you’re someone who is
looking to potentially make a living or at least some significant extra cash
playing Texas Holdem, you aren’t going to be too pleased if the largest
tournament a site offers is a $50 guaranteed, $1 buy-in.

Again, we aren’t saying that we need $10k, $1 million guaranteed tournaments,
but we would like to see some tournaments where you can buy more than a
McDonald’s extra value meal with first place money. Variety and consistency are
the names of the game here. If an online Texas Holdem poker site can offer
plenty of options more than just a few specific times a week, we’ll be happy. If
they can offer a lot of different options all the time, well, now we’re talking
quality.

User Interface

When it comes to the user interface of an online poker site, we get picky.
When you’re spending hours at a time doing something, it better be set up well
and organized in a way that makes your life easier. The games need to be
organized well, and the different stake levels should be easy to find. When
you’re playing, it shouldn’t be a challenge to figure out how to raise, call, or
fold. Cruddy user interfaces are not only annoying and not fun to use, but they
can also set you up to make mistakes which can be very costly.

Outside of trust and reliability and speed of payouts, the user interface is
the most critical factor for us. The only exception to this is if there is an
online poker site that is so full of fish and bad players that we’d be willing
to accept a less than favorable user interface. Still, in those rare occasions,
the interface has to be good enough to prevent any mistakes. The only things
we’d skimp on for a fish-happy environment are graphics and overall feel. The
core functionality of the site still needs to be top-notch, or it’s a no from
us.

Bonus Promotions

The very last thing that we look at when determining the quality of a Texas
Holdem site is what sort of bonus promotions they have for players. This
includes deposit bonuses, forms of rakeback, guaranteed tournaments, VIP player
programs, and anything else creative they have to try and win your business.
This is certainly the least important factor on this list, but one that we still
want to take a look at, especially if we have a close decision between two
sites.

One thing we do want to point out is that you’re careful not to make this
your number one determining factor. Just because an online poker site offers you
a bunch of freebies does not mean that it’s a quality site. On the flip side,
just because an online poker site does not offer you a ton of freebies does not
mean that it’s NOT a quality site. Some sites are so established and so packed
full of fish that we would be willing to pay them some bonus money just for the
chance to play there.

Bonuses are great and should definitely be looked at, but they most certainly
should not be your top criterion.

Tips for Selecting a New Texas Holdem Poker Site

Once you think you’ve found an online poker site that peaks your interest,
it’s time to get started! Should you close your eyes and run into the fire
blindly? Of course, you shouldn’t! While we don’t want to hold up your poker fix
any longer, we do want to give you a few quick tips that can make your
experience at the new site that much better.

If you skip these tips, your world is not going to catch on fire. You will,
however, possibly set yourself up for some disappointment, and we’d really like
to help avoid that if at all possible. Unless you’re a glutton for punishment,
take these tips we’ve provided for you to heart.

Utilize the Play Money

We get it. You’re big time, and you don’t have time to play around with the
kiddie games. We’re NOT telling you that you have to start at the play money
tables and work yourself up to real money. What we are telling you is that you
can use the play money tables to learn the user interface. Each online poker
site has different controls and different ways that you raise, fold, and call.

Taking the time to learn how these work with no real money on the line can go
a long way to save you cash.

Imagine if you’re in a big pot and you accidentally
fold when you mean to call because you don’t fully understand how to use the
buttons. This is why we are recommending you start at the play money tables.
Spend five minutes clicking around and getting comfortable with the buttons.
Once you confidently know how to do everything, then you can move over to the
real money tables without fear of making a silly and costly mistake.

Fill out Withdrawal Forms Early

Since you aren’t physically in a casino or card room, the poker sites are
going to need to verify that you are who you say you are. This is not for tax
purposes or reporting. This is to protect you so that when you go to withdraw,
they know that they are sending the money to you and only you. The way they do
this is by having you fill out a few forms the first time you go to make a
withdrawal.

People tend to get annoyed by this because when they make their first
withdrawal, they want their money quickly. Here’s a great tip. As soon as you
create an account with an online poker site, request any documentation they will
need to process withdrawals. You can fill this all out on day one and then when
you go to make your first withdrawal, you won’t have to wait at all. Waiting a
few extra days when you aren’t withdrawing any money is no big deal, but it can
be a real headache when you want your money.

Do yourself a favor and take care of this as soon as you join a new site. You
will thank us later.

Understand Promotions

While we said that the promotions aren’t high on our list when selecting an
online Texas Holdem site, that does not mean you shouldn’t take full advantage
of the ones offered to you. In a highly competitive market, online poker sites
are constantly throwing free money and free things at players to try and steal
them away from other sites and to make sure that they stay.

Here are a few tips for promotions that will make your life a lot smoother
and help to put more money in your pocket. First, always pay attention to the
promotions page of the website. You should also join any mailing lists that the
site has. This is how you will find out about new promotions. Promotions with
online poker sites are not always the same. They change, and new ones are added
all the time. You need to be aware of this as much as possible.

Why? Well, some online poker sites require that you “opt-in” to a promotion
to take advantage of it.

This means that you have to check a box in your member
area that says you want to get some of that free money. If you don’t do this,
you can fulfill all the requirements for the promotion, and you’ll get
absolutely nothing.

Real Money Texas Holdem Sites

Furthermore, you need to make sure you read the terms associated with each
promotion you are interested in. In order to protect the site from people trying
to game the system, each promotion is going to have some specific rules and
parameters that you’re going to have to follow. If you don’t follow these rules
to a T, you will not receive your free money. These things are a lot easier to
fix before the promotion runs. If you were unclear about something and did it
incorrectly, you won’t be able to convince the poker site to give you the
promotional bonuses.

It doesn’t take much extra time or effort. Read the promotional rules, and
rake in that sweet, sweet free cash and bonuses.

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Top Online Sites For Texas Holdem

Ask Questions

The last bit of advice we can give you that will help you to succeed at a new
online poker site is to ask questions if you’re confused about something. Not
sure how to use the software? Ask for help. Don’t understand a particular
promotion? Ask for help. Not sure how to deposit money? Ask for help.

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The online poker sites that we’ve recommended have fantastic customer service
departments. They have FAQs with the most common questions you might have, well
written out terms of service for their site and for promotions, and they also
have staff members ready to answer any other questions you might have. If you
are unsure about anything, just ask. Finding out how things work before there is
a potential problem will make your online poker experience that much more
fruitful and enjoyable.

Best Texas Holdem Sites For Us Players

Getting Started

You’re just about all set to get started playing Texas Holdem online. Before
we send you on your way to crush on the felt, we wanted to give you a few last
minute words of wisdom and encouragement to keep you on the right path to
success. Remember, Texas Holdem is a game that takes a minute to learn and a
lifetime to master. Make sure that you take your time and understand that you
are not going to be the best overnight. This means that you shouldn’t
immediately jump into the biggest games. Stick within your bankroll and allow
yourself the proper time to learn without losing all of your money.

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With patient hard work, focused study, dedicated practice, and solid bankroll
management, you have no reason that you can’t become a very successful Texas
Holdem player.