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We are in the midst of articles on why Texas Holdem is hard to learn.   There are only two mystery cards and yet the game remains elusive to most poker players.  Let’s take a different approach:  How we can use blackjack and video poker to help us get better at Texas Holdem?

Learning the Best Strategy in Blackjack and Video Poker

Juicy Stakes Poker Australia is determined to find every possible angle through which to teach players how to improve at Texas Holdem and all other poker variations.  It may seem odd to use blackjack and video poker as teaching tools for poker.  Let’s see if we are thinking out of the box creatively!

In blackjack, we have to evaluate every situation based on our point count and on the dealer’s single up card.  The best strategy might be different for our count of 14 points based on whether the dealer is showing a two or a three or a high card.

We also have to evaluate every situation based on the rules at that specific blackjack table.  What are the rules for splitting and doubling down?   Does the table allow surrender?  Will the dealer hit on soft 17 or stand?

In blackjack, we also have to pay attention to our set monetary budget.  We have to evaluate the hand based on whether we are playing online or at a land based casino.

Why Does the Venue Matter?

There are a lot of distractions at a land based casino.  Some are pleasant distractions such as the shouting and cheering that permeate the casino coming from the roulette and craps tables.  Even the pleasant distractions can cause a player to lose his or her concentration and make a poor decision.

Still, there are many more unpleasant distractions at a land based casino than pleasant ones.  For most men, the way women dress at many land base casinos is a serious distraction causing players to make mistakes.  The incessant offers of free alcohol are also an unpleasant distraction.

Finally, in blackjack at a land based casino,, we have to contend with other players at the table who are only too ready to blame the strategic player for their losses since he or she hit with 12 points and, as the cards unfolded thereafter, the obnoxious player is sure that hitting with 12 points was just SO stupid!

How Does Dealing with Distractions Help Me in Texas Holdem?

Poker, whether you play it online at Juicy Stakes or at a land based casino, is full of distractions.  As we evaluate where we stand in a hand, we have to pay attention to the playing patterns and history of the players who are still in the hand.

In this sense, paying attention is a necessary distraction but a distraction nonetheless.  It would be far easier to play poker by paying attention to just our own cards.  Instead, we have to pay attention to other players’ past behavior, the street we are on, and all of the mathematical analyses we have to make to succeed in modern poker.

Blackjack Strategy is Much More Accessible than Texas Holdem Strategy

As far reaching as blackjack strategy is, it is much easier to come by through the use of powerful computers and it is therefore much easier to learn than Texas Holdem strategy.  As such, it will help a burgeoning poker player to first study and learn to the final nuance all of the strategy you need to know to play blackjack before embarking on a long study of Texas Holdem or any other poker variation.

How Does Video Poker Help?

The strategy in video poker is all about establishing hierarchies.  Most hands are pretty straightforward as the vast majority of hands are no pair, one pair, or two pair.

However, a hand with no pair is not necessarily a losing hand.  You have the option to discard as many as five cards.  What if none of the cards is a jack or higher?  What if there is one high card or two?

What if we have three to a flush or to a straight?

In video poker, especially for the majority of players who bet the maximum in order to qualify for the extra payout for a Royal Flush, we sometimes discard a pair in order to go for a better winning hand even if that hand fails to show up after the draw.

In Texas Holdem, some players will play a poor hand before the flop as a bluff even though they may be playing into a powerful hand, the flop fails to help, and they have to fold.  Despite being thoroughly smacked in such a hand, the strategic Texas Holdem player does not fold with his or her tail between their legs.

Sometimes telegraphing false information is the best way to play the hand.  You can set yourself up to bluff successfully by betting in early position with low cards.  Sometimes the flop comes up roses, too!

The Computer Age Meets Texas Holdem

Back when Doyle Brunson and Amarillo Slim were introducing the poker playing world to Texas Holdem, computers were not yet pervasive in our advanced and developed societies.  In fact, the President of IBM at the time famously said that he didn’t see any usefulness for more than a few computers In The World!

Several billion computers later, we can submit so many things to lengthy computer analyses that it seems as if computers are taking over the decision making process.  To some extent that is true.  In blackjack and video poker, computers have analyzed millions of hands and we now know the best strategy in every situation.

In video poker, we need to be able to trust the computer analysis enough to discard a winning hand in order to go for a better hand.  In blackjack, we have to trust the computer analysis enough to hit with 13 or 14 points when the statistics say that that is the best action to take.

We can determine many things in poker but there is still one area that computers have not yet figured out how to game: the human element.  In Texas Holdem, you have to study your opponents.  This is a subjective study, on that you do alone.

What we have shown in this article is that you can use the skills you can much more easily learn in blackjack and video poker to get better at Texas Holdem.  Blackjack and video poker also excellent diversions from the difficult mind games every Holdem player has to play.

Play at Juicy Stakes Poker

Juicy Stakes Poker offers many formats for playing poker.  You can play the most popular poker variation, Texas Holdem, or you can play Omaha and other poker games.

We offer games and tournaments for all stakes levels.  Playing poker online at Juicy Stakes will also help you avoid the many distractions poker players at land based casinos encounter.


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