The origins of poker are lost somewhere along the banks of the Mississippi. What we do know is that seasoned gamblers started to play Texas Holdem poker in the 1900s, in the Lone Star State.
When the game was introduced to the Las Vegas casinos where the professionals gathered, it garnered a cult following. Texas Holdem was the game of the serious card player for several years before it entered the mainstream.
Now it has become the default game of choice for professionals and enthusiasts alike. Drop into a casino anywhere in the world or log in to an online poker table, and it's likely that dealer's choice will be Texas Holdem.
For a quick grounding in the game head to the website at texasholdem-poker.com. You'll get an explanation of the jargon, and learn the basics of gameplay. Each players is dealt 2 (hole) cards face down, then 5 community cards are dealt, the first 3 face up (the flop) then a 4th (the turn card) and the 5th and final card (the river).
The 4 rounds of betting give Texas Hold'em its subtleties, offering clues to the strength of the players' hands and allowing opportunities for bluffing, intimidation or luring in the chips to make a decent pot.
When you have grasped the game, try your skill at a free game on a site like poker.bwin.com, check out the Bwin UK poker site.This offers a chance to join in a freeroll tournament. These cost nothing to enter (although you have to register at the site), but there are cash prizes on offer. This adds that touch of competitive edge that replicates the feel of a true cash game.
It's a game of infinite variety, where the more experience you gain the better player you become. It's best to learn the basics of how to play Texas Hold'em poker, before you experiment with the many variations on offer online, like hi-lo games, or lowball Texas.