The Basics of Playing Royal Hold’em Poker

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Those who play Royal Hold’em poker are not necessarily descended from the Gods. The game is actually very much like limit Texas Holdem – and also very different. In Royal Hold’em only high cards (ten, jack, queen, king, ace) are dealt from a deck of 20 cards. This certainly makes for a royal deck. Because of the smaller deck, the game consists of a maximum of six players.

The Play

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The standard limit format applies here wherein players are dealt two hole cards to attempt at structuring the ultimate hand along with five community cards. The hand values are ranked the same as in the more standard poker variants but the only flush counted is the royal one (no surprise here) no other flush is of value and oddly the standard pairs count for nothing. So everyone is going after Royal flushes, four of a kind, full houses, straights and two pair to come up with the nuts.

The Zenith of Royal Hold’em Strategy

Since there are no low cards in the game, high hands rule supreme, making for very high quality total hands. The selection of only valuable cards is paramount to successful competition. At the very least to remain in the game, a player should be holding an ace-jack which is still a dubious affair. The optimum hand is thought to be by most players a pair of aces and ace-king is no slouch either. The ace-queen and pair of jacks can be a weak offering depending on one’s position.

Which brings us to position: The high value of the hands renders position an extremely important factor to remain competitive in the game. A player must consider that anyone raising is in possession of a pair of kings or aces, and if your position is good, you can tell precisely the hands of those players who have stayed in the game. If a player’s hand is teetering on the edge, he should remain in the game only if he has good position or is in the small blind with no advance raise. High pocket pairs are ubiquitous in Royal Hold’em so players must understand that the odds of hitting a three of a kind are at least one in three hands considering the alterations in the cards in his hand. Should another player be betting aggressively against your hand of a pair of aces, it is probably wise to think that he is holding aces or a pair of kings, thus simplifying the task of pinpointing the kind of hands in his possession.

Every player is seeking a draw of three of a kind or more so you might think of the deck as having 15 cards that you are all drawing from, e.g. 20 card deck minus two hole cards plus three community cards. Hands of power should always be played forcefully and the pot odds should be calculated before proceeding on with your betting. If your opponent(s) is also coming on strong on the turn, you should be thinking that they have three of a kind or higher. As a sample hand – you are holding two kings, the flop shows an unsuited king-jack-ten. Your hand is in second place as the ace-queen trumps yours. There is a good possibility that your opponent has ace-king or jack-jack so you must concern yourself with the number of outs to a full house or the odds that your opponent is in possession of a straight depending on his position or betting structure.

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Source Thomas Kearns