Welcome to the Church of Texas Holdem's Poker School

Before you play in a poker school, you need to STUDY at Poker School!

You must know what the best possible hand (also known as "the nuts") is at all times. This must come instantly: no hesitation.

Only when you are sure of what the BEST POSSIBLE hand is can you assess your own hand's relative strength.

We'll show you some situations and ask you to assess what the best POSSIBLE hand is right now. Remember that a player may use both, one or none of his hole cards to make a five-card poker hand.

We'll follow each hand from flop to river, giving you a test at every stage. It's good to get into the habit of noticing that hand 'texture' can change with every card that's dealt. The nuts at one moment can become peanuts the next. If you want a fun test of your powers, try to figure out the second-best hand too!

Hidden answers follow each puzzle: simply move your mouse over the "Answers" graphic and the image will reveal the solution!

The best hand possible on the flop

1) High card flop

2) Paired flop

3) Drawing hand flop

4) Unconnected flop

How did you do? Don't worry if you're struggling. These things get much easier with practise.

Next, we'll take the same four hands to the turn. You may be surprised at how much one card can change a situation. Some of the hands don't change much, others are completely different.

Again, the invisible answers are underneath.

The best hand possible on the turn

1) High card flop >>> suited connector turn

2) Paired flop >>> another overcard

3) Drawing hand flop >>> another medium card

4) Unconnected flop >>> no apparent help

Finally, we'll see each hand to the river. Once more, some hands change a lot, others don't change much at all. It's most important to get good at reading the nuts on the river, as the pots will be largest at this point.

Again, the invisible answers are underneath.

The best hand possible on the river

1) High card flop >>> suited connector turn >>> high river

2) Paired flop >>> another overcard >>> second pair

3) Drawing hand flop >>> another medium card >>> suited river

4) Unconnected flop >>> no apparent help >>> interesting river

If you want more practise, get a pack of cards and deal yourself random flops. Once it comes to you, it will be second nature.

Don't join the sharks at an online poker school if you are still not able to pick the best hand possible, just by looking at a flop, turn or river board. You MUST become proficient at this skill before you play regularly.


Done with Poker School? We'll update the series very soon!