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The two largest and most well-known tournaments are the World Poker Tour championship event and the World Series of Poker, both held in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The 2005 World Series of Poker was the first held outside of Binion's Horseshoe Casino, though the final few days of the main event were held in the legendary Benny's Bullpen. Future tournaments have been held at one of the Harrah's Entertainment properties; since 2005, the Rio has served as the host venue.

Arguably the most publicized European tournament is the Poker Million, which began in 2000 on Sky Sports, following on from the success of the Late Night Poker television show.

In addition to these events, there are other major tournaments throughout the year. The World Poker Tour broadcasts a series of open tournaments throughout the U.S. and Caribbean with buy-ins from $5,000 to $25,000, as well as a European event.

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Texas hold 'em (also hold'em, holdem) is the most popular poker game in the casinos and poker card rooms across North America and Europe. Hold 'em is a community card game where each player may use any combination of the five community cards and his own two hole cards to make a poker hand, in contrast to poker variants like stud or draw where each player holds a separate individual hand.

After slow but steady gains in popularity throughout the 20th century, hold 'em's popularity surged in the 2000s due to exposure on television, on the Internet, and in popular literature. During this time hold 'em replaced 7 card stud as the most common game in U.S. casinos, almost totally eclipsing the once popular game. The no-limit betting form is used in the widely televised main event of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) and the World Poker Tour (WPT).

Because each player only starts with two cards and the remaining cards are shared, it presents an opportune game for strategic analysis (including mathematical analysis). Hold 'em's simplicity and popularity have inspired a wide variety of strategy books which provide recommendations for proper play. Most of these books recommend a strategy that involves playing relatively few hands but betting and raising often with the hands one plays.

About the time of World War II, many modern poker games used community cards (also called "shared cards" or "window cards"), which are cards dealt face up to the center of the table and shared by all players. In these games, each player is dealt privately an incomplete hand ("hole cards"), which is then combined with the community cards to make a complete hand. The set of community cards is called the "board", and may be dealt in a simple line or arranged in a special pattern. Rules of each game determine how they may be combined with each player's private hand. The most popular community card game today is Texas hold 'em, originating sometime in the 1920s. In home games, it is typical to use antes, while casinos typically use only blinds for these games. Fixed limit games are most common in casinos, while spread limit games are more common in home games. No limit and pot limit games are less common. Later betting rounds often have a higher limit than earlier betting rounds. Each betting round begins with the player to the dealer's left (when blinds are used, the first round begins with the player after the big blind), so community card games are generally positional games. Most community card games do not play well with lowball hand values, though some do play very well at high-low split, especially with ace-to-five low values, making it possible to win both halves of a pot. When played high-low split, there is generally a minimum qualifying hand for low (often 8-high), and it is played cards speak.

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PartyPoker.com was launched in 2001 and has since grown to be one of the largest online poker card rooms. At peak times, tens of thousands of players can be found playing on the site's virtual poker tables. The site is endorsed by Mike Sexton, the host of the World Poker Tour television show. Games include Texas Hold 'em (No Limit and Fixed Limit), Omaha and Omaha Hi-Lo, Seven-card Stud and Seven-card Stud Hi-Lo. Stakes range from 0.05/0.10 to 100/200 for limit games, and 0.02/0.04 to 25/50 for No-Limit/Pot-Limit games. Players can play for either real money or play money. All poker variants offered at real money tables are offered at play money tables. Party Poker offers a bad beat jackpot, which has at times grown to over $700,000 USD.