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How to Play Texas Hold'em

Texas Hold’em is by far the most popular and exciting form of poker available to players today. With the explosion and success of major televised tournament events, No Limit Texas Hold’em has become the player’s favorite type of poker.

Texas Hold’em, also known simply as Hold'em, is a poker game in which each player receives two cards (hole cards) dealt face down, while five community cards are dealt face up on the table throughout four betting rounds. The object of the game is to win the pot that players invest in by betting during the various rounds. All players play their best five cards using any combination of their two hole cards and the five community cards on the table. The best five-card poker hand among those in contention for the pot wins.

How to Play Texas Hold'em

  • The Button
  • In Texas Hold'em, a disc known as the dealer “button” serves to recognize which player sitting at the table is the dealer for that particular hand. The cards are dealt in a clockwise direction from the dealer button. Each time the cards are dealt, a new betting round begins. A Texas Hold'em hand starts when the first card is dealt and ends when a winner is declared. After each hand has been completed, as with standard poker rules, the “button” moves clockwise to the next active player. This is done because there is an advantage to having to act last and therefore each player will get his fair share of early, late and middle positions. This player will be considered to be “playing the button" for that hand.

  • Blinds
  • The player to the immediate left of the button is first to receive a card and is required to post a “small blind”. The small blind is equal to half the lower limit bet rounded down to the nearest dollar (For example, in a $4-$8 game, the small blind is $2; in a $3-$6 game, the small blind is $1. The player to the immediate left of the small blind is required to post the “big blind”, equal to the lower limit bet (For example, in a $3-$6 game, the big blind is $3.). When a new player sits down at a Texas Hold'em poker game, he must either post the equivalent of the big blind or wait for their turn in the big blind. This prevents players from gaining an advantage by avoiding the blinds and jumping in and out of games. If you have missed one or both blinds, our software will prompt you if to put in the correct amount. You can also wait for the blind to get to your position. This is called coming in on the blind. Both blinds in Texas Hold’em poker are considered live bets and therefore, according to poker rules, have the option of checking, calling, raising or folding when the betting action returns to their position.

  • Betting Rounds
  • First Round (Pre-Flop) - After the Texas Hold'em players in the blind positions put their blinds into the pot the dealer deals two cards called “hole cards” to each player. At this time each player can see his own cards but not those of his opponents. After seeing their hole cards, players now have the option to play their hands by calling, raising or folding. On the first round only, a player cannot check (make no bet) and still retain his hand. On the first round only, the betting starts with the first active player to the immediate left of the big blind. The minimum bet in this round is the size of the small blind. Thus in a $5/$10 No Limit Texas Hold'em game, it would cost a minimum of $5 for the player who acts first to call in this initial round of betting. (The maximum dollar value and number of raises per round depends on version of Texas Hold’em being played as described below.)

    Second Round (Flop) – Next, three cards are dealt face-up on the board also known as the “flop”. These three community cards are available to all active players. In this round play begins with the first active player to the immediate left (clockwise) of the dealer button, who has one of three choices, check, bet, or fold. Until there is a bet, each succeeding active player has the same choices. Once a bet is made, each succeeding Texas Hold'em player then has, in turn, one of three choices; call, raise, or fold. Bets and raises occur in lower limit bet increments. Therefore in a $5/$10 No Limit Texas Hold'em game the bet would cost a minimum of $5.

    Third Round (Turn) - When betting action is completed for the flop round, the “turn” is dealt face-up on the board. The turn is the fourth community card in a Texas Hold'em poker game. Play once again begins with the active player immediately left (clockwise) of the dealer button and the same rules apply as the second round except that poker betting doubles from the lower limit bet to the higher limit bet. In a $5/$10 game, betting on the turn is done in $10 increments.

    Fourth Round (River) - When betting action is completed for the turn round, the “river” is dealt face-up on the board. The river is the fifth and final community card in a Texas Hold'em game. Play once again begins with the active player immediately left (clockwise) of the dealer button as explained above.

    Showdown - When all the betting is done, and if more than one player is still in for the pot, then the showdown determines who wins the game of Texas Hold'em. In No Limit Texas Hold’em, it is possible that one or more betting rounds not take place if only one active player has any chips left with all other active players having bet all their chips (all-in). When this occurs, any remaining community cards will be dealt face up and a showdown will take place. The last player to open with a bet or raise is required to show their cards first and anyone else can fold. Players who elect to fold do not have to show their cards. (i.e. muck his cards if he decides he has lost. However the hole cards of all players who stay in to the showdown are included in the hand history, even if they choose to muck). The player with the best five-card hand wins the pot. In the event of identical hands, the pot will be equally divided between the players with the best hands. Texas Hold'em rules state that all suits are equal, so split pots are more common than in other variations of poker.

  • There are three different types of Texas Hold’em Poker games, made different by their betting structures
    • No Limit: Players may bet all of their chips at any time.
    • Pot Limit: Players may bet an amount equal to the pot size.
    • Limit: Players may bet a fixed amount for each round.

  • No Limit Texas Hold’em
  • In No Limit Texas Hold’em, the minimum amount a player can bet must be equal or greater than the big blind and a raise must equal or be greater then the last bet or raise within the same round. There is no maximum amount to bet, a player may bet his entire stack at any time. The number of raises is only limited to a player’s chips total.

  • Pot Limit Texas Hold’em
  • In Pot Limit Texas Hold’em, the minimum amount a player can raise must equal or be greater than the last bet or raise within the same round. The maximum a player may bet is equal to the amount in the pot including his call before making the raise. (Example; a player‘s call is $5 and the pot is $20, he may raise to a maximum of $50. His call of $5 brings the pot to $25 and he may raise the amount equal to the pot of $25, thus the raise is $25.)

  • Limit Texas Hold’em
  • In Limit Texas Hold’em, players must bet a pre-determined fixed amount per each round. The betting amount is equal to the big blind for the first two rounds of betting and doubles up for the last two rounds of betting. A maximum of 4 bets is allowed per round which includes a bet and three raises. (Example; in a $5/$10 Limit Texas Hold'em game, players must bet $5 and raise by $5 up to a maximum of $20 for the pre-flop and flop rounds, they must bet $10 and raise by $10 up to a maximum of $40 for the turn and river round).


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