Poker Rules

Texas Hold'em

Poker takes a minute to learn. A lifetime to master.

Texas Hold'em games are probably the most popular form of poker played in live tournaments as well as online. The rules are very simple however learning to find an edge against your opponents needs time. Texas Hold em is a community card game where you must use your hole two cards as well as 5 cards that are the same for everybody to make the best 5 card combination.

Texas Hold'em basic rules

In order to learn Texas Hold'em you need to take in quite a bit of information at first. After that, the rest comes really easy. If you have played any poker game before, you will see that many things are the same – hand values, betting rounds, etc. The main difference is the amount of cards you get as hole and the amount of cards that everybody can use to make the best combination

In Texas Hold'em you are dealt two cards at the beginning. The hand consists of 4 betting rounds and five community cards dealt face up. To win the pot you have to have the best 5-card hand after the final round of betting is over or by making all your opponents Fold (give up their Hole Cards).

Here is a standard situation where at least two players go to the showdown (do not Fold):

PREFLOP: Players get two cards each and taking turns they place their bets.
FLOP: Three cards are dealt on the table.
Players place their bets.
TURN (Fourth Street) : One more card (fourth community card) is dealt
Players place their bets.
RIVER (Fifth Street) : One more card (fifth community card) is dealt
Players place their bets and show their cards.
Best 5-card combination wins.

When it is your time to act...

You may already know this so you can easily skip to the next part. If you are absolutely new to any kind of poker, keep in mind that in your arsenal of actions at the poker table there are 5 actions. But at any given moment the most you can have is 3 options (you will understand why soon). Keep in mind that in the end of every betting round (Preflop, Flop, Turn and River) players must have contributed to the pot the same amount.

Your actions include:

FOLD
Folding is simply giving away your cards. You can do this at any time of the game if you think that your cards are not good enough to win the pot.

CHECK
Checking means doing nothing. This action is available only if nobody before you has made a bet.

BET
Betting – putting any amount to the pot before anybody else. In Pot Limit and Fixed Limit games this amount is determined automatically, while in No Limit games you can bet on one street as much as your entire stack (tournament chips or money).

RAISE
Raising is only availabe after someone has made a bet. As with betting, in No Limit games you can raise the amount as big as the whole stack

CALL
A call is an answer to someone's bet or a raise. When calling a bet or a raise you even out your contribution to the pot (Your opponent Bets $5, you can only Call with $5).

Position in Texas Hold'em

In Texas Hol'em games position is very important for two reasons: order of betting as well as deeper, strategic planning. For a beginner it is key to know that the most important person at the table is the dealer. He has the dealer button. Every other possition at the table is determined by its relation to the dealer. For example, a player to imidiate left of the dealer is the Small Blind and the player after him – the Big Blind.

Tip: From the table below you can determine Early, Middle and Late Positions. Always keep in mind, that the later you act, the better because you know more about your oponennt's actions.

The Blinds and Preflop Betting Round

The Blinds are forced bets that you have to put into the pot preflop regardless of whether you are going to play or planning to fold your cards once your tun comes. Everybody else at the table gets to see their Hole cards for free and then decide whether they are going to play their hand or give it up.

Big Blind - 100% the amount of the stakes you play
Small Blind – 50% the amount of the stakes you play

For example, if you play 5c/10c Texas Hold'em, the Small Blind has to put 5c in to the pot before seeing the cards while the Big Blind has to put 10c. Anyone else who wants to play must put at least 10c as well. The only difference is they make their decision after seeing the cards.

Let's start playing Texas Hold'em:

Preflop

Preflop everybody gets two cards and must make a decision of whether they are going to play them or not. Obviously, the best are big cards like pocket Aces, pocket Kings but what you should consider is that there will be 5 cards dealt on the table – even AA is often beatable.

The action starts with the person playing to the left of the Big Blind of that round. In turns, everybody put in money (bet, call or raise) until the amount everybody put in is even and the 3 Flop cards are dealt.

Flop, Turn and River

Flop is the three community cards that are followed by another round of betting until the amount of money everybody put in to the pot is even. After that the Turn card is dealt and the same applies to the River.

However, the action on the Flop, the Turn and the River now starts with the Small blind and moves clockwise while the dealer is left to act last (that's why it is considered to be the best position in games like Texas Hold'em and Omaha)

Remember, that even a high pair like kings or aces are beatable by the lowest two-pair. Of course, bluffing is a big part of the game so sometimes what you represent by your bets and raises matters more rather what you actually have.

The River is followed by the last betting round and in the case when more than one player has evened out with the money they put in to the pot, the players go to Showdown – they simply show their cards and the winner is determined by the strength of the 5-card combination a player can make using his two hole cards and the 5 cards on the table.

The strength of the hand in Texas Hold'em:

Showdown

In the example you see that three players went to the showdown. The player on the left has a {10-Diamonds}{q-Spades} which makes a Two-pair. The player in the middle had {k-Hearts}{k-Diamonds} and with {10-}{j-}{q-}{a-} on the table it makes a straight while the player that had {a-Spades}{a-Clubs} preflop, has Three of a kind which is still not as good as a straight.

The object of the game is to make the best 5-card combination using your two hole cards and the five cards on the table (Community cards) that are open to everyone. But you can use only one of your hole cards and four of the community cards (In Omaha you must use exactly two hole cards to make the the best combination)

Conclusion

Texas Hold'em is the most popular poker game in the world. Many consider it to be the easiest to master out of the big trio: Hold'em, Stud and Omaha. While you should always look to learn new things in life, it is usually a good idea to start your poker career by learning Texas Hold'em.

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