Texas Hold’em is the most popular poker variant, with all marquee poker tournaments featuring the no-limit version of the game. It’s so popular that many won’t ever learn any other poker version.
Learning the basics of the exciting game is not difficult, especially as the rules are easy to follow and the gameplay is straightforward. However, becoming good at it will take some time.
If you’re new to Texas Hold’em, it’s probably best to start with the rules. In addition to being very easy to learn, they are also crucial in understanding how the game works.
Texas Hold’em: The Rules
First thing first. The game uses the player’s hole cards, whose goal is to combine them with the community cards to make the best possible hand. Hold’em resembles other poker variants, but the way hands are made differs from draw poker.
At the start of each round, players will receive two hole cards face down. During the betting rounds, up to five more cards are dealt face up. These are the community cards. Players use them together with the hole cards to create a poker hand.
A total of five community cards are dealt in three stages:
- The Flop. The first three cards are dealt.
- The Turn. The fourth card is dealt.
- The River. The final one is dealt.
The players’ goal is to use the best five cards to construct a five-card hand. They are free to combine cards in any way they want, meaning they cause all their hole cards or simply play all community ones instead.
The best hand wins. However, you don’t always need the best had to claim the pot. If your rivals fold, and you remain the only player, you don’t have to show any cards to win. Or you can always bluff and see how that works.
If it all comes down to two players, the only way to win is to have the best five-card poker hand. It’s as simple as that.
Now it’s time to see how the betting works.
Texas Hold’em: The Betting
The play starts with the dealer button, which determines the acting dealer. It also decides players who initiate the betting by posting a small blind and a big blind. These blinds will have to be placed before the start of each subsequent hand.
The blinds not only make sure the betting goes on, but they also add more action to every hand.
After the two hole cards are dealt face down, it’s time to begin the first round of betting.
The player left to the dealer places a small blind, which is usually half the size of the big blind. Then the player directly to his/her left posts the big blind.
This is the first betting round, taking place after players get two hole cards. The first one play is the player to the left of the big blind. He has three options:
- Call. To match the size of the big blind.
- Raise. To increase the bet.
- Fold. To throw away the hand.
The minimum bet is the size of the big blind, while the maximum amount depends on the type of game played.
After the first player makes his move, the action will continue in a clockwise manner. Each player also has the options mentioned above.
The preflop round comes to an end once the last bet is called.
Three community cards are dealt, which marks the start of the second betting round. The player who starts the round and all subsequent ones is the first active player left of the button.
In addition to the three options we spoke of earlier (call, fold, or raise), players can now check when no betting has happened beforehand.
Check means to pass the action to the next player.
The betting will go on until the last bet is called, which ends the action. The betting round will also come to an end if all players check around the table.
The new round of betting commences after the fourth community card is dealt.
It’s time for another round of betting once the card is dealt, similar to what we have seen in the previous round.
Players have the same array of options. They can choose to call, raise, fold, or check.
The final betting round starts after the last community card is dealt face-up. Everything stays the same as in the previous one.
Players can choose to call, raise, fold, or check.
Once betting is done, it’s time for the showdown, where the remaining players expose their cards to determine a winner.