Texas Holdem Poker Rules - How to Play Poker
Texas Holdem has become by far the most popular form of poker today, and that’s probably thanks in part to how easy it is to learn the basics. And yet after you do learn the basics there are still plenty of intricacies to get your teeth into. This article will teach you the basic rules so you can get stuck in and play some poker.
Texas Holdem Poker – Rounds of betting
Each hand of Texas Holdem follows the same basic rounds of dealing and betting. We will first look at the order of events before going into more detail.
- Dealer button placed – Every hand, one player is designated as the dealer and has a dealer button placed in front of him. This button moves clockwise one place after each hand.
- Blinds paid – The two players to the left (clockwise) of the dealer button are the small blind and big blind. This process is done for you when playing online.
- Hole cards are dealt - Every play is dealt two cards face down that only the player sees. These to cards are known as your hole cards.
- First round of betting - Each player then gets a chance to raise, call or fold. The action begins with the player to the left of the big blind and continues clockwise around the table.
- The flop - After the first round of betting the dealer burns a card (places it face down, it is not part of the hand), then deals 3 community cards face up in the middle. These 3 cards are known as the flop and can be used by any player.
- Second round of betting – Each player again gets the chance to raise, call or fold. Action begins with the player to the left of the button and continues clockwise around the table.
- The turn – The dealer now burns another card then deals one more community card face up next to the flop.
- Third round of betting – Again the players get the chance to raise, call or fold and again the action begins with the player to the left of the button and continues clockwise around the table.
- The river – After burning a card the dealer now places the final community card face up next to the turn. This card is known as the ‘river’ or ‘fifth street’.
- Fourth round of betting – This is the last round of betting, and each player has one final chance to raise, call or fold.
- Showdown – If there are still two or more players remaining after all the betting has concluded the players now turn over their hole cards to see who has the best hand (hand rankings covered later). The player with the best hand gets the pot, and the dealer collects the cards ready for the next hand.
These rounds of betting will quickly become second nature to anyone who plays even just a few games of poker. When playing online everything is taken care of for you and you are notified when it is your turn to act so it really is very easy to pick up, even if you have no previous knowledge of Texas Holdem poker rules.
Texas Holdem Poker Hand Rankings
Knowing which hands beat which is obviously very important. With that in mind here is a list of all the different hands it is possible to make in Texas Holdem. Remember, you can use any combination of your 2 hole cards and the 5 community cards to make your best 5 card hand.
Feel free to save this picture or print it off so you can refer to it while playing. To save this picture to your computer, right click it then click ‘Save picture as’.
For more information on Poker Hand Rankings click here.
Player Actions in Texas Holdem Poker
When it is your turn to act, you have the option to raise, bet, call, check or fold. So what do these actions mean?
- Folding – If it is your turn to act and someone has bet before you, you can fold your hand and avoid having to put any more chips in to the pot. You should fold when you have a bad hand, or when you think your opponent is likely to have a better hand.
- Checking – If no one has bet so far in the current round of betting and it is your turn to act, then you can check. This means that you keep your hand but do not put any more chips in the middle. Essentially you are just declining the option to bet and passing the option on to the next player.
- Calling – If it is your turn to act and somebody has bet/raised before you, you can call the bet by putting in the same number of chips as the bet/raise. If someone has bet, then someone else has raised to a larger amount, you have to match the largest bet to call.
- Betting – If no one has yet bet and the action is on you, you can choose to bet, forcing other players who wish to continue with the hand to call your bet. If you are playing No-Limit Texas Holdem, you can bet anywhere between one big blind and your entire stack.
- Raising – If someone has bet before you, you can raise his bet to a higher amount, forcing them to call your bet if they wish to continue. In No-Limit Texas Holdem the minimum raise is the size of the original bet but there is no limit on the maximum. For example if someone bets $10 and you want to raise, you have to raise by at least $10 (so you have to put at least $20 in the pot).
Tip: A common mistake by new players is folding when they can check, especially when they are in the big blind position pre-flop and no one raises. Try to avoid doing this and you may find that the flop brings a pleasant surprise every now and then.
Poker Rules – Ways to win the pot
There are two ways to win a poker hand. The first way to win is to have the best hand at showdown. This happens when you get to the end of the hand, the betting has concluded, and you flip your cards over to reveal the best hand.
The other way is to get everyone else in the hand to fold. In this case your cards do not matter as you win no matter what your opponents held. This is where bluffing can be used. You can bet with a poor hand and get your opponent to fold a better hand. Don’t go too mad with this though or people will just start calling you all the time.
Split pots – Sometimes when you get to showdown, two or more players may have the same best hand. In this case the pot is divided equally between the winning hands. Any lower value hands still lose and do not get a share of the pot.
Learning the basics by playing poker
The best way to learn the basics is to play poker. Just playing some hands on an online poker site will allow you to very quickly familiarise yourself with the structure and rules of a poker game.
You don’t even have to play for real money to begin with (or ever if you wish). As well as play money games which are just for fun and learning, many sites offer freerolls to players who do decide to deposit, meaning you can play for free and still have the chance to win real money.