Texas Hold'em

Texas Holdem is truly the most popular and exciting of all poker games. It has rapidly become the most played form of poker, made famous around the world as the poker game of choice for many top pros as well as social players.

This 7-card poker game is easy to understand; players have to make the best 5-card hand possible from a choice of 2-hole cards (also known as pocket cards) dealt face down to each player and five community cards everyone can use.

Starting the game

Dealer button

Each online poker player receives one card face up at the very beginning of play; the player with the highest card value is the selected dealer and is marked by a dealer button. This button is placed in front of the selected player who is the dealer, and determines where the dealing should begin and which players in turn will "post the blinds". The dealer button always moves clockwise and rotates around the table moving one place to the left after each hand.

Blinds

Blinds are a compulsory bet placed in the pot to start the betting and to give online poker players an incentive to enter the hand. It also means that the winner of the hand will always collect a pot rather than nothing at all. Before the first cards are dealt, the player immediately to the left of the dealer button must post the "small blind". The player to the left of the small blind must post the "big blind". The small blind is usually equal to half the minimum bet. The big blind is equal the minimum bet. E.g. $1 small blind, $2 big blind for a $2/$4 limit game.

Dealing the cards

To begin the starting hand, each online poker player will receive two hole cards, also called "pocket cards", which are dealt face down to each online poker player. Online poker players will only view their own hole cards.

1st round of betting

When all players have received their hole cards the first round of betting can begin. This begins with the player to the left of the big blind and moves round the table in a clockwise direction. There are four choices in the first round of betting depending on how well you think your hole cards compare to your opponents':

Fold

Decide that your poker cards are not good enough to continue, discard your hand and not take part in the current hand or the current pot.

Call

Match the previous bet and stay in the hand.

The minimum buy-in amount to a Pot limit ring game is 20x the "big blind" (for what that is, see below). Maximum buy-in amount is 100x the big blind. A "sliding scale" in the software display allows you to bet between the minimum and maximum range.

Raise

Increase the previous bet made, meaning your opponents will have to match your bet to stay in the hand or fold.

Check

If the betting comes around to your turn and there have been no bets or raises, you have the choice to check, taking no more action. If another online poker player has bet or raised, you do not have the option to check, if you wish to stay in the hand you must "Call" or make an even larger bet ("Raise") to stay in.

Please note that there is a maximum of one bet and three raises in each round of betting. In the first and second round of betting the bet and raise is set at the lower table limit of the game. For example in a $2/$4 limit game, the bet is $2 and all raises are increments of $2 in the first and second round.

The Flop

At the end of the first round of betting, the "flop" is dealt, consisting of three cards dealt face up in the middle of the table. These are communal cards and every online poker player can use them to try and make the best possible hand.

2nd round of betting

Having seen the flop, you're able to have a better idea of what your best hand is likely to be. In this and following rounds of betting, the first player to act is directly to the left of the dealer button. The options are to fold, bet if there is no bet on the table, call, or raise as in the first round. Alternatively if no one has contributed to the pot for the round you can 'check', bet zero amount and pass the action onto the next online poker player in turn. This enables you to stay in the hand for free but if another poker player makes a bet, you will have to match the bet to stay in.

The turn card

After the end of the second round of betting, the "turn" card is dealt. This is a fourth communal card dealt face up in the middle of the table. This adds to the communal cards shared by all players to make the best possible hand.

3rd round of betting

This is the same as the previous two rounds of betting except the betting is now set at the higher table limit than previous rounds. For example in a $2/$4 limit game, all bets and subsequent raises are now in increments of $4.

The river

This is the fifth and final communal card dealt face up in the middle of the table and shared by all the players to make their best possible hand out of the seven cards now available.

4th round of betting

This is the last round of betting and is the same as the previous round. After this final round has finished there is a final pot.

The winner

The player with the best five card hand is the winner of the round and wins the pot. If there are multiple winners with the same hand, the pot is split between these players.

New deal

After the winner has received the pot, the dealer button moves left one player, the blinds are posted, and a new hand is dealt.

No Limit Texas Holdem

The notes above apply to standard Fixed Limit Texas Holdem games. No Limit uses the same format but the bet/raise amount is only limited by the amount of chips you have available.

 

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