How to Play Texas Hold'em

Texas Hold’em Poker is a popular card game with basic rules. But if you are new to the game and you like to learn the basics, then the following information can serve as your guide. For the article, it lists some topics to cover the different aspects of the card game.

And just like other casino game games, Texas Hold’em also makes use of some terms that are critical to the understanding of the game. Here’s a quick look at the most important terms that you should know when playing Hold’em online.

  • Blinds: These are your forced bets that you make just before the cards are dealt on the table.
  • Button. It acts as a reference or market for the player who serves as the dealer in the current hand.
  • Check: Also works as a call but no bet is involved.
  • Fourth Street: Similar to Turn.
  • Fifth Street: Similar to River.
  • Flop. This refers to the first three community cards dealt on the table.
  • All-in: A betting scenario where the player will throw all his chips on the table.
  • Pre flop: An event that happens before the flop.
  • River: It’s the last community card dealt.
  • Turn: The fourth community card dealt.
  • Showdown: The part where the participating players will reveal their cards to know the winner.

Playing Texas Hold’em

Texas Hold’em Poker is focused on building the right hand and the right kind of bets that can be made in each round. Today, this card game has some variations including Texas Hold’em cash game or tournament with slightly different rules, but the main objective remains the same. The Hold’em tournaments have its own set of rules that participating players should follow. The same is true with the cash game which is often played on a single table with 2 to 10 players participating in the road.

They may vary in some rules, but the general objectives of the game remain the same.  Players need to win as many chips as possible, and a pot is won if you can have the best hand in the table. This game is composed of three important parts:

  • The set-up
  • Betting Rounds
  • Showdown

Choosing a Dealer

Before the start of the game, it’s important to secure the chips and the type of chips that will be given to the player. But to address this, it’s best to understand first the nature of the game. Let’s assume that all players have their chips. The next concern on the table is to pick the player who will start the play as the dealer. In this card game, there’s a rotating dealer, which means that every participant on the table will assume that dealer position, moving to the left of the first dealer.

One way to initially choose the dealer is to deal each player a card. The player who gets the card with the highest value will serve as the dealer. Once the hand has been completed, the dealer button will then be assigned to the player on the left.

Securing the Blinds

Once the dealer has been identified, then that’s the time to secure the blinds. There are two types of blinds used in this game- the small and big blind. The player to the left of the assigned leader will put the small blind. The big blind, which is often double of the initial blind, is put by the player to the left of the first blind. The amount of blind placed on the table will define the kind of game to be played.

The most recommended arrangement is for the players to buy in for at least 100 times the size of the identified big blind. For example, if you want to buy in for $20, then the blinds should be pegged at 10¢ and 20¢ for small and big blinds. After the selection of the blinds, it will be easier to identify the kinds of chips to be played. Using the example above, you will need 10¢, 20¢ or even 1¢ chips.

Betting Rules to Keep in Mind

The person assigned as the dealer for the game will deal first to his left moving clockwise around the table. Each player will be assigned two cards known as the hole cards. In this card game, players can count on a minimum of one betting round to a maximum of four.

A hand is considered to have ended if all players except one have already folded, or the fourth and final round of betting has been completed with some players still in hand. After completing this part, the players will then participate in a showdown, and the player with the best hand will win. Now, if two players share the same hand value, then they will share the pot as well.

Rules for Pre-record

When all cards have been dealt with to participating players, then you are now in the Pre-record betting round. Players are then allowed to take a look at the cards and decide on what action to take. The round starts with the player who sites to the left side of the big blind. The assigned player has three options to take here:

  • Pay nothing and discard the card, and wait for another deal to play.
  • This entails matching the amount on the big blind.
  • This is done by doubling the amount of the big blind.

Once the assigned player has completed his action, the next player to the left will take his action, given the three available options. If the previous player raised, the amount raised is the amount that must be called by the next player, or he can raise again.

Note: The raise is equal to the amount of one bet plus the previous betting amount. For example, if the big blind for the table is 10¢, and the first assigned player wants to raise, then he will put 20¢ on the table. And if the next player wants to do the same, then this will be raised to 30¢ (the previous bet + another bet).

What Happens During the Flop

The flop happens when the Pre-record betting has been completed. The flop is rendered with the top card of the deck placed face down (this serves as the burn card), and three more cards that are dealt with face-up. Once these cards have been dealt with, that that’s the time players can now bet. For this round, the same rules in betting are used except for some minor changes like:

  • The first player to make the decision is the next player with a hand on the left side of the dealer.
  • The first player can bet or check, and since no bet has been submitted, calls are made for free.

The bet on the flop corresponds to the amount or size of the big blind.

What Happens During the Turn

After the completion of the bets during the flop, the dealer will now deal a card face-down and another card face-up. This combination is called the ‘burn and turn’. Once this turn has been dealt with on the table, the third round of betting begins. The rules in betting are similar to the flop betting round with one change- the bet size and the final betting round is always doubled.

What Happens During the River

If more than one player is left on the table and did not choose to fold, then the river is dealt. To do this, the dealer will deal one card face-down, and another one dealt face. This is considered as the final street, and no more cards will be dealt with to the player.

What Happens During the Showdown

After the completion of the river betting round, all participating players will join the showdown. The main point of the showdown is to find the best hand (player) who will win the pot. Here are some important rules to keep in mind during the showdown:

  1. The person who bets on the river is the first one who will reveal the hand.
  2. If no betting happened during the river, the person closest to the left of the dealer would show the hand, moving clockwise.
  3. If a player holds a losing hand, he has the option to reveal the cards or muck the hand.

Determining the Value of the Hands

Just like other card games, Texas Hold’em also requires you to build the best hand using two cards and the available community cards on the table. You may use the following rules when evaluating the cards.

  1. Keep in mind that a flush is always better than a straight, and the three-of-a-kind will beat a pair.
  2. Your poker hands should be composed of five cards.
  3. High Card. The plating cards are ranked deuce (2) as the lowest with Ace as the highest. Say two players get the same high card; then the second highest will determine who has the better value.
  4. A pair of two cards of the same rank will always bet the high card. Of the pairs, a pair of Aces is considered the best.
  5. Two Pair. A two pair will always bear a pair of cards. Now, if two or more players have the two pair, then the highest pair is considered the winner. For example, Aces will always beat the Kings.
  6. This combo is better than the three-of-a-kind. You can create a straight if you have five consecutive card ranks.
  7. This will always beat the straight. A flush refers to five cards belong to the same suits, for example, all Diamonds.
  8. Full House. This combination of cards will beat the flush. You know that you have a flush if you have a three-of-a-kind and a pair.

Once the winning hand has been determined, then the winner will get the pot.

Other Special Rules of the Game to Keep in Mind

  • Raising

You need to declare your intent to raise in the game. You are not allowed to put chips, return to the stack, and put more chips.

  • On buying chips

The minimum number of chips that you can buy before the first hand is dealt on the table will depend on the house rules adopted by the casino. In many casinos, the minimum number is often 50 to 100 times the big blind. There is no maximum limit when it comes to the number of chips that you can purchase- you can purchase as many as you can. And when playing a cash game, you may reload, or add more chips at any time between the hands.

Takeaway Points:
  • Texas Hold’em poker is a classic card game that requires players to bet and build the best hand.
  • This game features three important parts- the set-up, betting round, and the showdown.
  • Before a game can start, the players will first select a dealer and the amount of small and big blinds.
  • Players will make a bet before the Pre-record. They are also expected to make an action based on the value of their hand. Players can call, fold or raise.
  • The next two important events are the ‘Turn’ and the ‘River’.
  • After the ‘River’ betting round, players will play the ‘Showdown’.