Texas Hold'em has fast become the most popular poker game in the world. It is a type of community poker, which features a number of cards that are dealt face up in front of the dealer. These cards are visible to all players, and all players share the cards. Players can then use their own cards and the community cards to form a winning hand.
Texas Hold'em is a community poker game, read more about the Hold'em poker variations.
Many poker rooms have three or more variations of Texas Hold'em Poker (defined by their betting limits):
Limit Texas Hold'em (there is a specified betting limit in each game and on each round of betting)
Pot Limit Texas Hold'em (a player can bet what is in the pot)
No Limit Texas Hold'em (a player can bet all of their chips at any time)
The following list is a simple rundown of basic play when playing Texas Hold'em.
Texas Hold'em uses a small disc called the "dealer button" to indicate the dealer of each hand. Once a hand is completed, the dealer button moves clockwise to the next player. This ensures that each player has the chance of playing early or late and that every player gets a chance to post the "blind bets".
Note: During Single Table Tournaments the first player to get the dealer button is determined through a high card draw (each player is dealt one card; the player with the highest value card goes first. If two or more players have the same value card then they are ranked according to suit - high to low - spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs).
The player to the left of the dealer button is required to place the "small blind" (usually equal to half the lower stake) and the next player to the left is required to place the "big blind" (equal to the lower stake limit). Once the blind bets have been made, the cards are dealt and the next player to the left starts the first betting round.
Both the small and the big blinds are considered live bets and therefore the player has the option of checking, calling, raising or folding when the betting action comes back around to their position. After the flop and after each subsequent betting round, the first active player left of the button is first to act.
When a player sits down at an active table, they will be required to post the equivalent of the big blind. Also, to prevent "blinds" abuse, players are required to post the small blind and the big blind upon re-entry (returning from sitting out) to the game if both blinds are missed (only the big blind amount is posted as a live bet and the remainder is added directly to the pot). All players have the option of sitting out and waiting for the button to rotate to their position before starting to play.
The mandatory posting of the blind is in place to ensure fairness to all players; preventing players from constantly switching seats to gain a positional advantage, or from entering games in a late position and then leaving before they are required to post the big blind.
Starting with the player to the left of the "big blind", they have the option to bet, raise or fold. All remaining players can then call, raise or fold. To "call" is to bet the same as the previous player. If the first player folds, then the next player will have the option to bet while the remaining players can call.
The bets in the first betting round are set at the lower limit of the stakes structure, so in a $10/$20 game the value of a bet is $10 while the raise is $20 (a raise includes a call of the previous bet plus an additional bet).
After the flop (when the first 3 community cards have been dealt), the second betting round begins.
The first player to the left of the dealer button is the first to act (bet, raise, check or fold). Checking is to refrain from betting and is only available if no bet has yet been made in the betting round. Once a bet has been made, remaining players will only have the option to call, raise or fold. Like the first round, the second also limits the bets and raises to the lower limit of the stakes structure.
The third betting round starts after the Turn (when the fourth community card has been dealt).
Once again, the player to the left of the dealer button begins the betting (bet, check or fold). However, this time the bets and raises are limited to the upper limit of the stakes structure. Each subsequent player can then call, check, raise or fold (a player can only check if no bet has been made).
The final betting round happens after the River card (the final community card) has been dealt.
The player to the left of the dealer button can bet, check, raise or fold. Bets and raises are limited to the upper limit of the stakes structure. Remaining players can then call, check, raise or fold (a player can only check if no bet has been made).
Any remaining players will now display their two cards and the player who has the best hand wins.
Players can use a combination of their own cards and the community cards (2 player cards + 3 community cards or 1 player card + 4 community cards) or all 5 community cards (called playing the board).
If two or more players have the same hand then the pot is split equally between them.
In Limit Texas Hold'em a maximum of four bets are allowed per player in a betting round - (1) bet, (2) raise, (3) re-raise and (4) cap. In No Limit and Pot Limit Texas Hold'em the number of times a player can raise is not limited. However, a player can not raise themselves (if a player raises and then all the remaining players call or fold, then the player who raised would not get an option to raise because they were the last to raise).
A player is declared All-In if they do not have enough chips to call. This player is eligible for the portion of the pot to the point of their final bet.
All further bets by other players go to a "side pot" which any All-In players are excluded from.