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texas holdem rules

How do you play Texas Hold’em step by step?

  • Type of game: community card Poker
  • Number of players: 2+, usually 2-10
  • Cards: 52
  • Required skills: probability, strategy,
  • game theory, and psychology
  • Random chance: Medium
  • Play: Clockwise
  • Deck: French

 

It takes a moment to learn, but a lifetime to master. This is the best definition for the most popular game card ever: Texas Holdem Poker. Texas Holdem or simply “hold’em” is one of the most popular variants of the Poker game. It is a simple game to learn, but it is not TOO simple. Poker is played everywhere, from home to big gambling rooms in Vegas. People may play it for fun, for winning some pennies, and even millions of dollars. Hence, if you want to start your journey towards a Texas Holdem mastership, stick around and read this A to Z guide for playing Texas Hold’em, written for beginners and pros. I will start with the basics of playing Poker (Texas Holdem) and continue with details, strategies, and everything you need to know to start playing this popular card game.

 

Some History

Nobody knows the exact invention date of Texas Holdem. But the Texas Legislature officially recognizes Robstown, Texas, as the game’s birthplace, dating it to the early 20th century. After the game spread throughout Texas, hold ’em was introduced to Las Vegas in 1963 at the California Club by Corky McCorquodale. It became popular and quickly spread to the Golden Nugget, Stardust, and Dunes. Later on, after the Las Vegas trip, bookmakers Terry Rogers and Liam Flood introduced hold’em to European card players in the early 1980s.

 

What is the difference between Poker and Texas Hold’em?

I mentioned, that hold’em is a variant of the Poker game. This means that they are different. All poker games are played by two or more players who compete to try and make the best hand by using a defined hand ranking system. ButTexas Hold’em is a type of community card poker. The other community card Poker games are Omaha, Pineapple, and Courchevel.

 

Texas Holdem basic rules for Dummies

Texas Hold’em Poker is everywhere these days — on TV, online, in clubs and casinos, and even your house. Before you sit down to this game, make sure you are in good shape to be successful — take care of non-poker issues and check your physical, mental, and financial status. Also, you should definitely know what your goal is. The overall goal in every Poker game is: to win more money or chips than your opponents over your lifetime by consistently making better decisions than them at every possible decision point. During the game, you need to understand basic odds and playable hands. Also, you need to know how to bluff successfully and follow proper poker etiquette. Texas Hold ‘Em also has its own abbreviations for online play.

 

Texas Hold’em Terminology for Beginners

First things first! You should get familiar with the lingo used in Poker, especially in the hold’em world. Go over the following most important words :

  • Hole Cards: The first two cards dealt face down to each player
  • The Flop: Next Three cards placed face-up on the table
  • The Turn: The Forth card placed face-up on the table
  • The River: The Fifth card placed face-up on the table
  • Pot: The total money the player with the best hand will win
  • Bet: Put money in the pot
  • Check: Choose not to bet when nobody has bet before you
  • Call: Put money equal to another player’s bet in the pot to stay in the hand
  • Raise: Increase the amount of money other players have to pay to stay in the hand
  • Pot Odds: Mathematically figure out if it is profitable for you to call a bet
  • Rags: A bad hand without much chance of winning
  • Bluffing: Betting/Raising to make other players fold when you have Rags
  • Bad Beat: Losing a pot to a great hand when you have a pretty good hand
  • Street: A card that is dealt in a particular betting round. For example, in hold ’em, the community cards are referred to as the Flop, Turn, and River. The Turn and River are sometimes referred to as Fourth Street and Fifth Street.

 

How many persons are required to play Texas Holdem Poker?

A poker table typically has between 2 and 9 players. If the game only has two players, it’s known as heads-up. If a maximum of 6 players is allowed at a table, it’s called 6-max. If the table has a maximum of 9 players, it’s (you guessed it) 9-max. Occasionally, you may see a 10-max game in some casino games. The largest single table game online is typically 9-max.

 

Texas Hold’em Rules: How to deal Texas Hold’em?

Although the theories and technicalities of the game are pretty easy to learn, the strategy required to win is anything but easy. You need endless hours of study and practice before you can even come close to mastering everything you need to beat the competition. But don’t panic! We are not in the stone age, and now learning is easier than ever. Hence, get ready to learn the rules because, without the rules, you have no chance of winning this game.

 

Basic Rules

I mentioned earlier that you should not play without a goal. You must know what you are going to get. The goal of the game is easy.You should use your hole card and with the combination of the community cards make the best possible five-card poker hand. Here are the community cards(make friends with them!):

The 5 community cards

The way players create their hands in hold’em is slightly different :

  • In Texas Hold’em, each player is dealt two cards face down – the “hole cards”. In other words, hold ’em starts with two cards.
  • Throughout several betting rounds, five more cards are dealt face up in the middle of the table.
  • These face-up cards are the community cards. Each player is free to use the community cards with combination of their hole cards to build a five-card poker hand.

A full hand in Texas Hold’em contains three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank, such as 3♣ 3♠ 3. ♦ 6♣ 6♥. Here, you should know that the 5 community cards are dealt with in three stages:

  • The Flop: the first three community cards
  • The Turn: the fourth community card
  • The River: the fifth and final community card

how play poker

Your must create your five-card poker hands using the best available five cards out of the seven total cards (i.e. the two hole cards and the five community cards). You can do this by:

  • Use both your hole cards in combination with three community cards,
  • Use one hole card in combination with four community cards, or
  • Use no hole cards.
  • NOTE: If you can have a better combination with the cards on the table, you can forget about your cards and play all five community cards.

Remember, If the betting causes all but one player to fold, the lone remaining player wins the pot without showing any cards. For this reason, you should not always hold the best hand to win the pot. It’s always possible a player can ‘bluff’ and get others to fold better hands.

Now that you know the basics it’s time to get into the details of playing the game.

 

Texas Hold’em Playing Rules: How to play?

The first key aspect of playing this game is understanding the different positions, and I want to make this concept clear for you. There are 6 key poker positions as follows:

  • Under-The-Gun (UTG)
  • Hijack (HJ)
  • Cutoff (CO)
  • Button (BTN)
  • Small Blind (SB)
  • Big Blind (BB)

But you should not understand and learn all the six. I will explain the Button and the Blinds. Don’t worry about the rest. For now, you must understand the relationship between the Button and Blinds.

 

The Button

The game of Texas Hold’em rotates around the Button and Blinds. On each successive hand, the button and blinds move once to the left. The play moves clockwise around the table, and it starts with action to the left of the dealer button.

The button is a round disc sitting in front of a player (the acting dealer), and it rotates one seat to the left with every hand. In fact, the button determines which player is the acting dealer. Also, the button determines where the dealing of the cards begins.

texas holdem rules

Remember, in all Texas Hold’ems, there is a physical button placed in front of the Dealer before the hand begins. There is an exception, and it is when you are playing in a live game that has a dedicated dealer. In that case, the actual dealer does not have the button in front of him/her. Because the entire dealing process is automated and the dealer button and blinds move automatically in an online situation.

When you play in casino rooms, the player with the dealer button will not deal the cards. The casino hires someone to do that. But when you play at home, the player with the button will deal the cards (I’ll explain about playing at home later in this article).

 

The Blinds

The first two players sitting to the immediate left of the button must post a forced bet – a small blind and a big blind, or ante to start the hand. In fact, the blinds begin the wagering. Typically, the small blind is exactly one-half of the big blind amount. If you are playing in a game where the big blind is 50 cents, then the small blind would be 25 cents. Although this amount varies from room to room and can also be dependent on the game being played. For example, in a “$1/$2” Texas hold ’em, the small blind is $1 and the big blind is $2.

Simply, the first person that receives a card is Small Blind followed by the Big blind, and so on. Remember, the Dealer always is the last player who receives a card.

the blinds in texas holdem
Two “Hole Cards” are dealt face down and the first round of betting begins.

 

Without the blinds, the game would be so boring because no one would be required to put any money into the pot. The blinds ensure there will be some level of ‘action’ on every hand.

NOTE: In tournaments, the blinds are raised at regular intervals. In cash games, the blinds always stay the same. Also, the number of players keeps decreasing, and the stacks of remaining players get bigger. This is why the blinds are raised at regular intervals.

All right. Let’s play!

 

Preflop: the first betting round

Right after each player receives the two hole cards, the first betting round begins. The first player to act is the one to the left of the big blind. This position is “under-the-gun” because the player must act. Here, the player has 3 options:

  • Call: match the amount of the big blind
  • Raise: increase the bet within the specific limits of the game
  • Fold: throw the hand away

If the player folds, he/she is out of the game.

The amount that a player can raise, depends on the game that is being played. For example, In no-limit Texas hold ’em, the minimum opening raise must be at least twice the big blind. But the maximum raise can be all of the chips a player has in his or her stack. On the other hand, in limit hold ’em, a raise is always exactly twice the big blind.

After the first player acts, the play continues in a clockwise fashion around the table. Each player also has the same three options — to call, to raise, or fold.

Once the last bet is called and the action is ‘closed,’ the preflop round is over. Now, play moves on to the “flop.”

the flop in texas holdem

The Flop: Second betting round

The flop begins by dealing the first three community cards to each player who did not fold in the first round.

The action in the Flop (and subsequent ones) starts with the first active player to the left of the button.

In this round, the player has an extra option called “check”. The player can bet, call, raise, fold, and check. This means the player passes the action to the next player in the hand. The player can check if no betting action has occurred beforehand.

The betting round continues until the last bet or raise, where the round ends. Additionally, if players choose to check around the table, also the betting round will end.

The Flop Second betting round

 

The Turn: Third betting round

Following all betting actions in the Flop, the fourth community card, called the Turn, is dealt face-up. Once dealing has been completed, another round of betting occurs, similar to that on the previous street of play.

Again here players have the option to check, bet, call, fold, or raise.

The Turn Third betting round

The River: Final betting round

Finally, the last betting round begins when the fifth community card, called the River, is dealt face-up. Once dealing has been completed, another round of betting takes place similar to the previous street of play.

Also in this round, players can check, bet, call, fold, or raise.

The River Final betting round

NOW, who won?!

After all betting action has been completed, the remaining players with hole cards expose their holdings to determine a winner. This is called the showdown.

 

The Showdown

The remaining players show their hole cards. Now, with the assistance of the dealer, a winning hand is determined.

The player with the best combination of five cards wins the pot.

the shutdown

You should be asking what the best five-card combination is? Here I come to the winning hands topic and explain the Texas Holdem hands and related rules.

 

Hand Rankings and winning Hands

Almost every poker game is a battle to make the best five-card hand. Remember, in Texas Hold’em it is not necessary to use both cards in your hand, and you can use both, one or none of your own hole cards to make your best hand.

Here is a list of the ranking order (known as official poker hand rankings) of all 10 possible hands that you can hold followed by the best starting hands in Texas Hold’em. I strongly recommend you memorize these hands.

 

Best 5-Card Poker Hands Ranked from Lowest to Highest

Rank Five-cards Description
10. High Card A hand that does not meet any of the following criteria. The best high card hand possible is AKQJ9. In the case of a tie, the next highest card is used to break the tie. ie. AJ852 beats AJ843.
9. One Pair A pair is made up of two matching card ranks along with three unrelated side cards.
8. Two Pair This hand is self-explanatory and consists of two cards with matching rank alongside another two cards of matching rank. If two players have two “pair”, the highest ranks win, ie, JJ55 beats both TT99 and JJ44.
7. Three of a Kind Commonly called “Trips,” three of a kind contains any three cards with the same rank. As with other poker hands, in the event of a tie, the highest-ranked trips, wins.
6. Straight Five cards that, are in the sequence. To make a straight, Aces can count as either the highest card or the lowest. An Ace to five straight is called “The Wheel.”
5. Flush Five non-consecutive cards of the same suit. The highest card rank determines the strength of the flush. The example shows a Jack-high flush, which would only be beaten by a Queen-high or better flush.
4. Full House 3 matching card ranks along with 2 matching card ranks. The example shows “Nines full of Aces.” When ranking full houses, the cards that matter are the trips, ie. “Eights full of twos” beats “Sevens full of Aces.”
3. Four of a Kind Any four cards of the same rank, with the fifth card being called the “kicker”. Another extremely rare hand to achieve.
2. Straight Flush All five cards must be in numerical order with no gaps in between and all of the same suit. Making a straight flush is so rare that most players can remember every single one in their lifetime.
1. Royal Flush The best possible poker hand. With the highest card being an Ace, all five cards must be in numerical order with identical suits. In poker, all suits are equally ranked.

 

Now, the best starting hands are as follows:

Best Starting Hands in Texas Hold’em from Strongest to weakest

1. Pocket Aces
2. Pocket Kings
3. Pocket Queens
4. Ace- King Suited
5. Pocket Jacks
6. Pocket Tens
7. Ace-King Off-suit
8. Ace-Queen Suited
9. Pocket Nines
10. Ace-Jack Suited

Texas Holdem Strategy

All players always look for the best strategy to play hold’em and win. I give you my friendly and professional advice: there is no THE BEST STRATEGY. There are thousands of tips and pieces of advice you can use. But there is no magic formula other than reading and practicing. Yes, YOU are the secret magic formula. You should read, learn, practice, and practice more. Here are some of the best strategies to play Texas Hold’em you can use:

  • Choose an opening hands that can make you money in any given situation.
  • Follow what’s happening at your table to correctly size your bet.
  • Make the right folds and increase your profits.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of BLUFFING!
  • Play Smart on the Turn and the River

 

Hold’em Bluffing Strategy

  • Only bluff where it makes a difference to your standing — either in a tournament or to your stack of chips.
  • Be careful bluffing someone considerably worse than you are. He may call just to see what you have, or on some probabilistically low draw when he already has you beaten anyway.

 

  • Bluff in situations where the board hints at the great hand you do not have. For example, when straights and flushes hint by the board, the turn of an Ace, and so on.
  • Don’t try to bluff players who only play the most solid hands if they’re still in the pot.
  • Don’t bluff people who are extremely likely to call.
  • Do bluff the timid or people who are likely to fold.
  • Remember that it’s easier to bluff in No-Limit than Limit because the bets (both implied and real) are bigger.

 

Texas Hold’em hands odds and odds Calculator

I have explained the concept of odds in a previous article and you can find it here. Now, I explain how odds work in Texas Hold’em poker game.

 

Common Hold’em Odds

The following poker odds chart illustrates on average how many poker hands it takes for something to happen. For instance, poker players get pocket aces an average of once every 221 poker hands.

texas holdem odds

Common Hold’em Match-Ups

Poker players tend to play strong poker hands like pocket pairs and ace-king suited. For this reason, you’ll see certain poker hand match-ups more often than others. Here are the common ones:

     
Match-up Approximate Odds (in percentage) Example
Higher pocket pair vs. lower pocket pair At least 80% favorite AA vs. JJ

 

Pocket pair vs. overcards 55% favorite JJ vs. AK

 

Pocket pair vs. overcard and undercard 70% favorite TT vs. Q8
Pair- pair vs. overcard and one of that pair 90% favorite KK vs. AK

 

Two high cards vs. two lower cards 65% favorite JT vs. 87

 

 

Generally speaking, the Poker odds show you the probability of winning any given hand. For example, if you had a straight draw with 9-8 on a 7-6-2 flop, then you’d have eight poker outs: 5s-5h-5d-5c or 10s-10h-10d-10c. Before I proceed, you need to understand how to calculate “outs”. Outs are the cards that will help you improve your hand and make it better than what you think your opponent is holding. This helps you decide when to call. For instance, if your opponent makes a 31% overbet, this doesn’t really warrant a call but if they only make a min-bet then that’s generally an easy call.

 

To calculate odds, you first need the number of winning cards, or simply: Outs

Here are common poker outs you might run into:

poker outs

You don’t need to memorize all these charts. Simply you can calculate your own outs by this simple math:

All you have to do is figure out how many cards will improve your poker hand. For instance, if you have 5d5c and you need to improve to a set or quads, your calculation is:

 

You can use various online calculators to calculate the odds for you. But I suggest you practice and understand the concept and don’t just rely on the calculators.

All right, I covered the most important aspects of the Texas Holdem poker game. You can download the pdf of this step-by-step Texas hold’em rules and do some review and practice on it.

In the end, I would like to answer some of the most common questions about hold ’em Poker. Keep reading, these might be your questions, too:

  • Where can I play Texas hold ’em online?
  • There are a bunch of sites and applications offering Texas Holdem Poker and you can just play, practice, and master your skills without paying anything before you go for real money play. Here are some options for you:
    • World Series of Poker (WSOP) Social Poker
    • ClubGG Poker

Poker

  • Can you play Texas hold ’em online for money?
  • Of course, you can play hold’em online for money. There are two options: fake money and real money. Here are the best 2021 online Poker sites where you can play for real money :

play poker for real money

  • How to play Texas hold’em at home?
  • There are many different Poker options you can play with your friends and keep your home games running. Some of the best online Poker sites give you everything you need. You can create a private poker club, invite people to join you there, and play online Poker with your friends for free and even for real money.WSOP App, ClubGG Poker, PokerStars, Pokerrrr 2, Poker Heat, and 888poker are the most popular Poker rooms. They are by far the best ones to play poker with your friends. All you need is to make sure you and your friends have an account on the Poker site of your choice and the right codes to access your private games. BTW, you can now play online Poker games with friends on PokerStars and 888poker from your mobile device!

All right, I hope I have answered all of your possible questions about the famous Texas Hold’em! In the end, remember to play the game for the game’s sake. Because it’s supposed to be fun after all. In the process, with a little bit of commitment and practice, you can be a champion for sure.

BTW, you can download the best ranking Poker hands cheat sheet and do some practice on it.

Maybe I’ll see you soon at the table !!!

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