The Rules of Texas Hold ‘Em Poker

How to Play Texas Hold 'Em Poker

In today’s gaming world, the hands-down (pun intended) most popular form of poker is Texas Hold’ Em Poker.

The popularity of Texas Hold ‘Em is primarily due to the amount of real game-playing strategy and focus that is required for play. Compared to other games (slots, roulette) which rely heavily on chance, Texas Hold ‘Em poker is a revamped version of classic poker with some new rules that keep the game fresh.

Below is a basic guide for Texas Hold ‘Em Poker.

What You will need:

  1. Some People: Preferably those who love poker (at least 2, but the game really picks up when you have 5 or 6).
  2. 52-card deck: The standard (beautiful isn’t it?).
  3. Knowledge: You will need to be familiar with the “winning hands” of poker, or at least have a printout.
  4. Chips: Not potato chips, the real deal. Get some nice clay chips, at least four colors, and let each color correspond to an amount of money – for ex: $1, $2, $5, $10)
  5. A Dealer Button: (optional) this little sucker will rotate clockwise from person to person every hand. The dealer button designates which player is the dealer. The button is usually only played when one person is the designated dealer and doesn’t play hands with everyone else.
  6. Snacks: Yes potato chips! Games of Texas Hold ‘Em poker require fuel, get yourself some good grub to keep the game a’goin!)

The Community Cards

The way Texas Hold ‘Em works is by using “community cards.” This means that you have two (2) cards that are just for you and five (5) cards dealt in the center that can be used to create a secret hand shown only at the end of the game.

As each new community card is dealt, players use their own cards to try and create the best poker hand. Nobody actually touches the community cards except the dealer, they are used remotely as the game progresses.

This type of play makes room for “bluffing” which basically means you can bet even when you don’t have a hand. Texas Hold ‘Em allows for this type of play because if nobody matches your bet, you automatically win the pot!

How Betting Works

To ensure that every game of Texas Hold ‘Em will have at least have some amount of money to win, every game always begins with betting. Also, make sure that everybody playing has an equal amount of chips.

  • The Pot: A designated area in the center of the playing table where people throw their chips/bets.
  • Blinds: The two players to the left of the dealer (or dealer button) place a predetermined amount of money down before every hand. These are called “blinds.”
  • Minimum Bet: A predetermined amount of money that must be put up by the “big blind.”

Open the Blinds

Newcomers to Texas Hold ‘Em always seem to have trouble with the blinds, So I’ll try to explain it a bit more. “Blinds” are a set amount of money placed down before every hand by the two players left of the dealer.

The two “blinds” (or amounts of money) are divided into the “big blind” and the “small blind” respectively.

The player directly left of the dealer or dealer button is the “small blind” and the player to the left of them is the “big blind.”

The big blind always puts down the “minimum bet” and the small blind puts half that amount. As each hand is played the dealer button rotates and so do the blinds.

Let the Games Begin!

After the blinds have been placed, the dealer (either designated or changes every hand) shuffles a standard 52 card deck and deals two (2) cards to every player. These are known as the “hole cards.”

Now we have our first round of betting, beginning with the player directly left of the two players who posted the blinds. Every player has 4 strategic options.

  • Call: a player can tap the table with their finger to simply say that they want to stay in the game , but they do not wish to bet.
    • Note #1: In the first round of betting every player who wants to stay in will have to bet equal to the big blind, including the small blind, who will have to “match” to stay in. – more below
    • Note#2: Just because you called doesn’t mean you won’t have to bet eventually. If a player raises and the round of betting comes back to you, you’ll have to match the bet to stay in the hand.
  • Raise: a player pushes the bet by adding more chips to the pot, and every player must add (match) the same amount if they want to stay in the hand.
  • Match: after a player has raised the bet, a player who wishes to stay in the hand can simply add the exact amount of chips equal to the raise.
  • Fold: If its your turn, and you don’t want to stay in the hand, most likely because you feel your cards are terrible, you can place them face-down on the table and say “fold.” You are now no longer allowed to call, raise or match, and are out of the game until the next hand is dealt.

After every player has either called, raised, matched or folded and everybody’s bet is equal, the game continues.

Burning a Card

Once the first round of betting is over, the dealer discards the top card of the deck. This is known as “burning a card.” Scholars maintain that the “burn” is done primarily to ensure that nobody playing accidentally saw the first card.

The Flop – The First 3 Cards are Dealt

The dealer will then take the next three (3) cards from the top of the deck and place them face-up on the table. These cards are known as ” the flop.”

After the flop, another round of betting happens, beginning with the player left of the dealer or dealer button. Same rules as before, a player can call, raise or fold.

The Turn or Fourth Street

Next, the dealer “burns” another card and places another card face-up next to the flop. This card is known as “the turn” or “fourth street.” Another round of betting ensues starting with the player left of the dealer or dealer button.

The River or Fifth Street

Another card is burnt, and the fifth and final card is placed face-up next to the fourth card. The fifth card is referred to as “the river” or “fifth street.”

The Winning of the Hand

The last round of betting starts with the player left of the dealer or dealer button. Now all remaining players use their two (2) hole cards and the five (5) community cards in the center to create their final hand.

After betting is over, each player turns their cards over to reveal their hand. The player with the best hand, using standard poker rules, wins the game, and takes all the winnings in the pot!

Special Cases

Sometimes crazy things happen in the game of Texas Hold ‘Em and the game has ways of dealing with all of them.

  • All In: Going “All-in” is when a player wishes to bet everything they have (all their chips). This can be done whenever it is your turn, and is a method used to push people out of the hand.
  • Side Pots: If a player goes “all-in” and his or her bet gets matched by more than one player, this results in a “side pot.” side pots are chips that the “all-in” player will never achieve because the do not have the money to keep betting.
  • Splitting: This takes place when two players end up with the same hand at the end of the game. Each player then takes half of the pot.

So there you have it, the Game of Texas Hold “Em poker in a pretty big nutshell. I hope you find this post to be easy to read and understand. With a little luck you’ll be betting, matching and calling like the pro’s in no time!

Some content was pulled from “Texas Hold ‘Em Poker Rules.

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