Texas Holdem Rules
Here you can learn how Texas Holdem is played along with some very basic strategies. There are more in depth information about variations of Texas Holdem in other section with great reading suggestions.
The following are some terminology that you might want to refer to once you come across them in this article or any other poker articles:
- Hole cards: The two cards that every player receives in the beginning of each poker hand.
- Blind: Blind determines how large (expensive) the game is. A game with blinds of $1/$2 means the Small Blind is $1 and Big Blind is $2.
- Small Blind (SB) Position: Position to the left of the dealer.
- Big Blind (BB) Position: Position to the left of the small blind.
- Under The Gun (UG) Position: Position to the left of the big blind.
- Pot: The money(chips) in the middle of the table which the winner of each hand will collect.
- No Limit Texas Holdem: There are no limits to the amount that you can raise (if you do decide to raise).
- Limit Texas Holdem: There is a limit to how much you can raise your opponents (if you do decide to raise).
The position to the left of the dealer is small blind and the player to the left of small blind is big blind. Small and big blind have to put as much as small and big blind money (chips) on the table before the cards are dealt. This is mandatory for those two positions.
When dealing cards in a game of Texas Holdem, each player receives two cards face down. The dealer has to deal one card at a time to the players starting from the player to his left. Dealer would deal the two cards in two rounds. One card at a round for each player. Every player gets to only look at their own card and must keep their cards face down at all time until the end of the game.
Some points to keep in mind:
- Small and big blind positions have to have their small and big blind on the table before dealing.
- If a player folds their cards the dealer collects the cards. But they still have to stay face down.
Once every player has their two cards (known as hole cards), the game starts. From this point the action can be divided into two sections: pre-flop and post-flop which will be explained shortly.
After players receive their cards, the action begins from the player to the left of the big blind. This position is know as “Under The Gun”. The action goes in a clockwise motion and each player has to act after the player before him.
Every player has three option:
- Calling the big blind: Putting as much as the big blind in the pot (on the table).
- Fold his cards: Giving up the hole cards (a good player folds most of his hands in a typical poker game). That player then sits out on that hand and waits for next hand to receive new hole cards.
- Raise the big blind: Putting more money than big blind in the pot. The primary reason to raise is holding good hole cards. The amount that you can raise the big blind by, depends whether the game is No Limit or Limit (I will explain them later).
If a player raises the big blind, he sets a new amount to be called or raised.
Let’s look at an example to understand this better:
The game is no limit texas holdem with blinds at $1/$2. The player in the under the gun (number 3) position calls the big blind. The player in position 4 calls it too. The player in position 5 raises. He makes it $8. From this position on (starting from number 7) every player has to call, fold, or raise according to the new raised amount. So players number 6, 7, 1, 2, 3, and 4 have to call $8(put $8 in the pot), fold, or raise it to a higher amount than $8.
Calling, folding, or raising will continue around the table until every player has the same amount of money in front of them. In our above example, if no one else raises and everyone calls the $8 (or folds) the action goes to next step (post-flop).
Intro: Read the next two paragraphs and try not to get confused. I will explain them in full detail. By the end of each hand, the winner player is chosen by comparing their hands and choosing the best one based on the poker hand ranking rules. These hand rankings are based on a combination of 5 cards.
More Intro: Every player already has two cards (the hole cards). There will be 5 more cards (called community cards) face up on the table. These cards come in an order (which there is a round of betting before every new card comes).
Every player gets to use the community cards to form the bets 5 card combination based on the hand ranking list. Therefore every player has 7 cards to use for their final 5 card combination. They can use both, one, or none of their hole cards. For example, a player’s best hand can be formed using one card out of his hole cards and 4 cards from the community cards (again he chooses the 4 cards).
Ok. Now we go back to the post flop action.:
There are going to be three steps in this section. These are based on the new community cards that are put on the table in an order:
- Three community cards are dealt face up on the table (called flop). Then there is a round of betting just like the one preflop.
- One card dealt face up on the table (called turn). Then there is a round betting.
- One last card dealt face up on the table (called river). Then there is the last round of betting.
- The rounds of betting(the action) after flop, turn, and river start from the small blind position. Remember in pre-flop, the action started from the under the gun position.
- The betting rounds follow the exact same rules as the one from pre-flop
- The dealer puts the flop, turn, and river cards on the table face up once the previous betting round is completely over.
After the round of betting are over, the remaining players in the hand will show their hands and the dealer determines the winner.
Extra points to keep in mind:
- In a typical house poker game, the player to the right of the small blind deals. So the dealer changes every hand. This way no one gets tired dealing the whole game. However, in casinos there is always a dedicated person that does the dealing the whole game and doesn’t play at all. To determine the dealer position each hand there is a button with the word “Dealer” written on it, in front of the dealer position every hand. It moves at the end of each hand.