Texas Hold'Em is the most recognized poker game in the world. Master the rules of Texas Hold'Em and be prepared, before approaching the table

Texas Hold'em poker rules

As a type of community card poker, Texas Hold'Em stands apart from the other types of poker games where players each have their own hands.

Each player is dealt 2 cards "in the hole", which are their own cards, and 5 of the cards dealt are flopped on the table to be available for all the players in the game, where they can use them to make the best hand possible, using the 2 cards in the hole. The 2 cards in the hole are dealt facing down.

The biggest appeal of this game is that it provides more betting action than the traditional forms of poker, which only offer one or two rounds of betting, as opposed to the four betting rounds of Hold'Em. More rounds provide players with more chances to bluff and slow play, more money, and better action.

How to play Texas Hold'em

It is essential to learn the rules of Texas Hold'Em before you play the game. Each player at the table is dealt two "hole" cards, and then five community cards are dealt facing up, which forms the community "board".

Players will share the use of the community cards on the board together with their "hole" cards to form the best possible hand with five of these cards. Players may utilize any combination of the seven cards to form their hand, even if they don't use any of their hole cards to do so.

There are three main variations of Texas Hold'Em, and they are distinguished by their betting limits:

  1. Fixed-Limit: pre-determined betting limits.
  2. No-Limit: any amount is allowed, up to all available chips.
  3. Mixed-Limit: switches between Fixed-Limit and No-Limit.

What happens at the table

Dealer Button:

At the start of the game, one of the players will be required to serve as the starting game dealer. To do this, all players are dealt a card facing up, and the player holding the highest card is dealer.

The dealer is important to the game, because the position of the dealer determines the Small and Big Blind players, who post the enforced bets known as blinds, before each hand. It also determines the player who is first to act in each betting round, which is often referred to as "under the gun". The acting dealer is indicated by a dealer button marked with the word "Dealer".

At the end of each hand the "dealer button" moves to the player to the immediaye left of the current dealer, which will continue moving clockwise around the table after each hand is completed.

The Blinds:

In Texas Hold' Em, there are two enforced (forced) bets posted before the start of each hand. These are called the "Small Blind" and the "Big Blind" and these forced bets ensure there are chips to play for and win in every hand. They serve as stimulation to the players at the table.

The small blind player is to the immediate left of the dealer, and the big blind player is to the immediate left of the small blind player.

In No-Limit Texas Hold'Em games, the size of the blinds is set by the table limit and betting structure. So, for example at a €1/€2 table the small blind would be €1 and the big blind would be €2.

Before The Flop – First Betting Round

Following the blinds being posted, each player at the table is dealt two faced down cards known as "hole cards". This starts the first round of betting where each player decides on the action to take based on their hole card strength. They have the following options:

  • Fold: Throw in the cards, and withdraw from this hand, giving up interest in the pot.
  • Call: Call the size of the most recent bet, and participate in the hand.
  • Raise: This is making a larger bet than the one most current, or big blind. Other players wanting to stay in the game are required to call your increased bet to continue. A raise must match the Big Blind bet, so the minimum raise would be 2 times the big blind amount. In No-Limit there is no maximum amount to raise.You can bet your whole stack of chips if you feel lucky.

Action moves clockwise around the table. On the first betting round, the first person "under the gun" is to the left of the big blind. Players then choose to bet and play, or not bet and play, according to the strength of their hand.

The Flop – Second Betting Round

Following the completion of the first betting round, the dealer places 3 exposed cards in the middle of the table – known as the "Flop".

The cards in the middle of the table are called "Community Cards" because they are shared by all players for the purposes of making their final best hand.

Players now have 5 cards: 2 hole cards and 3 community cards out of the 7 cards total and should have some idea whether their hand is developing or not. The second betting round begins.

From this point on, the action begins with the next player still in the game to the immediate left of the dealer. The player then decides to:

  • Check: bet zero.
  • Bet: place a bet to force opponents to at least call to continue in the hand. The minimum bet is the amount of the big blind.

If all players check, the betting round ends with no bets being placed. If any player bets the remaining players can choose to:

  • Fold: drop out.
  • Call: call the bet.
  • Raise: increase the most recent bet, which forces opponents to call to continue playing.

The game moves clockwise around the table until everyone has either called, checked, or folded.

The Turn

Following the second round of betting, a fourth card known as the "Turn Card" is dealt to the community cards facing up, which is sometimes referred to as "Fourth Street".

After the turn, a third round of betting ensues in the same way as the previous betting round.

The River

Following the completion of the third betting round, the 5th and final community card, known as the "River Card" is dealt facing up.

The 4th and final round of betting takes place after the River, which is carried out exactly the same as the previous round.

The Showdown

Following the final betting round, in order to produce their best five card hands, the remaining players will use the two hole cards in their hand, along with the 5 community cards. The player with the highest ranking hand wins the pot. If two or more players have the same value hand then the pot is split between them equally.

Next Hand

Once the pot has been awarded, the game continues to the next hand, where the dealer button moves to the player on the left of the last dealer, the cards shuffled, the blinds posted, and the cards dealt.

Texas Hold'em variations

Pineapple

Played the same as regular Texas Hold'Em, only players get 3 hole cards to choose the 2 best from, discarding the third unused card after the first betting round, pre-flop.

Crazy Pineapple

Played in the same way Pineapple is played, except the third hole card is discarded after the flop, rather than before.

Aviation

Players are dealt four hole cards and discard one before and one after the flop.

The River Wild

The river card, and all cards of the same rank, are wild.

Double Flop

Played on two separate boards with community cards, where the pot is split between the highest hand on each board. Players are allowed to make separate hands to correspond with each of the boards.

Two-Time

Players are dealt four cards each, separating them into two separate hands. Keeping the two hands separate, a hand of Texas Hold'Em transpires.

Super Eight

Played exactly the same as regular Texas Hold' Em, except players get three pocket cards instead of two, and are then allowed to use any combination of the hole cards and community cards to make the best hand possible.

Tahoe

Played like Super Eight, with the exception of only being allowed to use up to two of the three hole cards that they have, in combination with the community cards, to make the best hand possible.

Speed Texas Hold'Em

Players are dealt four hole cards apiece, and then have to discard two of them immediately. The five community cards are flopped all at once, and then players bet on their best hand. This is the only betting round that happens, and it is played very fast.

Last update: 30-09-2019