Texas Hold’em is the most popular version of the game. It’s played by millions worldwide and is guaranteed to bring fun and excitement to the table and if you play your cards right it might even bring you some serious cash!
Before you start playing Texas Hold’em, you might want to learn the rules so that you don’t lose face (or money) while playing. Each player is dealt two private cards that belong to them and aren’t shown to the rest of the players. These cards are also knows as ‘hole cards’. After every player is dealt two cards, five community cards are dealt face up to form the ‘board’. All players in the game use these shared cards in conjunction with their own cards to make their best possible 5-card poker hand.
With Texas Hold’em, a play may use any combination of the cards available (hole cards plus community cards) to make the best possible 5-card poker hand. The player is allowed to use none, one or two ‘ hole cards’ to get the best combination. If you don’t know what the best hands are then visit our poker hand ranks page. On that page we explain the combinations you need to know to win the game.
Most poker websites use four variations of the game that are different because of the betting limits.
- Limit Texas Hold’em: There is a pre-determined betting limit on each round of betting.
- No Limit Texas Hold’em: A player can bet any amount, up to all of their chips.
- Pot Limit Texas Hold’em: A player can bet any amount, up to the size of the pot.
- Mixed Texas Hold’em: The game switches between rounds of Limit Texas Hold’em and No Limit Texas Hold’em.
While playing Texas Hold’em a marker called ‘the dealer button’ moves around after every hand and indicates which player is the nominal dealer. Before the game begins the first two players that sit directly after the ‘dealer button’ in a clockwise position, post the ‘small blind’ and the ‘big blind’. The big blind is typically twice the size as the small blind. The small blind varies on which game is played.
Now, each player receives his or her two hole cards. Betting action proceeds clockwise around the table, starting with the player ‘under the gun’ (immediately clockwise from the big blind).
Player Betting Options
As with other forms of poker, the available actions a player has are ‘fold’, ‘check’, ‘bet’, ‘call’ or ‘raise’. Each poker player always has the option to fold, and give up any interest in the pot. If nobody has yet made a bet, then a player may either check (don’t bet and stay in the game) or bet. If a player has bet, then players that come after that player can fold, call or raise. To call is to match the amount the previous player has bet. To raise is to not only match the previous bet, but to also increase it.
After de dealer dealt everybody their cards, each player now has the option to play a hand by calling or raising the big blind. The player sitting left from the big blind will begin the betting action. This is considered a ‘live’ bet on this round. The player has different options to take. For example raise (if the big blind was $2, the raise would be $4) but there is also the option to fold or call (if the big blind was $2, the call would be $2).
After every player had a chance to either fold, call or raise, the real action is coming. Three cards are dealt face-up on the board. This is called ‘the flop’. As explained before the cards on the board are community cards and can be used by all players to make combinations with their hole cards. Betting on the flop begins with the active player immediately clockwise from the button. The betting options are similar to pre-flop, however if nobody has previously bet, players may opt to check, passing the action to the next active player clockwise.
After everybody had their turn in the betting action in the flop round, the ‘turn’ (the fourth card) is dealt face up on the board. Same as before, every player can either fold, call or raise and the player immediately clockwise from the button begins. If the direct player has already folded the player directly after that player begins.
The fifth and final community card in the game is dealt after the betting action has ended for the turn round. This is called ‘the river’ or ‘Fifth Street’. Every player that is still in the game is participating in one more betting round with the same rules as before.
While playing Texas Hold’em, this is the moment everybody is waiting for. Who is still in the game, which player has the best cards and wins the pot! In other words this is ‘the Show Down’. The Showdown only happens when there is more then 1 player left after the last betting round (this means the rest folded). If there is only one player he or she automatically wins the pot and a new round in the game begins. If there is more than one player left, the last person to bet or raise shows their cards. The best five-card poker hand wins the pot. If there are two players with the same hand (same combination of cards) the pot will be divided between the players.