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Texas Hold'em Poker

Introduction

When playing the game for the first time, you will be confronted with some of the basic rules which are explained below. For starters, each player is dealt two hole cards in Texas hold’em with the overall goal of making the best five-card hand.

Play moves clockwise around the table, starting with action to the left of the dealer button. Generally, the first two players to the immediate left of the button are required to post a small blind and a large blind to initiate the betting. From there, action occurs on multiple streets: Preflop, Flop, the Turn and the River.

Dealer Button

The button determines which player at the table is the acting dealer. In Texas hold’em, the player on button, or last active player closest to the button receives last action on all post-flop streets of play.

While the dealer button often dictates who the first players are to begin the wagering with the small blind and big blind, it also determines where the dealing of the cards begin. The player to the immediate left of the dealer button in the small blind receives the first card and then the dealer pitches cards around the table in a clockwise motion from player to player until each has received two starting cards.

The Blinds

Before every new round, two players at the table are obligated to post blinds, or forced bets that begin the wagering. Without these blinds, the game would be very boring because no one would be required to put any money into the pot.

The player directly to the left of the button posts the small blind, and the player to his or her direct left posts the big blind. The small blind is generally half the amount of the big blind, although this stipulation varies from room to room and can also be dependent of the game being played.

The Aim of the Game

In Texas hold’em, every player receives two cards face down, called Hole cards. Every player keeps these cards to conceal until the end of all of the betting rounds, which is called the showdown. Texas hold’em is a game of community cards, where five cards are displayed in the middle of the table to be used in conjunction with a player’s two hole cards in order to make the best five-card holding.

The five community cards are displayed in the middle of the table on the flop, the turn and the river. The flop consists of the first three community cards, the turn adds another and the river completes the board with one more. These five cards are visible for every player. Once all five cards are down, players have to make the best five-card combination from these seven cards. This can be done using both of your hole cards in combination with three community cards, one hole card in combination with four community cards or no hole cards and playing all five community cards as one’s hand. The player with the best combination of cards wins the pot, which is the sum of all bets that have been placed during that hand.

First Betting Round
first_betting_round

Pre-Flop Action

Two ‚Hole Cards‘  are dealt face down and the first round of betting begins

The first round of betting takes place right after all hole cards have been dealt to each player. The first player to act is the player to the left of the big blind, and this player then has three options:


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


If a player chooses to fold, he or she is no longer eligible to win the current hand.

The amount a player can raise to depends on the game that is being played but most commonly must be at least twice the big blind.

The players who follow have the same three options: Call, Raise or Fold. In the case of raising, the minimum allotted amount for a raise must be equal to the original raise amount. For example, let’s say the big blind in a game is $10 and the first player to act raises to $40 in a game of no-limit hold’em. The second player to act has the option to call for $40, fold and no longer play the hand, or raise to $70 as the first raise amount of $30, the difference between the wager placed and the original big blind.

Second Betting Round
second_betting_round

The Flop

Three community cards are dealt on the table and a new betting round begins.

After the first preflop betting round has been completed, the second betting round takes place on the flop after the first three community cards have been dealt. In this betting round, and all that follow from now on, action starts with the first active player to the left of the button. Along with the options to bet, call, fold and raise, a player now has the option to check if no betting action has occurred prior. A check simply means to pass the action to the next player in the hand.

Third Betting Round
third_betting_round

The Turn

The fourth community card is called the ‘Turn’ and again a new round of betting starts.

The fourth community card, called the turn, is dealt face-up following all betting action on the flop. Once this has been completed, another round of betting occurs, similar to that on the previous street of play. Again players have the options to bet, call, fold, raise and check.

Final Betting Round
final_betting_round

The River

The last community card is called the ‘River.’ This is followed by the last round of betting and finally the ‘Showdown’

The fifth community card, called the river, is dealt face-up following all betting action on the turn. Once this has been completed, another round of betting occurs, similar to that on the previous street of play. Again players have the options to bet, call, fold, raise and check. After all betting action has been completed, the remaining players in the hand with hole cards now expose their holdings to determine a winner. This is called the showdown.

Showdown

The remaining players open their hole cards, and with the assistance of the dealer, a winning hand is determined. The player with the best combination of five cards will win the pot.

The remaining players open their hole cards, and with the assistance of the dealer, a winning hand is determined. The player with the best combination cards winning the game.

Poker Hands

Royal Flush
The Royal Flush is the best poker hand combination.

Consists of the Ace, King, Queen, Jack and Ten of the same suite.

Straight Flush
Five cards in numerical order, all of the identical suits.

In the event of a tie: The highest rank at the top of the sequence wins.

The best possible straight flush is known as a royal flush, which consists of the ace, king, queen, jack and ten of a suit.
A royal flush is an unbeatable hand.

Four of a Kind
Four cards of the same rank, and one side card or ‘kicker’.

In the event of a tie: The highest four of a kind wins.
In community card games where players have the same four of a kind, the highest fifth side card (‘kicker’) wins.

Full House
Three cards of the same rank, and two cards of a different, matching rank.

In the event of a tie: The highest three matching cards wins the pot.
In community card games where players have the same three matching cards, the highest value of the two matching cards wins.

Flush
Five cards of the same suit.

In the event of a tie: The player holding the highest ranked card wins.
If necessary, the second-highest, third-highest, fourth-highest, and fifth-highest cards can be used to break the tie.
If all five cards are the same ranks, the pot is split. In poker, the suit is not used to break a tie.

Straight
Five cards in sequence.

In the event of a tie: The highest-ranking card at the top of the sequence wins.
Note: The Ace may be used at the top or bottom of the sequence, and is the only card which can act in this manner.
A,K,Q,J,T is the highest (Ace high) straight; 5,4,3,2,A is the lowest (Five high) straight.

Three of a Kind
Three cards of the same rank, and two unrelated side cards.

In the event of a tie: Highest ranking three of a kind wins.
In community card games where players have the same three of a kind, the highest side card, and if necessary, the second-highest side card wins.

Two Pair
Two cards of a matching rank, another two cards of a different matching rank, and one side card.

In the event of a tie: The highest pair wins. If more than one player has the same highest pair, then the player with second-highest pair wins. If both players have two identical pairs, then the highest side card wins.

One Pair
Two cards of a matching rank, and three unrelated side cards.

In the event of a tie: The highest pair wins.
If players have the same pair, then the player with the highest side card wins, and if it’s necessary, the second-highest and third-highest side card can be used to break the tie.

High Card
Any hand that does not qualify under a category listed above.

In the event of a tie: The highest card wins, and if necessary, the second-highest, third-highest, fourth-highest, and smallest card can be used to break the tie.