Texas Hold’em is one of the most popular forms of poker in the world today. Played in many casinos throughout the world, this short guide will give you a good idea of how to play Texas Hold’em.
Winning poker hands
From best to worst:
- Royal flush 10♠J♠Q♠K♠A♠
- Straight flush 3♥4♥5♥6♥7♥
- Four of a kind 6♣6♠6♥6♦4♠
- Full house 6♣6♠6♥4♥4♣
- Flush 10♦7♦5♦2♦A♦
- Straight 6♦7♣8♥9♠10♠
- Three of a kind/trips 6♣6♠6♥5♦ Q♠
- Two pair 6♣6♠4♥4♣5♦
- Pair 4♥4♣5♥6♥ K♠
- High Card A♠ K♠6♠4♥2♦
Texas hold’em is a form of poker whereby you make your best five-card hand out of your two hole cards and five community cards on the table. There are four rounds of betting until, ultimately, a winner is determined. The objective is to either have the best hand at the end during showdown, or to out-bet the other players so that you are the only person left to claim the pot.
Blinds and dealer button
Blinds are forced bets that need to be placed by players at the table. The small blind is the player directly to the left of the dealer button. The big blind is the player directly to the left of the small blind. The small blind will always be half the amount of the big blind. These buttons shift one place to the left after every hand. Therefore, if you are small blind on this hand, it follows that you were big blind on the last hand, and you will be dealer on the following hand.
Once the forced bets have been placed, the game will begin, and the dealer will deal cards around the table starting with the small blind.
Once everyone has their two hole cards, a round of betting ensues. Betting opens with the player to the left of the big blind (also referred to as under the gun). Chips will go into the pot, which is the sum of money or chips collected during the betting rounds.
Once the first round of betting has been completed, the dealer will then begin with the community cards. By first burning a card (turning a card face down and putting it into the muck pile), the dealer will then open the flop. The flop consists of the first three community cards. With these cards, the next round of betting begins with the person to the right of the dealer.
Once this round of betting is completed, the dealer burns another card and turns the fourth community card over. This is referred to as the turn or fourth street. Once again a round of betting is conducted after which the dealer burns and turns the final card. This is the river card, or fifth street.
A fourth and final round of betting ensues after which a winner is determined.
A player has a few options available to them with regards to how and when to bet. The betting controls the flow and structure of the game.
In the first round of betting, players have the opportunity to either call the big blind, raise the pot, or fold. If there are no raises around the table, the big blind has the option to check (no action). A bet becomes an available option after the flop. This opens the round of betting and players no longer have the option to check, but only to call or raise. These are generally the betting options, unless someone would like to reraise. A reraise is fairly self-explanatory: it is a raise that occurs after a previous raise.
It’s important to note that in a live poker setting, it’s a good idea to announce your bet before you place it. There are many different ways that betting can go wrong, and these are learned with time. So be sure to announce what you intend to do, and you will never go wrong.
If more than one player remains after the final round of betting, their cards will need to be exposed in order to determine a winner. If there was a bet and a call, the player who was called needs to expose their hand first, and the other players have the options of mucking their hands, or showing better hands to win the showdown.
If there was no action on the final round of betting, the first person to expose their hand is the first person to the left of the dealer.