- Poker Terms
- Limit Hold’em
- Pot Limit Hold’em
- No Limit Hold’em
Texas Hold’em Poker Rules
By far Texas Hold’em is the most sought after poker game at any online poker room or land-based casino. It may look very challenging, but in reality it is quite simple to play, although mastering it could take a very long time. Most players choose to play small amounts, but there is a pretty good list of high rollers too.
As a beginner, you may get intimidated by the theories and rules, but the basic structure of Texas Hold’em is simple and you can learn the dynamics without much stress.
To begin with, let us get you familiar with important poker terms that you will find all through the game. These include –
Blinds or blind bets – These are forced bets made before the cards are dealt out.
Button – This refers to the player dealing out the current hand.
Flop – This indicates the first three community cards that have been dealt.
Pre-Flop – Describes anything that take place prior to the flop.
Check – This is identical to a call, but for the fact that there is no money wagered here. In case no one raises pre-flop, the big blind has the option to check.
Turn or Fourth Street – This is the fourth community card that is dealt out.
River or Fifth Street – This is the fifth and final community card to be dealt.
Showdown – This is when the players reveal their hands to decide the winner of the pot.
Now that you are well-versed with the common terms, you can start learning the basics of the game.
Texas Hold’em is a community card game with stress on both betting and the cards played. It can be played in two formats, cash games or tournaments, with slight difference between the two.
The game is played on a single table comprising of 2 to 10 players. The objective is to win the most chips, pot by pot. You win the pot if you have the best hand or if all the other players fold prior to the showdown.
When the required numbers of players are seated at the table and have their chips ready, the game begins. A player is chosen to be the dealer button, meaning the person would deal the cards. There is a new dealer at every hand, which is determined in a clockwise movement from the dealer button.
Like in most poker games, Texas Hold’em also uses a 52-card deck.
After the dealer has been selected, it is time to post the blinds. The player immediately to the left of the button (dealer), places the small blind, following which, the player to the left of the player who placed the small blind, places the big blind. A big blind is double the amount of the small blind. The size of the blinds determines the stakes of the game. Normally, one would want the others to buy in for a minimum of 100 times the amount of the big blind. Once the blinds have been placed, it becomes clear what denominations of chips you will need.
After the blinds have been placed, it is time to deal the cards. Each player is dealt two cards, which are dealt to the left of the dealer in a clockwise direction, first one and then the second. These cards are called the hole cards.
In Hold’em, a hand consists of a minimum of one and maximum of four betting rounds. A hand ends on one of the two conditions, when all but one player have folded or when the fourth and final round of betting completes with more than one player still in the hand. This is where the players enter the showdown.
On receiving the hole cards, the pre-flop betting round begins. All the players look at their cards and plan their action. One player acts at a time. Pre-flop betting begins with the first player to the left of the big blind.
The available actions in Hold’em are bet, fold, check, call or raise. Available actions depend on the action taken by the previous player. All players can fold, discard their cards and forego interest in the pot. If no one has placed a bet yet, a player can choose to check or bet. On the other hand, if a player has bet, the others may choose to fold, call or raise.
Call is to match the amount of the big blind.
Fold is when a player does not pay anything towards the pot and discards the hand and waits for the next deal to play
Raise is to double the amount of the big blind. The raise could be higher depending on the betting structure. Typically, a raise is the amount of one bet plus the previous bet. For example, the big blind is 20¢, the first player to raise would put in 40¢, the second player to raise would put 60¢, which is the previous bet plus an additional bet and so on.
Betting proceeds and continues on each betting round until all those who have not folded have placed equal bets in the pot.
When the pre-flop betting ends, the flop is dealt. The top card is placed face down on the table followed by three cards, called community cards that are placed face up. These community cards are available to all players that are still in the hand. Once this is done, the post-flop betting begins.
Like the pre-flop, betting starts from the first active player immediately left of the button in a clockwise movement. If no one has bet, players may choose to check or bet and the action passes to the next active player. Calling is free.
If a player chooses to bet, the amount would be the same as the big blind.
Post flop betting, it is time for the turn to be dealt. One card is dealt face down and another dealt face-up, also termed as burn and turn. The turn is often referred to as the fourth community card or sometimes Fourth Street. After the turn is dealt, the third round of betting begins. Betting is similar to the flop with the exception of the bet size, which is now doubled.
With the betting round on the turn completed, the river. The cards are dealt in the same manner as the turn, with one card facing down and the other facing up. This is the fifth and final street and no more community cards will be dealt in the hand. Betting begins and is identical to the turn.
When the betting round on the river is completed, the players move on to the showdown. At this stage, the best hand gets to keep the pot. If there is more than one player left after the final betting round, the last player to bet or raise shows their cards. In case there were no bets in the final round, the player to the immediate left of the button has to reveal their cards.
Who-so-ever has the best 5-Card poker hand gets to win the pot. If two players have the same hand, the pot is equally distributed between the two players with the best hands. If a player has a losing hand, they can choose to reveal their cards or simply dump the hand and forfeit the pot.
The game ends with the pot won and a new hand is ready to be played.
Rules for Limit, No Limit and Pot Limit and Mixed Limit Hold’em:
In Limit Hold’em betting is structured with pre-determined amounts. All bets and raises in the pre-flop and flop rounds are the same as the big blind. The size of all bets on the turn and the river are doubled. A player is allowed up to four betting options in each betting round. These include bet, raise, re-raise and cap.
In No Limit Hold’em, the minimum bet is the same as the big blind, but players can bet as much as they want, even up to all their chips also known as all-in.
The minimum raise must be the same as the previous bet or raise in the same round while the maximum raise can be the size of your stack. There is no cap to the number of raises that one can make.
In Pot Limit Hold’em, the minimum bet is the same as the big blind, but players can bet as much as the pot size.
The minimum raise must be the same as the previous bet or raise in the round. The maximum raise is the size of the pot, which includes the entire active pot including bets on the table along with the amount the active player must call before raising. Here again, there is no cap to the number of raises that can be made.
Mixed Limit Hold’em:
In this format, the game rounds shift between Limit and No Limit Hold’em. The blinds are increased during the switch to maintain the average pot size in each game. The rules for the game remain the same as in their individual formats.
Evaluation of Hands:
The aim in Texas Hold’em is to make the best possible hand from a combination of your two hole cards and the five community cards on the table. You may use both, one or none of your hole cards to make your best hand. The winning hand is determined and the player receives the pot.
The dealer button passes to the next player to the left and a new hand begins.