Texas Hold’em poker is played with a deck of 52 cards and the participating players can be from 2 to 11, although it is usually played by smaller groups of people (6-8 people). In the beginning of a game, the cards are shuffled and cut by the dealer, then every participating player gets a face-up card. The one who gets the card with the highest rank is the dealer.
The poker player on the left of the dealer is the small blind which means that he is obliged to bet a predetermined amount (for example, $0.50). The player on his left side is the big blind and he has to place a bet that is double the amount of the small blind (in our example – $1). It is also possible that every player on the poker table pays Ante – a certain amount that gives the right to the players who pay it to take part in the game.
In the beginning of the Texas Hold’em game, the dealer separates the first card from the deck (called burn card) in case someone has seen it and then each of the players gets 2 cards – hole cards. The player who is on the left of the big blind player bets first and he may either pay the big blind (call), raise the bet (raise) or fold if he prefers. These options are available to all the players. A given player may not raise the bet unless another player has raised. If everybody has called or folded then the round is over and the player may not raise the bet anymore.
There are three types of bet limits in Texas Hold’em poker:
- no limit. When there is only a minimum bet that the poker players may place and as to the maximum bet – it is all up to the bankroll of the player. There is no limit as to the times the bet may be raised.
- pot limit. With this limit, the maximum bet cannot be above the amount in the pot (the money that all the poker players have bet altogether). There is no limit as to the times the bet may be raised.
- fixed limit. In the first two rounds the maximum bet cannot be more than small limit (two times the small blind) and the bet cannot be raised more than three times.
After the first round in the game, the dealer deals 3 face-up cards on the table (called flop) and then comes the second round for placing bets. The poker player, who sits on the left side of the dealer, is the first one to bet throughout the whole game. If the first poker player decides not to bet and to wait, then the one after him may choose not to bet too and so on and so forth. Once a player has placed a bet, he has three opportunities in front of him:
- to fold
- to pay all bets till the moment (call)
- to raise the bet
In case several players have bet, the round continues till the moment when all the poker players have paid or when everybody else has folded. If all the poker players have paid, then comes a third round when another face-up card is dealt (fourth card, called turn card) in the center of the table. The fifth round in Texas Hold’em poker is the last one and in that round a fifth face-up card (called river card) is dealt in the center of the table before the last round for placing bets comes.
At the end of the fifth round each and every poker player shows his combination of 5 cards (combination between the 2 cards in his hand and the five face-up cards on the table). The player who has been the last to raise the bet, or the first to bet (if nobody has raised the bet), or the one who is sitting on first position (in case nobody has placed bets), needs to be the first to show his cards. The one who has the hand with the highest rank wins the hand and all the bets on the Texas Hold’em poker table. In case two players have equally rated hands, then the bets are divided between them equally.
It is extremely important for every player to know the hand rankings because otherwise he wouldn’t know when to call, raise, check or fold and wouldn’t be able to take advantage of the good hands. You may find the hand rankings in our Texas Hold’em hand rankings section.
Texas Hold’em is a great game because it allows every poker player to play according to his personality, to change his play and strategy dynamically during the game, considering his opponents, their abilities and much more. The best about Texas Hold’em poker is that no matter how long you have been playing, there is always room for improvement and a lot of new things to learn about the game and about yourself. You may check our sections Texas Hold’em common mistakes, as well as Texas Hold’em top 10 tips because there you will find precious information as to how to improve you play and what mistakes to avoid at any cost.