How to Play Texas Hold’Em Poker

What is the difference between classic poker and Texas Hold’Em? What are the basic terms you need to learn before you start playing? Read our article to find out!

The Basics

Texas Hold’Em Poker is one of the most popular versions of poker in the gambling world. It is actually pretty simple to learn, though it might not seem like that at first. Basically, each player has two cards that are concealed. Throughout the course of the game, 5 additional cards are gradually revealed, and the winner is the player who ends up with the strongest 5-card hand made up of any card combination from their 2 concealed cards (hole cards) and the five revealed cards (community cards).

Though it seems a bit confusing, Texas Hold’Em is a pretty fun game once you understand the rules. In these next few passages, we will show you all the basics that will help you on your way to becoming a skilful player.

Before You Begin

It may sound a little overwhelming, so we will start with the simple terms you should master. A few of them could come also in handy when playing other versions of poker as well, not just Texas Hold’Em.

  • Blinds: or “blind bets.” Those are the bets you have to make before the cards get dealt. In this case, they substitute what is known as the “ante.”
  • Button: this is often used as another name for the player who is the dealer for the current hand.
  • Call: when you follow up to the bet already on the table.
  • Check: pass the betting priority to the next player without adding to the pot
  • Flop: the dealer puts three cards on the table.
  • All-In: a player bets all the chips.
  • Preflop: the round right before the flop.
  • River: the last round before finding out the winner.
  • Showdown: the final round that shows the winner.
  • Turn: the dealer puts the fourth card on the table.

However, there a slight difference between playing a cash game and a Texas Hold’Em tournament. In this article, we will teach you the basics of the cash game version, which has slightly fewer rules.

The way a cash game is played is the following. First, you have a single table. The number of players that can participate is between 2 and 10. The goal, of course, is to win the most chips each time. And the way you win is if you have the best hand at showdown or if all the other players fold.

Starting Out

When players have already sat at the table, there are two possible situations depending on how the chips are dealt. We will cover both.

  1. If the players are dealers — after the chips are dealt, the dealer must be chosen. When you play this game, you have to have a rotating dealer. That means that every single player will be a dealer at some point during the game. The role of the dealer switches clockwise at the end of each hand. And how do you pick a dealer? Well, you can do that in two different ways. Either deal one card to each player or face all the cards down on the table for everyone to pick one. Whichever participant has the highest card in value will start as the dealer. So watch out for those aces, since they are considered one of the highest in poker!
  2. When you have a professional dealer at the table — when you find yourself in a casino, you won’t have to worry about a dealer since there will be a professional assigned for each game. Do not get confused when you see that the dealer button is still going around, though. Because no matter the fact that a professional will deal you the cards, wherever the button lands, that person is considered a dealer for that round.

At the end of every hand, the button will rotate clockwise around the table.

Next Up

After a dealer has been chosen or assigned, next come the blinds. In this game, there are two types — a small and a big one. The player who sits on the left of the dealer is the one who posts the small blind.

And when it comes to the big blind, that falls on the player left of them. Additionally, the big blind is twice the amount of the small blind.

After the blinds have been paid, you can begin the first round of betting.

As the Game Progresses

Each player is dealt two cards by the dealer at the beginning. These are called “hole cards,” and only you should know what they are.

Each hand of Hold’Em could go up to four betting rounds. A hand is considered finished once its winner has been determined at showdown, or when all the other players fold. At showdown, players compare their hands, and the strongest one wins. However, in case there is more than one player with the strongest hand, they share the pot.

So how does a game go? Well, each player can either fold (throw away that hand), call (match the amount on the table), or raise (increase the amount of the bet that the remaining players then have to choose whether they want to follow).

Introducing — The Flop

After the first round of betting comes the flop. In the flop, the top card from the deck is discarded face down. That card is called the “burn card.” Following that, the dealer will flip the top three cards of the deck face up for everyone to see (these are called community cards).

Following these steps, the rules of the flop are the following:

  • The first player that bets is on the left of the dealer.
  • That player is able to either check or bet.

Afterwards, when we finish the flop round, we start the third round, known simply as “the Turn.” Basically, in this round, the dealer flops one additional card face up (instead of three, like in the flop), and a new round of betting begins.

In case there is more than one active player left (meaning, they did not fold in any of the previous rounds), we come to the final round — the River. You get one last card added to the community cards from the dealer, same as in the previous round. After that comes the Showdown.

The Showdown consists of a few basic rules:

  • Whoever put the bet first in the river round will be the first to reveal their hand. However, in case any other player wants to do so, that also works.
  • And if there was no betting in the river, the player to the left of the dealer has to show their hand first.

To conclude, we have a maximum of 5 rounds — the Pre-Flop, the Flop, the Turn, the River, and the Showdown.

The Winning Hand

Finally, the winning hand is decided by comparing the strengths of the players’ 5-card combinations (using the 2 hole cards with the 5 community cards to make the strongest one possible).

One More Thing

How does buying chips work?

The house decides on the minimum before the game starts. They usually go between 50 and 100 times the size of the big blind. However, bear in mind that this is the minimum, and there is no maximum number of chips a player can acquire at any point during the game. Moreover, between hands, the player can always reload their chips amount for as much or as little as they want. However, once a hand starts, they can only play with the current amount of chips they have.

Similar Games

One of the most similar game to Texas Hold’Em is Omaha Hold’Em. Basically, it has all the same rules as Hold’Em, except you will receive four cards at the beginning, instead of two. Additionally, you cannot create a winning hand only from the community cards, but you always have to combine both community and two (out of four) hole cards.

Summary

Texas Hold’Em is a pretty interesting game that catches all your attention and takes you on a wild emotional journey. After you get familiar with the rules, things will run pretty smoothly from there. However, you should not expect easy and fast winnings. You can bet or raise, but you can never assume the winner until the very last round. So all you can do is just be persistent and have fun while doing it. That shouldn’t be too hard.

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