There are many variations of poker, most of them played with a standard deck of 52 cards. Texas Hold'em Poker is the version played in many casinos. It is one of the variants of Poker which has grown to become the most popular and exciting of all poker games. It is widely recognized as the most played form of poker all around the world. It is easy to understand and fun to play.
A standard game of Texas Holdem Poker consists of 7 cards dealt to each player. Out of these 7 cards, 2 cards are dealt face down to each player. These cards are known as 2-hole cards or pocket cards. The other five cards are called community cards which everyone can use. Players have to make the best 5-card hand possible out of these total 7 cards.
The following rules will help you understand how to play texas holdem poker:
When the game begins, every player is dealt with one card face up. The player with the highest card gets marked by a dealer button (which is a round disk). It moves clockwise from player to player with each hand. Now, the dealer shuffles a deck of 52 cards.
Before the first cards are dealt, the player to the left of the dealer button posts a bet called "first blind". A blind refers to players putting a predetermined amount of money into the pot before any cards are dealt. Blinds are a compulsory bet to give players an incentive to start betting, so that the winner will always win a pot. Usually the first blind is half of the amount of the minimum blind and the second blind is equal to the minimum bet.
Eg: If the minimum blind is $4, then the first blind will usually be $2, followed by the second blind for $4.
The First Round Of Betting
Now, two cards are dealt called hole cards or pocket cards, which marks the beginning of the first round. This begins with the player to the left of the big blind and moves round the table in a clockwise direction. Depending on the strength of your hole cards, you have the following options:
1. Fold : If you feel your hole cards are not strong enough compared to your opponents, you have the option to discard your hand and quit the current round.
2. Call : If you feel you have good chances of winning, you can match the previous bet and stay in the hand.
3. Raise : If you feel your cards are very strong, you can increase the previous bet made. Your opponents will now have to either match your bet to stay in the hand, or fold and quit the round.
4. Check : When everyone has made their bets and it's your turn again, you have the choice to take no more action and pass the turn to the next opponent. However if the bet has been raised, you cannot check. You must either call or raise to stay in the game. There is a maximum of one bet and three raises in each round of betting.
Eg: In a $10/$20 limit game, the bet is $10 and all raises are increments of $10 in the first and second round.
At the end of the first round of betting, three cards are dealt face up in the middle of the table. These can be used by every player to make their best possible hand along with using their own cards. These communal cards are called "flop".
The Second Round Of Betting
Now you can see five out of your seven cards. The player to the left of the dealer button has to act. He has the options as listed above : fold, bet, call, raise or check. At the end of the second round of betting, a fourth card is dealt face up in the middle of the table. This is an addition to the three communal cards already dealt in the middle of the table, which are to be used by all players. This card is called the "turn".
The Third Round Of Betting
In the third round, the betting must now be based on the higher table limit. This can be explained as follows:
Supposing you are playing a $30/$50 limit game. This means that the minimum buy-in for this table is $30 and the bets will be accordingly placed. Now in the third round of betting, all bets and subsequent raises must now be in increments of $50.
At the end of the third round of betting, the fifth and final communal card is dealt face up in the middle of the table and shared by all the players to make their best possible hand out of the seven cards now available. This card is called the "river".
The Fourth Round Of Betting
The fourth round of betting begins after the "river" is dealt. This is the last and final round of betting. It works in the same way as the previous round. The players have the options to call, raise, check or fold. At the end of the fourth round of betting, the players are left with the final pot in the middle of the table, which is the sum of all the bets placed throughout the four rounds of betting.
Now all players who remain in the game reveal their hands. The player with the highest ranked five card hand is the winner of the round and wins the pot. After the pot has been given to the winner, the dealer button now moves to the left player to the original dealer. Again, the blinds are posted a new round begins.
These basic rules are necessary to understand to get started with the game. However, to be a truly great Texas Hold 'Em Poker player, you must learn to read your opponents to know whether they are bluffing or they really have a strong hand. The more you play, the better you will get!