Texas Hold’em is an exciting variation of poker you might well have seen on TV. It has become the most popular form of poker in the world and it can be played at brick and mortar casinos or online at many US poker sites. The rules are not as complicated as they might seem at first and our handy guide to the basics of Texas Hold’em will help you to start playing for real.
The Aim of the Game in Texas Hold’em
As with most forms of poker, the aim in Texas Hold’em is to have the best hand of five cards. This is achieved by making the best combination from the two cards each player is dealt and the five community cards which are dealt face up on the table.
All usual poker rankings are used and are, in ascending order, high card, one pair, two pair, three of a kind, straight, flush, full house, four of a kind, straight flush, royal flush.
The first thing you will see at a Texas Hold’em table is the button. This determines who will receive action first – this is the player to the immediate left of the button – and it moves clockwise around the table after each hand. When you are playing at one of the best online poker sites you won’t need to think so much about the order of play as it happens automatically. Only in an actual casino or when playing with friends will this become an issue.
Each player is initially dealt two cards face down – these are known as hole cards – and then the first player bets a small blind and the next a large blind – the large blind is generally double the value of the small blind and the amounts are determined prior to the game commencing.
Betting and Community Cards
A player has three options at this point – to call, raise or fold. Folding is when a player throws away his or her cards and they will take no further part in that round. A call matches the big blind and a raise increases the required bet. Once everyone has called and each player has staked the same amount, the first of the community cards are dealt.
The three cards dealt face up on the table are known as the flop. A new round of betting follows this.
The fourth community card is the turn and is also followed by another round of betting.
The river is the name of the fifth community card. At this point a player will be able to successfully evaluate their chances of winning. Don’t be afraid to fold at this point, even though you’ve already staked quite a bit of money, because the betting can become quite frantic. Player’s might raise in the usual way or even go ‘all in’ where they risk everything.
The showdown follows where each player reveals their hole cards and the dealer determines a winner before giving them the chips from the pot.
These are the basics for Texas Hold’em, but it can take a very long time to master the game. It is recommended that you initially play only at beginners’ tables until you have sufficient knowledge to progressive to more advanced levels.