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Texas Hold’Em Poker Rules

By Gary Steele

Texas Hold’em is the most popular poker game in the world. You will be hard pressed to find a casino, B&M (brick and mortar) or online, that does not offer Hold’Em as an option. I will concentrate on the rules for Hold’em Poker in this lesson, but first I want to go over the one thing every poker game has in common: Hand Ranking. Check out the Poker Hand Rankings to see all of the possible poker hands in order from best to worst. At the end of the poker hand, the player with the five card combination ranked highest on the Poker Hand Ranking list wins. This is simply a starting point. Be sure to use all of the tools out there such as Poker Software and Online Poker Advice to continue to improve your game.

Texas Hold’em is a variation of poker where every player at the table first receives two cards face down. These two cards are called the hole cards. After a round of bets by all players, three cards are placed on the table face up (these three cards are called The Flop). After another round of betting a fourth card is placed face up on the table (this card is called The Turn). After another round of betting the fifth and final card is placed face up on the table (this card is called The River). After all five community cards are face up on the table, a final round of betting takes place and the players left in the hand show their two face-down cards. The player who has the five card combination of the highest Hand Ranking wins the hand.

Betting moves clockwise and always starts with the player to the left of the dealer. Texas Hold’em has forced bets called Blinds. Before each hand is dealt, the player immediately to the left of the dealer places a bet called the small blind and the player to the left of this player places a larger bet called the big blind. The amount of the blinds is set beforehand. At a $2 table the small blind is usually $1 and the big blind will be $2.

The first round of betting (when all players only have two face-down cards) requires a minimum bet equal to at least the amount of the big blind to stay in the hand. The round of betting following The Flop also requires a minimum bet equal to the big blind. The last two rounds of betting (after the 4th and 5th face up cards) require a minimum bet equal to twice the big blind.

Example of Play

If you were involved in a typical hand of Texas Hold’em hand at a $1 big blind table your experience may go something like this:

  1. You are dealt Ace of Spades and 9 of Spades face down;
  2. Betting starts with the player to the left of the Big Blind and he calls $1;
  3. You and two other players after you call the $1 bet, everyone else folds;
  4. The flop is placed on the table - King, 8, 4, all Spades giving you a Flush;
  5. The player to the left of the dealer bets $1, you call the bet with $1;
  6. The other two players fold leaving you and the betting player;
  7. The Turn is a 2 of Hearts;
  8. The other player bets $2 (minimum bet now);
  9. You raise $2 by putting $4 in the pot, the other player calls $2;
  10. The last card is flipped face up (The River) and is a 5 of Clubs;
  11. The player to the left of the dealer Checks (bets nothing);
  12. You bet $2 and the other player calls it by putting $2 in the pot.

Now the two of you show your facedown cards. Your best five cards in this case are your 5 Spades. This is called a Flush. The other two cards (5 of Clubs and 2 of Hearts) are not used in making up your hand. Your opponent shows two eights. Since the Flush (your hand) beats Three of a Kind (your opponent’s hand) on the Hand Ranking chart, you win the money in the pot.

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