Texas Hold’em is the most popular poker game whether online or at a live casino. It is also the variant of poker played at the biggest online poker sites. Before you start playing poker with real money, you’ll want to learn the basic rules. Learn how to play Texas Hold’em and find all you need to know about the poker betting rules in this beginner’s guide.
How to Play Texas Hold’em
In a game of Texas Hold’em poker, your objective is to make the best five-card poker hand using your hole cards in combination with the community cards dealt on the board. After all the betting rounds are complete, the last surviving players on the table show their cards. The highest-ranking poker hand wins the pot.
Before we go into more detail and discuss each betting round, here are some key points to remember –
- At the start of every Texas Hold’em poker game, each player is dealt two cards face down. These cards are known as ‘hole cards’.
- The five ‘community cards’ are then dealt in three stages. These cards are dealt face up and can be used by everyone on the table to form their best five-card poker hand.
- Players take turns to bet after each stage in which the hole and community cards are dealt.
- Everyone at the table must put the same amount of chips/money in the pot as each other to stay in the game.
- In a showdown, when the players who are still in the game show their hole cards, the best-ranking poker hand wins the pot.
Two private cards are dealt to each player to begin a game of Texas Hold’em. Also known as hole cards, these cards are dealt face down and hence are only known to the player they are dealt to.
It is here that most experienced players try and make an estimation of how strong a hand they can form using these cards. If your hole cards are two Aces, then you have the strongest starting hand also known as Pocket Aces.
Community cards are dealt on the board face up and are for everyone to see and use to form their best poker hand. Now, it is important to understand that these cards are dealt in three stages and every stage is followed by a betting round.
A game of Texas Hold’em starts with the player immediately next (clockwise) to the marker or the dealer button posting the ‘small blind’ which is the first forced bet. Following that, the next immediate player posts the ‘big blind’ which is usually twice the size of the small blind. Depending on the betting structure, the blinds may vary. Depending on the tournament rules, the betting structure varies and so do the blinds. Nevertheless, the official rules of Texas Hold’em poker are the same across all poker sites.
The betting options available for each player in a game of poker are ‘check’, ‘bet’, ‘call’, ‘raise’, and ‘fold’. The betting round before the community cards are dealt is called the Pre-Flop. In this round of betting, each player has the option to either call or raise the ‘big blind’. A player has the option to call, raise or fold in the pre-flop. If the big blind was ₹2, you will need to bet ₹2 to call or at least ₹4 to raise. The betting begins from the left of the big blind and continues clockwise.
The dealer turns three community cards face-up on the board. This is called ‘The Flop’. The active player who is immediately clockwise from the dealer button starts the round of betting. The betting options available depend on the action taken by the previous players. However, if no one has bet yet, the player has the option to ‘check’. This passes the action to the next active player on the table clockwise.
The fourth card or the ‘turn’ is dealt face up after the betting round in the flop has completed. After the fourth community card or the ‘Fourth Street’ is dealt, betting continues.
This is the last stage of dealing the community cards where the fifth and the final card is dealt. Also called the ‘river’, when this card is turned face-up on the board, the active players begin the last round of betting. At this stage, all the community cards are turned face up and the players still in the game, get a complete picture of the poker hand they can form using their hole cards in combination with the community cards.
The final stage of Texas Hold’em poker that follows the last betting round is called the showdown. Here, the players who are still active show their cards according to the poker betting rules, and the player with the best five-card poker hand wins the pot.