Texas Hold Em rules

By Pamela PattersonGoogle
The latest craze in the gambling world is Texas Hold Em. This game has become the most played form of poker since the year a portly accountant from Tennessee won the WSOP and took the world by storm. You can’t turn on a sports channel without seeing an ad for one of the hundreds of online poker sites that offer up this game and try to attract your business with lucrative bonuses.

You want to join in on the excitement, but aren’t exactly sure how the game is played. It can be a bit confusing if you’ve only seen it on television.

The action goes rather fast and they have commentators who use terms that are only applicable to those in the know. This guide will teach you all the rules and everything there is to know about Texas Hold Em

The Goal

Let’s start with the goal of the game. Your overall objective is to win the hand by either having the best possible hand at the end or making your opponents fold by betting when you think they have a weak hand.

Hand Rankings

To win with the best hand in Texas Hold Em, you need to know what hands beat what. This is one of the most common questions asked by new players. It is also one of the biggest mistakes you can make while playing.

Here is the list of hand rankings in order of worse to best.

·         High Card (No pair or other connected hand)
·         Pair (Two of the same cards. Two Aces would be a pair.)
·         Two Pair (Two Aces and Two Kings is two pair.)
·         Three of a kind (Three of the same card. Three Aces is a three of a kind.)
·         Straight (5 cards in sequence. 3, 4,5,6,7 would be a straight.)
·         Flush (5 cards of all the same suit. If you have 5 cards of all hearts, this is a flush.)
·         Full House (Three of a kind and a pair. Three Aces and Two Kings is a full house.)
·         Straight Flush (3, 4,5,6,7 of all the same suit is a straight flush.)
·         Royal Flush (10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace of all the same suit.)

The higher ranked hands will be much harder to get in Hold Em. The most common types of hands you will see are pairs and two pairs.

How The Game is Played

A standard hand of Hold Em will deal everyone at the table two cards face down.  Once all cards are dealt to the players a round of betting begins. The dealer will then deal 3 cards face up in the middle, this is called a flop. These cards are to be used by everyone at the table as community cards.

A round of betting ensues and the dealer will deal out another called face up. This is called the turn or fourth street. Another round of betting goes on and the dealer will then deal out one final card face up. This is called the River or fifth street. A final round of betting will occur and the player with the best hand will win, unless you get the other players to fold by betting.

The 5 cards dealt in the middle are called community cards. These cards are to be used by everyone still in the hand. You use the two cards dealt to you face down in conjunction with the 5 community cards (board) to make the best possible combination of 5 cards.

An example would be: If you hold two cards in your hand that are hearts and the community cards contain 3 that are also hearts, you can use them to make a flush. Or if you have an Ace in your hand and the community cards have 1 or more Aces, you can use them to make a pair or three of a kind and so on.

During a hand of Hold Em you will a few rounds or phases of betting. It’s important to know how each step works and what your choices are during these rounds.


The pre-flop round is before the community cards are dealt out. Each hand starts with two players posting a small blind and big blind. These are two forced bets that will be the size of the table limits. If you are playing at a table with $1/$2 blinds, tHhe small blind will be $1 and the big blind will be $2.

Every player will have to post this forced bet at some time. The blinds will move around the table in a clockwise fashion after each hand.

Once the players in the blinds post their bet, the dealer will deal the 2 cards to everyone at the table in a clockwise manner. Once the cards are dealt, the person to immediate left of the big blind will be first to act.

You will have 3 choices at this point, you can either: fold, call the big blind or raise. Al best must be at least the amount of the big blind. If you fold, your hand gets put aside and you are no longer in the hand. If you call or raise, you keep your hand and continue playing the hand.

If a player before you has raised, you can call that raise or re-raise them. Re-raising is when someone bets for example: $5, you can make another raise to $15 and the action would be on them to call, raise or fold.

Once all players have made their decisions to call, fold or raise, the hand moves on to the next phase called the flop.

The Flop

The flop is the first round of betting with the community cards. The dealer will place out 3 cards in the middle and this round begins. All action moves from left to right during all rounds of betting.

The first player to act will now have the option to check or bet. Checking is when you don’t wish to bet, but unlike the pre-flop round, you do not have to fold. If you check, the player next to act gets to bet or check.

If someone bets, you can call that bet or fold. You can also raise just as you could pre-flop. Again the minimum bet for all rounds is the tables big blind. You can also do what’s called a check-raise. If you check to a player and they bet, the action will be back on you. You can now raise this players bet. This is often a sign of great strength and a skill that takes time to learn.

The Turn

After all players have made their decisions on the Flop, the dealer will now deal out another card face up. This is called the turn. The same sequence of actions that occurred on the flop will now happen again on the turn. Players can bet, check, raise or fold.

The River

After the Turn round is over, the dealer now deals out the final card, the river. Again, the same actions that took place on the turn and flop will now happen on the river. Players can bet, fold, check or raise once again.

Once the action is complete, all players still in the hand will turn over their cards and the player with the best hand will win.

No Limit and Limit

The terms No Limit and Limit refer to how much a player is allowed to bet during a hand. In no-limit, a player can bet as much they have in front of them. This is the most popular form of Texas Hold Em and should be the one you learn to play first.

Limit Hold Em only allows a player to bet a certain amount at a time. In a game with $1 and $2 blinds, a player may only bet $1 during the pre-flop and flop rounds. On the turn and river, the bets are doubled to $2.

There are other various limit structures that you will come across. These are not very popular, but it’s nice to know what they are and how they work.

·         Pot Limit: Only allows players to bet how much is in the pot.
·         Spread Limit: This will have an amount that you can bet between. For example: a $1-$5 spread limit game will let you bet between $1 and $5 during any round.
·         You will also see cap games that only let the pot get to a certain amount of money. Once the pot reaches this limit, all betting is over and the hand is dealt out to the end.

Not every hand will make it to the river. Many hands will see all players fold pre-flop or at some other stage of the hand. Texas Hold Em is a game of being aggressive and you will see players bet and raise with force. This causes others to fold a large part of the time and you will often see no hands see the river.

You do not need to have the best hand in this game to win. Being able to determine what your opponents have based on certain factors will allow you to bluff them off their hands. Bluffing is when you have no real type of hand and are betting with the hopes that your opponents fold.

There are many strategies that you can employ in Texas hold Em. The common saying in the game goes: “a second to learn, a lifetime to master.” You will find this to be very true once you begin playing.
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