Started: The Rules of Texas Hold'em Poker
sake of simplicity, we have chosen to explain the rules that you will
encounter playing Texas hold'em poker online. These rules also
apply to most Texas hold'em poker games you will encounter in brick
and mortar casinos but there are a few variations (typically having
to do with the blinds) that we won't go into here. If after reading
the rules you are still unclear about how to play, sign up with an
online poker room. It is free to sign up and you can play with 'play
money' until you get the hang of it.
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THE GAME IS PLAYED
of Texas hold'em are simple to understand. At a full table, you will
be playing with nine other players. After each deal, a small, circular
puck (called the 'button') is passed from one player to the next, rotating
clockwise. Since all games feature a house dealer, the button is used
to denote which player will be representing the dealer on each deal.
The primary benefit of having the button is that you will be able to
act last on all future betting rounds (except for the first betting
round). Being able to act last is always an advantage in poker, since
you will be able to see how much your opponents like their hands before
you have to commit any money to the pot.
beginning of each hand, the player to the button's left is forced to
make a 'blind bet', equal to 1/2 of the small bet (the small bet is
equal to the bet increments before the flop and on the flop. In a $3/$6
game, a small bet is three dollars. In a $10/$20 game, a small bet
is ten dollars. The big bets, which are the betting increments on the
turn and the river, would be six and twenty dollars respectively).
This player is called the 'small blind'. Then the player to the small
blind's left posts an amount equal to one small bet. This player is
called the 'big blind'.
blinds are posted, each player is dealt two cards face down. The first
player to act is the player to the big blind's left. He can fold, call
a bet equal to one small bet, or raise to two small bets. These are
his only options. After he has acted, the player to his left must act.
If the first player raised, his only options are to fold, or call the
raise, or to reraise to three small bets. Every player acts after the
player to his right acts, moving around the table clockwise. When it's
the small blind's turn, she can either fold, or call, or raise. The
amount that she has already put into the pother small blindis
considered 'live' money, which means it counts towards the amount that
she must call. So, in a $1/$2 game, if nobody has raised, the small
blind need only put fifty cents into the pot to call. If there has
been one raise, she need put in $1.50, as opposed to the 2 dollars
that all other players must put into the pot. If she wants to raise,
the amount of the small blind is again deducted from the total amount
she must ‘put in the middle’. The same rules apply to the
big blind as apply to the small blind, except that, if nobody has raised,
the big blind can either raise by putting an additional small bet in
the pot, or elect to see the flop without having to put up any money
other than the amount he already put up for his big blind.
pre flop betting round has concluded, three cards are placed face-up
in the middle of the table. This is called the "flop". All
of the cards on the flop are community cards, which means all players
still active in the hand can use these cards to make their best five
card poker hand. The betting round on the flop is essentially the same
as the action before the flop, with the bets coming in increments of
one small bet at a time, except that here the player who was the small
blind must act first (as opposed to the player to the left of the big
blind, who acted first before the flop) and the player on the button
gets to act last. After the flop betting round has concluded, a fourth
community card is turned face-up. This card is called the "turn".
The betting round here mirrors the betting round on the flop, in terms
of who must act first and who acts last, except that now the bets have
doubled in size. In a $1/$2 game, for example, the bets now come in
increments of two dollars.
turn action, a fifth community card, called the "river",
is turned face-up. The betting round on the river is exactly the same
as the betting round on the turn, with bets coming in increments of
two dollars. This is the last card of the hand. When the river betting
round is finished all players still in the hand must turn their hands
up, and make their best five card poker hands out of the seven cards
available. Texas'hold 'em is a ‘cards speak’game,
which means the house dealer will declare your hand for you.
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HIERARCHY OF HANDS
you haven't played any poker before, or just need a review, following
is the hierarchy of hands. If you haven't already, your first task
is to MEMORIZE this list. The best hand is a straight-flush,
and so on down the list.
(h = hearts,
c = clubs, d = diamonds, s = spades, T = 10)
five cards are not only of the same suit but they are also in sequential
Example: Ac Kc Qc Jc Tc or 8d 7d 6d 5d 4d
Four of your five cards are of the same rank.
Example: 9c 9d 9s 9h 2h
Three of your five cards are of the same rank, and the other two
are equal each other in rank.
Example: Qh Qs 3s 3h 3d
All five cards are of the same suit.
Example: 2h 7h 9h Jh Ah
All five cards are sequential in rank.
Qd Jh Td 9s 8s
Three of your five cards are of the same rank.
Example: 7h 7d 7s Ah 4d
Two cards are equal to each other in rank, and two other cards are
also equal to each other in rank.
Example: Kd Kh 3s 3d 8h
Two cards that are equal each other in rank.
Example: 9h 9d Qs 4h 5d
At least one card in your hand is higher than the highest card in
an opponent's hand.
Example: As 7s 4d 3c 2c beats Kd Js 9h 7c 4h
case that two opponents both have a flush, for example, or both have
a three-of-a-kind, the player with the higher flush, or higher three-of-a-kind
wins. Here are a few examples to consider:
9c 9d 9s
9h 2h beats 4d 4h 4c 4s As
4d 4h 4c
4s As beats 4d 4h 4c 4s Ks
2h 7h 9h
Jh Ah beats 2h 7h 9h Jh Kh
Qd Jh Td
9s 8s beats Jh Td 9s 8s 7d
7h 7d 7s
Ah 4d beats 7h 7d 7s Jh 4d
Kd Kh 3s
3d 8h beats Qd Qh 3s 3d 8h
Kd Kh 3s
3d 8h beats Kd Kh 3s 3d 7h
basically all there is to it. Because of the community cards, it can
often be difficult for beginners to know exactly what they have, and
harder still to know when they are tied with another player. To this
end, we suggest that all new players take a look at the 'Reading
the Board' quiz.
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