Texas Holdem has fast become the most popular poker game in the world. There are three types of Texas Holdem games:
- Limit Texas Holdem (A betting limit is in each round and on each hand)
- Pot Limit Texas Holdem (A player can bet a maximum of the total pot size)
- No Limit Texas Holdem (A player can bet all of their chips at any time)
How to Play Texas Holdem
A table begins with one person being the dealer (to determine the dealer each player is dealt one card up and the highest card deals). The two people sitting immediately to the left of the dealer are required to post a blind. Blinds are forced bets that induce action on the table. These bets are called blinds because the players must post the bets without having seen any cards yet. The first person to the left of the dealer posts the “Small” blind and the second person to the left of the dealer posts the “Big” blind. There is a new dealer after every hand by moving the deck one player to the left, in turn rotating the blinds each hand ensuring that everyone posts a big and small blind every 1 to 8 hands depending on how many players are at the table. In tournament play, blinds generally start low at $5/$10 and increase on set intervals, such as every 10 hands or on a time limit, for example after 15 minutes the blinds would increase to $10/$20, then $25/$50, and so on. In cash games blinds do not usually change and the small blind is almost always half the lower stakes while the big blind is equal to the lower stake. For example at $2/$4 cash game would see small blinds of 1$ and big blinds of $2. It is important to note that Blinds are not the same as antes. Blinds are only posted by 2 players and are bets; meaning in order for the player to the left of the big blind to see the flop they must call the big blind bet. More on this below.
Once the blinds are posted each player is dealt two cards down. The player to the left of the big blind begins this round of betting. If the player wishes to continue in the hand they must at least call the big blind. However he may fold or raise at this point as well. Betting continues around the table one player at a time in turn and ends on the player who posted the big blind if no one raises. If a player raises the blind then the betting continues around the table until each player that chooses to remain in the hand has called the highest bet on the table. If a player raises and the bets come back to the raiser without any additional raises by another player then that ends the round of betting.
At this point the first card on the top of the deck is placed faced down which is referred to burning the card. This card is discarded and not used in the hand. The next 3 cards are dealt face up in the middle of the table and are community cards everyone can use. This is called the “Flop”. A new round of betting starts with the first person immediately to the left of the dealer. Once betting has ended in this round another single card is “Burned” and a single card is dealt face up next to the first 3. This 4th card is referred to as “The Turn” or “4th Street”. Another round of betting, top card is burned and the fifth and final card is dealt. The last card is known as “The River” or “5th Street”. One last round of betting and players turn their 2 hole cards over to determine who has the best hand.
In Texas Holdem, to make the best hand a player must use the 5 best cards of the 7 (2 Hole cards and 5 community cards) available cards. In any combination of the 2 hole cards and the 5 community cards a player can make the best available hand including not using the hole cards at all. There is a set rank of cards, which is used for deciding the winning combination.
If two or more hands are the same ranking, the winner is the one having the higher cards. For example, a Flush with an Ace high beats a Flush with a King high. If the poker hands are tied, then the highest card not being held in common determines the winner. This tie breaking card is known as the “Kicker”. For example if two players show their cards one having Ace and 8 while the other player holds Ace and Jack, and they both have a pair of Aces the Jack “kicker” would give the winning hand to the Ace Jack player. The suit order of the cards is not taken into account while deciding on the winning cards. If poker hands be absolutely identical in ranking, the poker pot distribution will be split evenly between the two or more winning players. If there is an odd chip, the winning player to the left of the button/dealer will receive it.
... and that's how the game of Texas Holdem is played.