Learning how to play Texas Holdem poker can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be! This practical guide will walk you through the basics of the game, from the rules to the betting structure. After reading it, you’ll be ready to sit down at a table and start playing.
You can also practice your Texas Holdem game on GGPoker, the world’s largest poker room. Sign up for an account on their website to play Texas Holdem online against players worldwide.
Now let’s get started!
Texas Holdem Poker in a Nutshell
Texas Holdem is a type of community card poker. This means that the game uses community cards, which are cards placed at the center of the poker table for all players to share. They are dealt face-up, so the players know which cards they are. In addition to these communal cards, each player has a hand of two private cards.
Texas Holdem poker rules are simple. Players must make the best possible five-card hand using any combination of their private cards and the community cards. The player with the strongest hand at the end of the game wins the pot.
Texas Holdem has four betting rounds. The first round takes place when the two private cards are dealt. The other three rounds take place after every community card deal. Players can either bet, fold (quit the hand) or check (decline to bet but stay in the hand) at each betting round.
Texas Holdem Lingo
Understanding Texas Holdem jargon is crucial to learning the game. Playing becomes easier when you know the words for all the game’s different rounds, moves, and concepts.
Here are key Texas Holdem terms you need to know:
These are the two private cards only you can see. They are dealt face-down at the beginning of the game.
As earlier mentioned, these are the cards dealt face-up in the middle of the table for all players to use when making a hand. In Texas Holdem, there are five community cards dealt throughout the game.
This is the first betting round that takes place after the hole cards are dealt and before the flop.
The flop pertains to the first three community cards. These are dealt face-up in the middle of the table after the pre-flop betting round. A round of betting takes place after the flop is dealt.
The turn pertains to the fourth community card. Like the flop, it’s dealt face-up in the middle of the table and is followed by a round of betting.
The river is the fifth and final community card. After it’s dealt, a final round of betting takes place.
The showdown happens when more than one player is left in the game after all the betting rounds are finished. At this point, the players reveal their hands to determine who wins the pot.
The button is a marker that shows who the dealer is for the current hand. The position of the button rotates clockwise around the table after every hand.
Small Blind and Big Blind
These are two forced bets that players must make to the left of the button before any cards are dealt. The game host usually determines the size of the blinds, and the small blind is typically half of the big blind.
The blinds are important because they ensure there’s always money in the pot to keep the game moving.
Texas Holdem Betting Structures
Texas Holdem uses the following betting structures:
In this structure, there are set limits on the amount each player can bet at each betting round.
This structure has no set limits on how much players can bet. Players can go all-in (bet their entire stack of chips) at any time.
Pot Limit Holdem
In this structure, the maximum amount players can bet is equal to the current size of the pot.
How to Play Texas Holdem: A Step-by-Step Guide
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Now that you know the key terms and betting structures for Texas Holdem, it’s time to learn how to play the game. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
1. To start the game, the two players to the left of the button must post the small blind and big blind.
2. Each player is then dealt two hole cards.
3. The first betting round starts with the player to the big blind’s left. Players can choose to bet, check, or fold at this point.
4. The flop is dealt once all players have made their decision. This is followed by a betting round starting from the player to the left of the button.
5. The turn is dealt after the betting round for the flop is complete. Another betting round takes place.
6. The same process happens for the river.
7. If more than one player remains after the final betting round, they go to a showdown. At this point, players reveal their hands to determine who has the strongest hand and wins the pot.
In case of a tie—that is, if two players have the same hand at the showdown—the pot is split evenly between them.
Texas Holdem Poker Hand Rankings
In Texas Holdem, the goal is to make the best five-card hand possible using your hole cards and the table’s community cards. Here are the different Texas Holdem hands ranked from strongest to weakest:
A hand containing an ace plus all the royal characters (A, K, Q, J, 10) in the same suit
Any five cards of the same suit, in sequential order
Four of a Kind
Four cards of the same numeric or character value (their rank)
Three cards of one rank and two cards of another
Five non-consecutive but same-suited cards
Any five cards in sequential order, not necessarily of the same suit
Three of a Kind
Three cards of the same numeric or character value
Two cards of one rank and two cards of another
Two cards of the same numeric or character value
A hand with no pairs or sets. The hand’s highest card determines its value.
And that’s our practical guide to Texas Holdem poker. We hope this has helped you understand the game better. Of course, the game has many nuances you’ll learn more about as you play. But we hope this basic Texas Holdem poker guide has given you enough knowledge to help you get started.