Texas Hold’em is the best known and most popular form of poker today. As with most forms of poker, Texas Hold’em uses a standard 52-card deck, which is shuffled before each hand.
Each player starts the game with two hole cards (“pocket cards”). This is followed by three rounds of play in which common cards are dealt. They are dealt face up, and each player can use them. After each round there is bidding.
The best hand of five cards using any combination of five common cards and two closed cards wins.
Below you will find a detailed description of how to play Texas Hold’em online.
Every Hold’em hand starts with two blinds. The blinds are placed by the two players before the cards are dealt, to spur the players to action. If there is nothing to fight for, the first player would have no reason to bet. The dealer’s position is indicated by a circle called the “dealer’s (button) button” or simply “button”. This is the position from which the dealer would deal if he were one of the players at the table. Before the cards are dealt, the player to the left of the batten bets half (usually) of the mandatory bet for this game. That player’s bet is called the small blind. The player to the left of the small blind puts in chips equal to the minimum bet in the game. This bet is called the big blind.
The first time you sit down at the table, you must wait until the big blind reaches your position. After every hand, the Button moves one position clockwise, so after which time it will be your turn to bet the big blind. If you want to get into the game without waiting for the big blind to get to you (unless you’re in the small blind or the batton position), you can bet an equal amount as the big blind.
During each round, each player must bet both the small and the big blind. If you miss a blind during a round, you must either wait for the big blind or bet an equal amount before the cards are dealt.
First Round of Bidding
After the blinds are set, the dealer deals 2 cards to each player, starting with the small blind. The cards are dealt one at a time. These 2 cards are called the hole cards. Your dealt cards appear facing the monitor, but don’t worry – only you can see them. Other players’ cards are displayed face up. Each player sees a similar picture, that is, the face of only his cards.
As a result, each player has 2 of their own cards and 5 shared cards, which are laid out in the center of the table face up. These shared cards, also called the “board” or “board,” are part of each player’s combination, so each player has 7 cards at his or her disposal. Using 5 of these 7 cards, each player tries to put together the best possible poker combination. The combination can only consist of 5 cards, so only the best cards are chosen from the 7 cards. Even if you have never played Hold’em before, don’t worry about which cards are better – the software will automatically show the best 5 cards of your combination when it comes time to compare combinations.
Hold’em, like any other form of poker, is a betting game. There are four rounds of bidding in hold’em. The size of the bets depends on the structure of the game. There are only three of them:
- fixed-limit – In Texas Hold’em fixed-limit hold’em, each bidding round has a fixed bet size.
- Pot-limit – In Texas Pot-limit Hold’em, a player may place any bet no smaller than the minimum, but not bigger than the pot.
- No-limit – In no-limit Texas Hold’em, a player can bet any amount from the minimum bet to his entire stack.
The first betting round begins with the player to the left of the player with the big blind. This position is sometimes referred to as “under the gun”. As the first player, you can choose one of 3 actions.
- Throw your cards away (“fold”, from the English word for “fold”);
- enter the game with a minimum bet (“limp”);
- raise the bet (“Raise”).
You choose what you want to do by checking a box. If you Fold a hand, your cards are removed from the game and do not appear on the screen. You can no longer claim the pot of that hand and are out of the game until the next hand. If you discard your cards into a pass, the next player has the same choice of action. If all players, including the small blind, choose to fold, the player who bet the big blind takes the pot. That hand ends and a new one begins.
If you or anyone else bets (or otherwise enters the game), the next player may take these actions:
- fold (pass);
- Call (i.e., call the previous Bet);
- Raise (i.e. raise the previous Bet).
Each subsequent player has the same three choices. If a raise is made, any player who wants to stay in the hand must either call that bet (call it) or raise (raise the bet). When the turn comes to the players who bet the blinds, they are given the same choice. However, some of their chips are already in the pot, and they count towards their new bet. So, to continue playing, the player who bet the big blind of $2 must add $2 less to the pot. If the turn comes up to the big blind and there have been no raises at this point, the player may do the following. He may Raise. The remaining players may Call, Raise, Re-raise or Fold. The player on the big blind may also choose not to Raise. In this case, the betting round is stopped. The big blind is called the live one.
At the end of the first Betting Round, i. e. when all players have had an opportunity to Fold or Call the highest Bet, the Dealer places three cards face up in the center of the Table. These first three common cards are called the “flop”.
At this point, the second round of bidding takes place. The first word goes to the first active (who has cards) player to the left of the batten. If the player on the small blind in the first round of bidding calls, that player will go first, even though he was the penultimate player in the first round of bidding. Only in the first betting round (sometimes called pre-flop) do bets start from other positions. In all bidding rounds beginning with the second, the first player has 2 options:
- “check” – not to bet (the turn goes to the next player);
- “bet” – to bet not less than the minimum bet for this round.
If the bet is not made, all the next players in turn have the same choice. It is quite possible that on all bidding rounds except the first, players will not bid at all. This happens if all players make a “check”.
If anyone bids, each of the next players may bid:
- fold (pass);
- Call (i.e., call the previous Bet);
- Raise (i.e. raise the previous Bet).
The player who played check keeps the cards. If someone bets, the player who played the check may do the following. Play a check and then raise when the turn comes back to him. This is called a check-raise. If you played a check and then intend to raise, of course you are taking a risk, because there is a chance that no one will bet.
Once the second round of bidding is complete (i.e. everyone in the hand has either checked or called the maximum bet made), the dealer puts another open card into the center of the table. This fourth common card is called the turn.
A third round of betting begins. Bets again start with the first active player to the left of the Button. This round of bidding follows the same principle as the second round. In fixed limit games the bets on the third and fourth betting rounds are usually twice the bets of the first two betting rounds.
At the end of the third round of bidding, the dealer reveals the fifth (and last) Community Card in the center of the table. This last community card is called the “river”.
The fourth and final round of bidding begins. Bets start again with the first active player to the left of the batten. This bidding round follows the same principle as the previous two rounds.
The showdown occurs when bets are made and tied in the fourth round. Players who still have cards show them. The best combination wins. The combination must consist of 5 cards (player cards plus shared cards). The winner of the strongest combination wins the pot. If several players have put together the best combination, the pot is divided equally among these players.
If in the last betting round the bets were not tied (for example, if one player bet or raised, but no one responded), there will be no showdown, and the program gives the pot to the player whose bet was not called. This also applies to any previous bidding round. If this happens in an earlier round, the hand ends and no more cards are dealt.
Sometimes a player runs out of chips before the betting ends. In this case, one or more side banks are created and the program distributes these banks to their winners. When a player is all-in (i.e., puts all his chips in the pot), a bet or raise may be made that does not equal the other player, but a showdown will still occur.
Players often do not show their losing cards. However, you can see all the cards that were involved in the showdown, even if they were not shown during the showdown. To do this, click on “Show Previous Hand”. A new window will appear on the screen with the results of the last deal and the cards that participated in the showdown.
Sometimes the best possible combination includes both of a player’s closed cards. Sometimes such a combination includes only 1 player’s card. Sometimes, but quite rarely, only common cards are used. In this case, the cards the dealer has placed on the board form a combination stronger than any other possible combination using the player’s card(s). In such cases, the board is said to be playing. If this happens, the pot is divided equally among the players who remained in the hand at the time of its completion.