Texas Hold ‘em Gameplay


When learning how to play Texas Hold ‘em, the first thing you have to learn is the order of gameplay. Sure, there is a lot to learn about different strategies and techniques, but you have to crawl before you can walk.

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Play begins to the left of the dealer with the small blind.

Here is a step-by-step guide through playing a hand of Texas Hold ‘em.

1. Blinds

For the most part, Texas Hold ‘em uses blinds to start each round of betting. This means that only two people have to put in money before the cards are dealt, and everyone else has the opportunity to fold without losing any chips.

Keep in mind that the term “blind” can refer to either the bet itself or the person making the bet.

Immediately to the left of the dealer is the “small blind.” If the minimum bet for the round is $10, the small blind has to put in $5, or half of the minimum bet, before receiving cards. To the left of the small blind is the big blind. This player has to put in the full minimum bet, which is $10 in this example, before getting his or her cards.

The big and small blinds shift one player to the left at the end of every hand. In other words, the person who was just big blind is small blind for the next round, the person to his or her left becomes big blinds, and the person who was just small blinds becomes the dealer.

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Hole cards are the two face-down cards dealt to each player.

2. Hole Cards

Once the blinds are settled, the dealer out cards to each player. He begins dealing to his immediate left and deals two rounds of one card to every player – himself included – so that every player gets two cards face down in front of them.

These are the hole cards. At any time, the player can look at their cards, but should leave them facedown on the table to ensure that no one else can sneak a peek.

3. Betting

Once everyone has hole cards in front of them, the first round of betting begins, starting with the player to the left of the big blinds.

If the person to the left of the big blinds wants to play out the hand, he has three options: call, fold or raise. A call means he is merely matching the existing bet, $10 in the above scenario.

On the other hand, if the player doesn’t want to play that hand, he can fold without losing anything.

If everyone either calls or folds, betting goes around the table to the small blind, who must put in the other half of their blind – an additional $5 in our example – to continue before the big blind has the option to keep his bet at $10 by checking, or add more chips to the pot with a raise.

At any point, a player who believes that he/she has a strong hand may chose to bet more money, which is called a raise. Generally, they must at least double the minimum bet, and depending on the type of game, players can commit a portion or all of their chips at any given time. In this scenario, the player who wants to raise must bet at least $20. Once one person raises, everyone else match that raise, re-raise or fold to continue the hand.

Remember, once a player puts chips into the pot, he can’t get them back even if he choses to fold later that round.

23-4-Flop

The flop is considered the first three face up community cards.

4. Flop

After the first round of bets is settled, it’s time for the flop. The dealer will first turn the top card face down on the table, making it the “burn card.” Then he will deal three cards in a row face up, which is called the flop.

These are the first three of a total of five cards that all of the players will be able to combine with their hole cards to make the best possible five-card poker hand.

5. Betting

After the flop is dealt, the first person to act is the player to the left of the dealer. He has three options: Check, bet or fold. A check means that he wants to stay in the hand but doesn’t want to make a bet, so he is passing the bet to his left. If no one chooses to bet, the check can go all of the way around, and no one has to put in any additional money to stay in the game.

A player may also choose to bet. He must put in at least the minimum bet of $10 for this example, but may bet as much as he wants, presuming it is a No Limit game. Once he makes a bet, the person to his left can chose to call him by matching that bet, re-raise by betting a higher amount of money (at least double the initial bet), or fold.

23-6-Turn

The turn is the fourth face up community card dealt.

If any player folds, he can no longer participate in the hand and loses any money he has bet that round thus far. For example, say Player One bets $10 and Player Two raises the bet to $20. If Player One then chooses to fold, he loses that initial $10.

6. Turn

The turn, also known as Fourth Street, is the next card to be dealt onto the board. Like the flop, the top card is burned, but this time only one card is turned face up.

7. Betting

Just like last round, the person to the left of the dealer takes first action, and everyone checks, bets or folds.

23-8-River

The river is the fifth and final community card dealt.

8. River

Remember the turn? This will be the exact same procedure. Sometimes called Fifth Street, the river is the fifth and final card to go onto the board once a card has been burned.

9. Betting

This is the last opportunity players have to check, bet or fold.

Once the pot is settled, the remaining players turn their cards face up to show who has made the best hand between their hole cards and the community cards. The best poker hand wins the whole pot.

Not all hands are played all of the way out to the river. If someone bets at any time and no one wants to call, the hand is over and that player gets the pot.