How to Play Texas Hold'em
In Texas Hold'em, each player receives two "hole" cards face down, and five face up community cards are dealt in the center of the table. The player who makes the best five-card poker hand with any combination of their two hole cards and the five community cards wins the round.
In a Texas Hold'em game, a disc or other marker is used to indicate which person is the "dealer" for the round. Before the cards are dealt, the two players to the left of the dealer post forced bets called blinds. The person immediately to the left of the dealer posts a bet called the small blind, which is usually equal to half of the minimum bet. The person to the left of the small blind posts the big blind, which is equal to the minimum bet. The first two cards are dealt to each player face down (these are called the hole cards), and the person to the left of the big blind starts the first round of betting. (Notice that the big blind and small blind do not get to look at their cards before betting, thus the term "blind").
In the first round of betting, each player has three options: call, raise or fold. To call, the player must place a bet that is equal to the last bet placed. (For the first player in the round, this would be equal to the minimum bet.) A player may choose to raise their bet by an additional amount, which the other players will then have to call. If one's hole cards are not favorable, the player may simply choose to fold and sit out the round.
After all the players have finished the first round of betting, the first three community cards are dealt face up on the board. This is called the flop. The second and all subsequent betting rounds start with the first player to the dealer's left, and players now has the option to check. By checking, the player indicates interest in the pot without placing a bet. Any player may choose to place a bet, which the other players must then call. Players can still raise, if a bet has been made, or fold, if their hand is not favorable.
After the second betting round, the fourth community card is dealt face-up (this is called the turn card). In limit games, the minimum bet doubles in the last two rounds of betting. After the third betting round, the fifth and final community card is dealt (this is called the river card). A final round of betting ensues, and afterwards each player turns their hole cards face up in the order that they bet. The highest hand that can be made with any combination of a player's hole cards and the five community cards wins the pot. If two or more players have the same hand, the next highest card in the player's hand (the kicker) is used to break a tie. If there is no kicker card (the tied players have used both hole cards, or have the exact same five card hand), then the pot is split between them. The dealer button is then passed clockwise to the next player and another round of play begins.
Poker Platoon has a clear graphical summary of the rules of Texas Hold'em
There are three kinds of Hold'em games. In Limit games, bets and raises are set at a fixed amount. A typical limit game would be $10/$20 ($10 minimum bet for the first two rounds, and $20 minimum for the last two rounds.) The big blind would be equal to the minimum bet ($10) and the small blind would be half the minimum bet ($5). Each round of betting is capped at a maximum number of raises, depending on the rules of the game. In online Hold'em games, raises are generally capped at four bets per round. New players will start with low-limit games and gradually work their way up to higher limits as their skill progresses.
In No Limit Hold'em, the maximum bet is determined by the number of chips you have in front of you. Players can bet and raise by any amount, and at any time, a player can go "all-in" by pushing all their chips toward the center of the table. To call, the other players at the table must push in all of their chips, up to the amount of their opponent's all-in bet. This is the type of Hold'em that is played on the pro level, and on TV shows such as the World Poker Tour and the World Series of Poker.
Pot Limit Hold'em is similar to No Limit, except that the maximum bet is determined by the number of chips currently in the pot. This allows players to experience the excitement and strategy of No Limit Hold'em without the necessity of a large bankroll. Pot Limit games usually have a maximum buy-in (the number of chips you start with) to keep the game competitive.
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