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Texas Hold'em


Texas Hold'em, also known as Hold'em, is an extremely popular game. Each player is dealt two cards face down (called the pocket, the hole or blind cards), and while the group is dealt five cards face up (called community cards). The players use their cards in the hole (the two blind cards dealt facedown) and five community cards to put together the best possible five-card combination. Players can use both, one or none of their pocket cards while trying to make the best five-card hand. If a player doesn't use any of his/her two blind cards to make a combination, it is called "playing the board". Each player's five-card combination is in direct competition with the other players' combinations. The player with the best five-card combination wins the pot.


Because Hold'em is relatively straight-forward and easy to grasp, it has gained popularity among the world over. Even professionals say that it takes only a couple of hours to learn the game. The following is a brief introduction to the rules for the game. The rules have been divided into easy-to-follow categories for you to learn Texas Hold'em and become a skillful player.


Remember, if you want to play successfully, you must know the game's rules, even if you're only playing with fun money.


Game Sequence

Texas Hold'em is made up of four betting rounds. Limit Hold'em allows for one bet and three raises in each round of betting. No Limit Hold'em doesn't limit the amount or size of bets. To continue playing during each betting round, the player must Call all of the action that has been directed at him/her, unless he/she has already gone "all-in".


Every round of betting starts with the first active player to the left of the "dealer button". This button moves clockwise around the table with every hand. This player has three choices - Check, Bet or Fold. After the player decides, all succeeding players have the same choices until the betting round ends. The player in the Big Blind position is able to Raise, Call, Check or Fold on his turn. If nobody has raised before him, the Big Blind can Check or Raise (see below for the definition of the Big Blind).


If, after all betting rounds have finished and there is more than one player still in the game, a showdown determines the winner. The last player to Raise is obligated to show his/her cards first.


Here is the game's sequence:

• Before any cards are dealt, the Small and the Big Blinds are placed in the pot by the two players directly left of the dealer button. The Small Blind is equal to half the minimum bet at the table, and the Big Blind is equal to the minimum bet. The player in the Big Blind position acts after the player in the Small Blind position. The dealer's position is indicated by the dealer button (the white disk marked with a "D").


• Two cards are dealt face down to each player and are called the "hole" (or "pocket") cards. The first round of betting commences with the player to the left of the Big Blind. This player calls, rises or folds and from there the game proceeds in a clockwise order.


• The second betting round starts after three community cards (also known the "flop") are dealt face up. The player to the left of the button acts first, beginning this round of betting.


• The third betting round begins when one more card, known as the "turn" or "Fourth Street", is dealt. In Limit Texas Hold'em, the betting amount doubles on the "turn".


• The final betting round begins after the dealer has turned over the last card, known as the "river" or "Fifth Street ". This is the final round of betting.


• The Showdown takes place after all betting has stopped and all remaining players (also called "active" players) are ready to show their hands. The dealer compares players' hands and declares a winner. The best hand takes the pot. If there is only one player remaining after any round of Texas Hold'em, the showdown is canceled and the pot is awarded to that player.



Hold'em Sequence Chart

To understand the whole game process, the sequence of turns is summarized in the following chart:

1. The Small and the Big Blinds are posted
2. First round of betting
3. The flop (three cards) are dealt face up
4. Second round of betting
5. The "turn" (fourth community card) is dealt
6. Third round of betting
7. The "river" (fifth and final community card) is dealt
8. Final round of betting
9. Showdown


Game Selection and Bankroll

The first important step when beginning a poker session is choosing the appropriate game for your bankroll and skill level. This will ensure a long and winning career in poker.



Be certain that you have a sufficient bankroll for the stakes of the game. Fluctuations in the game are common and a decent-sized bankroll often dictates your ability to withstand the peaks and troughs. If you try playing in a $3/$6 game with a $50 total bankroll, you'll probably leave the table broke and have to deposit more money into your account.

Generally, it's a good idea to have a bankroll of around 200 times the Big Blind. For example, bring $200 to a $0.5/$1 game.


Evaluate the Game

• It goes without saying that some games are more difficult than others, even when the limits are the same.

• It is a good idea to look for games that have weaker players, as opposed to games with stronger players. As you continue to learn the game you will find that this is a very important ingredient to poker success.

• Before sitting down at a table, take some time to watch the game. If it is a game full of tough players then it would be wise to consider another game.


Hand Selection

A major part of whether a player will be a winner in the long run knowing the best starting, or pre-flop, hands. This is just as important as Game Selection. Of course, this is just a rough guide to hand selections and if players who feel comfortable with the game's action can decided to play more hands than listed here. Also, remember that suited cards are stronger than unsuited cards, since they also give the possibility of making a flush.



1-10 Best Texas Hold'em Starting Hands


1. Ace Ace (AA)

2. King King (KK)

3. Queen Queen (QQ)

4. Ace King suited (AKs)
 5. Ace Queen suited (AQs)

6. Jack Jack (JJ)

7. King Queen suited (KQs)

8. Ace Jack suited (AJs)

9. King Jack suited (KJs)

10. Ace King offsuit (AKo)


Additional Things to Watch For


Common cards variations at the Showdown

• Three flop cards and both hole cards

• Four flop cards and one of the hole cards

• Only the flop cards (when the board is played)


Check and raise leads are always allowed in Texas Hold'em games, with exception to the first round of betting. During the first round, every player must either bet or fold. The Bet prompt always indicates the minimum and maximum bet wager allowed in the Bet window.


The Texas Hold'em Dealer always sits at the head of the table and deals to all players. The dealer's position (also known as the button) starts at dealer's left and moves clockwise with each player from hand to hand.


At the beginning of the game, each player is dealt with two blind (hole) cards in a clockwise direction, starting from the button.


The Dealer Button is a white disk labeled with a "D" letter, which moves clockwise from player to player at the beginning of each hand. It is used to identify the current position of the dealer, although the player aligned with it is not actually dealing the cards. This position is widely known as "to be on the button". After each hand completed, the button moves one position to the left.


Betting Order is always dictated in Texas Hold'em by the order the cards were dealt.


Blinds are the required bets made by the two players to the left of the dealer button. The player immediately to the left of the button is the Small Blind and the player to the left of him/her is the Big Blind. The Small Blind is one-half the minimum bet and the Big Blind is equal to the minimum bet.

At the start of the first round, after the players in the blind positions have made their bets into the pot, each player is dealt two hole cards.


Folding is an important skill and will save players a lot of money over the course of their poker careers. For beginners, we suggest that, as a general rule of thumb, they fold any hand not listed above on the pre-flop starting hand. Furthermore, a player should probably fold their cards if the flop does not pair their high card(s), make three of kind, or flop two cards that give a chance to get a straight or flush.


Checking has both advantages and disadvantages. A player should generally consider raising or folding rather than checking. But, if the community cards have not helped the player's hand, a check is a safe option that allows the player to see the next card for free. Checking is often the best course of action when a player is unsure of whether he/she has the best hand at the showdown.


Calling also has its advantages and disadvantages. Like checking a player should consider raising or folding rather than calling. When the community cards have not helped them a player typically shouldn't call.

• Drawing hands that offer a chance to make a straight or a flush are often worth calling. Such hands usually require a slightly bigger pot or lots of players in the hand, as the odds of completing your draw are roughly about 1 in 4.

• If a player is unsure of whether he/she has the best hand at the showdown, then calling a bet is often the best course of action.


Betting/Raising/Re-Raising/Check-Raising are the essential weapons in a poker player's arsenal. Betting and raising is what poker is all about. Whenever a player believes that he/she has the best hand, the player should bet, raise, or re-raise. This is done to not only swell the amount of the bets in the pot but also helps guard against opponents drawing hands on the turn or the river.

• Players in a late position may bet or raise with strong drawing hands to either win the pot right away, or to enable them to receive a 'free' card on the next betting round when all the players who act before them check.

• If a player gets a very strong hand on the flop or later, then check-raising becomes a powerful way to increase the size of the pot. For check-raising to work, players should be very confident that someone else will bet after they check.

• Betting, raising, re-raising, and check-raising are also powerful tools when trying to deceive or bluff opponents, if they are used sparingly.


Bluffing is an important part of poker and it is a valuable tool for poker players. Bluffing can often win pots, and it allows players to keep their opponents off-balance.


• Bluffing works better against a smaller number of opponents, and often doesn't succeed against a large number of opponents.

• Do not try to bluff players who tend to call often. Bluffs work better against players who are more willing to fold.

• Be careful to not bluff too much, as opponents will soon catch on and stop taking the bait.


Observe Your Opponents

A winning poker player should always observe and watch their fellow poker players. Analyzing an opponent's play gives a player insight into what hand their competitors may hold. This allows the observant player to make better decisions, and ultimately win more pots and lose fewer chips.

• A player should pay attention to other players and their actions even when he/she is not involved in the hand.

Players should also remember that their opponents are watching them, too, and so would be wise to vary their own play occasionally.






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