Texas Hold’em has taken the poker world by storm over the last decade after major tournaments were broadcast on television. Here is a quick rundown of how to play of Texas Hold’Em.
Typically Texas Hold’Em is played at a table with seven players and a house dealer although the number of players can be as many as ten. A standard 52-deck pack is used, but no jokers. Players must make hands using two pocket cards and five community cards. Standard poker ranks are used to determine the hands.
Players draw a card to establish who starts as ‘dealer’. The ‘dealer’ doesn’t actually deal cards; this is taken care of by the house dealer. A white plastic chip known as the button indicates the ‘dealer’s’ position and the dealer is sometimes said to be “on the button”. After each round the button advances clockwise one place to the left to the next player.
Pre-Flop Play starts with the Pre-flop. Before any cards are dealt the player to the ‘dealer’s’ left puts down a predetermined small blind and the next player to the left puts down a big blind. The small blind is half the big blind, and the big blind is the minimum table bet. The house dealer then deals two cards face down to each player in turn starting with the player to his left. These cards are known as the pocket or hole cards. Players check their cards and decide whether to fold, call, or raise. To call a player must match the big blind. Each player in turn decides what to do going around the table starting from the player to the left of the ‘dealer’. The round continues until it is the ‘dealer’s’ turn to act. The ‘dealer’ must either match a raised bet if one has been placed or ‘check’ which ends the round of betting. If the ‘dealer’ raises then play continues around the table with each player again choosing to either raise, call, or fold.
The Flop. The house dealer deals three cards face down in the middle of the table. The cards are then turned face simultaneously, which is called the flop. These are the community cards that each player uses to make up their hands. Following the flop there is another round of betting beginning with the player immediately to the left of the ‘dealer’. This is the same player that laid down the little blind at the start of the round. Betting continues as before until there are no further raises.
The Turn The house dealer deals a fourth community card known as ‘The Turn’, this time face up. Another round of betting beginnings with the player in the little blind position.
The River. The house dealer deals the last community card, known as The River. A final round of betting follows until a player calls or all players but one fold. Hands are compared and the highest hand wins.
In brick and mortar casinos the house dealer always discards or ‘burns’ one card before dealing the flop, turn, and river. This is to prevent the possibility of players reading the back of marked cards in the deck.