The Texas Holdem version of poker is one of the easiest to learn. It is for this reason that it has now become the most popular poker variant both online and in casinos.

Texas Hold'em Rules

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The simplicity of the rules allows new players to pick up the game and start playing after a few minutes, whilst the depth of the game helps keep players interested for years. This guide aims to give you a complete understanding on how Texas Holdem is played, and it will take no longer than 5 minutes.

Texas Hold'em rules basics.

Texas Holdem is played with a 52-card deck and poker chips. Texas Holdem can be played in a cash game style, where there is no time limit and each hand is played with real money.

The game can also be played in a tournament style where each player receives a set amount of chips at the start, and the winner is the player that obtains all of the chips on the table. Tournaments can also be played for real money, where the winner takes all or part of the other players’ buy-ins.

  • Each player is dealt two cards face down on the table, these are called "holecards".
  • 5 community cards are dealt face up in the middle of the table in 3 separate stages.
  • The Flop is the first stage, where the first 3 cards are dealt face up.
  • The Turn is the second stage, where 1 card is dealt up.
  • The River is the final stage, where 1 last card is dealt face up.
  • Players use a combination of the 2 cards in their hand and the 5 cards on the table to make the best 5 card hand (see Texas Hold'em hand rank).
  • At each stage there is a round of betting.
  • If there are still players left in the hand after the final round of betting, the hand will go to a ‘showdown’ and the best hand will take the money in the pot.

Texas Hold'em betting.

Betting is a fundamental part of poker. The amount you can bet depends of the variant of Texas Holdem you are playing.

  • In Limit Holdem you can only bet a fixed amount on each round.
  • In Pot Limit Holdem you can bet any size you wish up to the amount that is already in the pot.
  • In No Limit Holdem you can bet any amount of money on any round up to the amount you have in front of you.

There are numerous stages in the game of Texas Holdem where betting can take place.

Sequence of rounds and betting.

Holecards are dealt
Round of betting
Flop is dealt
Round of betting
Turn is dealt
Round of betting
River is dealt
Round of betting

In each of these rounds of betting, you will have 3 options available to you depending on what has happened before the action reaches you. The two situations you will be in are acting after there has been a bet, or acting after no bets have been made. (See the bet sizing article for betting strategy in Texas Hold'em.)

Acting after no bets.

  1. Check – By ‘checking’ you do not put any money in the pot, and the next card will be dealt if no other bets are made.
  2. Bet – By betting you put money into the pot. This means that the other players must call this bet to see the next card to be dealt.
  3. Fold – You also have the option to fold, but this is rarely done because it is currently free for you to see another card and give yourself an opportunity to make the best hand.

Acting after a bet.

  1. Call – By calling, you put the same amount of money into the pot that the other player has bet. Therefore you will see the next card if no other players raise this bet.
  2. Raise – You can raise another player’s bet and force them to call an additional amount of money for them to see the next card.
  3. Fold – If you do not wish to put more money into the pot, you can fold your hand. Your hand will be declared "dead" and you will no longer be able to win the money in the pot.

Dealing in Texas Holdem.

The cards in Texas Holdem have to be dealt in accordance to a simple set of rules. These rules help to keep the dealing fair, and prevent the cards from being fixed.

  • Holecards must be dealt 1 at a time from the top of the pack in a clockwise motion starting from the dealer’s left.
  • Before the flop can be dealt, a card must be "burned" which means that this card is dealt face down on the table and placed to one side.
  • Before the turn, another card must be "burned".
  • Before the river, one final card must again be "burned".

Texas Hold'em rules overview.

As you can hopefully see, Texas Holdem is a very simple game to pick up. It is also a very enjoyable game and can be played for real money or for entertainment purposes without the use of money. Due to the betting nature of the game, it is possible to learn skills and strategies to improve the way you play and win money through playing poker. If you want to be able to win money through poker, we have a strategy section with numerous strategy guides to help you improve your poker game.

Now go out and start playing some Texas Holdem. Don't forget to brush up on the Hold'em hand rank (try the hand rank quiz for some extra help) before you play to ensure that you know what beats what.

Go back to the interesting Texas Hold'em articles.

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