How to Play Texas Holdem Poker
Certainly the most popular form of poker that is found in poker and tournaments today is Texas Hold'em. This community type card game is hugely sought after around the world, and is especially popular in the United States. Major tournaments such as the World Series of Poker, where no limit Texas Hold'em is offered, have played a huge role in the advancement of this poker variant in recent years.
The objective of Texas Hold'em Poker is to complete the game with the best possible poker hand in order to take home the prize pot. While Texas Hold'em is considered simple to learn, with an easy to follow betting format, players need to hone their skills and practice their strategies before they are ready to sit down and play at professional games or tournaments. Click for information on history, terminology/glossary, hand rankings/nicknames and holdem pre-flop chart.
The Sequence of Play in Texas Hold'em Poker
- The first step in any game is to establish a betting structure. In some instances blinds will be used, and in other instances antes will be used. In most cases, blinds are used. This requires the two players who are seated to the left of the dealer to kick start the game by placing a specific amount of cash into the pot.
- Two cards are dealt out to each player after the dealer has shuffled the cards. These hole cards (also known as pocket cards) are dealt face down.
- The first round of betting is known as The Preflop. The player to the left of the first two players mentioned above (those who posted the blinds) starts the betting. Players have the option of calling, raising or folding, and the amount is dependent on the structures that the dealer determined at the beginning of the Texas Hold'em game.
- The next step, known as burning the card, sees the dealer remove the top card on the deck in order to prevent any form of cheating. This is done after the first round of betting ends.
- The next round is known as The Flop. The dealer places three cards face up in the center of the poker table. These communal cards (the flop) are in place so that all players can use them to make poker hands along with their already dealt pocket cards.
- The player who is seated to the left of the dealer begins a new round of betting.
- The dealer burns another card after this betting round comes to an end.
- A new card, known as the turn card, is flipped onto the center of the table, also to be used towards creating the best five card poker hand.
- The player to the left of the dealer begins another round of betting. Betting around the table at this point usually doubles.
- Another card is burnt by the dealer who then proceeds to place another card face up. This is known as The River.
- Players at this point can use any of the five face up cards or their two hidden pocket cards to form their poker hand.
- The player to the left of the dealer begins the final betting round.
- When the round ends, all players who are still left in the game have a chance to reveal their cards in stage of the game known as The Showdown. The player who is situated to the left of the last player who called starts the Showdown.
- The player who shows the best poker hand among all those left standing is declared the winner and can take home the prize pot.
As mentioned earlier, there are two acceptable forms of betting structures in Texas Hold'em Poker – antes or blinds. The difference between the two is usually that blinds are commonly used in the early stages of the game in question, while antes are used in the later stages.
- The position of the dealer at the table determines the order of betting in the game.
- In tournament play, a dealer button usually indicates who the dealer in the game is. The button will then turn in a clockwise position around the table after each betting round to indicate the change in the dealer and blinds.
- The player who is seated to the left of the dealer at the table posts a small blind. This amount is usually half the amount of the big blind.
- The player seated to the left of the small blind posts the big blind. This amount is equal to the minimum bet, which was determined prior to the game’s commencement.
- As the rounds of Texas Hold'em progress, the structure of the betting increases.
- The betting structure differs if only two players are left remaining in the Texas Hold'em game. These rules are known as head to head and essentially determine that the dealer posts a small blind and the other player the big one.
Different Variants of Texas Hold'em (for example limit Texas Hold'em, No Limit Texas Hold'em and Pot Limit) will affect the betting rules as follows:
- Limit Hold'em: Bets and raises during the flop and preflop rounds need to be equal in size to the big blind, and are called the small bet.
- No Limit Hold'em: Bets or raises any amount above the minimum raise are allowed to be made by the players as long as they don’t exceed the amount that is equal to the number of chips that the player has present on the poker table.
- No Pot Limit Hold'em: The current size of the pot determines the maximum raise allowed.
- Consider the Number of Players in the Game: If there are more than 10 players around the table, the chances are that one of them will have strong pocket cards. Play cautiously in games with a larger number of players.
- Consider the Opponent’s Betting Patterns: Before opting to bet heavily, stop to think how the opponents are betting. An aggressive player who raises on every pre-flop requires tight betting. An aggressive player who wins in the blinds can be cornered once the player has a solid hand next time around.
- Consider the Bankroll Size: Players with small bankrolls should be more selective about their betting hands. Players with more hefty bankrolls can afford to take greater risks around the table.
- Consider the Seating Positions: Where the player sits also determines factors when betting and playing. Those seated in later positions can affect the size of the prize pot compared to those players who are seated in earlier positions.
- Consider Gaming and Betting Styles: Sticking to one’s own style and being true to oneself is the best gaming strategy. However, flexibility is also a trait that should be adopted in order to advance further in Texas Hold'em Poker.
Texas Holdem Poker Pre-Flop Strategy Chart
- Royal Flush: Ten, Jack, Queen, King and Ace of the same suit
- Straight Flush: Five consecutive cards of the same suit
- Four of a Kind: Four cards of one rank and an unmatched card of another rank
- Full House: Three matching cards of one rank and two matching cards of another rank
- Flush: All five cards are of one suit
- Straight: Five cards of sequential rank
- Three of a Kind: Three cards of the same rank and two unmatched cards
- Two Pair: Two cards of the same rank plus two cards of another rank plus one unmatched card
- One Pair: Two cards of the same rank plus three other unmatched cards
- High Card: No two cards have the same rank and the five cards are not in sequence
Poker Hand Ranking Examples
The Popular Texas Hold'em Poker
The mainstream media has definitely played a huge role in advancing the popularity of Texas Hold'em Poker to the point that the game now reaches widely across the globe. In addition, online poker rooms mainly offer this game at their sites, meaning that literally millions are exposed to Texas Hold'em Poker on a daily basis.
Players today have plenty of resources at their disposal to learn the game and hone their skills. Specialized software, internet guides and free online poker rooms are just some of the ways that players can discover this exciting game and work their way up from amateur to professional in no time at all.
Posted by Denise Marie