Texas Holdem Rules – Basic Tips

Fri, Nov 28, 2008



With tips on the basics, Texas Holdem poker is one of the simplest games of poker to learn to play. The rules are fairly basic and general strategy is too, even in No Limit Holdem. Unlike  seven card stud, you don’t have to remember a lot of cards, and the odds are easier to calculate than the high-lo hands of Omaha. In fact, you can learn the basics in a session. But to become proficient at Holdem, you have to play frequently. Continual practice is key.

Many online poker rooms offer practice or play money tables so you can practice your skills without risk. But you’ll soon see that people play more wildly on the practice tables. Your next step might be to try the microlimits games, which are often only a few cents a hand. 

Texas Holdem Poker Tips

Here are the rules and procedure for a regular Texas Holdem poker game:

1. The Holdem betting structure is known for having “blinds” instead of antes. Two players at the start of each hand must place or “post” a small forced bet into the pot. The person sitting to the immediate left of the dealer is called the Small Blind. He must post a bet equal to 1/2 the minimum bet for that table, and he places this money in the pot before any cards are dealt. The person sitting to his left is called the Big Blind. He posts a bet equal to the minimum required bet for the table. The dealer is often just a position at the table, indicated by a disk called the “button” and there is a non-player dealing the cards. 

2. The dealer distributes 2 cards to each player, face-down. These are referred to as pocket cards, or hole cards.

3. The betting round begins with the player to the left of the Big Blind. He is called the person Under The Gun, or UTG. He is the first to act in the hand. This round is called the Preflop.

4. Each player may call the Big Blind’s bet, which is placing a bet equal to the last bet, or he can raise it by an amount equal to that bet, or fold. Sometimes there are variations on the amounts you can bet, but this is the usual.

5. If a player folds, he pushes his cards towards the center of the table and takes no more part in the hand. He is said to be “mucking” his hand.

6. After the betting has returned to the blinds, the round ends. The dealer then “burns” a card off the top of the deck (discards it in case any player has accidentally seen it) and he deals 3 cards in a row to the center of the table, face up. These are called the Flop, or the community cards, or board, and are shared by all players. You may use any or all of them with your hole cards to form your 5-card Holdem hand.

7. Then there is another round of betting. This is called a Post-flop round. 

8.  After the round is finished, the dealer discards, then turns up another card to the board. This card is called the Turn. 

9. Another round of betting follows, starting with the Small Blind. Bets are now twice as much as in previous rounds.

10. The dealer turns up a final card called the River. Players may use any of the board cards with their hole cards to form a poker hand — or may even play the board itself.

11. The final betting round follows. 

12. The showdown occurs: That is all players remaining in the game must show their hands, turn their cards face up, in order. The person showing the best hand wins. If two players hold the same hand (just different suits), then they usually split the pot equally.

13. Hand rankings: To determine which hand beats another, this list explains the hands from Best to Least:

Royal Flush: A, K, Q, J, 10 all of the same suit. A royal flush is the highest possible straight flush in poker.

Straight Flush: Any five cards in a row of the same suit. EX: 5H 6H 7H 8H 9H

Four Of A Kind: Four cards of the same rank, such as 4 Aces, or 4 Tens.

Full House: Three of a kind plus a pair. EX: 6-6-K-K-K

Flush: Any five cards of the same suit, not in sequence. EX: 2D, TD, JD, 6D, AD

Straight: Five cards in sequence, of mixed suits. EX: 7H 8C 9H TS JS 

Three Of A Kind: Three cards of the same rank.

Two Pair:  Two different pairs.

Pair:  Two cards of the same rank.

High Card: The highest card between two or more players’ hands. 

Note: When two players hold an equivalent holdem hand, the rank of the cards themselves come into play. For instance, if two have a full house, the person with the higher 3-of-a-kind wins. If two players have a straight, the higher ranked straight wins. If there are two flushes, the flush containing the highest card wins.

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