How to play Texas Hold’em

Texas Hold’em is one of those games of which people usually say that it takes a minute to learn but a lifetime to master. It’s actually more or less true, the rules of Hold’em poker are so simple it usually only takes a few minutes to get started. This guide to how to play Texas Hold’em should be enough to give you a kickstart and after that it’s mostly practise.

Before you can start the Texas Hold’em game there are a few things that need to be decided. The first thing is in which order the players are to be seated around the table. This is actually important and you can read more about it in our strategy section. The second thing that needs to be decided is who will start as dealer. Usually both these are chosen randomly.

Before starting the first round of Texas Hold’em 2 players post blinds. The blinds are bets before the game starts and the size of them is decided before the game starts. The player left of the dealer posts what’s called the Small Blind and the player left of him Posts the Big Blind. The small blind is supposed to always be half the size of the big blind but if you play with really small amounts this sometimes becomes impossible.

After the blinds are posted the dealer deals 2 cards to each player, these are called the pocket cards. All players look at their cards and if they want to the can, in order, either fold, call or bet. The player to the left of the big blind starts. If someone wants to bet the minimum bet he can make is double the amount of the big blind. If someone bets the option to raise is available to the following players. When the turn comes to the player that posted the big blind and there has been no raise (everyone called or folded) he can chose to check. Checking means that he is satisfied with the bet of the big blind and does not intend to raise. In case someone raises you make another round around the table where everyone still in the hand gets the option to fold, call or raise. This goes on until everyone has bet the same amount or folded.

When the first round of betting is finished the dealer turns up the flop. The flop is 3 community cards which means they are placed in the center of the table face up. After the flop another round of betting takes place with the new option of checking available for everyone. Unless anyone bets before you, you can chose to check.

When this second round of betting is done the dealer places a fourth community card, the turn or fourth street, face up next to the flop and another round of betting takes place.

As soon as the third round of betting is done the dealer places yet another card in the community, this fifth card is called the river or fifth street. Another round of betting takes place. If there are still more than one player in the pot (still playing that is) the player that last got called shows his hand. If the other players want to (usually when having better hands) they show their hands and the player with the best hand wins.

How you decide what’s the best hand in Texas Hold’em

The players can use their cards together with the community cards to form the best 5 card hand. This means they have a total of 7 cards to chose from of which 5 are open for everyone. A player can chose to use both his pocket cards and 3 community cards, 1 pocket card and 4 community cards or 5 community cards, whichever makes the best hand. The hands are ranked as in any poker game, Straight flush is best followed by quad, full house, flush, straight and so on. The worst hand you can ever have in Texas Hold’em is highest card, if no player has any combination of cards the player with the highest card wins. If the players have hands of equal value the pot is split between them.

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