How to Play Texas Hold’em Poker
Texas Hold’em – Starting Out
Texas Hold’em poker games start with each player receiving one card to determine positioning, or who “deals” first. The player with the highest card sits on the “button” and acts as dealer (in online poker, the software deals every hand). The player seated one position to the left of the button posts the small blind while the player two seats to the left of the button posts the big blind. The next player – three seats left of the button – acts first each hand. Once positioning is set, each player receives two cards face down, called “hole cards”. After the players get their hole cards, they have the option to Check, Bet or Fold. This is pre-flop action. The hole cards you’re dealt determines your initial strategy here. We’ll cover strategy in more detail in a later post.
Once each player has Checked, Raised of Folded, the flop occurs. Three community cards deal face up on the table.
Once the community cards deal, another round of betting begins. When that is complete, the turn, a fourth community card, deals.
Another round of betting comes after the turn and a final community card deals face up on the table, called the river.
Your hand consists of the best five of seven cards that make up your hole cards and the river.
So, for example, if your hole cards are 7-7 and the community cards are 7-7-K-3-J you have a four-of-a-kind, or quads. If the community cards are Q-5-4-9-A you would have a pair of sevens.
It’s possible that your best hand consists entirely of the river. For example, if the community cards turn 9-9-9-9-K and your hole cards are 7-7, your cards would not play. This is because a higher value four-of-a-kind shows on the table.
There are two ways a hand can end. The first is a showdown, where any remaining players who have not yet folded reveal their hole cards and the player with the best hand wins. The second way a hand can end is if a player bets enough that all the other players fold. The strategy in the game comes from knowing how much to bet in each round – sometimes even bluffing by doing so – and when to fold.
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