Basic rules of Texas Hold'em

In Texas Hold'em the aim of the game is to create the strongest possible hand consisting of five cards. Two face down cards are given to you, known as the pocket cards and five faced up cards are put down on the table. These five cards are allowed to be used by all the players and are also known as the community cards.

If you are not familiar with the values of the different poker hands you should read the section about card values.

The dealer is represented by a white disk called the button. The first player to the left of the button posts the small blind and the second player to the left of the dealer posts the big blind. These two players, equals two forced stakes in each round. Thus there always will be money in the pot.

You act one at a time clockwise around the table starting to the left of the dealer except for the first betting round when the players who post the small blind and the big blind respectively act after the others. This means in other words that the third player to the left of the button act first in the first betting round and that the two blinds act last.

Small blind – represents half the minimum allowed bet and raise at the table.
Big blind – represents the least bet and raise at the table.

If you play at a $1/2 fixed limit table the small blind is $0.5 and the big blind is $1.

Read further in order to understand more about minimum and maximum bets and raises.

Some important words

Call – joining a betting round where somebody has put money in the pot.

Bet - you choose to put money in the pot. Mostly because you think you have a hand worth playing with.

Check – if nobody so far has not bet any chips you have the possibility to see the next card for free. If a player , after your turn, on the other hand makes a bet you have to make a bet too in order to stay in the round. If you put down the big blind you already have made a bet corresponding to the minimum allowed bet. Therefore you can, if you want, check immediately provided nobody has made a raise. Perhaps you choose to make a bet once more and thus force the other players to make another bet in order to stay in the round?

Raise – Somebody makes a bet and another player acting afterwards makes a raise. During a betting round the number of raises can be maximum three.

Fold - If your cards are too bad you choose to give up, i.e. put down your hand and finish the present round.

Game rules and structure of the game

1. The dealer hands out the cards. This round you get two cards, so called pocket cards or hole cards. These cards are only visible to you.

1.1 The first betting round. Depending on your position at the poker table and your cards it is now time for taking the decision if you want to make a call, check, raise or fold. How much you bet is in fixed limit Texas Hold´em set in advance. If you play at a $1/$2 table this means that the maximum allowed bet in the first two round is $1 and in the final two rounds $2. These rules also apply to the raises.

Here the small blind corresponds to $0.5 and the big blind is $1.

Example of your present hand: Kc Tc

Above: Your pocket-cards, only visible to you.

2. The dealer flips the next three cards face up on the table, called the flop. These cards are the community cards, visible to everybody and are therefore allowed to be used by everybody in order to create a good hand.

These cards for example: 2h Ts Kd

Above: The flop is dealt. These cards belong to all the players.

2.1 Second betting round. As you see the pocket cards since before are 10c-Kc and with 2h-10s-Kd in the flop you have fairly strong two pairs. In other words - a golden opportunity to go for the pot. In the betting rounds you as usual decide if you want to call, check, raise or fold. Fold is of course not to recommend as you have a good hand, but everything is relative…There might be an opponent with two kings as pocket cards or any other set (Three of a kind).

It is important to consider what hands might be possible to create with the board cards.

3. The dealer flips one more card face up on the table. This card is called the turn.

The community cards are now: 2h Ts Kd Th

Above: Pocket cards + community cards gives you a full-house.

3.1 Third betting round. When you now make a call or a raise you should remember to think of the fact that the minimum allowed bet or raise is twice as big as before. But with the full house you have this is probably only good.

4. The dealer hands out the last card called the river.

The cards on the table are now 2h Ts Kd Th Ad

4.1 The fourth and final betting round. There is now also an ace on the table. You should be aware of the fact that if there is a player with two aces, an ace and a ten or two kings as pocket cards you are in trouble as the hand of this player is better than yours.

If there have been many raises your hand might be beaten in spite of the good hand you had from the start. I wouldn't worry to much though.

5. Showdown. The players who are still in the game show their hands and the winner is settled.

In the next round the player to the left of the button is the dealer, and so on...

OK, but what starting cards are worth playing? Go to “Starting hands”. There you will learn how different combinations should be used. Then you study “The game before the flop” from “Early position”, “Middle position” and “late position”.

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