Texas Holdem poker has become one of the most popular poker variations since it significantly increased in popularity during the online poker boom of the 2000s. Therefore, if you want to play poker, learning how to play Texas Holdem and having a solid grasp of the poker rules opens up a lot of opportunities.
The Objective of the Texas Holdem Poker
In Texas Holdem poker, your goal is to choose your bets wisely so that you can win as many chips as you can over the course of several hands.
Players use their two-hole cards and the five community cards that are revealed as the game goes on to try to assemble the best five-card hand possible according to the poker hand rankings. As a result, the pot, or the sum of all bets placed on the hand, is won.
Players can bluff opponents into folding by continuing to bet even though they know their hand isn’t necessarily a strong one. Betting is based on players’ perceptions of how good their potential hand is compared to their opponents’ hands.
If all but one player folds before the final round of betting, which occurs after the fifth and last community card is dealt, the hand is declared won.
Texas Holdem Hands Ranking
The hand-ranking system in Texas Holdem poker is the same as most poker variants. Here’s the complete list of poker hands used in Texas Holdem, ranked from best to worst:
- Royal Flush
- Straight Flush
- Four of a Kind
- Full House
- Three of a Kind
- Two Pair
- One Pair
- High Card
Texas Holdem Betting Options
- Call — To match a bet or raise made by another player.
- Raise — Upsizing your current wager during the same betting round.
- Fold — To withdraw from the hand and give up any bets that have already been placed in the hand.
- Check — Prior to placing the first bet in a round of betting, players have the option to check, which means they can decide not to place a wager now but reserve the right to do so later.
- All in — You can use all of your remaining chips if you don’t have enough to make a call. The next round of betting occurs in a side pot. The player who went all-in can only win the same number of chips that were in the pot at the time of any subsequent showdown.
Betting Rounds of Texas Holdem Poker
Two players must place bets before any cards are dealt. The player to the left of the dealer posts the small blind, which is typically worth $1, and the player to their left posts the big blind, which is typically worth $2.
The dealer distributes two cards to each player.
The dealer distributes two cards face down to each player after the blinds, starting with the player immediately to their left (the one who posted the small blind). Don’t share them with anyone. These are known as hole cards, and if at all, the other players only learn about them during the showdown (see below).
First betting round (pre-flop)
The player to the left of the one who posted the big blind is the first to decide whether to bet based on the quality of their hole cards. The big blind counts as a wager in the opening round of betting, so this player is not permitted to check. They have the option to raise, call, or fold.
After that, it is each player’s turn to call, raise, or fold until it is the turn of the person who posted the big blind again. This player now has the option to fold, raise, or check because the big blind already counts as their opening bet. The betting continues until every player has checked, folded, or put in the same amount of chips as other players into the pot.
The dealer deals the flop, which consists of three face-up cards, after first burning one card (removing it from the game). The remaining players in this hand now choose their next move based on the strength of the hand they believe they can assemble using their hole cards, the three flop cards, and the two upcoming community cards.
Second betting round (post-flop)
In this and all subsequent rounds of betting, the player to the left of the dealer places their wager first. All remaining players now have the option to check, call, raise, or fold. Once more, betting goes on until all players fold, stake all of their chips, or contribute an equal amount to the pot, at which point the dealer checks.
The dealer deals three cards from the flop, burns one card, and then adds the following card from the deck. Following this, the remaining players choose their next move based on the best hand they can create using their hole cards, the four community cards, and potentially a fifth card.
Third betting round (post-turn)
Once more, betting goes on until all players fold, place all of their chips in the pot, or match the amount that other players have put in before checking.
The fifth and final community card is dealt at this point, giving players all the options they might need to build their ideal poker hand.
Fourth betting round (post-river)
The last round of betting goes on until everyone folds, stakes all of their chips, or matches the amount other players have put into the pot, at which point everyone checks.
When there are only two players left and the betting is over, the showdown can occur at any time during the game. However, the showdown will take place regardless of how many players are left in the game after the fourth and final round of betting.
Using their hole cards and the five community cards, each player makes the best five-card hand they can. Players may play a hand based on one hole card and four community cards, or they may use both of their hole cards.