How to Play Texas Hold'em Poker with Pro Poker Online

Of all the variants of this game, Texas Holdem Poker has without a doubt become the most popular, not to mention the simplest. This game can be played in casinos around the world, not to mention some of the largest tournaments around the globe, including the World Series of Poker, and it’s a favourite among professionals and beginners alike due to its alluring simplicity.

The game begins by having two cards dealt to the players, with five cards being placed face-down on the table. These community cards are then revealed, one round at a time, with betting taking place between each round. The first three cards are known as “the flop”, while the fourth is called “the turn” and the fifth, “the river”. Most players learn how to play Texas holdem before learning other variations of the game.

This means that learning how to play the game requires just about no effort at all – making it the perfect option for any beginner looking to jump into the world of online poker with both feet. Keep in mind that while learning the basics of the game might not take much effort, learning how to play the game well can take some time but it is most certainly worth it.

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The Rules of the Game

A game of Texas Holdem Poker begins with between two and ten payers per table, with the rules of the game differing somewhat depending on the where the game is being played, or whether a player is sitting down in a casino or in a tournament. In order to claim a winning pot, players will either need to hold the highest ranking hand by the end of the last round, or the other players will need to fold, allowing the last man standing to claim the pot.

The Rounds of Texas Holdem Poker

A game of Texas Holdem Poker can be divided into different rounds; the setup, the betting rounds and the showdown.

The setup is common in a game of poker played at home, and it is during this round that players will deal out chips and choose the dealer. In a professional game, this won’t be necessary as it begins with the buy-in.

Regardless of whether you’re playing at home or in a professional casino, a game needs to start with the posting of the blinds. The blinds are forced bets that set the wagering off to a start. When playing in a casino, the blinds are usually set at the start, but in tournaments, blinds can actually be increased throughout the game.

It is the player to the left who will post the small blind with the next player to the left posting the big blind. The small blind is usually half of the big blind’s value, although this is something that varies, depending on where the game is played.

The betting rounds begin with the “preflop”, during which the players will be dealt their two hole cards. It is at this point that the betting will begin based on the cards the players have been dealt. Players have the option of;

  • Folding: to throw their hand.
  • Calling: to match the big blind.
  • Raising: to increase the bet by doubling the big blind. Depending on the variation of the game being played, it is possible that the player could increase the bet all the more.

The action moves around the table in a clockwise direction, until all players have placed their bets or chosen an alternative action.

The “flop” then begins when the “preflop” betting round comes to an end. In this round, three cards are dealt facing upwards before betting begins again. While the betting is generally the same as in the first round, there are a couple of exceptions. In this round, a new action is added to the possible actions that a player can take;

  • Checking: the player chooses to place no bet.

Usually, when a player chooses to make a bet during this round, the amount needs to equal the big blind.

The turn then begins when the dealer places a card facing downwards on the table, followed by a card facing upwards on the table. This is also called a “burn and turn” and it begins the third round of betting. It is quite common for the size of the bet to double during this round. Play continues until all the players have concluded their actions.

The river begins with the final card being dealt facing upwards on the table (with another facing downwards as yet another burn card). This is also known as the “final street” and betting will begin again. Players begin the showdown by either betting with the hope that they hold the winning hand, or playing on the assumption that they will be able to “convince” the other players to fold, leaving them with the pot.

While bluffing can be utilized to a player’s advantage throughout the game, it is during the final round that it can be most useful, particularly if the player’s hand is statistically unlikely to be the winning hand.

The game ends when the player who placed a bet on the river chooses to reveal their hand. This is usually done only when there are other players still in play. In the event that players did not bet on the river (and checked instead), the player to the left of the dealer will be the one to show their hand before the rest of the players follow suit in a clockwise direction. Players who have a losing hand do not need to reveal theirs in the final round – they can simply concede the pot.

Evaluating the Winning Hand

Players will want to keep in mind that suits are not used to evaluate a winning hand in a game of Texas Holdem Poker. To compile a winning hand, players will need to use any combination of their two hole cards, along with five of the community cards on the table. Players don’t have to use the cards in their hand to come up with this winning combination, and they can choose to use anything from one card in their hand and four on the table, to two cards in their hand and three on the table.

To determine who holds the winning hand, players will need to become familiar with the ranking order;

  • The Royal Flush: 10 to an Ace with all cards of the same suit.
  • Straight Flush: a straight of five cards of the same suit.
  • Four of a kind: four cards with the same rank. In instances where there is a tie, the player with the highest ranking fifth card takes the pot.
  • Full house: three cards with the same rank.
  • Flush: five cards in the same suit with the highest card determining the ranking.
  • Straight: five cards in a consecutive order in different suits. In this situation, the Ace can count as the lowest or highest card.
  • Three of a kind: three cards with the same ranking.
  • Two pair: two cards with the same ranking paired with another two cards of the same ranking. The highest of the pairs will determine the ranking of this hand.
  • One pair: two cards with the same ranking.
  • High card: in those cases where players do not hold any of the described hands, the player with the highest card wins the hand.

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Additional Rules

There are a couple of additional rules that players will want to make themselves aware of when it comes to playing this game. Firstly, in the event that more than two players remain in a hand, there are only one bet and three raises allowed during the round. After the third raise, betting is generally “capped”.

Furthermore, players must verbally state that they plan to raise before they proceed to action. When raising, players will need to ensure that they form a pile of their entire bet and place it in the pot in one go – doing so in parts is called a “string bet” and it is generally not allowed.

Players will want to keep in mind that the rules can differ somewhat from establishment to establishment. A common variation of this game is no-limit poker, which often includes huge bluffs and much larger betting pools. Fixed-limit poker, on the other hand, is a much more subtle game – often thought to be a gentleman’s game.

The Role of Strategy

Playing a game of Texas Holdem isn’t simply about ending up with the winning hand – it is about learning to play the game in such a way that you give yourself a good chance of walking away with the pot regardless of the hand you have been dealt. This might involve bluffing – making other players believe what you want them to believe about the hand that you have, or using your pool of money in a smart way. Poker strategy is a complex topic and it’s something that players can take years to learn. As they say, it might take a moment to learn the game of Poker, but it can take a lifetime to perfect – and that’s half the fun.

Glossary:

  • Preflop: the round during which players are dealt their two hole cards.
  • Flop: the round during which three community cards are dealt, facing upwards, on the table and the second betting round begins.
  • River: the fifth community card placed facing upwards on the table.
  • Turn: the fourth community card placed facing upwards on the table.

logoPlay Now!Got the hang of it yet? Try our FREE Online Poker App for Windows, Android and iPhone. You get an unlimited supply of poker chips, there’s no signup fee & it’s perfect if you want to get in some practice.