Before we even get into the rules governing Poker, it needs to be understood that Poker the origins of Poker dates all the way back to the 16th century. Therefore, it is understandable that there are several variations and versions of Poker which are now in existence. However, one of the most popular types of Poker around the world is Texas Hold ‘em and it is usually the kind of Poker which is played in most of the biggest Poker tournaments in the world including the likes of WSOP, WPT, EPT, etc.
Even though, it seems simplistic at first when compared to some of the other types of Poker, you can rest assured that it does get pretty complicated in certain scenarios, especially when playing a high stakes game. This is why there is pretty popular proverb when it comes to Texas Hold ‘Em and it goes a little something like this –“It takes a moment to learn, but a lifetime to master”.
The Basics Of The Texas Hold Em
In the paragraphs below, we will enumerate the basic rules of Texas Hold Em’, which should be a good place to start if you want to get familiar with the rules and the hands.
Rule 1: Button
The button is basically what determines which one of the players sat at the table will be the acting dealer for that round of dealing. Whoever has the button will be the dealer. The player on the button or the closest player to the button (if player on the button is an inactive one) will receive the last action on all post – flop streets of play.
Usually, while playing in a land based casino or a real money online casino, there is no need for a button as there is a professional dealer hosting the game at the table. It is when you are playing with friends, that you will need to use the button. After every round, the button moves one spot to the left and that player then becomes the dealer for that round.
Not only does the button determine who the dealer is, but it will also dictate who begins the betting with the small blind and the big blind.
Rule 2: The small and big blind
At the start of every round, a couple of players at the table will mandatorily have to make bets. These bets are known as the small blind and the big blind. This is what kicks off the betting and ensures that people need to post a minimum bet if they want to stay in the running and stand a chance of winning the pot. As the number of players on the table gets smaller, and the existing poker chip collections of the remaining players grow larger, the bling will also be increased periodically.
Generally, the small blind is half the amount of the big blind, but this is not a hard and fast rule and may vary from game to game. The player sitting to the left of the button will post the small blind and the player seated to the left of that player will have to post the big blind.
Rule 3: The objective of the game
Obviously, the objective of the game is to win. However, you only win when you have the best combination of cards when it comes time to showdown. In Texas Hold’em, every player receives two cards face down and they don’t have to reveal their cards to anyone until it comes time to show (showdown). Apart from the two cards in hand, each player can also use the common pool of five cards which will be dealt face up on the table. These cards are common to all players at the table and so they are called community cards. When you make the best combination at the table using the cards in hand and your community cards, you will win the pot that was accumulated during the betting rounds for that play.
Betting – first round
The first round of betting begins once each player has been dealt two cards have been dealt. At this point, the player to the left of the button will bet the small blind, the player to the left of that player will bet the big bling and they player to the left of the big blind will then either call, raise or fold.
A call is when you match the minimum amount to stay in the game. A raise is when you increase the bet and keep it within the specified limits and a fold is when you don’t want to bet anything at all so you retire from the game and give away your cards.
The next players to follow will also have the same options. However, if the player before them had raised the bet, then they will have to match the raised bet to stay in the running.
Betting – Second round, third round and final round
In the second round, the dealer will reveal the first three community cards. Then the player to the left of the button (active player) will begin the betting. Now, the player has the additional option of “check”, which means to pass the betting opportunity to the next player without making a bet.
After the second round of betting is complete, the fourth community card will be dealt face up and the third round of betting is initiated. They can, call, fold, raise or check depending on what the bettor before him\her did.
Next, the fifth community card is revealed and the fourth and final round of begin may start. As usual, the first active player (someone who has not yet folded) will get to go first. Even in this round, players have the option to fold, call, raise and check. Once the final round of betting is concluded, it is time to see who is the winner.
Rule 4: Showdown
Now that all the community cards have been dealt and all the betting is complete, it is time to determine who won the pot that has accumulated. This part of the game is known as the showdown. The players who are still in the game (haven’t folded) will be required to expose their two “hole cards” (the two cards in their hand\ non – community cards).
Depending on the rankings of the cards and hands, the winning hand is determined. The player who has made the best combination of cards will get to take the pot.
Card combination ranking from best to worst
- Royal Flush
- Straight Flush
- Four of a Kind
- Full House
- Three of a Kind
- Two Pair
- One Pair
- High card