How To Play Texas Hold’em Poker

Texas Hold’em is one of the most popular forms of poker played both at live casinos and online poker rooms.

In truth, Texas Hold’em poker is extremely easy to learn and simply by playing a few hands, you would soon pick up the basics rules of the game. However, rather than simply barging in on a game not knowing what you are doing, here is Gamblers Pro’s guide on ‘How To Play Texas Hold’em Poker’.

The aim of the game is simple – get the best five card hand possible from the cards which are in play (your two hole cards and the 5 community/shared cards)

Stages of a hand of Texas Hold’em poker

the start

Each player in the game is dealt two cards face down. These are known as your ‘hole cards’.

Gamblers Pro - Face Down CardHow to play Texas Hold'em

pre-flop

It’s now time for the first round of betting. Have a look at your hole cards and decide whether or not you want to bet (call, raise or re-raise), check (if you are the big blind and no other player has raised the bet) or fold.

For example, let’s say the small blind is 20 (chips) and the big blind is 40 (chips).

The betting begins with the player to the left of the big blind. There are three options available for this player:

  1. Raise – which means the player puts a larger bet than the initial big blind
  2. Call – which means the player puts in a bet equal to the big blind
  3. Fold – the player hands their cards back to the dealer and is no longer involved in the hand
Texas hold'em

GamblersPro – Poker Table

Once the betting has been completed, the game then moves on to the next phase.

the flop

Here three from the top of the deck are dealt face up and placed in the middle of the table – these are often referred to as the ‘community cards’.

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Around round of betting begins – this time it is the player immediately to the left of the dealer (the small blind player pre-flop if still involved in the hand) who must decide first.

the turn

a fourth card is added to the three existing ones in the middle of the table.

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Around round of betting, checking and/or folding begins starting with the player immediately left of the dealer who is still active in the hand.

the river

A fifth and final card is dealt and placed in the middle along with the previous four cards.

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The final round of betting begins

the winner

There are two ways in which you can win a hand in Texas Holdem.

  1. players who are left in the game after the final round of betting turn their cards over and the one with the best hand is the winner.
  2. a player places a big enough bet which forces the other players to fold – the player who wins like this doesn’t have to show his hole cards to other players if he doesn’t want to – so you might never know if they were bluffing or not.

If you are unsure what the best hands are in Texas Hold’em poker – check out our poker hand rankings guide

Now, let’s run through an example hand just to make sure everything is fully understood before you hit the tables.

Example:

Let’s say

  • player A has the button (meaning they are the dealer)
  • player B is the small blind (20 chips)
  • player C is the big blind (40 chips)

Player A is dealt (hole cards)  gamblerspro.com  gamblerspro.com

Player B is dealt (hole cards)  gamblerspro.com  gamblerspro.com

Player C is dealt (hole cards)  Gamblers Pro  gamblerspro.com

Note: you wouldn’t see everyone’s cards in a real game, this is for illustration purposes only

Pre flop betting begins with the first player after the big blind which in this case is player A

Player A ‘calls’ which means he places a bet equal to the big blind (40 chips)

Player B ‘calls’ which means he puts in another 20 chips to match the big blind.

Player C ‘checks’ which means he does not raise the bet.

Therefore the pot total is 120 chips (40 from each player)

the flop is dealt   Gamblers Pro   gamblerspro.com   Gamblers Pro

Let’s have a look at what each player has got after the flop

  • Player A has a pair of nines and given that the nine of diamonds is the highest card in the flop he would feel as though he has a strong hand at this point
  • Player B is only holding a high card (ace of spades) and there is an outside chance of a straight draw.
  • Player C is only holding a high card (king of diamonds) and there is an outside chance of a flush draw.

This round of betting begins with player B (first left of the dealer)

For the purpose of this example – we will say that each player checks meaning no one makes a bet.

the turn card is dealt   Gamblers Pro   gamblerspro.com   Gamblers Pro   gamblerspro.com

Let’s have a look at what each player has got after the turn

  • Player A still only has a pair of nines; but there is now a higher card on the table which is a concern
  • Player B is only holding a high card (ace of spades) and also, the outside chance of a straight draw has vanished
  • Player C is now holding the best hand with his pair of kings

 

This round of betting begins with player B (first left of the dealer)

For the purpose of this example – we will say that each player checks meaning no one makes a bet.

 the river is dealt   Gamblers Pro   gamblerspro.com   Gamblers Pro   gamblerspro.com   gamblerspro.com

Let’s have a look at what each player has got after the river

  • Player A has landed 2 pairs (tens and nines) and his kicker is the king of clubs
  • Player B is only holding a high card (ace of spades)
  • Player C still only has a pair of kings

The final round of betting begins with player B (first left of the dealer)

Based on the example hand above you can get some idea of how Texas Hold’em is played.

Upon being dealt the hole cards – player B holding an ace could well have raised before the flop to scare the other players. After the flop was dealt, player A suddenly would have fancied his chances and would most certainly have bet. This could well have made the other two players fold as they didn’t have anything at the time. However, after the turn card, player C was suddenly in the driver’s sit and he would have made a bet (most likely). This would have tested the other players resolve then. Once the river was on the table, player A holding 2 pair would have been confident. The trick is understanding the odds of poker for you to make a rational decision on what move to make.

This is the beauty of poker – there is a lot of bottle and bluffing. Take your time to learn how players play and you will start seeing patterns in their game which you can expliot for your own gain.

 

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