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Texas Hold'em Poker: How to Play, Rules & Hands Explained


Texas Hold'em Rules: How to Play the Most Popular Poker Game




If you want to learn how to play poker, Texas hold'em is a great place to start. It is the most popular and widely played poker game in the world, and it is easy to learn but hard to master. In this article, we will explain the basic rules of Texas hold'em poker, how to deal and play the game, how to make the best five-card poker hand, and how to win the pot. By the end of this article, you will have a solid understanding of how to play Texas hold'em poker and be ready to join the action at any online or live poker table.


What is Texas Hold'em Poker?




Texas hold'em poker is a card game that involves two or more players competing for a pot of money or chips. Each player is dealt two cards face down, called hole cards, and then five cards are dealt face up in the middle of the table, called community cards. These cards are shared by all players and can be used to make the best possible five-card poker hand. There are four rounds of betting, where players can bet, call, raise, or fold. The player with the best hand at the end of the game wins the pot.




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The Objective of Texas Hold'em




The objective of Texas hold'em poker is not to win every individual hand, but rather to win over the long term by making mathematically and psychologically better decisions regarding when and how much to bet, raise, call or fold. Winning poker players work to enhance their opponents' betting and maximize their own expected gain on each round of betting, to thereby increase their long-term winnings.


The Basic Gameplay of Texas Hold'em




The basic gameplay of Texas hold'em poker can be summarized as follows:


  • Each player is dealt two hole cards face down.



  • A round of betting takes place, starting with the player to the left of the big blind.



  • Three community cards are dealt face up, called the flop.



  • A second round of betting takes place, starting with the player to the left of the dealer.



  • A fourth community card is dealt face up, called the turn.



  • A third round of betting takes place, starting with the player to the left of the dealer.



  • A fifth community card is dealt face up, called the river.



  • A fourth and final round of betting takes place, starting with the player to the left of the dealer.



  • If more than one player remains in the hand, a showdown occurs where players reveal their hole cards and compare their hands.



  • The player with the best five-card poker hand wins the pot.



How to Deal Texas Hold'em Poker




To deal Texas hold'em poker, you need a standard 52-card deck and a dealer button. The dealer button is a small disc that indicates which player is the dealer for each hand. The dealer button moves clockwise around the table after each hand. The dealer shuffles the cards and deals them one at a time to each player until everyone has two cards. The dealer also deals five community cards in three stages: three cards on the flop, one card on the turn, and one card on the river. Before each stage, the dealer burns a card from the top of the deck and places it face down next to the community cards. The dealer also manages the betting rounds and the showdown.


The Dealer Button and the Blinds




Before each hand, two players are required to post a mandatory bet, called the blinds, to create some action and initiate the betting. The blinds are posted by the two players to the left of the dealer button. The player directly to the left of the dealer button posts the small blind, which is usually half of the minimum bet. The player to the left of the small blind posts the big blind, which is usually equal to the minimum bet. For example, in a $1/$2 game, the small blind is $1 and the big blind is $2.


The Hole Cards and the Pre-Flop Betting Round




After the blinds are posted, each player is dealt two hole cards face down. The player to the left of the big blind acts first and has three options: call, raise, or fold. To call means to match the amount of the big blind. To raise means to increase the bet by at least twice the amount of the big blind. To fold means to discard one's cards and forfeit any chance of winning the pot. The action then moves clockwise around the table until every player has had a chance to act. The betting round ends when either all players have folded except one, who wins the pot by default, or when all players have called the last bet or raise.


The Community Cards and the Post-Flop Betting Rounds




After the pre-flop betting round is over, the dealer burns a card and deals three community cards face up on the table, called the flop. These cards are shared by all players and can be used to make their best five-card poker hand. A second round of betting takes place, starting with the player to the left of the dealer button. This player can either check, bet, or fold. To check means to pass one's turn without betting. To bet means to put some money into the pot. To fold means to discard one's cards and forfeit any chance of winning the pot. The action then moves clockwise around the table until every player has had a chance to act. The betting round ends when either all players have checked, or when all players have called the last bet or raise. After the second betting round is over, the dealer burns another card and deals a fourth community card face up on the table, called the turn. A third round of betting takes place, starting with the player to the left of the dealer button. This player can either check, bet, or fold. The betting rules are the same as in the previous round, except that the minimum bet is usually doubled. For example, in a $1/$2 game, the minimum bet on the turn is $2. After the third betting round is over, the dealer burns another card and deals a fifth and final community card face up on the table, called the river. A fourth and final round of betting takes place, starting with the player to the left of the dealer button. This player can either check, bet, or fold. The betting rules are the same as in the previous round. How to Make the Best Five-Card Poker Hand in Texas Hold'em




In Texas hold'em poker, each player can use any combination of their two hole cards and the five community cards to make their best possible five-card poker hand. The player with the highest-ranking hand at the showdown wins the pot. If two or more players have the same hand, they split the pot equally.


The Hand Rankings in Texas Hold'em




The hand rankings in Texas hold'em poker are based on the standard poker hand rankings, which are as follows:


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  • Royal Flush: A, K, Q, J, 10 of the same suit.



  • Straight Flush: Five consecutive cards of the same suit.



  • Four of a Kind: Four cards of the same rank.



  • Full House: Three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank.



  • Flush: Five cards of the same suit.



  • Straight: Five consecutive cards of any suit.



  • Three of a Kind: Three cards of the same rank.



  • Two Pair: Two cards of one rank and two cards of another rank.



  • One Pair: Two cards of the same rank.



  • High Card: The highest card in one's hand.



The Use of Hole Cards and Community Cards in Texas Hold'em




In Texas hold'em poker, each player can use any combination of their two hole cards and the five community cards to make their best possible five-card poker hand. For example, if a player has A K as their hole cards and


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