Poker School

Texas Holdem

Texas Holdem is the most popular poker game in the casinos and poker rooms all over the world. The popularity of big events such as the World Series has influenced people that now make it their pastime and play it at online poker rooms such as CasinoUnreal.

The three major variations of Texas Holdem are distinguished from each other by their betting limits:

Limit Texas Hold'em (there is a specified betting limit in each game and on each round of betting).

Pot Limit Texas Hold'em (a player can bet what is in the pot).

No Limit Texas Hold'em (a player can bet all of their chips at any time).

Basic Play

  1. Blind Bets
  2. Deal - each player is dealt 2 cards
  3. First betting round
  4. The Flop - the first three community cards are dealt
  5. Second betting round
  6. The Turn - the fourth community card is dealt
  7. Third betting round
  8. The River - the final community card is dealt
  9. Final betting round
  10. Showdown

The Dealer Button

Texas Hold'em uses a small disc called the "dealer button" to indicate the dealer of each hand. Once a hand is completed, the dealer button moves clockwise to the next player. This ensures that each player has the chance of playing early or late and that every player gets a chance to post the "blind bets".

Note: During Single Table Tournaments the first player to get the dealer button is determined through a high card draw (each player is dealt one card; the player with the highest value card goes first. If two or more players have the same value card then they are ranked according to suit - high to low - spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs).

The Blind Bets

The two players to the left of the button (dealer) in a game of holdem are required to place compulsory bets before the cards are dealt. These are known as blind bets because they are placed 'blind', before the players have even seen their cards. These bets trigger the action in a hand, since there is something already in the pot for all the players to win. Typically the player to the immediate left of the dealer will place a small bet equivalent to half the full bet for that round. This is known as the small blind. The player to his left will then place a full bet for that round. This player is called the big blind.

Once the cards are dealt, the betting action starts with the player to the left of the big blind. He may fold, call or raise the bet of the big blind.

If the pot is unraised by the time the action comes to the small blind, he may complete his blind by making the small blind up to the full bet for that round. If he opts not to complete his blind, his hand is folded. Of course, he may also raise by completing the small blind and adding another full bet for that round. If instead the pot has been raised by the time the action comes to him, the small blind must complete his blind to the full amount of the raise if he wants to remain in the hand.

The last player to make a betting decision on the first round is the big blind. If the pot is unraised when the action arrives he may either check, and remain in the pot for the flop, or raise. If everyone else folds before the flop, including the small blind, then the big blid not only wins his blind bet back, but also collects the small blind's initial bets.

Once the first round of betting is completed, the small blind acts first on every subsequent round. If he is no longer in the hand then the first player still with cards to the left of the button must act first.

First Betting Round

After seeing his or her pocket cards, each player now has the option to play his or her hand by calling or raising the big blind. All remaining players can then call, raise or fold. To "call" is to bet the same as the previous player. If the first player folds, then the next player will have the option to bet while the remaining players can call.

The bets in the first betting round are set at the lower limit of the stakes structure, so in a $10/$20 game the value of a bet is $10 while the raise is $20 (a raise includes a call of the previous bet plus an additional bet).

In Texas Holdem the available actions are bet, call or raise. These options are available depending on the action taken by the previous player. Each poker player always has the option to fold. The first player to act has the option to bet, call or raise. Subsequent players have the option of calling or raising. To call is to bet the same amount as the previous player has bet. To raise is to match the previous bet and increase the bet.

The Second Betting Round

Three cards are dealt face-up on the board, this is known as the flop, there are community cards available to all players that still in the game.

The first player to the left of the dealer button is the first to act (bet, raise, check or fold). Checking is to refrain from betting and is only available if no bet has yet been made in the betting round. Once a bet has been made, remaining players will only have the option to call, raise or fold. Like the first round, the second also limits the bets and raises to the lower limit of the stakes structure.

The Third Betting Round

When the betting action is completed for the flop round, the "turn" is dealt face-up on the board. The turn is the fourth community card in Texas holdem.

Once again, the player to the left of the dealer button begins the betting (bet, check or fold). However, this time the bets and raises are limited to the upper limit of the stakes structure. Each subsequent player can then call, check, raise or fold (a player can only check if no bet has been made).

The Final Betting Round

When betting action is completed for the turn round, the "river" is dealt face-up on the board. The river is the fifth and final community card in a Texas Hold em game. Betting begins with the active player immediately clockwise the button and the same poker rules apply as they do in the fourth card explained above.

The Showdown

Any remaining players at the final of the bets will now display their two cards and the player who has the best hand wins.

Players can use a combination of their own cards and the community cards (2 player cards + 3 community cards or 1 player card + 4 community cards) or all 5 community cards (called playing the board).

If two or more players have the same hand then the pot is split equally between them.

Betting Exceptions

In Limit Texas Hold'em a maximum of four bets are allowed per player in a betting round - (1) bet, (2) raise, (3) re-raise and (4) cap. In No Limit and Pot Limit Texas Hold'em the number of times a player can raise is not limited. However, a player can not raise themselves (if a player raises and then all the remaining players call or fold, then the player who raised would not get an option to raise because they were the last to raise).

A player is declared All-In if they do not have enough chips to call. This player is eligible for the portion of the pot to the point of their final bet.

All further bets by other players go to a "side pot" which any All-In players are excluded from.

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