Texas Hold’em is the most popular poker game in the world, both live and online. Whether you’ve watched friends play for matchsticks around the kitchen table, or stars compete for millions of dollars on TV, the chances are that they were all playing Texas Hold’em.
Texas Hold’em poker sees players attempt to make the best poker hand they can out of seven cards – two of which can be seen only by them. As five cards are shared between all players (the ‘community cards’ or ‘the board’), everyone has some idea of what the other players may have.
Need a reminder of what beats what? Just check out our guide to all the different poker hands. Players may use any combination of community cards and their own hole cards to make the strongest hand, as illustrated in our guide to poker hands.
One of the most important concepts, when you play poker, is the betting structure. For the purpose of betting, poker games are broken into 3 types: Limit Games, Pot Limit Games or No Limit Games (all Texas Hold’em at GGPoker is No Limit). At many online poker sites like GGPoker, you can find these betting structures in tournaments and at the cash games.
Limit betting presets how much each bet and raise must be as well as how many total bets and raises can be made each betting round.
Pot Limit betting does not cap the quantity of bets that can be made during each round of betting but limits the maximum bet during each betting round by how much is currently in the pot. The maximum bet includes any bets from the current round plus the amount of the bet you are facing (eg. if the pot is $10 and there is a $1 bet that you would need to call, the maximum you could raise is $12 – $10 that is in the pot, the $1 bet you are facing plus the $1 you need to call).
No Limit betting has no limit or cap on any aspect of the betting. It is in this betting format that you will regularly hear a player say “All In”.
No different than any other games, there is terminology used at the poker table that is either unique to the game or has an alternate meaning when playing poker. You want to learn how to play poker, that’s why you are found this page. Here are some of the most important ones to know when playing poker:
The dealer position, also known as the “button,” is considered the most advantageous position. The dealer button moves clockwise after each hand, ensuring that each player takes turns being the dealer. The dealer has the privilege of acting last in every betting round, providing them with maximum information about the other player’s actions.
The small blind is the player seated to the left of the dealer. The small blind is a forced bet that is usually half the size of the big blind. Being in the small blind position means you are the first to act pre-flop but have the advantage of acting after the big blind post-flop.
The big blind is the player seated to the left of the small blind. The big blind is a forced bet that is typically equal to the minimum bet at the table. The big blind acts last in the first betting round but are the first to act in the subsequent betting rounds.
The player in the under-the-gun position is the first to act pre-flop and is seated to the left of the big blind. Being in this position can be challenging because you have limited information about the other players’ hands. It is important to exercise caution and play strong hands when in the under-the-gun position.
The cut-off position is the player to the right of the dealer button. Being in the cut-off position provides an advantageous middle ground between early and late positions. Players in this position have the advantage of acting after the middle and early position players but before the dealer button.
Early position consists of the players seated to the left of the cut-off, including the under-the-gun and big blind. Players in early positions have the least amount of information about their opponents’ hands, making it more challenging to make strategic decisions. It is crucial to play strong hands and exercise caution when in an early position.
Late position includes the players seated to the right of the dealer button, including the cut-off. Late-position players have the advantage of acting last in each betting round. They have the most information about their opponents’ actions, allowing them to make more informed decisions. Players in late positions can play a wider range of hands and employ more aggressive strategies.
Middle position includes the players seated between the early and late position players. These players have some advantage over the early position players but still lack the complete information available to the late position players. It is essential to play a tighter range of hands in the middle position and be mindful of the actions of players in the late position.
Passing the action to the next player. This action can only be taken if no other action has been taken during the current round of betting. The Small blind and Big Blind cannot take this action during the first round of betting (also referred to as the pre flop action).
Putting chips or money into the pot.
After a Bet is made, a player can Fold their hand by gently tossing the cards face down into the center of the table. Once a hand is folded, the player is out of the hand and cannot take any other action until the next hand.
After a Bet is made, a player can match the Bet and continue playing the hand. In the case where a player does not have enough to cover the bet, the player is ‘All In’. Any part of the bet the “All In” player cannot match is put into a separate pot (Side Pot) that the “All In” player is not eligible to win.
After a Bet is made, a player may choose to Raise the bet. A Raise needs to be equal or greater than the last bet made. A raise can only be less than the previous bet in the case of an All-In.
The poker game starts with the cards being shuffled while the Big and Small blind put their forced bets into the pot.
Cards are dealt clockwise one at a time, starting with the Small Blind and ending with the Dealer, until each player has their 2 Hole Cards.
Pre-Flop action occurs. The player immediately left of the Big Blind, UTG, is the first to act as the first betting round commences. Players at this point must either Call, Raise or Fold due to their bets prior to dealing. If all players fold, the Big Blind will win the pot.
The Flop: The top card of the deck is placed face down into the Muck. The next 3 cards are dealt face up and placed in the center of the table as part of the Community Cards. Another round of betting occurs starting with the closest player on the Dealers left that has not folded their hole cards.
The Turn: Again the top card of the deck is burned and placed face down into the Muck. The top card on the deck is then dealt face up and added to the Community Cards. Another round of betting occurs starting with the closest player on the Dealer’s left that has not folded their hole cards.
The River: The final burn card from the deck is put into the Muck followed by the top card of the deck being dealt face up. This is the 5th and final Community Card. A final betting round occurs starting with the closest player on the Dealers left that has not folded their hole cards.
The Showdown: Once all of the betting rounds are complete, all players still in the hand flip over their Hole Cards. The player with the winning hand, the best 5-card poker hand, using any combination of their Hole Cards and the Community Cards, wins the pot. (Check out our Poker Hand Rankings page for more details) The Dealer button is then passed one position to the left.
Note: If at any point during a hand all the players fold, the last remaining player is the winner.
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