TEXAS HOLD’EM POKER RULES
Texas Hold'em is one of the most popular variations of the traditional 5-card draw poker game. The game starts with dealing two cards face-down to each player. Once the cards are dealt community cards appear on the table following the rounds of bets. Community cards are dealt in several rounds known as Flop, Turn and River. Depending on their hand and the community cards dealt players are offered to choose one of the following options: to check, to bet or to fold.
The objective of Texas Hold'em is to outrank other players by getting the highest possible poker hand out of the two initially dealt cards and five community cards.
However, winning in poker doesn't mean winning every individual hand. Moreover, poker is known as a strategic game which involves making the right decision when to bet, call, raise or fold to maximize the final win.
The game of Texas Hold'em is played with a traditional 52-card deck without Jokers. Cards are shuffled after each game.
When in Texas Hold'em the ranking of individual cards follows the traditional poker falling order: Ace (high or low), King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 and 2. In poker games Ace can be treated as the highest-value card in a straight of A, K, Q, J, 10, or the lowest-value card in a straight of 5, 4, 3, 2, A.
Play of hands
Texas Hold'em poker is played in a series of hands. The game involves Small and Big blind bets also known as forced bets. To distinguish the dealer during the game a special dealer button is used. It rotates clockwise following each hand, thus changing the positions of the dealer and the Small and Big blinds. The first player next to the dealer clockwise is a Small blind, the player to the left of the Small blind is a Big blind. Small and Big blinds make their forced bets prior to dealing cards. The Big Blind is usually equal to the doubled amount of the Small blind.
When only two players remain in the game, special rules, also known as 'head-to-head' or 'heads up' apply to the players and the blinds are made in a different way. If such a situation occurs, the player with the dealer button makes the small Blind, while the other player places the Big blind. The dealer is the first to bet before the Flop. After the Flop, the dealer is supposed to act last and keeps playing in such a way till the end of the hand.
This Texas Hold'em poker is a game known as no-limit hold'em. When playing no-limit Hold'em poker players are allowed to bet or raise any sum over the minimum possible raise up to all of the chips the player has at the table. If a player selects to bet all his chips, it's called the All-in bet.
The minimum raise sum is equal to the amount of the previous bet or raise. If any player decides to re-raise, they must first raise at least the amount of the previous raise. For instance, if the Big Blind is $2 and the next player makes a raise of $6 for the total of $8 the following player who wishes to re-raise must increase the bet for at least $6 more for the total of $14. If a raise or re-raise is made as all-in and does not match the sum of the previous raise, the player who raised initially cannot re-raise again. This only matters if there was a call before the re-raise.
The game starts with dealing two cards face down to each player. These are the players' individual cards also known as player's hole or pocket cards.
The first betting round of Texas Hold'em is a "Pre-flop". The round of bets starts with the player to the left of the dealer and moves round the desk clockwise. Pre-flop continues till every player at the desk has selected to fold or matched the sum placed by all other active players.
While playing Texas Hold'em poker the following gaming options are available to the players at different stages of the game: CHECK, FOLD, BET, CALL or RAISE.
Once the pre-flop betting round is over and there's at least two active players at the desk the dealer deals a flop and three face-up community cards appear on the table. The Flop is followed by a second betting round. The first to bet is an active player to the left of the dealer.
After the Flop betting round is completed, the fourth community card (called the turn or fourth street) appears on the table, followed by a third betting round.
The fifth community card dealt on the table is called the River or fifth street. River is followed by the final betting round and the showdown.
If there are several active players at the desk after all betting rounds are completed the game outcomes are determined at the showdown. Players reveal their hands and there are evaluated according to the poker hierarchy. The player with the highest hand wins the pot.
Usually there's only one winner in poker games. However, there's a possibility of a tie when the pot will be divided between the two winners. In case all but one player have folded, they cannot claim the winning pot and the winner will be the only person who hasn't folded.
If a player makes a bet, whereas all other players selected to fold, then the remaining player is awarded the pot and is not required to show his pocket cards.
If there are more players left at the desk after the final betting is over, the winner is determined at the showdown. On the showdown, each player makes up the highest possible poker hand from the seven cards available: two pocket cards and any three cards of the community cards.
A player is allowed to use one, both or none of his individual cards to make up his final five-card poker hand.
If the player's winning hand consists of the five community cards, the player is said to be playing the board. In this case a player can only hope to split the pot as each other player at the desk can use the same five cards to make up the same final hand.
If there is more than one winner in the game then the pot is split equally among them, and any extra chips are given to the first players after the button in clockwise order.
- In case of a tie between player's hands of the same type, the hand with a card of a higher value wins (i.e. Three Queens beats Three Jacks).
- In case of a tie between player's hands of the same type and value, the winner is determined by the next highest card that isn't involved in the final hand (also called the kicker).
- See the complete Texas Hold'em hands order.
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