Learning how to play Texas holdem isn’t difficult, but it can be confusing. There are several rounds where cards are dealt, bets and decisions are made. So a round of Texas holdem can be overwhelming to a new player.
Below you’ll find everything you need to know about how to play Texas holdem, including your objective, a walk-through of a hand, rules and a list of what hands win in holdem.
The Objective (How You Win)
The objective to Texas holdem is to win (obviously). But how do you do that?
- You have the best 5-card poker hand at showdown (the river).
- The other player(s) fold, leaving you as the only player left in the hand.
Now lets look at an example hand of Texas holdem poker.
A Hand of Texas Holdem
Played from start to finish, a hand of Texas holdem will consist of 4 rounds of betting which follow the players being dealt their (hole) cards and the community cards. Here is how a complete hand would play out.
Preflop is the beginning stage of a hand, when all the players are dealt their cards.
The first thing to happen are the blinds being posted. There are two blinds, the small and big blind. The small blind is the player in the first seat to the left of the dealer button, and posts an amount about half the big blind. The big blind is two seats to the left of the dealer button (one seat to the left of the small blind) and posts an amount equal to one big blind.
Note: If the blinds are 2/4, 2 would be (posted by) the small blind and 4 would be (posted by) the big blind.
Once the blinds are posted each player will be dealt their cards. Cards are dealt clockwise around the table starting with the small blind.
Preflop Betting Round
Once all of the cards have been dealt, the first betting action will begin. The betting action will start with the player to the immediate left of the big blind, also known as the player under the gun (UTG).
Each player will have the option to fold, call, raise or re-raise, depending on the action in front of him.
The action will continue around the table until each player has acted. In an un-raised pot, the last player to act will be the big blind. The big blind will have the option to raise or check.
If two or more players are still in the hand, then there will be a flop.
The flop is the first 3 (of 5 possible) community cards. You can use these cards to make the best 5-card poker hand.
The dealer will deal 3 cards face up. Once the cards are dealt there will be another round of betting. The betting round will begin with the first player to the left of the dealer button. Each player will have the option to check (pass), call, raise, re-raise or fold depending on the action in front of them.
The action will continue until all players have acted, or all but one player has folded.
If two or more players remain in the hand then there will be a turn.
The turn, or 4th street, is the 4th community cards that players can use to make their 5-card hand.
The betting action is identical to the flop.
If two or more players remain after the turn betting round then there will be a river.
The river, or 5th street, is the last community card. This is the last round before a winner is determined.
The betting round on the river is the same as the flop and turn.
If there are two or more players remaining after the betting round then there will be a showdown. Each player will show his or her cards so that a winner can be determined.
If there was no betting on the river, then players will show their hand starting with the first player to the left of the dealer button. Each subsequent player will have the option to show their hand or muck.
If there was betting on the river, then the player to show first will be the player who raised.
The player with the best 5-card hand will be awarded the pot.
Then the dealer button will move one seat to the left, blinds reposted and a new hand will begin.
Texas Holdem Rules
There are a number of rules in Texas holdem. However, you won’t have to worry about most, if not all of the rules if you’re playing online since so much of the game is automatic.
Just in case though, here are the rules to Texas holdem:
- All raises must be a minimum of one big blind. For example, if the blinds are 2/4, you cannot make a raise to $6. The minimum raise must be to $8.
- All re-raises must be at least double the previous raise. For example, if the player in front of you raised to $10, the minimum you could raise is to $20.
- Check-raising is (usually) permitted.
- In limit holdem, the maximum number of raises per round is limited to 3.
- In no-limit holdem, a player can move his or her stack “all in” at any time.
- You should no tell anyone at the table your hand, whether you’re still in the hand or not.
Those are the rules that come to mind. As I think of or come across more, I’ll add them to the list.
What Hands Win in Texas Holdem
The following is a list of what hands beat what in Texas holdem, from best to worst:
- Royal Flush
- Straight Flush
- Full House
- 2 Pair
- 1 Pair
- High Card
In the case of a tie the pot will be split. Suits do not break ties.