How To Play Texas Hold'em

How Texas Hold'em Poker is Played

Learn to Play Texas Holdem

The game begins by the dealer giving each player one card. The person who received the highest card receives the button. The button is used to establish the dealer position. This position is called the button and it rotates clockwise after every hand.

When the button's position has been established, the dealer collects the single cards, shuffles again, and now deals two cards (called the hole cards) to each player. Every player receives two cards face down. The two players to the left of the dealer are the small blind and the big blind, respectively. They are the only players who have money in the pot before the cards are dealt.

The first betting round begins with the player sitting immediately to the left of the big blind, and continues clockwise. When the first betting round is completed, three community cards are flipped face up on the table. This is called the flop.

The second round of betting begins with the first remaining player seated to the left of the button. The betting resumes, clockwise. When the second round of betting is finished, a fourth community card is flipped face up on the table. This is called the turn.

The third round of betting commences with the first remaining player sitting to the left of the button. The betting moves clockwise, with the bets doubling on the turn. When the third round of betting is over, a fifth community card is flipped face up on the table. This is called the river.

The fourth round of betting starts with the first remaining player seated to the left of the button. The betting continues to move clockwise.

The players must combine their hole cards with the community cards to make the best possible 5-card poker hand. It is possible to use both hole cards, one hole card or no hole card (play the board), in an effort to make a hand.

Basic Poker Etiquette - Texas Hold'em No-No

Making statements or taking action that could unfairly influence the course of play, whether or not the offender is involved in the pot.

Showing cards to non-players or eliminated players.

Deliberately acting out of turn.

Splashing chips into the pot.

Agreeing to check a hand out when a third player is all-in.

Reading a hand for another player at showdown before it has been placed face-up on the table.

Revealing the contents of a live hand in a multi-handed pot before the betting is complete or revealing the contents of a folded hand before the hand is complete.

Needlessly stalling the action of a game.

Deliberately discarding hands away from the muck. Cards should be released in a low line of flight, at a moderate rate of speed (not at the dealer's hands or chip-rack).

Stacking chips in a manner that interferes with dealing or viewing cards.

Any player or dealer who see an incorrect amount of chips put into the pot, or an error about to be made in awarding a pot, has an ethical obligation to point out the error. Please help us keep mistakes of this nature to a minimum.

Using a cell phone at the table. If you need to use your phone please step away from the table.

Hand Rankings in Texas Hold'em

Poker Royal FlushRoyal Flush: An Ace, King, Queen, Jack and Ten in the same suit. In the event of a tie: Two or more Royal Flushes split the pot.

Poker Straight FlushStraight Flush: Five cards in sequence, of the same suit. In the event of a tie: Highest rank at the top of the sequence wins.

Poker Four of a KindFour of a Kind: Four cards of the same rank, and one side card. In the event of a tie: Highest four of a kind wins.

Poker Full HouseFull House: Three cards of the same rank, and two cards of a different, matching rank. In the event of a tie: Highest three matching cards wins.

Poker FlushFlush: Five cards of the same suit. In the event of a tie: The player holding the highest ranked card wins. If necessary, the second-highest, third-highest, fourth-highest, and fifth-highest cards can be used to break the tie.

Poker StraightStraight: Five cards in sequence. In the event of a tie: Highest ranking card at the top of the sequence wins. The Ace may be used at the top or bottom of the sequence, and is the only card which can act in this manner.

Poker Three of a KindThree of a Kind: Three cards of the same rank, and two unrelated side cards. In the event of a tie: Highest ranking three of a kind wins

Poker Two PairTwo Pair: Two cards of a matching rank, another two cards of a different matching rank, and one side card. In the event of a tie: Highest pair wins. If players have the same highest pair, highest second pair wins. If both players have identical pairs, highest side card wins.

Poker One PairOne Pair: Two cards of a matching rank, and three unrelated side cards. In the event of a tie: Highest pair wins. If players have the same pair, the highest side card wins, and if necessary, the second-highest and third-highest side card can be used to break the tie.

Poker High CardHigh Card: Any hand that does not qualify under a category listed above. In the event of a tie: Highest card wins, and if necessary, the second-highest, third-highest, fourth-highest and smallest card can be used to break the tie.

Probability in Poker

Here is a simple trick for deciding if you should draw or not in Texas Hold’em Poker. The first thing you need to do is to figure out how many "outs" you have. An "out" is any card that gives you a made hand. Simply count the number of cards available that give the hand you are drawing to. For example: suppose you hold AD 8D and the flop comes QH 9D 4D. You have a possible flush draw. There are more thirteen diamonds in the deck and you are looking at four of them now, the two in your hand, and the two on the community board. That leaves nine diamonds left in the deck, and two chances to hit one.

The trick to figuring out the approximate % chance of getting the flush is to multiply your outs times the number of chances to hit it. In this situation that would be nine outs multiplied by two chances, or eighteen. Then take that number, multiply it by times two, and add a percentage sign. The approximate % of the time you will make the flush is 36%. (The exact percentage is 34.97%, pretty close heh!)

Now let's say for example that on that same flop you hold the Jd Th. In this case you would have an open ended straight draw with eight outs to hit the straight (four Eights and four Kings). Eight outs with two cards to come will give you sixteen outs. Multiply by times two and you will hit the straight approximately 32% (31.46% exactly) of the time.

A very important thing remember is that the % stated is NOT the percentage of time that you will win the hand, merely it's only the percentage of the times that you will hit the hand you are drawing to. You may get your hand and still lose. But still, knowing the approximate likelihood of making your hand is a good starting step on the road to being a better poker player.

The Importance of Position

Texas Hold’em poker position is a term that indicates the place of the player on the poker table. In no other game is the player's position as important as in Texas Hold'em poker. Basically, it is best to be in the late position, so you can see the other player's bets and play actions. This allows you to gather information from the other players. Some hands are better against more players and others against fewer opponents. Seeing what the other players are doing is a big advantage for you. The lack of information can cost you chips.

The early position indicates players seated in the three seats to the left of the dealer. This is the least preferred position in the game. There are many players left to act, so you lack information. Only play the best starting hands in these positions.

The middle position refers to the players seated after early position players and before late position players. This is a good place to play small pairs against many opponents. You hope to hit three of a kind and win a big pot. Remember, the odds are about 8 to 1 to hit the trips, so fold if the flop doesn’t give you trips, or a straight or flush draw.

The late positions are the dealer and the two players to his right. This is the most preferred position in Texas Hold’em poker. The dealer is the best position because everyone has acted and you have the most information. If someone bets or raises from first or middle position, then you must credit them for a good hand and play strong hands against them. You can play many hands in late position if no raise has played, and suited connectors are a good hand to play against many opponents here.

Reasons why it’s better to be in late position:

The earlier your position is the larger risk you have when you call before the flop. This is because there is a bigger chance you will get raises from other players. If you know about the raises, as players in late position know, you have the option not to call, and can prevent the mistake made from early position.
In early position players sometimes call instead of fold. Let's say you are in early position and call $5. After you call, two more players raise. If you had known they were going to raise you probably would have folded and your $5 would have been saved. The same goes for the opposite option, when you fold instead of calling. If you would have known that no raises would have come, then you might have played your hand.

For lower hands, you can lessen the number of unwanted bets made if you are in the late positions. This is because if you check first then your opponents will bet almost definitely because they will know you have a bad hand. But if they are in early position and they check, then you can also check their bet.
You know how many callers there are in late position. Sometimes playing a hand is determined by the number of callers on the table. When you are in early position you cannot know that number. Playing Texas Hold'em poker for a long time will give you the skill to recognize what the number of callers means to your hand and next play action.

In late position you have more information about the other player's starting hands, and can better decide what to do with your hand according to the previous playing moves. If everyone calls and no one raises, then you have the option of raising and trying to steal others bets or just calling or checking to get another card to better your hand.

Texas Hold’em poker position is most important for higher stake games. If you are playing games with no-limit or a large limit such as $100, the importance of the position is larger because every raise and bet is a lot of money. It is better to be in a later position in Texas Hold'em poker, but more important is to know the advantages of a later position, so you can utilize the position better. Remember, the later the position, the more information that you have and can use. If you ignore the information, then you will lose over the course of time.