As one of the simplest and most popular forms of poker, Texas Hold’em can be found wherever poker is being played. With just two cards, it’s much easier for casual players to track card values and deduct when they have a strong hand or not. It’s also prevalent in movies and other media portraying casinos, helping its mainstream appeal.
Despite this, many don’t know how to play. If you’re here, that might be you! We have a short guide on how to understand Texas Hold’em. It won’t turn you into a card sharp overnight but understanding the game is the first step to greatness. Texas Hold’em is the same when playing poker online, too, so you can use what you learn anywhere.
The Cards Are Dealt
Let’s start at the beginning – when the cards are dealt. The designated dealer gives out two cards to each player facing down. These are called hole cards or pocket cards, which should be obscured from the view of other players. However, you can take a look, and you need to so you know how powerful your hand is.
Once everybody has their cards, and all is well, a round of betting takes place. The betting round is typically started with blinds, where the two players left of the dealer put forward a big blind and a small blind. These are small bets that ensure there’s money in the pot, and it gets the ball rolling for the rest of the betting round, where players can call, raise, or fold.
The Flop Comes Down
Once that’s done, three cards are placed onto the table facing up. These are called board cards, while the act of placing them down is called the flop. Since players can combine their pocket cards with the board cards to create a hand, those three cards change the game. Strong hands can become weaker and weak hands can become stronger depending on what lands on the table.
Then another round of betting takes place. If the board is against a player’s pocket cards, they will typically fold now that their chances of winning have decreased. Meanwhile, players who are forging ahead will call each other’s bets or raise if they’re confident.
The Turn Card
Next, a fourth card lands on the table. This is called the turn card, or sometimes fourth street, and afterward, another betting round takes place. Please note that players are building a five-card combination using the two cards in their pocket hand. This means that you don’t use all cards on the table; you can pick and choose to get the best hand.
Now that a fourth card is on the table, things can become switched up again. Fortunes can change with weaker hands gaining strength on the hands that benefited from the flop. The next round of betting takes place where, once again, more bets are cast, and players can fold out of the game.
The fifth card is next, which is called the river or fifth street. This is the final card that completes the five community cards. Players can now choose three of these cards to create the strongest hand, which requires some knowledge of hand values and how they play off against one another.
Like with the flop and the turn, a river card can give you just what you need to win the game. It can also be a dull card that guarantees your loss and uplifts somebody else, so relying on the river to save you is a dangerous game.
The final round of betting happens where the bets are locked in while those who want to get off the ride have a final chance to fold.
Now that all the cards have been dealt and non-competing players have left the game, it’s time for the remaining players to have a showdown. One by one, each player shows their cards to the rest of the table. As the saying goes, the cards speak for themselves, so the highest possible hand is automatically formed.
Whoever has the highest hand will win the pot. If there’s a tie, then the pot gets split evenly between the hands that came to a draw. Now the game is over, and the cards are swept up by the dealer, who shuffles and reorganizes the cards and prepares to deal for the next game. Players that want to play again can stay put while those who have had enough leave the table.