The Rules of Texas Holdem

Texas Hold’em is the most widely played poker game in the
world, and it’s generally considered to be a quite simple version of
poker. It doesn’t really take long to learn the rules, because they
aren’t that complicated. Once you have learned them, then you are ready to
start playing the game. On this page we have provided a
straightforward explanation of the rules that should be easy for
beginners to understand.

Basics of the Game

The objective of each Texas Hold’em hand is to win the pot,
which can be done in two ways. You can force all your opponents
to fold based on your betting activity, or you can have the best
possible five card hand at showdown. You can make your hand
using any combination of the two hole cards you are dealt and
the five community cards that are dealt for all players to use.

Hand Rankings

The first thing you need to understand are the hand rankings
used in Texas Hold’em, as this shows the relative value of all
hands. The hand rankings are as follows, from the weakest to the

Hands Description Example
High Card This is a hand lacking even a single pair. If two hands make it to showdown without a pair, the hand with the highest card wins. 26AK3
Pair Two cards of the same rank. 9AQK9
2 Pair Two pairs in one hand. 44A77
3 of a Kind Three cards of the same rank. 444AK
Straight Five consecutive cards. 23456
Flush Five cards of the same suit. Ah Kh 4h 3h 9h
Full House 2 Pair and 3 of a Kind in the same hand. AAKKK
4 of a Kind Four cards of the same rank. 77A77
Straight Flush Five consecutive cards of the same rank. 2h 3h 4h 5h 6h
Royal Flush Same as the straight flush except it runs from the 10 to the ace. Td Jd Qd Kd Ad

Pre Flop Betting Round

Texas Hold’em can be divided into four distinct betting
rounds, the first of which is the pre-flop round. Prior to this
round, the cards are shuffled and the player to the left of the
dealer must make a forced bet known as the small blind. The
player to the left of the small blind must also make a forced
bet, of double the amount, known as the big blind. The size of
the blinds is determined before the game starts.

Each player is then dealt two cards, face down, known as hole
or pocket cards. The players can all look at their hold cards at
this point, and the first betting round begins. The player to
the left of the big blind acts first and can either fold, call,
or raise. Folding means discarding a hand and playing no further
part in the pot. Calling means matching the current bet (the big
blind at this point). Raising means matching the current bet and
betting an additional amount. Anyone wishing to call subsequent
to a raise has to match the total amount bet by the player

The play then moves clockwise around the table, each player
having the same options. The round is finished once every player
has either folded or called, and play progresses to the flop. If
only one player is left (i.e. all other players fold), then that
player wins the pot.

Flop Betting Round

Three community cards are now dealt face up for all players
to see. These three cards are known as the flop. The flop
betting round starts with the player closest to the left of the
dealer and moves clockwise around the table. Each player has the
same options as in the previous round, with the additional
option of checking if no-one else has bet.

Checking means staying in the hand but not making a bet. If
everyone else still in the pot checks, play progresses to the
next betting round. If any player bets, then all other players
must either fold, call that bet, or raise. Play progresses to
the next round when every player has either folded or called.
Again if only one player is left at this stage, he wins the pot.

Turn Betting Round

A fourth community card is now dealt face up known as the
turn card. Another betting round takes place, again starting
with the player closest to the left of the dealer. The format
for this round is the same as the previous round, with players
being able to check, call, raise, or fold. If one player is left,
he wins the pot; if more than one player is left, play
progresses to the next round.

River Betting Round

A fifth, and final, community card is dealt face up, known as
the river card. The last round of betting takes place. If
more than one player is left, players show their cards to see
who has won. This is known as the showdown, and the player with
the best hand wins the pot. If two or more players have hands of
equal value, the pot is split between them.

Following the end of the hand, the player to the left of the
dealer becomes the dealer for the next hand. A new hand is then
dealt, starting at the pre-flop round as detailed above.