How to Play Texas Hold Em

By Maria McCoyGoogle
Texas Hold Em is the most popular poker game right now. The poker boom started back in the early 2000’s and has quickly become one of the hottest games in town. If you’re looking to join in the fun and excitement of this game, but not sure how to play, this article will teach how to play and get you on the felt.

The goal of the game is to beat your opponents by either having the best hand or bluffing them off a hand. Bluffing is a bet when you don’t have any real hand that serves to get your opponents to fold. However, when first starting out, its best advised to not try and bluff very often if at all until you get used to the game.

All action moves clockwise at the table for future reference. There are a few important positions to note at the table before starting a hand.

Blinds: The blinds are a forced bet that the two players to the left of the button must place before any cards are dealt. This is a way to induce action so that everyone just folds without losing anything.  The blind sizes will depend on the limit you are playing as well. If the table limits are $5-$10, the big blind will be $10 and the small blind, $5.

The Button: The button is the position to the direct right of the blinds. This is where the deal starts for each hand and will to the left after each hand just as the blinds will do the same.

Once the blinds are placed the dealer will give 2 cards to everyone at the table face down. The person to the right of the small blind will act first. At this point you have a few decisions to make once it reaches your turn.

Call: You can call the big blind and put in the amount of chips in the middle to stay in the hand. Or you can call a raise that another player has made.

Fold: If you don’t wish to play the hand, put your cards towards the dealer and you’re out until the next hand.

Raise: If your first one to act, you can raise the blinds or you can raise another player who has called or raised before you.

Every player at the table will have these options.

Once all the action is done, the dealer will deal out 3 cards in the middle of the table. These are community cards that everyone in the hand can use in conjunction with the two in your own hand to make the best possible hand. The remaining players will now have the option to:

Check: To check you don’t wish to bet and concede the action to the next player.

Call: If a player makes a bet you can call their raise.

Bet/Raise: You can bet if everyone checks to you or your first to act. You can also raise another players bet.

Fold: Just the same as folding before the flop. If you don’t wish to continue the hand, you fold.

After the cards dealt out in the middle which is called the flop, the dealer will now turn over another card in the middle called the turn or 4th street. At this point there will be 4 community cards and your 2 cards to make the best combination of 5. The same actions that took place on the flop happen on the turn as well. Players can check, bet, raise or fold.

A final card will now be dealt in the middle called the river. We now have 7 total cards in which the best possible 5 card ranking. You can use the 5 cards that the dealers have placed if they make the best hand possible for you as well.

The final round of action goes on and if two or more players are still in the hand by this stage, they are required to show their cards to see who has the best hand.
Not all hands will make it to the final card or even the turn or flop in many cases. Poker is a game about bluffing and trying to push your opponents around. It’s quite common to not see a flop on many hands.

If you do make it to the river, you want to have a good hand. The hand rankings in order from worse to best are as follows.

High Card
Two Pair
Three of a Kind
Full House
Straight Flush
Royal Straight Flush

Texas Hold Em is also played with varying betting formats. The most common is called no-limit. This betting style lets you bet as much as you want or whatever you have sitting on the table. Limit Hold Em has a strict betting structure that only allows a player to bet a specific amount on each card. Pot Limit is rare, but in this style, you can bet any amount up to what the main pot contains.

Texas Hold Em is a game that many say takes a minute to learn but a lifetime to master. This is true in most cases, but learning it is your first step to mastering it. 

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