Poker has many variations, but Texas Hold ‘Em is by far the most popular. This is made even more so with the influx of poker games available on computers and as smartphone applications. It’s popular because it has a very simple set of rules to follow. Also, because the gameplay is always different, it’s a fascinating game to play. As some poker players say, “Texas Hold ‘Em takes a minute to play and a lifetime to master.”
How To Play Texas Hold ‘Em
Of course, in order to play, you need to have a clear understanding of the rules and ways to win. The objective of Texas Hold ‘Em is to either be the last player standing in any of the betting rounds or to have the best five-card hand at the end of the round.
At the start of the game, each player gets two cards, face down. When all players have their cards, the first round of betting starts (we’ll talk more about the betting rules later on). When all bets are final, the dealer reveals the first three shared cards in the middle of the table (“the flop”). Another round of betting commences, followed by the dealer revealing the fourth shared card (“the turn”). The third round of betting starts, the dealer shows the final shared card (“the river”), and the final betting round occurs.
Granted that there is more than one player left at this point in the game, the remaining players enter what is called “the showdown”. In the showdown, the remaining players form the best possible hand using their hand and the 5 shared cards. They can choose to use only one, both, or none of their cards, to form the final five-card hand. The player with the best hand, of course, takes the pot.
In Texas Hold ‘Em, there is something called the “small blind” and “big blind”. These are the forced bet amounts during betting rounds. The big blind is the minimum bet amount, and the small blind is usually half of the big blind. Betting always starts with the player with the small blind (to the left of the dealer).
In each betting round, players have three options: fold, call or raise. Even if you’re already familiar with these terms, note that there are small changes that are specific to Texas Hold ‘Em.
- Fold: to surrender or throw away your hand and contribute no money to the prize. To fold means that you are forfeiting your turn in the current game. You will need to wait for the next deal to participate again.
- Call: to match the amount of the big blind.
- Raise: to increase the betting amount by adding the big blind to the previous bet (or more, depending on house rules). To help you understand that better, let’s say that the big blind is $1. If the first player would like to raise, they would bet $2 (big blind + additional big blind bet). If the second player wants to raise again, the would bet $3 (the previous bet of $2 + big blind).
A betting round ends when all players have had their turn and all players who haven’t folded have bet the same amount of money.
Being Familiar with the Texas Hold ‘Em Table
It’s also important to be familiar with the structure of the poker table.
- Dealer button: a marker that indicates who the dealer is for the current round. Since Texas Hold ‘Em has a rotating dealer, the dealer button passes on to the player on the left after each hand. When playing with a professional deal (such as online), the dealer button still rotates around the table.
- Small blind: as previously mentioned, the player betting the small blind amount is always on the left of the dealer.
- Big blind: the player first betting the big blind is always on the left of the small blind.
- There are certain positions around the poker table – relative to the dealer and blinds – that many pros consider to be more advantageous than others. Those who act first are in the “early position; those who act last in the round are in the “late position”. Those in between are in the “middle position”.
- The least desirable place is the players in the early position. That’s because they are the first to act on all betting rounds, and they are forced to bet in the first round. The player immediately to the left of the big blind is called the “under the gun” position. The name refers to the pressure of making the first decision of the betting round.
- Conversely, those in the late position have the best advantage strategy-wise because they can gather information based on the betting decisions of the players who acted first. Unfortunately, in terms of money, this may also mean that they may have no control over how much they bet initially if the previous players continue to raise the bet.
That’s a basic overview of how to play Texas Hold ‘Em. As is usually the case, you’re bound to learn more as you play the game more frequently. Give it a try over on OppaBet – on desktop or mobile! To learn more about various games you can play on online casinos, check out our articles on CasinoBetAsia. Good luck!