Rules of Poker – Texas Hold’em
Texas Hold’em (or just “Hold’em” for short) is currently the most popular variation of poker, thanks mainly to televised coverage of the World Series of Poker, the World Poker Tour, and various celebrity-based events. The no-limit version is often described as the “Cadillac of poker, taking only a minute to learn but a lifetime to master.”
♣ Play of the Hand
Each player is dealt two down (or hole) cards that only they can see. A round of betting occurs. Three community cards (known as the “flop”) are dealt face up in the middle of the table. Another round of betting occurs. A fourth community card (known as the “turn”) is dealt face up on the table. Another round of betting occurs. A fifth and final community card (known as the “river”) is dealt face up on the table. A final round of better occurs. The player’s hole cards are revealed and the player with the best five-card poker hand wins the pot. Your five card hand can consist of none, one, or both of your hole cards along with five, four, or three of the community cards. If two or more players share the same best hand, the pot is divided equally among the winners.
No Limit Hold’em:
In No Limit Hold’em, you can bet all of your chips at any time (referred to as going “all-in”). In No Limit games, the minimum bet or raise is equal to the big blind (see below). Once a player raises, the minimum reraise is equal to the last raise. The minimum resets to the big blind on the next round of betting.>
♣ Blinds and the Button
In a home game, the players take turn dealing the cards, rotating clockwise. In casino and on-line play that use a dedicated dealer, a dealer button (or just the “button”) is a white disk that is rotated clockwise among the players. The player that is “on the button” is the last to act in each betting round, after the flop. In Texas Hold’em, there are forced bets called “blinds” made prior to the dealing of the hole cards. These blinds are similar to antes except they only involve two players and the bets do not immediately go into the pot. The player to the left of the button posts the “small blind” and the next player posts the “big blind”. The small blind is typically half of the big blind and the big blind is the minimum bet or raise that can be made in this and all subsequent rounds. In Limit Hold’em the big blind is equal to the “small bet”. In tournament play, the blinds are raised at set intervals, or levels. This keeps the action going and puts a definite end point on the game. Otherwise, players could just keep folding their hands and the game would go on for hours or days. Once the two blinds are posted, the player to the left of the big blind is the “first to act” and has the option of folding, calling the big blind bet, or raising. Play continues around to the button. Then the player who posted the small blind has the option to call or raise the bets so far. And the same goes for the player who posted the big blind. If no one raised the big blind then that player has the option to “check” and the flop will be dealt. There are no more forced bets after the flop and first person to the left of the button (who hasn’t yet folded) will be the first to act in subsequent betting rounds.
♣ Side Pots
A side pot is created when a player calls a bet but doesn’t have enough chips to cover the bet or if a player raises when another player is already all-in. The main pot will only hold the chips that every player contributed equally to. The overflow bets go into the side pot, which the all-in player did not contribute to and therefore cannot win. There can be multiple side pots if there are multiple all-in players. The last side pot created is the first side pot awarded after the showdown. The main pot is awarded last. Players who fold before the showdown forfeit their right to all pots, including the main pot.