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Updated: June 20, 2024
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How to Play Texas Holdem Poker

Texas Hold’em poker is a popular card game where players aim to make the best five-card hand using a combination of two-hole cards and five community cards. Each player is dealt two private cards, known as hole cards. Then, five community cards are dealt face-up in three stages: the flop, the turn, and the river.

In this format, players can use any combination of their hole cards and the community cards to form their hand. Hand rankings include high card, pair, two pair, three of a kind, straight, flush, full house, four of a kind, straight flush, and royal flush. The player with the best hand wins.

In this, we will try and simplify the game for beginners who are starting off on their poker journey. The blog will explain Texas Hold’em poker rules, Texas Hold’em poker hands and more.

What is Texas Hold’em poker?

Texas Hold’em poker, a widely enjoyed variation, accommodates two to nine players. A standard 52-card deck is used, the aim is to form the strongest possible 5-card poker hand within the established hand hierarchy. To engage in this version of poker, one must understand its rules, inclusive of the hand rankings, gameplay rounds, wager limits, actions, and more.

All big poker tournaments, whether online or offline, have Texas Hold’em events. Tournaments like the World Poker Tour, World Series of Poker and more.

Texas Hold’em poker rules

When engaging in an online real-money poker game, the initial stage involves selecting the specific variant of poker you would like to play. Texas Hold’em is the most popular version of poker, followed by Pot Limit Omaha or PLO, 7-Card Stud and 5-Card Draw.

Below we will describe how Texas Hold’em is different from PLO and the basic differences between them:

In Texas Hold’em the player is given two hole cards, while five cards, known as community cards, are opened on the table. In Pot Limit Omaha, there are three variants – PLO 4, PLO 5 and PLO 6, where the player is dealt 4, 5 and 6 hole cards, respectively.
In Texas Hold’em the player has to make the best possible 5 card hand combination with their two hole cards and five community cards. In PLO, the rules remain the same, but the players now have to pick two cards from their 4, 5 or 6 dealt cards and combine with the five community cards on the table.

Format Cards Dealt Community Cards Combination
Texas Hold’em 2 5 Best 5
PLO4 4 5 Best 5 (mandatory to include 2 dealt cards)
PLO5 5 5 Best 5 (mandatory to include 2 dealt cards)
PLO6 6 5 Best 5 (mandatory to include 2 dealt cards)

How to Play Online Texas Hold’em step-by-step

In Texas Hold’em the player is given two hole cards face down and five community cards open on the table face up. The community cards open in three rounds of wagering called – Flop, Turn, and River.

The idea of Texas Hold’em is to use the two hole cards and combine with 3 cards from the five community cards to form the best possible hand. The winner is the player with the strongest hand at showdown.

If you’re keen on playing Texas Hold’em online you have to understand the basic rounds of play. It all kicks off with the pre-flop phase, where the player on the dealer’s left posts the small blind, and the player to their left posts the big blind. Want to know more? Read on:

Pre-Flop:

preflop in texas holdem poker

Before the game really starts, there’s the Pre-Flop phase. It’s the first round where you get your initial two hole cards. You can either match the initial bet (called the big blind), raise it, or quit the round if you feel that your cards aren’t good enough.

Flop:

flop in texas holdem poker

Next up is the Flop phase. Here, three cards are dealt face-up on the table for everyone to use in making their hands.

Turn:

turn in texas holdem poker

After a round of wagering during the Flop, comes the Turn phase. One more card is dealt face-up, which can also be used by anyone to improve their hand or raise the pot amount by wagering more.

River:

river in texas holdem poker

The river phase follows, where the last community card is revealed. This card can also be used by everyone to complete their hands or make their hands stronger. A last round of wagering follows before the card is opened.

Showdown:

showdown in texas holdem poker

If two players are still left after the river, it’s time for the Showdown. This is when everyone shows their cards, and whoever has the best hand wins the pot.

So, when you’re playing Texas Holdem online, you go through these rounds: Pre-Flop, Flop, Turn, River, and Showdown. It’s essential to understand the rules and different hands to increase your chances of winning.

Hand combinations in Texas Hold’em poker

The key to being a strong poker player is to understand which hands are playable and which are not. This largely depends on the cards you are dealt at the start of each round. Remember it is not always the two hole cards that determine your victory, but also the community cards that open up. There will be times when you receive a great hand but catch a bad beat with the five community cards. Here are the top 10 hands to start of a game of poker with:

Ace-Ace: Also known as ‘Pocket Rockets’ is the best possible starting hand for poker. When you have the double aces as your hole cards, watch the five community cards as you can lose to two pairs of any other cards.

King-King: Also known as ‘Cowboys’ or ‘King Kong’ is a strong hand to start with and only weak to the Ace-Ace. But, if an Ace opens up in the flop, beware.

Queen-Queen: A pair of Queens is in the top 3 of the best starting hands and naturally is the third strongest pair to start with.

Ace-King (Same suit): Ace-King is a strong pair of cards to start with, but you will have nothing unless the community cards start forming a flush, straight or pair with the flop. Royal flush is a possibility, but very rare to get.

Ace-Queen (Same suit): With this set of cards, you have a chance for a nut flush, royal flush, straight or high pair.

Jack-Jack: Also called ‘Hooks’ or ‘Fish Hooks’ for the shape the ‘J’ forms. It is a great pair to have, but can be beaten by the top 3 hands mentioned above – Aces, Kings or Queens.

King-Queen (Same suit): The truly royal couple is a very strong hand. You can get a flush and win, but won’t get a nut flush until you get the Ace of the same suit in the community cards.

Ace-Jack (Same suit): The nickname is ‘Black Jack’ or ‘Ajax’ usually and with this pair you can achieve a nut flush, royal flush, straight or high pair.

Ace-King (Off suit): Only one off suit pair makes it to the list. It is a strong hand, but the chances of getting a flush are out. Usually these cards will let you get two pairs, three pairs or even a full house if you get lucky with the five community cards.

Ten-Ten: Also known as ‘Dimes’ is the only pair which is not a face card or has an Ace along with it. This is a strong hand only if the others are not holding as many face cards and the five community cards produce another ten.

Hand Ranking in Texas Hold’em poker

Here’s a breakdown of different types of five-card hands in Texas Hold’em Poker from the best to the lowest, that can help you win the game:

Royal Flush:

The ultimate hand, consisting of five cards of the same suit in a sequence from 10 to Ace (like 10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace).

Straight Flush:

Five cards of the same suit in sequential order (for example, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 of hearts).

Four of a Kind:

Four cards of the same rank plus one other card.

Full House:

Three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank.

Flush:

Any five cards of the same suit.

Straight:

Five cards in sequential order, regardless of suit.

Three of a Kind:

Three cards of the same rank and two other cards.

Two Pair:

Two sets of two cards of the same rank plus one other card.

One Pair:

Two cards of the same rank and three other cards.

High Card:

If none of the above hands are made, the hand is ranked based on the highest card, with ties broken by the next highest card, and so on. If all five cards are the same, the pot is split.

Limit, No Limit, Pot Limit and Mixed Texas Hold’em

Limit:

Each wager and raise during the betting rounds is fixed to a specific amount. Players can only wager or raise by that fixed amount.

No Limit:

Players can wager any amount of chips they have at any time during the hand. There’s no restriction on the size of wagers or raises.

Pot Limit:

The maximum wager or raise is limited to the current size of the pot. Players can’t wager more than what’s already in the pot.

Mixed Texas Hold’em:

A game that alternates between limit, no-limit, and pot-limit betting structures. Usually, the structure changes after a certain number of hands or rounds.

FAQ:

1. What is the order of Texas Hold’em poker hands?

There are 10 poker hands and these are ranked according to their strength from top to bottom: Royal flush, Straight flush, Four of a kind, Full house, Flush, Straight, Three of a kind, Two pair, One pair, High card.

2. Is Texas Hold’em poker and poker the same?

Poker is the overall name of the card game. Texas Hold’em is the most popular variant of the game of poker. In Texas Hold’em poker, the players aim to make the best five-card hand using a combination of two hole cards and five community cards.

3. What is the Texas Hold’em poker tournament?

Texas Hold’em is the most popular variant of the poker game and all major poker tournaments have this as their main event. In tournament poker usually the rules are all the same, but there are pre-fixed Buy-in limits and there are lots of players involved. Players are eliminated once their set amount of Buy-In gets over.

4. How to play Texas Hold’em poker for beginners?

Texas Hold’em poker is a simple game if you understand the rules and remember the hand strengths. Even beginners with an avid interest in the world of poker can start winning games by having a little patience and learning from their mistakes.

5. Why is it called Texas Hold’em?

Texas Hold’em originated in Texas in the early 20th century. The “hold’em” refers to players holding their own cards, while “Texas” signifies its birthplace. The game gained popularity in the state before spreading globally due to its strategic depth and simplicity.

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