The Rules of Texas Holdem Poker

Although Texas Holdem is a variant of the popular casino card game, poker, it does have some palpable differences. Possibly the most obvious of which is that that it encompasses blind bets and antes, and each player has to make the best poker hand out of seven cards, only two of which are hidden and dealt to each player, the remaining five cards are community cards, or cards that may be utilised by all the players.

A standard 52-card deck, sans joker, is used for Texas Holdem, and play begins with the dealer being chosen, and a dealer button placed before the designated dealer on the table. After each hand the task of dealing rotates clockwise, allowing each player the opportunity of dealing.

The player to the left of the dealer will place the ‘small blind’, a forced bet made by the first of two players. The player to the left of the small blind will also place a forced bet, approximately double that of the small blind and this will be the ‘big blind’.

The dealer then deals each player two cards, face down, and these are known as the hole or pocket cards, and will remain hidden until the showdown or final heads-up contest between the remaining players.

  • At this stage the first, or pre-flop betting round, takes place and the player to the left of the big blind begins play. Betting will continue until every player has either folded, put in all their chips, or has matched the amount put in by all the previous players. Remember that the blinds are considered live, meaning that should a player want to bet on his or her hand, and they have placed either of the blinds, the money put down as blinds will count towards their pre-flop bet.
  • The dealer then deals the flop – or three cards face up on the table for all the players to see – and the second betting round begins with the player to the dealer’s left and continues clockwise.
  • A single community card – known as the ‘turn’ or Fourth Street – is dealt and the third betting round begins.
  • Lastly the final community card – the ‘river’ of Fifth Street – is dealt and the fourth betting round begins which will lead to the showdown or a head-to-head between the final two players.

At all casinos the dealer is expected to ‘burn’ cards before the flop, turn and river – this simply means that they take the card at the top of the deck before dealing the flop, fourth and fifth cards and place them on the discard pile without exposing them. It is simply a method of avoiding marked cards or other ways of cheating.