Texas Hold ’Em is now the best known form of poker. The 7-card game is easy to understand, offering excitement for beginner and expert alike. Famous as being the game of choice for the top professionals, and played at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, Texas Hold ‘Em has rapidly become the most played form of poker across the world. The aim of the game is to make the best 5-card hand possible with any of the 7 cards dealt.
HOW THE GAME IS PLAYED
In front of a selected player is a disc called the Dealer button. This disc displays which order the cards are to be dealt (moving clockwise) and rotates around the table moving one player to the left after each hand. Before the first cards are dealt, the player immediately to the left of the dealer button must post a ‘small blind’. The player to his/her left must post a ‘Big Blind’
The ‘small blind’ player must post an amount equal to half the minimum bet, e.g. 50p for a £1/£2 game. Likewise, the ‘big blind’ player must equal the minimum bet, e.g. £1 for a £1 game. Blinds are placed in the pot to trigger the betting and give all players an incentive to enter the hand. It also means that the winner of the hand will always collect a pot.
To start with, you’ll receive two pocket cards – also called “hole cards” – which are dealt face down on the table (which only you will be able to see).
You have three choices in the 1st round:
1. Fold – decide that your cards aren’t good enough to win the hand.
2. Call – match the big blind stake and stay in the betting.
3. Raise – up the stakes, meaning your opponents will have to match your amount or fold. If you have staked the big blind you can “check”, i.e. you remain in the hand for free. But if another player bets, you will have to match his stake to stay in. Please note, the stakes can only be raised three times during each round of betting. This (and the next) round of betting is set at the lower level of table stakes. For example, in a £1/£2 game, all raises are increments of £1.
Here comes the Flop!
It’s time for the flop and the game is about to get interesting! Three cards are dealt face up in the middle of the table. These are communal cards, i.e. every player can use them to try and make the best hand possible.
Here comes the Turn
A fourth communal card is dealt face up in the middle of the table, which is called the ‘Turn’ card. Again, this card can be used by every player to improve their hand.
Here comes the River
Now it’s time for the last card of the round, the River card. This is the fifth community card is dealt face up in the middle of the table
You now have seven cards from which to choose:
2 Pocket Cards (closed)
3 Flop Cards (open)
1 Turn Card (open)
1 River Card (open)
You must now select the best possible five-card hand from the above.
We have a winner!
The player with the best five cards is the winner of the round and subsequently takes the pot. If there are multiple winners with the same hand, the pot is split between these players.
Off we go again!
After the pot has been handed to the winner(s), the dealer button moves left one player and a new hand begins.