Texas Hold’em Poker is the most popular poker game worldwide, each player is holding 2 cards and a further 5 cards are being revealed on the table, adding towards the final hand. The winner is the player with the best hand consisting of 5 cards.
First Round – blinds & bets
A difference between Texas Hold’em and Draw Poker can be found in the blind/ante. Playing Draw Poker, each player puts a blind (ante) on the table, whilst with Texas Hold’em only 2 players have to place a blind. These are the first 2 players on the left of the dealer (the dealer can be recognised by the dealer button) who have to put down a small blind and a big blind. The first player on the left of the dealer has to put down the small blind (he pays half the minimum bet in the first round) whilst the second player on the left pays the big blind.
Now the cards are dealt; each player is dealt 2 cards face down from a 52-card sheet, which only he knows. The first betting round begins with the left neighbour of the big blind, he now has the following options:
- Fold: He throws his 2 cards away and does not participate further (if his first 2 cards are not good enough)
- Call: He calls the minimum bet (same amount as big blind)
- Raise: He increases (raises) by at least the minimum bet
The player who had to pay the small blind at the beginning needs to double his blind to participate further (if in the meanwhile another player has not raised) or he can fold and will lose his small blind. The player who had to put in the big blind can either check (wait for next round) or raise his wager (if in the meanwhile another player has not already raised). A round of betting is considered to be complete when all players involved have paid the same amount into the pot. In the first round, the blinds will be added to the players wager.
Second Round – River
In the second round, 3 open cards are placed by the dealer in the middle of the table, the so called River. It now starts with the first player left of the dealer. He has the following options:
- Check: If all players check as well, the round ends
- Bet: He bets an amount (minimum is the agreed minimum bet)
- Fold: He can ‘fold’, but should first ‘check’, as no one else has raised yet
This second round ends when all players have paid the same amount into the pot, or if all players have checked.
Third Round – Flop
In the third round the Flop follows: the dealer places another card into the middle of the table, next to the River, players have the same options to either check, raise or fold.
The final round of betting begins with the second card of the Flop, which will also be placed openly next to the River. Immediately after the end of the final betting round there’s the showdown, as the cards of all players who are still involved in the pot are being uncovered and the pot goes to the player with the best hand.
The following general rules apply to all forms of poker:
If before the showdown only one player is left, this hand wins the pot and he is not required to show his cards.
As a general rule, a player who has fewer chips than another player who is wagering a larger amount, can go ‘all-in’ with the risk of losing his remaining chips and to be out of the game without a chance to win the pot. For example, if someone bets 1,000 and you are sitting at the table with only 100 left, then you have the option to go all-in with your remaining 100. This means you wager all of your chips and can only win a part of the 1,000 which have been bet by the other player. The overhang of 900 comes into the ‘side pot’. Now, if one of the other players has sufficient chips to call the bet of 1,000, he must do so (or fold) by putting 100 in the main pot and the other 900 in the side pot. All other bets between the two players who haven’t gone all-in, come into the side pot and the main pot is closed.
If all remaining players are all-in apart from one player, it comes to an early showdown, which means the player’s cards are revealed and the common cards (Flop) are then completed. The best hand will then determine the winner.