How is Texas Hold’em played? Part 1

Texas Hold’em Poker Game Rules:

Hold ‘Em Poker is a combination of Community Poker and the use of blind bets in place of antes. The main Hold ‘Em game from which all others branch is Texas Hold ‘Em.

In addition to designations of minimum bet and maximum bet, in Hold ‘Em Poker (with the exception of Home Hold ‘Em), designation will need to be made for the “small blind bet” and the “big blind bet”. Instead of starting the pot off with players’ antes, Hold ‘Em games start off the pot with two blind bets (bets made by players before they even see their cards). The small blind should be slightly less or equal to the minimum bet. The big blind should be twice as much as the small blind.

Before looking at their cards, the player to the left of the dealer throws their small blind bet into the pot and the player to the left of the small blind throws their big blind bet into the pot. The player to the left of the big blind is the first player who can actually look at his or her hand before deciding whether or not to see the blinds and call, see the blinds and raise, or fold. The rest of the betting round proceeds as a regular poker betting round, bearing in mind that the two blinds have already invested money into this betting round and only need to see the bumps that were made after them.

This applies only to the first betting round. All other betting rounds proceed as per regular poker betting rounds, following the flipping of the community cards. The standard number of community cards in a Hold ‘Em game is five. Three cards are flipped after the first betting round (“The Flop”), a fourth after the second betting round (“The Turn”) and a fifth after the third betting round (“The River”).

The First round of Texas Hold’em:

The two players immediately to the left of the dealer button place blind bets to start the pot (similar in principle to an ante). The player to the left of the dealer button posts the “small blind” (usually equal to half the lower stake. At igotpoker.com the small blind is rounded down to the nearest dollar. However, as it is just a guideline, the amount of the small blind could be set slightly differently).

The player to the left of the small blind is required to post the “big blind,” equal to the lower stake limit. All the blinds in Hold’em poker are considered live bets and the players who posted them will have the option of checking, calling, raising or folding when the betting returns to their position. Remember, the dealer button (and therefore the small blind and the big blind) move around the table clockwise after each hand, so each player will post the blind bets over time.

Once the blinds have been placed, two secret cards are dealt to each player (“hole cards”), after which the first betting round starts. The player to the left of the player who placed the big blind starts the betting for this round.

Each player now has the option to place his bets in the first round, which is set at the lower limit of the stakes structure. (For example in a $10/$20 Hold’em game, the value of each bet is $10 for the first round. Therefore, when a user makes the move “bet,” this is equal $10, and “raise” is $20…a raise includes a call on the previous bet placed and one additional bet.)

Bets can be placed by playing Bet, Call or Raise. These options are available depending on the action taken by the previous player. Each player always has the option to fold. The first player to act has the option to bet, call or raise. Subsequent players have the option of calling or raising. To call is to bet the same amount as the previous player has bet. To raise is to match the previous bet and increase the bet.

Every player participating in the hand should have equal amounts of play money bet as the previous players (includes bets, calls and raises). Until the time all the players have placed equal amounts in the pot, the betting will continue. There is a limit on the amount and the number of bets a player can place during a betting round (four bets for limit games).

After the first round of betting is over, the Flop (the first three community cards) is dealt. The community cards are common to all the players participating in the hand.

The Second Round of Texas Hold’em:

After the Flop (and in each subsequent betting round), the first active player left of the dealer button is first to act. The second betting round also limits the value of bets and raises to the lower limit of the stake structure. So in a $10/$20 game, the value of each bet is $10 for the second round.

Bets can be placed by playing Bet, Call and Raise. These options are available to each player depending on the action taken by the previous player. The first player to act in this round (the player left to the button) gets the option to bet or to check (to refrain from betting…this is only available if no bet has yet been made in the betting round). Once a player has bet, subsequent players will get the Call and Raise options only.

After this the fourth community card is dealt; this is known as the Turn.