Texas Hold’ Em, or just plain “Hold ‘Em” is without a doubt the most played poker game at any land-based casino, and internet poker sites all over North America and Europe. As it is, Texas Hold ‘Em is a high card game where each player is dealt two cards also known as “hole cards.” Five community cards are dealt face up on the table that comprise of three stages namely the “Flop”, the “Turn” and the “River”. Players must use these cards along with their two hole cards to create the best possible five-card poker hand.
Three popular variations of Texas Hold’ Em are played online. They are:
- Limit Texas Hold ’Em: Betting limits are restricted to predetermined values in each game and on each round or betting.
- Pot-Limit Texas Hold ‘Em: The player bets the pot value here.
- No-Limit Texas Hold ‘Em: A player is allowed to wager an entire bankroll/chip stack as he/she deems fit.
Importantly, each of these variations are played according to the same basic rules of Hold ‘Em, overall the game strategy remains the same.
The Basic Rules of Texas Hold ‘Em
Up to 10 players may be seated at a Texas Hold ‘Em table, it’s also possible to play this game with two players. On the table is a “dealer button”, a small disc representing the dealer’s position for each respective hand. The moment a hand is completed, the button is moved in a clockwise rotation from player to player.
Before the game starts, to start the pot the two players to the left of the button place forced wagers also called “blinds”. The players left of the dealer posts the “small blind”, a bet that is equal to half of the value of the table’s lower stake limit. The player to the left of the small blind posts the “big blind” wager, which is equal to the full value of the table’s lower stake. The blinds, button, and rotation of play are indicated in this illustration:
All blinds in Texas Hold ‘Em are live bets, the players who posted them will have the same options of checking, calling, raising, or folding as will every other player at the table. Once the blinds are placed, each player is dealt two cards (face down) followed by the first round of betting, which starts with the player immediately to the left of the current “big blind”. The flow of the game continues clockwise while each player has the option to call, raise or fold.
The minimum at this stage is set at the lower limit of the stake structure. For example, at a table where the stakes are structured as $2/$, the value of each bet is a minimum of $2. Once the first round of betting is completed, the first three community cards (Flop) are dealt. These community cards can be used by players participating in the hand.
Just after the Flop, the first active player seated to the left of the button is the first to act and he/she may check (not placing a bet), bet or fold. The flow of the game continues clockwise around the table with each player checking, calling, or folding. Note, if no bets are made in the round a player may check only. Once a player has made a bet, subsequent players may call, raise or fold. As in round one the value of the wagers begin at the lower limit of the stake structure.
The third betting round starts with the player seated left of the button. Minimum bets are now set to the upper limit of the table structure ($4 in our $2/$4 scenario). Players can now bet, check, call, raise or fold, with all the options (except folding) this depends on the action taken by the previous player. Once the betting is over, the fifth and final card the “River” is dealt.
Betting in the fourth and final round starts with the player seated to the left of the button. As in round three, bets and raises are based on the upper limit of the table’s blind structure. Once all bets are made made, players still participating in the hand expose their hole cards and the best hand wins the pot.
Although Texas Hold ‘Em is relatively easy to understand, don’t let such a straightforward game deceive you. Truth be told it is one of the most challenging and difficult poker variants to master.