How to play Texas Hold'em poker
Learning to play Texas Hold'em poker easily
Is Texas Hold’em poker easy for beginners?
Texas Hold’em is the most popular variant of poker, played by groups of 2 to 11 players. If you are new at Texas Hold’em Poker, keep reading to find out about some rules that beginners need to learn about it.
When playing Texas Hold’em Poker, each player tries to get as many chips as possible in each hand, either by having the best possible play by combining two of his own cards and five common cards to beat the plays of the other players, or by making the other rivals abandon the hand in one of the betting turns that take place in each phase of the game.
There are multiple versions of the game according to the maximum betting limits ("fixed limit", "per limit - pot limit" and "no limit - no limit"). Moreover, there are game table with different sizes: the heads-up table, forme
d by two players, the short one that has from 3 to 6 players and the long table, which has 7 to 11 players.
Getting ready for playing Texas Hold’em poker
The most important features needed for a Texas Hold'em game to take place are a French deck of 52 cards, poker chips of different colors (each with a value) to place bets, and a large table depending on the number of players.
The dealer will oversee the game if we are in the room of a land-based casino. If you play online there is a virtual dealer, but if it is a game without a dealer, it will be one of the players who will perform this task. A separated card is also needed to indicate which player occupies the reference position D (Dealer).
As mentioned before, the table varies according to the number of participants, although it is usually oval in shape, with the dealer (if there is one) located in the central part reserved for this purpose.
Ranking of plays for Texas Hold'em poker
These are the possible combinations of cards that we can obtain. To see their strength with respect to other plays, they have been ordered from highest to lowest value:
- Royal Flush: It is the best Straight Flush, that which is formed with the cards A, K, Q, J, 10 of the same suits. It is the most coveted hand, since it is the best play we might get.
- Straight Flush: A straight flush formed by five cards in consecutive order and all of them must be of the same suit (hearts, diamonds, spades or clubs).
- Poker: The famous poker play made up of 4 cards of the same rank.
- Full House: Obtained with a three of a kind and a pair (3 cards of the same rank and 2 of another).
- Flush: Made up of 5 cards of the same suit (not consecutive).
- Straight: 5 cards with consecutive values that are not of the same suit.
- Three of a Kind: Consists of 3 cards of the same rank.
- Double Pair: Consists of 2 pairs of cards of different values between them.
- Pair: 2 cards of the same rank.
- High Card: A combination of the five highest cards when none of the above plays are formed.
Positions at the table
The participants of the game will occupy the available seats at the table, preferably after a draw, likewise, the dealer's position will be drawn for the first hand. The positions in Texas are the way to designate the players by the order in which they will have to act during a hand of the game.
These positions rotate clockwise, making all the positions go through all the players. The Dealer's position is the reference to determine the rest of the positions. Depending on the number of players at the table, there will be certain positions but there will always be the Dealer (D), the Small Blind (SB) and the Big Blind (BB). The rest of the positions will exist according to the number of people taking part in the game.
First betting round: preflop betting
In the betting rounds, players who want to move on to the next phase of the hand will have to call the highest bet placed or make a bet that no other player agrees to pay.
To decide whether to stay in a hand, players will have to assess their chances of winning and perform accordingly, being able to fold at any time but losing all the chips they had bet so far.
In the betting rounds, players take their corresponding turns to act: they can fold, discarding their cards if they do not want to continue in the hand, they can also bet, forcing the other players to invest more chips to remain active in the hand, they can raise a bet if they want to increase the bet of another player, and finally, they can check if there is no previous bet to call and they want to pass the turn to the next player.
When a player makes a bet or raises a previous bet, the rest of the active players will have the opportunity to call it when it is their turn again.
On the other hand, players who fold will have to wait for a new hand to take part. To pass to the next phase of the hand, all players who have not withdrawn from the hand must have matched the highest bet that has been made.
When a player has not matched any other player's bet, the hand is over, and that player takes the pot of all the chips accumulated up to then. In the first betting round, players SB and BB already have blinds in play, so the turn starts with the player to the left of BB and proceeds in that direction.
In this round, players who want to move on to the next phase will have to match the highest bet previously made, which will be at least BB's blind. Those who do not want to continue in the hand can fold. When it is their turn, after D, the SB and BB players will act like the rest, they will have to check (only BB if there were no higher bets before their turn), match or improve the highest bet made until their turns if they want to qualify for the pot or fold the hand.
Flop Deal After the first round of betting, it is time to reveal the first community cards of the hand. To do so, the dealer will discard the first card of the deck and will draw the next three cards, which will be placed in the center of the table showing their values. These three cards are the flop.
Second round of betting: Postflop betting With two-hole cards and three community cards, the players who passed the first betting round start a new betting round. The first player to act will be the player who is closest to D on his left. In this round of betting there is no minimum bet to match, so if no bets are made to match, they may also pass the turn to the next player.
As in the first betting round, only those players who match the highest bet placed in the betting round will move on to the next round, and the round will end if a player has no other player match his bet. SB and BB are the so-called starting positions, always located, in that order, to the left of the reference position D. UTG (Under the Gun) are the intermediate positions.
They follow the blinds in a clockwise direction. Their number depends on the number of participants and they only exist in tables with more than 5 players. CO, HJ and D are the final positions. CO and HJ only exist in tables with more than 3 and 4 players, respectively.
Some other details about Texas Hold'em poker
A Texas hand has a phased development in which betting rounds alternate with card deals:
- The ante: Players who have these positions will have to make a required bet at the beginning of each hand, without having received the cards to play, equivalent to the minimum amount that can be bet during the duration of the hand, in the case of BB (big blind) and half of the minimum bet in the case of SB (small blind).
- These bets are called "blinds". In certain Texas Hold’em poker games, a mandatory fee called "ante" is included, which is used to create bigger pots in each hand. The amount of chips corresponding to the ante is approximately 25% of the minimum bet. The ante can be contributed by all players at the table or only by one player, depending on the table rules. To start a Texas Hold'em poker hand, the SB and BB players place their respective blinds in the betting area of the table.
- Deal of cards: The dealer, or failing that, the player occupying position D, is in charge of shuffling, dealing and folding the cards during the current hand. Each player must receive two cards without showing their value. These are dealt one at a time, starting with SB and going clockwise.
- Card Showdown – Showdown: Those players who are still active after this betting round, will be the ones who will finally opt to win the pot by showing their cards in their corresponding turn to show who has the best hand by combining the two hole cards with the five community cards.
- The best hand will win according to the Texas Hold'em hand rankings, but if there is a tie, the chips will be shared equally among the players involved in the tie. Those players who cannot beat another player's hand may discard their cards without showing them to the other players.
- Once the winner has collected the chips from the won pot, the hand is over and a new hand begins, while the positions rotate one place to the left, so that SB will be D in the new hand.
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