As the title suggests, this article is for people who know nothing about the popular Texas Hold’em game but are eager to learn. In this post, we’ll teach you the game step by step, so you can start playing like a pro in no time.
Texas Hold’em game is the most well-known poker variant played in casinos all over the United States and the United Kingdom. The game’s popularity, as well as its simplicity, has inspired an array of strategy books providing recommendations for becoming a pro.
Due to mass exposure on the internet, TV, and literature, the game’s popularity surged in the 2000s. During this period, Texas Hold’em proudly superseded all other forms of poker and became the most common game played in U.K. casinos.
So, if you want to try your luck and see what all the rave is about, this Texas Hold’em for Dummies guide is just what you need. If you study and learn the information shared below, you’ll have all the knowledge you need to not only play this game but— with some time and practice— even ace it!
So, without any further ado, let’s get started!
What Is Texas Hold’Em Poker?
Texas Hold’em is one of the most popular versions of the card game poker. You’ll be surprised to know that all of the marquee tournaments around the globe (including those played at the World Poker Tour, World Series of Poker, and the European Poker Tour) feature the no-limit version of this game.
Texas Hold’em is primarily associated with poker tournaments because it’s usually played as the main event in several renowned tournaments, such as the World Series of Pokers, between two to 10 players.
In the following sections, we’ll help you learn how to play Texas Hold’em poker successfully. But before we do that, let’s look at the main differences between the Texas Hold’em game and conventional poker.
What Is the Difference Between Texas Hold’Em And Poker?
Many people assume that Texas Hold’em and traditional poker are the same, but they aren’t. Although the Texas Hold’em game is one of the three variations or versions of poker, it’s very different. The other two variants include Draw and Stud Poker.
Texas Hold’em is a community card game. Bear in mind that all poker games (including Texas Hold’em) are played by two or more players who compete to make the best hand by using a well-defined hand ranking system. However, keep in mind that this game shares the same objective and card deck configuration used in poker.
Texas Hold’em is so well-known that it’s perhaps the only poker game many players will ever learn. Although it’s easy to understand, only an immaculate Texas Hold’em strategy can help you master it.
The hold’em gameplay comprises dealing participants with two hole cards (faced down), followed by five community cards (faced up) in three different stages after every betting round.
To win the pot, players will have to come up with the best five-card poker hand while using their two hole cards and five community cards. The player who has the best poker hand, and hasn’t folded by the finale of all betting rounds, takes the pot home.
Poker in General
The history of poker dates back to the early 19th century, but with each passing year, it gets more popular than the last. In a nutshell, poker is a card game where at least two participants indulge in wagering on the best hand.
However, seasoned poker players who genuinely know the game often place bets for not-so-great hands as part of their gameplay strategy with the ultimate aim to influence the decision of other players. This is commonly known as bluffing.
Additionally, the game is played with a 52-card deck, which involves 13 different ranks, set in four card suits. Each participant is given five cards in a clockwise motion (known as a ‘poker hand’) by the card dealer throughout different betting rounds, including raise, call, bet/check, and fold. Do note that two-card and four-card poker games are pretty popular as well.
You can win a poker game by:
- Revealing your best hand after the final round of betting (in a showdown) when every participant has folded their hands.
- Not revealing your hand and forcing other participants to fold their hands through hand bluffs.
The standing player with the best hand takes all the cash (also called the pot) home. Lastly, unlike Texas Hold’em, poker comes with different betting structures, such as pot limit, fixed limit, and no limit.
Despite sharing similarities, both poker and Texas Hold’em are considerably different in numerous ways. However, the key difference between these two games is the number of pocket or hole cards given to each player.
As mentioned earlier, poker is a regular 52-cards deck game with three main versions (community cards poker, draw poker, and stud poker). Keep in mind all three variants differ in terms of:
- The total number of cards used during the play
- The total number of players
- The number of cards (ranging from two to 10 cards) dealt facedown or face-up.
Texas Hold’Em Poker for Dummies
In this game, two cards (also referred to as “hole cards“) are dealt face down to each player by the card dealer, followed by five community cards (face-up) in three different stages after every betting round.
Each stage comprises a series of three cards (“the flop”), followed by another single card (“fourth street” or “the turn“), and a final closing card (“fifth street” or “the river“). Thus, each participant seeks to make the best five-card hand from any combination of the seven cards they are dealt during the game.
Every player has the betting options to call, check, fold, or raise. Moreover, betting rounds occur before the flop is dealt with and after every subsequent deal. The person who has the best hand and hasn’t folded their cards by the end of all three betting rounds wins the pot and takes the money home.
A “tie” or “split-pot” can occur in certain circumstances, especially when two players hold hands of equivalent value. In Texas Hold’em lingo, this is also known as a “chop-pot.”
Keep reading on if you wish to learn more about how to improve your Texas Hold’em strategy.
Basic Texas Hold’Em Rules for Beginners
Keep in mind that each poker variation comes with its own set of unique rules. Nevertheless, there are some standard Texas Hold’em rules that apply across the board in certain circumstances.
Knowing and understanding these rules will make the game much more enjoyable and easier to learn. Thus, if you wish to learn to play Texas Hold’em the right way, make sure you are well-versed in the following rules:
- To take a seat at any poker table, a buy-in is mandatory. In most limit hold’em games, the buy-in is fixed at 10 times the high limit of the particular table. For no-limit variations, the buy-in is usually set at 20 times the amount of the big blind.
- Texas Hold’em features numerous betting rounds.
- A player can only add to their stack between hands.
- In a game of Texas Hold’em, every player is given two cards (called hole cards) facedown by the card dealer.
- Throughout numerous betting rounds, eventually, five more cards (called “community cards”) are dealt face-up in the middle of the table.
- All players are free to use the five community cards combined with their two hole cards to make the best five-card hand.
- It’s completely acceptable for players to “bluff” and force other players to fold better hands.
- In case of misdeals, the deal will automatically be adjusted to ensure the right player receives the cards they are entitled to get.
- If the game has already begun, and more than one player has proceeded on their hand, the deal will stand as it is and must be played through.
- Once a player announces a fold, the hand is considered dead.
- If the time limit expires without any action from a player in a timed game, the player’s hand will be considered dead.
- In Texas Hold’em, unlimited raising is allowed.
- A “tie” or “split-pot” can occur sometimes, especially when two players hold hands of equivalent value.
- The first player sitting to the left of the card dealer is known as “small blind.” This person is required to place a bet before any of the other players see their cards. Moreover, it should be equal to half of the small bet limit of the table.
- The second player seated to the left of the dealer is known as the “big blind” (i.e., the person to the left of the small blind). This player is supposed to place a bet before any of the other players see their cards. Moreover, it should be equal to the small bet limit of the table.
- Unless all players abandon Texas Hold’em before the showdown, you will need the highest-ranking poker hand to win the pot.
Please note these are only some of the basic Texas Hold’em rules for beginners. There are several more, but you will get the hang of them all once you start playing.
Texas Hold’Em Poker Terminology
Apart from knowing the Texas Hold’em rules, it’s equally important for players to be well-versed in poker terminology to play the game successfully. Like any other game, Texas Hold’em players use specialized vocabulary, or the words might have a different meaning than those you are used to.
Below we have shared a list of common words you would mostly come across at a Texas Hold’em table:
- Action: Refers to either the number of bets in the pot or a player’s turn to play.
- A Lot of Action: Refers to a pot that has repeatedly and frequently been betted upon.
- Ante: Refers to the minimum amount of action needed to take part in the hand. It’s created at the start of the table.
- All-In: Refers to the act of a player risking all of their chips on a single poker hand.
- Backdoor: Refers to the act of a player where they make a hand on the river or the turn. Also known as “catching a runner.”
- Bad Beat: Synonyms for bad luck in poker.
- Blind: This term is identical to an ante. Nonetheless, it’s a forced bet that signifies the minimum amount needed to participate in a hand. A big blind is a full ante, whereas a small blind is half the ante.
- Burn Cards: This refers to the act of discarding the top card (facedown) from the deck.
- Call: Refers to a bet that’s equivalent to the amount wagered previously.
- Calling Station: Refers to the player who frequently calls without folding or raising their hand.
- Check: Refers to the act of not betting (without folding).
- Community Cards: Refers to the five cards placed in the centre of the poker table. In Texas Hold’em, these cards are shared by all players. They are also called “board” in community poker.
- Draw: Refers to playing a hand that’s not very decent yet, but holds promise and could be improved through the community cards.
- Draw Dead: A person who fails to hit the hand they were hoping for through the board.
- Flop: Refers to the first three community cards grouped in a set. The fourth is called the “turn,” whereas the fifth and final card is known as the “river.”
- Fold: Refers to the act of surrendering all bets made previously and forfeiting cards within a hand.
- Gutshot Straight/Inside Straight Draw: When you have the middle two cards of a straight as your pocket cards.
- Heads-Up: Refers to a pot that’s played between only two players.
- Hole Cards: Also called “pocket cards,” refers to the cards dealt facedown to a player.
- Kicker: In the case of identical cards, it refers to cards not being used within the hand to discern who has a better hand.
- Muck: Typically refers to the pile of burned and folded cards during a hand. But it’s also used for the act of folding in some cases.
- Nuts: Refers to the best possible dealt hand on the board. However, it can change through the progression of the game.
- Overcard: A card greater than any other on the board.
- Quads: This refers to having four of a kind.
- Ragged/Rags: A flop that doesn’t provide any advantage to players.
- Rainbow: Refers to a flop that comprises three different suits. This indicates that a flush is not possible.
- Tilt: To play recklessly and wildly.
- Trips: Refers to having three of a kind.
Before you try your luck in Texas Hold’em, it’s crucial to know that each of its games is dealt using a standard deck of 52 cards. Every deck has four suits, and each suit has 13 cards. The four suits are clubs, spades, hearts, and diamonds. Keep in mind that in the Texas Hold’em hand order, each suit is equivalent in value.
The position of cards in every suit from lowest to highest is:
Here are the Texas Hold‘em poker hand ranks in the order of strength with a probability of being dealt:
|Texas Hold‘em Poker Hand Ranks
||Five cards of the same suit ranked ace through 10.
||Five cards of the same suit which are consecutively ranked.
|Four of a Kind
||Four cards of the same rank.
||Three cards of the same value in different suits and two additional cards of the same value and different suits.
||Any five cards of the same suit.
||Any five cards ranked consecutively.
|Three of a Kind
||Three cards of the same rank.
||Two different sets of two cards of matching rank.
||Two cards of the same rank.
|High Card (also called “ace high”)
||Five unmatched cards.
How to Play Texas Hold’Em Poker?
Texas Hold’em games are available in both ring games as well as tournaments. However, the same rules govern how both games are played. By following the step-by-step instructions outlined below, you will be able to play any type of Texas Hold’em game successfully.
Here’s how to play Texas Hold’em:
Starting or Joining a Game
If you decide to join a ring game that’s already in progress, the blind positions and the dealer would be fixed from the preceding hand. Grounded on the specific house rules, you might have to wait for the big blind to reach where you’re sitting before you can begin playing. However, some spaces allow you to make a bet equivalent to the big blind to begin playing right away.
If you are seated at the start of a tournament or when a ring game commences, the card dealer will shuffle the cards, and then they will give one card (face-up) to every player at the table.
Please note that two to 10 players can play the game. Moreover, the player receiving the highest card is granted the “dealer button” for the first hand.
Dealing and the Blinds
Next, the first player seated on the left side of the dealer button places the small blind. The player sitting to the left of the first player is then supposed to put the big blind.
After that, the player distributing the cards gives two cards to every player present at the table— one at a time, commencing with the small blind and moving leftwards. The process continues till the button player receives their second card.
Opening Betting Round
In this step, the first person to the left of the big blind raises, folds, or calls the big blind. The gameplay continues to the left, with every player either calling the existing bet or blind if nobody folds or raises. Likewise, the game continues till every player either calls the previous bet or folds their hand.
Bear in mind that in a limit Texas Hold’em game, all raises and bets amount to the smaller limit of this round and the next betting round. If no player raises, the small blind has the option to call the half bet (this is known as “completing the bet”). Moreover, the big blind has the chance to check whether the pot has not been folded or raised.
Once the betting action has begun for the first betting round, the card dealer then burns the card placed on top of the deck. Next, the dealer turns the next three cards (face-up) in the centre of the table.
As explained earlier in this guide, these cards are the first of the five community cards and are known as “flop.“
Then every participant uses their two hole cards combined with the five community cards to create the best possible five-card poker hand. Players can use either:
- One of their hole cards with four of the board cards
- Both of their hole cards with three of the board cards
- All five of the board cards and neither of their hole cards
After the flop, the first player seated to the left of the dealer button could bet or check. Bear in mind that the bet should be the smaller limit amount in a Texas Hold‘em limit game. On the other hand, in a no-limit Texas Hold’em game, the bet can be of any amount (up to and comprising the number of chips the person has in front of them).
Every player can check whether:
- No bet has been made
- Bet if a bet has not been made
- Call if a bet has been made
- Raise if a bet has been made
The game continues leftwards till every player has checked or has folded or called the most recent bet.
The card dealer then burns the card placed on top of the deck and deals the next card (face-up) with the other board cards. This is also referred to as “the turn.” In a limited Texas Hold’em game, all bets placed on the turn and river are at the greater limit.
Once the turn card is distributed, the first player seated to the left side of the dealer button either bets or checks. After that, the gameplay continues leftwards (just like it did on the flop), with every player calling, checking, raising, or betting based on what happened during the previous betting round.
The River and Showdown
Once all the betting is done on the turn, the card dealer burns a final card and deals the fifth (and last) board card face-up at the table. Then, a betting round similar to the one on the turn is undertaken.
Once the river betting round finishes, all players (those who haven’t folded earlier) turn their cards over. The player with the highest-ranking poker hand wins the pot, or it’s split in a tie. After the card dealer gives the pot to the winner, the dealer button is passed one place to the left. Likewise, the blinds also move one place to the left. As soon as the two blinds place their bets, the next hand commences.
Playing Texas Hold‘em Poker isn’t complicated. However, with some foolproof tips on how to play Texas Hold’em, you will be able to take your game to the next level.
Texas Hold’em for Dummies: Conclusion
Several new players get scared that they’ll end up doing something that makes them look foolish at the table. Therefore, they often put a lot of effort into concealing the fact that they are new to the game. However, this isn’t necessary.
Almost universally, every seasoned poker player is more than glad to have new players at their Texas Hold‘em game. This is because new players generally make mistakes, which enables other players to learn something from them. Plus, most players go out of their way to make Texas Hold’em beginners feel welcome.
Additionally, if you have any queries, don’t hesitate to ask for help. If it’s your first time playing Texas Hold’em, consider going to a local poker room with a friend who’s an experienced poker player. Your friend can assist you in signing up for a table, purchase chips, and getting started. In the meanwhile, you can read all about online poker on our website.
If you’re playing the game online, we recommend you begin playing at the free money tables. This way, even if you make any mistakes, it won’t cost you any money, just your time. Plus, you’ll always have this Texas Hold’em for Dummies guide if you ever feel stuck or need help.
So what are you waiting for? Get started today and make sure you have fun!
What are the rules of Texas Hold’em?
Please refer to the “Basic Texas Hold’em Rules for Beginners” section of this Texas Hold’em for Dummies guide to learn about the different rules of this game.
How do you play poker for beginners?
First, two cards are dealt (facedown) to each player, followed by five community cards (face-up) in three different stages after every betting round. Each stage comprises a series of three cards (“the flop“), followed by another single card (“fourth street” or “the turn”), and a final closing card (“fifth street” or “the river”).
Each participant seeks to make the best five-card hand from any combination of the total seven cards dealt with them. The person who has the best hand and hasn’t folded their cards by the end of all betting rounds wins the pot.
Refer to the “How to Play Texas Hold’em Poker” section of this guide for a more comprehensive answer.
What is the goal in Texas Hold’em?
The main goal of Texas Hold‘em is to have the highest-ranking poker hand to win the pot.