Texas Hold’em is a community card poker game with gameplay focused as much on the betting as on the cards being played.
Although the rules and gameplay are the same the end goal is slightly different depending on if you’re playing a Texas Holdem cash game or a Texas Holdem tournament.
A Texas Hold’em tournament is the same as any other game of Hold’em with a few added rules and twists.
A Texas Holdem cash game is played on a single table with two to 10 players. The goal is simple: win as many chips as you can, one pot at a time. You win a pot by having the best hand or by having all other players fold before the showdown.
A Texas Hold’em game can be broken up into three main parts:
- Betting Rounds
What Is It About
Texas Hold’em is the most popular of all poker variations. All of the marquee tournaments around the world (WSOP, WPT, EPT, etc.) are played in a variation of this game.
Don’t let the simplicity of the game mislead you. The number of possible game situations is so vast that, when playing at a high level, the game can be very complex. Thus the renowned expression: “It takes a moment to learn, but a lifetime to master.”
When playing the game for the first time, you will be confronted with some of the basic rules which are explained below. For starters, each player is dealt two hole cards in Texas Hold’em with the overall goal of making the best five-card hand.
Play moves clockwise around the table, starting with action to the left of the dealer button. Generally, the first two players to the immediate left of the button are required to post a small blind and a large blind to initiate the betting. From there, action occurs on multiple streets: preflop, the flop, the turn, and the river.
How to PLay
- The beginning
When playing Texas HoldEm poker, every player is dealt two cards face down – these are called your ‘hole cards’. Then there is a round of betting where you can Check, Bet or Fold. This stage of the game is known as pre-flop and what you should do is dependent on those hole cards, or starting hand. When all the betting has finished three shared cards are dealt face up in the middle of the table. This is called the flop.
- The middle
After this there is another round of betting, then a fourth shared card – called the turn – is dealt.
There is another round of betting then a final shared card – called the river – and a final round of betting.
Your best Texas Holdem hands will be made by using your hole cards and the five cards in the middle to make the best possible five card poker hand. Not sure what the best Texas Holdem poker hands are? You can visit the poker hand rankings page for more information!
So, for example, if you have 9-9 and the shared cards are 9-9-A-5-2 you have four-of-a-kind. If the shared cards were J-Q-K-7-2 you would only have two nines.
Sometimes the best texas hold em hand is made by the five shared cards on their own. If they were 10-10-10-10-A and you had 9-9 your hole cards would not play as there is a four-of-a-kind of higher value already showing.
- The end
There are two ways a hand can end. One is when the players in a hand turn over their hole cards and the player with the best hand wins. This is known as a showdown.
The other is that someone will bet enough that everyone else folds. This is how most hands end in Texas Hold’em and that’s the magic of the game – you don’t always need the best hand to win.
Is It Good?
Okay, let’s go over how a Texas Holdem poker hand works using only poker slang and see if you can keep up.
Firstly, you are dealt your hole cards. Then there is a round of betting. Then the players remaining see a flop. Then there is another round of betting. Then you see a turn card. Then another round of betting. Then a final river card. Then one more round of betting. The best five card hand wins.