Poker is a game of passion. Poker is a game of influence. It is a game every man and women wants to learn. And, it is a game with extreme rewards. So, if you are one of those men and women who want to relish the benefits of the game, first you have to learn how to play poker. This popular game has been around for centuries and has evolved over the years. With its many versions, poker has spread across the globe and is loved by poker enthusiasts all over the world. From casinos, shady backrooms of a restaurant, to the most popular online platform, you can find poker wondering around in every corner of the world.
Texas Holdem Poker is one of the most popular variants of poker and you should definitely give this a try. Similar to most variants of poker, the objective of Texas Holdem Poker is to win the pots. Pretty simple, eh? Let's get down to the basic rules of this spectacular game and learn how to play poker.
How to Play Poker?
The rules of Texas Holdem poker are actually pretty and simple and logical. You can learn the rules in just a few minutes. Mastering the game, however, takes a bit longer. So, without further ado, let's get to the guidance system that can help you try a hand in the game and ensures that you learn how to play poker.
Texas Holdem poker is played with at least two players and the number can go to up to a maximum of ten players. It is played with a 52 card deck excluding the Joker. In this variant of poker, each player receives two cards, face down. These two cards are also known as “pocket” or “hole” cards. Then, the dealer hands out five community cards face up. The players can use any three of these community cards, along with the two hole cards to form the best five-card combination. The best five-card combination wins the pot.
Variants of Texas Holdem Poker
Limit Poker allows a maximum of 4 bets during any betting round. These bets can include a raise, re-raise, and the final raise; unlike No-Limit Poker and Pot Limit poker where there is no limit to the number of raises that a player can make. In Limit Poker, the Bet, as well as the Raise, are agreed in advance. For example, the Bet and the Raise amount in a 1/2 Limit game must be equal to 1. No more, no less. By the ends of the game, i.e. in the last two rounds, the Bet and the Raise must be equal to 2. ? Pot Limit In a play with Pot Limit the maximum value of Bet or Raise shouldn't exceed the current total amount in the pot. For example: If the total amount in the pot is 30 and the first player to act in the betting round bets 10, then the second player could bet a total of 20 (30 - 10) for his portion of the call and raise by the same amount, the total amount of money in the pot when the action got to him, including his call. In a Pot-Limite game, there is no cap to the number of raises allowed.
In a No-Limit variant of Texas Holdem poker, there isn’t any bet limit. Every player can make any amount of bet in any betting round. However, the minimum bet amount should be equal to the Big Blind.
Stages in Texas Holdem Poker
In order to understand how to play poker, you must be acquainted about the various stages of this particular game.
Texas Holdem Poker is divided into a total of four rounds of betting. The initial pot is formed by Blind Bet. Texas Holdem is played with what is known as a rotating dealer button. This means one player will act as the dealer for a particular hand then pass on the role of dealer to the player on their left for the next hand. To choose the dealer, the players are dealt with one card facedown and the player with the highest-value card starts as the dealer.
Once you have chosen a dealer, you need to put out the Blinds.
There are two sets of blinds to be placed in a game of Texas Holdem Poker; a small blind and a big blind. These are forced bets required to be placed by two players to make sure there are some chips in the pot worth playing for. Without any money in the pot, all the players might be inclined to fold more often. This slows down the action considerably. And, no one wants that, right? So, the player to the immediate left of the dealer puts in the small blind and the big blind (usually double of the small blind) is put in by the player to the left of the small blind. The size of the blinds dictates the stakes of the game you are about to play. If the player does not have enough chips to make Blind Bet, he/she has to stake everything they have at once. If there are only two players in the game, the dealer posts the Big Blind and the other player is supposed to put in the small blind. After that, the first round of betting begins.
In order to be acquainted about how to play poker, especially Texas Holdem, you have to understand how the betting is done. So, here is a basic version of how the betting rounds go.
Round 1: The Pre-Flop
Every player receives two cards face-down that means each player can see his/her cards only. In Texas Holdem Poker, one player can act a time. The pre-flop begins with the player to the left of the big bling and that player has three options:
1. Call: Match the amount of the big blind
2. Raise: Raise the bet by doubling the amount of the blind
3. Fold: Put nothing in the pot and throw away their hand, waiting for the next deal to play again
A similar action is taken by each player when it is their turn to bet. When the betting returns to the player who made Big Blind, that player can not increase the bet. So he/she Checks, since they already have matched the bet, they do not need to add more money to the call. This is known as checking. However, The Big Blind has to call, raise or fold if an opponent has raised. When all bets get equal, the initial pot is formed and the game turns to the next round (The Flop).
Round 2: The Flop
Once the pre-flop round ends, the flop is dealt. The flop consists of the first three community cards to be dealt. This is done by dealing the top card in the deck, face down (this card is called the "burn" card and is not used in the play), followed by three cards face-up. These are the community cards that all players can use to make their best five-card hand.
Once the flop has been dealt, the second round of betting begins. The rules are the same as in the pre-flop except for two small exceptions:
? The first player to act is the next active player to the left of the dealer
? The first player to act can check or bet because there has been no bet placed. Calling is free.
A bet on the flop in Limit Hold'em variant is the amount of the big blind, whereas, in No-Limit, it has to be at least double the size of the big blind.
Round 3: The Turn
After every player has called, folded or raised, the second round of betting ends. The dealer again burns one card face down out of the play and deals the fourth community card face up. Once the turn has been dealt, the third round of betting begins.
The third round of betting in Limit Hold'em variant is similar to the flop except for one exception: The size of the bet for this round and the final round is doubled.
In No-Limit, a player can bet any amount of chips as long as it is at least twice the big blind or double than any previous bet.
Round 4: The River
Based on the assumption that more than one player is left on the table, the river is now dealt. Dealing the river is exactly the same as dealing the turn. This is done with one card being burned facedown followed by dealing the fifth and the final community card face-up on the table. Thus begins the final round of betting.
Round 5: The Showdown
Once the river betting round is complete, the players left on the table, enter into the showdown. At this point, the best five-card hand wins the pot. These are some rules you need to know about how to play poker showdown:
If the player's current hand is weaker than winning hand shown, he/she has the option to show or muck their cards. The best five-card hand takes the pot. If at showdown, two players share an identical hand, the pot is split. Each player may claim the pot in forming of which they took part.
Missed Blinds Policy
In order to prevent late entries to a game, especially for players who want to avoid placing the Blinds, you have to post an initial fee that is equal to the Big Blind, or you can sit out and wait until the Big Blind reaches your position. The ‘late’ player can choose to:
If the player chooses to wait for Big Blind, he/she will be sitting out and won't be able to join the action until Big Blind comes around to their position. If the player was at the table, then sat out for a while and missed the Big Blind, he/she will also have to miss the Small Blind and the dealer's button. If you missed the blinds, you are required to post an amount equal to the big blind plus a 'dead' bet that is equal to the small blind.
If the player finishes his/her chips they may not fold the cards. They can go All-In and bet all their chips. In this case, the pot is divided into the Main pot and the Side pot. All the next bets are included in the Side pot. If the player that goes All-In does not win, the winner receives all chips (both the Main and Side pots). If the player who goes All-In wins, he/she receives the Main pot, but the Side pot is passed to the player having the second-highest-ranking Poker hand.
If several players go All-In, several Side pots can be created. If the player who accepts all the All-In bets, but doesn’t go All-In by him/herself and appears to have the highest ranking hand at showdown, he/she takes the Main pot as well as all Side pots. If the player who went All-in has the highest-ranking hand, he/she takes the pot or all pots which were created until they went All-In. Every All-In player having a highest ranking hand can take only the pot (or pots) in the forming of which they took part.
Texas Holdem Poker Hand Rankings
Now that you have learned how to play poker, let us learn about Texas Holdem Hand Rankings i.e. which poker hand wins over another in a game of Texas Holdem.
Texas Holdem Poker Hand Rankings:
A royal flush is an ace-high straight flush of A, K, Q, J, 10 of the same suit.
A straight flush consists of five cards of the same suit in numerical order. For example, 5, 6, 7, 7, 9 of Hearts.
Four of a Kind (Quad) are four cards of equal rank of any suit. For example, an Ace of Hearts, an Ace of Diamonds, an Ace of Spades, an Ace of Clubs, and an Eight of Diamonds.
A full house, also known as Full Boat, consists of three of a kind and a pair. For example, King of Spades, King of Diamond, King of Hearts, 7 of Clubs, and a 7 of Hearts.
Flush consists of five cards of the suit, no matter the order or sequence. For example, a Queen, 2, 3, 4, 5 of Diamonds.
Straight consists of five cards in numerical order from any suit. For example, 7 of Diamonds, 8 of Hearts, 9 of Diamonds, 10 of Spades, and J of Clubs.
Three of Kind, as the name suggests consists of three cards of the same rank from any suit and 2 cards for any suit. For example, an 8 of Hearts, an 8 of Diamonds, an 8 of Spades, a 5 of Hearts, and a 4 of Diamonds.
Two pair consists of 2 pairs each of 2 ranks each. For example, a 3 of Hearts and a 3 of Diamonds; and a 5 of spades and a 5 of hearts. The fifth card can be of any rank from any suit.
One pair consists of two cards of the same rank and the rest three cards can be of any rank from any suit. For example, a 9 of clubs, a 9 of Diamonds, a 5 of Diamonds, a 3 of Hearts, and an 8 of Hearts.
High card ranking means the hand with the highest card wins. For example, a 5 of Diamond, a King of Spades, a 7 of Hearts, an Ace of Clubs, and a Queen of Diamonds.