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Texas Holdem Poker Rules
If you’re just getting started learning the rules of Texas Holdem Poker, Keep this guide handy for quick reference. Anytime you get confused by the action, read below for some guidance. Each topic contains links to more in-depth articles on that specific aspect of the Texas Holdem rules.
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Before we get into describing the rules and game play, here’s a quick glossary of Texas Holdem terms you’ll encounter.
- Blinds: Short for “blind bets,” these are the forced bets made before the cards are dealt. In Hold’em, blinds take the place of the classic “ante.”
- Button: Nickname for the player acting as the dealer in current hand.
- Check: Similar to a call but no money is bet. If there is no raise preflop, the big blind may check.
- Flop: The first three community cards dealt.
- Fourth Street: See Turn.
- Fifth Street: See River.
- All-In: A player puts all of his or her remaining chips into the pot
- Preflop: Anything that occurs before the flop is dealt is preflop.
- River: The final (5th) community card dealt; also known as fifth street.
- Showdown: When players reveal their hands to discover the pot’s winner.
- Turn: The fourth community card dealt; also known as fourth street.
How to Play Texas Hold’em
Texas Hold’em is a community card poker game with game play focused as much on the betting as on the cards being played.
Although the rules and game play 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. Learn more about the rules unique to Texas Holdem poker tournaments here. (There will also be a link at the bottom of the page).
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
Texas Holdem – Picking a Dealer
Once you have your players sitting around the table, the first thing you need to have is chips. Before you can figure out what kind of chips to give each player, you need to understand how the game works a little better, so we’ll get back to this.
For now, assume all players have chips in front of them.
The next step is picking the player who will start with the dealer button. Hold’em is played with what’s known as a rotating dealer, meaning a player will act as the dealer for one hand, handing the role of dealer to the player on their left when the hand is completed.
To choose the dealer, either deal every player one card or spread the cards facedown on the table and have every player choose one. The player with the highest-valued card (aces are high for selecting a dealer) starts as the dealer.
If you’re in a place with a professional dealer (or someone volunteers to always physically deal the cards) the dealer button will still rotate around the table. Even though he or she is physically dealing the cards, for all intents and purposes, the person with the button is viewed as being the dealer for the hand.
Once the hand completes the player with the dealer button will pass it to the player on his or her left.