Texas Hold'em Poker Rules – The Basics for New Poker Players

Texas Hold ‘Em Rules

The Dealer Button

What the dealer button is and how it influences play around the Texas Hold ‘Em table.

The dealer button is a physical marker that is placed on the table in front of the player ‘dealing’ the cards in each round (in casino and online play, the player doesn’t actually deal the cards). In a game of Texas Hold ‘Em, the dealer button moves to the left with each new round of play.

In the rules of Texas Hold ‘Em, play rotates around the poker table clockwise and starts with the player sitting directly to the left of the player with the dealer button. The concept of multiple players sharing dealer duties enables more game transparency and fairness.

In most Texas Hold ‘Em games, the two players located directly next to the dealer button are obliged to bet a ‘blind’ (a small, required bet) to get the betting action rolling.

Texas Hold ‘Em Card Deck Rules

Just like five card draw poker, Texas Hold ‘Em is played using a standard deck of 52 cards. The deck consists of four suits: Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, and Spades. No suit has a higher value than another.

A 52-card deck is ranked from lowest to highest – Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace. The Ace card can be used as either a high or low card in Texas Hold ‘Em, while Jokers are often used as cut cards.

Basic Texas Hold ‘Em Rules

To enter a game of Texas Hold ‘Em, you must ‘buy in’ to the table.

Cards must be shuffled and cut before being dealt, and a minimum of three players will often share the responsibility of holding the dealer button in the case of a player-dealt game.

The card pack should be shuffled a minimum of four times and the bottom card of the pack obscured with a cut card.

If a game of Texas Hold ‘Em is using a dealer button, the two players sitting to the left of the button are forced to place small and large ‘blinds’ to commence the betting process. As a general rule, the small blind placed is usually half the value of the large blind.

Betting Rounds in Texas Hold ‘Em

Here’s a quick guide to the rounds of betting, game progression and typical betting rules of a classic Texas Hold ‘Em game.

  • The Pre-flop – This is the first round of betting, which occurs directly after the opening deal when players are dealt their two hole cards. In response to the initial large blind, players are able to either call, raise or fold.
  • The Flop – The flop is the dealing of the first three community cards. This is the time when players are able to make their second round of bets. Once again, players can either call, raise or fold their hands in response to the bets of other players at the table.
  • The Turn – The third round of betting takes place after ‘the turn,’ when a fourth community card is added to the table and the hands of each player are nearly complete. The turn is where the stakes go up and players are able to call, raise or fold their hand before the final round.
  • The River – In Texas Hold ‘Em, players are able to bet a final time after a fifth card has been added to the community card stock, known as the ‘the river.’ In many ways, this is the most important round of betting, as it is the first time that a player can see their full hand.

A Guide to Hands in Texas Hold ‘Em

The Poker Loco guide to Texas Hold ‘Em hands, ranked in descending order.

Below, you will find a short Poker Loco guide to the value of different hands in Texas Hold ‘Em. The following Texas Hold ‘Em hands are ranked in descending order according to their value:

  • Royal Flush – A Royal Flush is the most valuable in Texas Hold ‘Em. The hand is made up of a 10, a Jack, a Queen, a King and an Ace, all of which belong to the same suit.
  • Straight Flush – A Straight Flush is made up of any five cards belonging to the same suit that run in numerical order. For example, if you have a 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of hearts, your hand would be a straight flush, the second highest hand in Texas Hold ‘Em.
  • Four of a Kind – In Texas Hold ‘Em, a Four of a Kind hand consists of any four cards of the same value. Any four matching cards constitute a four of a kind.
  • Full House – A Full House hand is made up of One Pair plus Three of a Kind. For example, a hand of three Queens and two Jacks would give you a Full House. The suit of the cards is not important.
  • Flush – A Flush is made up of any five cards belonging to the same suit, irrespective of their numerical value or position in the hierarchy of the pack. This means that having any five cards of the same suit gives you a Flush hand.
  • Straight – A Straight is defined as any five cards that run in sequential order (for example, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). The Straight is basically the opposite of the Flush because the suit of the cards is not important and all the emphasis is put on the numerical value.
  • Three of a Kind – A Three of a Kind hand consists of any three cards with a matching value. The suit of these cards is not important.
  • Two Pair –  A Two Pair hand is made up of two different pairs within one hand plus a spare card. For example, two 2s, two 3s and a 4 would constitute a Two Pair hand.
  • One Pair – One Pair is a basic Texas Hold ‘Em hand that is made up of any two cards that match. If you were to be dealt two 2s, a 5, 6 and 7, your two 2s would give you a low One Pair hand. It might not be a valuable hand, but it is better than nothing.
  • High Card – In Texas Hold ‘Em, a High Card hand is the least valuable you can achieve, and this hand should only really be played when you think no player has anything in their hand.

The premise of this hand is simple – rather than going for a combination of cards, the player simply puts forward a hand based on the strength of their highest card. For example, if a player has 2, 4, 5, 8 and an Ace, the highest card to work with would be the Ace. This type of hand would usually be referred to as ‘Ace High.’

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