Introduction to Texas Holdem

Texas Holdem, sometimes referred to as “the Cadillac of Poker,” is the most popular poker game at live casinos and online. It’s the form of poker you see most often on TV and it is the game of choice for the Main Event of the World Series of Poker every year.

The popularity of Texas Holdem comes from its simple rules and perfect mixture of skill and luck. There’s just enough skill involved in the game that good players always win in the long run but there’s enough variance in the short term that unskilled players can walk away a winner for the evening with a little luck. In short, it’s one of the few poker games that is both beginner-friendly and loved by the veterans.

Texas Holdem is the game in which each player receives two cards and then the entire table shares the 5 community cards in the middle. Each player may use any combination of his own cards and the community cards to create the best possible 5 card poker hand. After several rounds of betting, the player with the best hand wins the pot.

How to Play Holdem

Texas Holdem is very simple to learn. It might look a little overwhelming at first but if you play a few hands with your friends, you’ll catch on in no time. A typical hand is played like this:

1. Two players post the blinds, which are small, forced bets that act as antes. The player to the left of the dealer pays the small blind and the player to the left of the small blind pays the big blind.

The big blind is equal to one minimum bet in the game. For example, if the game is $5/$10 Holdem, the big blind would be $5. The small blind is half the big blind – in this case, $2.50.

2. The dealer deals two cards face down to each player. These are called the “hole cards.”

3. The players get a chance to look at their cards and then the betting begins with the first player to the left of the big blind. This player can call the minimum bet to stay, he may raise it or he may fold without paying anything. Each other player then has the chance to call, raise or fold.

4. The dealer deals three cards face up in the middle of the table. These are the first of the community cards and they are shared by all the players at the table. This part of the hand is called “The Flop.”

5. The players have another round of betting. This round begins with the first remaining player to the left of the dealer. This time the player may check (pass) or bet. If any player makes a bet, the other players at the table must pay that bet or raise it to stay in the hand.

6. The dealer deals one card face up next to the flop. This is a community card as well and it is referred to as “The Turn.”

7. The players have another round of betting. In fixed-limit games, all bets are now made in increments of the upper betting limit.

8. The dealer deals one card face up next to the turn. This card is called “The River.”

9. There is one last round of betting.

10. Any players still in the hand have a showdown. The players may use any combination of their hole cards and the community cards to create the best possible 5 card poker hand. The players can use 1, 2 or even 0 of their hole cards when creating their hands. The player with the best poker hand wins the pot.

Texas Holdem Hand Rankings

Texas Holdem uses the same hand rankings that most traditional forms of poker have always used. This chart lists the hands in descending order from best to worst:

Texas Holdem Hand Rankings