Texas Holdem is one of the most popular poker games. The objective is to have the best five-card poker hand at the table. The rules slightly vary from other poker variants, so it’s essential to know precisely how to play to make the most out of every hand.
This complete Texas Holdem guide covers everything you need to know. You’ll find a detailed description of the rules, how to play, types of bets, strategies, odds, and the best games. Dive deep and learn how to play like a pro to win big!
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Texas Holdem Rules
Texas Holdem rules are fairly simple. As with every poker game, the main goal is to have the best five-card poker hand at the table.
The differences between this variant and other poker options are in the deal and the upturned cards available to other players. This game contains five community cards that players have to use to complete their hands.
On each betting round, the dealer deals the shared cards face up at the center of the table, and every player at the poker table uses those same community cards. The betting rounds are known as the Flop, the Turn, and the River.
Texas Holdem Basic Rules
Let’s look at the Texas Holdem basic rules to understand better how a hand goes and how to win real money.
The Dealer Places the Community Cards and Deals TwoThe dealer offers each player two down cards and five “community cards,” which are face up. The community cards are essential to making up your hand and judging what other players may have.
Ante Bet and Hole CardsTexas Holdem games start with two players placing “ante”, or forced wagers, called the blinds. This is followed by the deal of each player’s down or “hole” cards.
Betting RoundsA betting round follows the hole deal and subsequent deals, the Flop, the Turn, and the River. Each player may check, bet, call, raise, or fold during these betting rounds.
Best Texas Holdem Poker Hand WinsAfter the final deals and bets, the remaining players combine their hole cards with any three of the community cards to form their best poker hand. The highest-ranking hand wins the pool of bets.
How to Play Texas Holdem | Step by Step Guide
We’ve already reviewed the basic rules of the game. The following step-by-step guide explains how to play Texas Holdem like a pro.
The small blind is one seat to the left of the button or dealer position, and the big blind is one seat to the left of the small blind. On each hand, one player is designated as the dealer and usually has a small button with the word dealer printed on it sitting in front of her position.
After each hand, the dealer button is passed one player to the left, and the blinds move one player to the left. In poker rooms and real money poker casinos, the actual person who deals the cards is an employee of the house. In some home games, the person with the dealer button deals the cards as well.
Hole Cards and Preflop: First Round of Betting
After the blinds have been posted, the dealer passes two cards face down to each player, one at a time, starting with the first player to the left of the button.
Once each player has their two hole cards, the player to the left of the big blind is the first to act. This player can fold, call the big blind, or raise. Play continues to the left with each player folding, calling the current bet, or folding until the most recent wager has been called by all of the remaining players.
The Flop and Second Round of Betting
The dealer burns the top card and turns the following three cards face up in the center of the table. This is called the Flop, and the cards that are turned are called community cards. Players use any combination of their hole cards and the community cards to form their best five-card hand.
The first player to the left of the dealer button remaining in the hand either checks or bets at this time. Play continues to the left, with each player checking if a bet hasn’t been made, calling the current bet, or raising. This continues until each remaining player has called the last bet or every player has checked.
The Turn and Third Round of Betting
The dealer burns another card and then places a fourth community card face up in the center of the table. This card is known as the Turn. Another round of betting is conducted at this time, in the same manner as the betting round after the Flop.
The River and Last Round of Betting
Finally, the dealer burns another card, and a fifth community card is placed face up in the center of the table. This card is known as the River. The final betting round is conducted just like the one after the Turn. Once all betting are completed, the remaining players show their cards, and the winner is determined and awarded the pot. If two or more players have identical best five-card hands, the pot is split between them.
Texas Holdem Hand Rankings
Knowing how hands rank is essential to playing Texas Holdem. As the cards are dealt, you will be sizing up your chances of having a winning hand. You will also be assessing other players’ chances of landing a good hand.
If two players have the same hand or high card, and another card is present in the five-card hand that isn’t being used, these extra cards are compared, and the player with the highest off-card, or kicker, is awarded the win. For example, if two players have a pair of aces, the player with the next highest card in their hand wins.
Texas Holdem Hands Infographic
The infographic below illustrates the Texas Holdem hand rankings from highest to lowest and examples of winning card combinations. Download and save this chart on your cell phone or computer to access the ranking information whenever you need it.
Download the Texas Holdem Poker Hands Chart here.
Texas Holdem Betting Rules
You can play Texas Holdem with the following betting limits: Limit, Pot Limit, or No-Limit. The most common form is No-Limit, but Limit is a close second in popularity. Pot limit is rarely played, but you may run across it from time to time. If you play poker games other than Holdem, you’re more likely to see pot-limit action. Let’s take a closer look at these types of bets:
With limit Holdem or fixed limit, there is a predetermined limit to the size of any bet. The size of a raise is limited to twice the size of the big blind. These games also often limit the number of raises in a round of betting.
Players can stay longer in the game because a raise doesn’t cost as much. Players hoping to improve their hand are more likely to stay.
Pot-limit games allow for raises equal to the pot amount at any point of a betting round. The minimum bet is the amount of the big blind. The raises can get high if re-raises are allowed.
Pot limit is conducive to big bets on strong hands and to a certain amount of bluffing. It also makes a player think twice about hanging in with an average hand.
No limit means that a player can bet an entire stack of chips – or go all in – during any round of betting. This allows for all types of bluffing, but it also requires a sense of chip management. If you want to stay in a game, session, or tournament, you must study the bets and cards.
This is the most popular game variation because it is in TV tournaments.
Texas Holdem Table Layout
Texas Holdem table layouts are similar at every casino, but it is essential to know where things go. Take a look at the following Texas Holdem table chart to understand the layout for this type of game entirely:
Texas Holdem Tournaments
The most popular types of Texas Holdem tournaments are Multi-Table, Sit-and-Go, and Ring Games Tournaments. Below we included a description of each one so you can find the one that suits you the best:
An unlimited number of players pay an entry fee, receive a set number of chips, and battle until only one player has all the chips. The prize pool is divided among the top 10% winners in the game.
Sit and Go
Sit and go tournaments are run similarly, but they usually only have 9 or 10 entrants, and the top 3 finishers win money. A typical payout structure is 50% for first place, 30% for second place, and 20% for third place.
Ring games don’t have a set entry fee or start and end times. Players play with their own money and come and go while the game is running. If a player loses all of his money, he can buy in again, and you can leave anytime you want.
Texas Holdem Strategy
Learning Texas Holdem strategies will help you become a winning player. Below, we’ve listed an overview of the best Texas Holdem strategy tips to give you a solid place to start. You should also become familiar with the different Hold’em Terms that players use.
Texas Holdem Strategy & Tips
When you start any Texas Holdem hand with a better starting hand than your opponent, you are more likely to win than them. So it would be best if you concentrated on only playing your best-starting hands. Most players are playing far too many hands to show a long-term profit.
You win more money on average from the late position than from an early position. This is mainly because when you’re in a late position, all the other players are forced to act before you have to. This gives you additional information you can use to win more money.
Even when you fold your hand, you should always pay attention to the rest of the players at the table. You can learn how they play, how often they bluff, and possibly pick up a few tells that help you catch them doing something you can take advantage of later.
Unless you decide to start playing poker as a professional, the size of your bankroll isn’t critical, but you should always have enough that a single playing session doesn’t wipe you out. Pros should keep 200 to 300 big blinds for the level they’re currently playing.
Tight and Aggressive Play
In addition to playing a tight game by not playing too many starting hands, you should lay most hands that you play aggressively. When you play aggressively, it forces the other players to make mistakes and gives you the chance to win when they fold.
Most players bluff more than they should. This comes mostly from watching poker on TV. You don’t see all of the hands-on televised poker games, so it seems like the pros are always bluffing. But the truth is you should rarely bluff, and only when it has the best chance to work.
Texas Holdem Strategy Chart
Below is a basic Texas Holdem strategy chart that shows suggestions on what to do for unsuited pocket cards. We recommend you keep this chart in mind, especially if you are a beginner.
Download the Texas Holdem Strategy Cheat Sheet here.
Texas Holdem Odds
When playing poker, it is helpful to know your chances of filling out a winning hand. It’s what we mean by Texas Holdem odds. Odds are more important in this game because of the number of cards dealt and how the deal works.
You can figure your chances of getting the card(s) you want in different ways. One is simple odds. For instance, the odds of making a pair on the flop from any two-hole cards are 3-1. The odds of getting a pair on the two hole cards is 16-1.
The other vital odds calculation is “outs,” or the number of cards left in the deck that can make a winning hand. For example, if you have 5-6 in the hole and 4-7-10 on the flop, you have four to a straight. You seek a 3 or an 8 to complete the straight, so you have eight outs or the four 3s and four 8s left in the deck.
Best Texas Holdem Games
There are many variants of Texas Holdem that follow similar rules to this popular poker game. For example, popular titles like Casino Holdem, Caribbean Holdem, and Ultimate Texas Holdem are all variants of this game. Some sites even offer Live Dealer Holdem, where you can play against the house.
Here are the best games you can try at casino sites:
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Use This Texas Holdem Guide and Start Winning Big!
As you can see, Texas Holdem is relatively easy to learn but harder to win. It takes knowledge of odds, strategies, and basic plays, but it also takes instinct and the ability to read your opponent’s tendencies. So get in the game and keep this guide handy until you know the basics by heart. You’ll have a lifetime of entertainment.
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Texas Holdem Guide FAQ
Here are a few common questions that Texas Holdem players ask.
What are the best casinos to play Texas Holdem?
The best casinos to play Texas Holdem are:
1 – Wild Casino
2 – BetUS
3 – Bovada
4 – BetOnline
5 – Super Slots
What are the rules of Texas Holdem?
The main goal of Texas Holdem is to have the best five-card poker hand at the table. The differences between this variant and other poker games are in the deal and the upturned cards available to other players. Learn the full rules here.