Texas Hold'em poker really is 'the' definitive game when it comes to poker rooms in casinos around the world; it is the most popular poker game online as well. It's the game that you see the pros playing on television when you watch W.S.O.P. (World Series Of Poker), and W.P.T. (World Poker Tour), not to mention Celebrity Poker.
Players attempt to achieve the best five card poker hand out of seven cards dealt. Highest hand wins. Players may use one, both or neither of their hole cards to make their highest hand. Each player receives two cards face-down. The five remaining cards are community cards and are shared by all players.
Sounds easy, doesn't it. Before you think you can go out and starting wagering with the big boys keep in mind what Mike Sexton, host of the World Poker Tour, professional poker player and leading writer/strategist, says: "it takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to master."
Here's how the game works:
The two players to the left of the dealer make 'blind' bets (blind, as in betting before seeing the hand). The first player makes a bet that is equal to half the minimum bet at the table. This is known as the 'small blind'. The second player makes a bet equal to the minimum table bet. This is the 'big blind'
Note: There is a marker, normally a small plastic disc, called the 'button' that indicates which player is the dealer. In our illustration below, it is the round white disc. Action is always initiated to the left of the dealer and continues in a clockwise manner. At the end of each hand the button is moved clockwise to the next player, who then becomes the dealer.
Once the Blind bets are down, 2 cards, hole or pocket cards, are dealt face down to each player.
Next, the player to the left of the 'Big Blind' begins play. He/she may choose to call (which means match the bet on the table), raise, or fold. This continues to the left until the betting round is completed.
Then the first 3 community, or shared, cards are dealt face up in the middle of the table in what is called 'The Flop'.
The next betting round begins with player to the left of the dealer and continues to the left. If there is no bet on the table, a player may bet or check (which means to neither bet, nor fold - the turn simply passes to the next player). If there is a bet on the table, a player may call, raise or fold. A round of betting is finished when all players have acted, and contributed equally to the pot. There can be at most three raises per hand.
A 4th community card is placed face up in the middle; this is called 'The Turn' or 'Fourth Street'.
There is a another betting round.
The fifth and final community card, called 'The River' or 'Fifth Street', is placed face up in the middle of the table.
There is a final round of betting.
The player with the best five card hand, made up of his hole, or pocket, cards, and any three of the five community cards, takes the pot. (See hand rankings)
Texas Hold'em can be played with varying betting limits: