Texas Hold'em

Texas Hold’em

Now days the most popular poker game variation of the world, Texas Hold’em is the most played game where most money is moved and where the best players play whether is on live play or online play. Although it is uncertain where and when it was invented as its name states it originated in Texas. It is not only characterized as been a fast moving adrenalized game but also it combines the best of poker in a way not many games can: skill and luck.

Basic Rules of Texas Hold’em

Texas Hold’em is a game in which each player receives 2 cards, from a single deck of cards, facing down for only the player to see. These cards are known as hole cards. Additionally 5 cards are taken out from the same deck and placed in the middle of the table facing upwards. These cards are called community cards and are used by every player. The objective of the game is to make the best 5 card combination out of the 7 cards in front of them following the standard hand rankings. As any other game it follows certain rules including betting rounds and positions in the table, as well as betting limits.

Table Positions

There are 3 table positions in a Texas Hold’em game: Dealer, Small Blind and Big Blind. The dealer is an indication position of a player “dealing” the cards. If you play live and at a home game it is very common such position is the actual player dealing the cards. At casino and online poker games however there is dealer designated for this purpose, therefore a position with a button (white big chip) with a “D” in the middle is used. From this position 2 other positions are established: Small and Big Blind. A blind is an obligatory bet to be made by the 2 following player to the left of the dealer. The player on the left of the dealer is given the small blind and the player on the left of the small blind is given the big blind. We will get into more details about these 2 positions in the future.

Betting Rounds

Opening: This is the starting round of the game; blinds are mandatory to start and must be placed on the table. After this is done, 2 cards are given to each player, starting with the small blind and finishing on the dealer. The cards are given one at a time clockwise until all players have the 2 cards. An initial betting round is done at this point; the first player to act is the one on the left of the big blind and continues that way until no more bets are equal. Once this is done, the following betting round is started with the remaining players.

Flop: This is the second betting round of the game, 3 cards that are part of the community cards are drawn and placed face up in the middle of the table. These 3 cards are known as “The Flop”. Once these cards are placed, a new betting round starts depending on the combination of the cards. The first player to act is the small blind (or the next available player to the left). Once all players have acted and no other bets are done the third betting round is played.

Turn: This is the third betting round. Another additional card is placed upwards in the middle of the table. This card just like the flop is used by all players. Another betting round starts starting by the small blind (or the next available player to the left). Once all players have acted and no other bets are done the forth and final betting round is played.

River: It is the last betting round of the game played, a fifth and last card is placed on the middle of the table to be use by all players. At this point the last betting round is ready to start by the next available player to the left of the small blind. Once all bets are placed and there are no additional bets, a final round of the game is played: Showdown. The showdown consists of the players still in play to show their cards. Then a winner (s) is declared and the pot (all bets done) is given to such player. In the event a player risks all his chips and any following bet is higher than the chips of such player a side pot is used. This side pot is the combination of the outstanding bets of the remaining players. In the case more than one side pot is necessary, the chips will be separated in pots. Each pot will be played to the winners of the players involved. A player can win the main pot and not the side pot for this instance.

Table Limits (Stakes)

When playing at a poker table, there are limits defined for minimum (or maximum depending on the betting limits) bets predefined at a game. This table limits not only define the bets, but also define a very important thing: blinds. Each table has a lower limit and a higher limit. If a table is defined as $1/$2 means the lower limit is $1 and higher limit is $2. Blinds are defined as a portion of the limits. The small blind consists of half the lower limit and the big blind will be half of the higher limit. For instance in a $1/$2 table, the small blind will be $0.5 and the big blind is $1.

The minimum bets are also defined by the table limits. Depending on the betting round the higher or lower limit will be used. For the opening and flop, the minimum bet is defined by the lower limit. On the turn and the river, the minimum bet is defined by the higher limit. In a $50/$100 table, the blinds will be $25 (small blind) and $50 (big blind); the minimum bets for the opening and the flop are $50 and for the turn and river $100.

Betting Limits

The betting limits define the maximum bets that can be done at a table, and hence the strategy on how you should play. There are normally 3 different betting limits:

Fixed Limit: This betting limit is defined by the table limits. Since it fixed there is a cap on both, you can bet a maximum up to the table limits. For the opening and flop the minimum and maximum bet is done following the lower limits. In the turn and river, the minimum and maximum bets are defined by the higher limits.

Pot Limit: With this betting limit, the bets can go up to the amount in the pot. A player can raise up to what the combination of the previous bets are.

No limit: As its name states, this limit has no maximum, a player can bet as much as his available money in the table can hold. When someone risks all his chips, its known as “all-in”.