Basic Guide to Playing Texas Poker: How to Play Poker

Texas Hold’em (or Hold’em) is the most popular type of poker in the world today. It is present in all traditional casinos as well as online. In fact, when people mention poker, they are usually referring to Texas Hold’em. This article will help you get acquainted with Texas Hold’em, learn how to play poker, and understand the rules of this type of poker.

How to Play Poker

How to Play Poker

Playing poker is very simple, and the rules are easy to understand. However, knowing how to play poker is one thing, but playing well is another matter. Mike Sexton once famously said:

“Poker takes five minutes to learn but a lifetime to master.”

Basic Concepts Overview of Poker

Basic Concepts Overview of Poker

Poker is the general name for a number of card games in which players bet on the strength of their cards. In a poker game, all player bets are collected into a pool called the pot. The pot is won by the player who holds the highest-ranking combination of cards when revealed or the player who has bet enough to force other players to fold.

Poker is usually played in three betting formats:

  • No Limit: There is no limit to the bets. You can bet all the money you have on the table.
  • Pot Limit: The maximum bet is based on the amount of money in the pot.
  • Limit (or Fixed Limit): Bets are limited to a pre-determined amount.

The Deck Used in Poker

When playing poker, we use a standard deck of 52 cards, divided into four suits: Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs, and Spades. This is the same deck used in games like Tiến Lên and Tá Lả in Vietnam. However, in poker, the suits are of equal value. Wins and losses are determined by 10 ranked hand combinations, which you will learn about in the next section.

Actions in a Poker Hand

Any action you take while playing poker falls into one of the following categories:

Fold:

  • Action: Fold your cards, stop playing that hand, and forfeit any previous bets.
  • Example: If you think your cards are too weak or if an opponent makes a large bet and you believe you have little chance of winning, you may choose to fold.
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Bet:

  • Action: You can bet if no one else has done so yet. Once you bet, other players must either call by matching your bet, raise by betting more, or fold.
  • Example: If you have a strong hand, you might bet to increase the pot.

Raise:

  • Action: If someone has already bet, you can raise, which means betting more than the previous bet. This puts pressure on your opponents, forcing them to either call your raise, raise further, or fold.
  • Example: If you believe you have the best hand, you might raise to increase the stakes and pressure other players.

Call:

  • Action: Match the previous bet to stay in the hand.
  • Example: If an opponent bets 10 chips, you can call by also betting 10 chips.

Check:

  • Action: If it’s your turn and no one has bet yet, you can check to pass the action to the next player without betting.
  • Example: If you have a decent hand but want to see what others do first, you might check.

How to Play Poker Hand

How to Play Poker Hand

Poker Rules

A poker hand consists of four betting rounds: Pre-Flop, Flop, Turn, and River. However, not every hand will go through all four rounds, as many hands end early if all but one player folds. Here’s how a typical hand progresses:

  • Pre-Flop: Each player receives two private cards (hole cards) that only they can see.
  • Flop: The dealer reveals three community cards face up in the middle of the table.
  • Turn: The dealer adds a fourth community card.
  • River: The dealer adds a fifth and final community card.

In each betting round, when it’s your turn, you can bet, raise, call, check, or fold depending on the situation. A betting round ends when all active players (those who have not folded) have bet the same amount or have gone all-in (bet all their remaining chips).

Players combine their two hole cards with the five community cards to form the best possible five-card hand. If the hand goes to a showdown (reveal), the player with the highest-ranking hand wins the pot.

The Progression of a Poker Hand (Texas Hold’em)

Round 1: Pre-Flop

At the start of each poker hand, the two players immediately to the left of the dealer (marked by a circular button in front of them) must place mandatory bets called the Small Blind (SB) and Big Blind (BB). The BB is twice the SB. For example, if playing at a $5/$10 table, the players in the SB and BB positions will place $5 and $10 respectively. At this point, no cards have been dealt. To ensure fairness, the dealer position rotates clockwise after each hand, so all players will take turns being the dealer.

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After the SB and BB are posted, each player is dealt two private cards (hole cards). The first betting round begins, starting with the player to the left of the BB. Proceeding clockwise, each player can bet, raise, or fold until all remaining players’ bets are equal.

Note: Only in this Pre-Flop round does the player to the left of the BB act first. From the second round onward, the player in the SB position will always act first.

Round 2: The Flop

At this stage, the first three community cards are revealed in the middle of the table. By combining their hole cards with the community cards, each player can assess the strength of their hand and make decisions accordingly. The second betting round begins with the player in the SB position. If this player has folded, the action moves to the next player to the left, and so on.

Round 3: The Turn

After the Flop betting round ends, the fourth community card, known as the Turn, is revealed in the middle of the table. Another betting round begins, with the first action belonging to the player in the SB position.

Round 4: The River

After the Turn betting round ends, the fifth and final community card, known as the River, is revealed in the middle of the table. This is the last chance for players to make a strong hand if they haven’t already done so in the previous rounds. At this point, the strength of your hand is determined. You will combine your two hole cards with the five community cards to form the best possible five-card hand. The final betting round takes place, similar to the Flop and Turn rounds.

Showdown

After the final betting round, if two or more players remain, they will reveal their hole cards. The player with the strongest hand combination wins and takes the entire pot. If players have equivalent hands, the pot is split equally among them.

Conclusion

So, you’ve learned how to play poker—it’s quite simple, isn’t it? You can now practice this poker game on various online poker platforms. However, it’s important to note that this article has only taught you how to play poker. To master the game, you need to practice and continue learning.

Good luck, and may you soon become a poker pro and earn a lot of money at Phlboss!

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