Texas Hold Em

written by: John

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Known as the "Cadillac of Poker," Texas Hold'em is what many people refer to as the poker game that takes minutes to learn and a lifetime to master. In fact, it is so easy to learn that millions have picked up the game since the "Moneymaker boom" with many players going on to become pro and compete in some of the biggest events in Nevada.

Now, we cannot guarantee that you will make lots of money playing poker after reading this article. However, we can guarantee that you will have a solid understanding of how to play Texas Hold'em so that the next time you sit down at a table, you will look and feel like a poker pro.

Texas Hold'em Rules

* Before the cards are dealt, forced bets are made by the first two players to the left of the dealer button. These players are known as the 'blinds.' The player to the direct left of the button is the 'small blind' and the small blind puts out a forced bet at the beginning of each hand that is equivalent to half the big blind. The 'big blind' is the player that is to the immediate left of the small blind and at the beginning of each hand the big blind must post the larger of the two blinds.

For example, in a $1/$2 Texas Hold'em game, the small blind would have to post $1 at the start of each game and the big blind would be required to post $2.

* After the blinds have been posted, the dealer now then deals the cards one at a time to each player starting with the small blind and dealing clockwise until each player has two cards faced down.

* Now, the first betting round begins with the player to the immediate left of the big blind who is also commonly referred to as the player 'under the gun' or UTG for short. Each player can fold, call or raise with the amounts depending on the variation of Texas Hold'em that is being played. Any time a raise is made, this is the new minimum bet to call or minimum to use when re-raising if applicable.

If playing No Limit Hold'em, a player must meet the minimum bet if calling or if raising, the minimum bet also must be used. But at any time, a player can declare 'All-In' and move their whole stack into the pot.

Fixed Limit Hold'em allows players to bet a certain amount on each street. For example, in a $1/$2 fixed limit game, players can bet up to $1 when dealt their cards and on the flop and $2 on 4th and 5th street. Raising is generally capped at a maximum of 3 per betting round.

When playing Pot Limit Hold'em, players can raise up to the size of the pot up to a maximum of 3 times per betting round.

The betting round continues like this until it reaches the small blind, who will only need to match the second half of his or her bet (unless it has been raised in front) to continue with the hand. If the bet has not been raised in front, the big blind can 'check his option' which means that he or she does not care to raise but has already invested the minimum bet and would like to see the flop.

* After the first betting round, the dealer now deals the 'flop' which is the first 3 of the 5 total community cards that players can use to make their 5 card poker hand.

* Now, the second betting round will begin, this time starting with the small blind or the closest active player to the left of the dealer button.

Players will have similar options as they did in the first betting round, except now players can 'check' their hand instead of folding, calling or raising. Checking just simply means that you would like to pass on making a bet of any kind. It is possible for all players to check and completely skip a betting round.

However, if a player wishes to make a bet, the minimum bet must be equivalent or higher than the big blind. Then each player who wishes to stay in the hand must at least call the raise but if players wish to raise themselves, the previous raise is the new minimum.

Once betting has reached the dealer button or the last active player closest to the right of the dealer button, then the betting round has been completed.

* After the second betting round, the dealer will now deal the 4th community card which is also known as 'the turn' or '4th street.'

* The 3rd betting round will begin after the turn with betting round starting once again with the small blind or the closest active player to the left of the dealer button. This betting round is the same as the second betting round with players having the option to check, raise, call or fold their hands.

* The last community card known as '5th street' or 'the river' is now dealt after the 3rd betting round. Players can use any 5 out of 7 available cards (2 in their hand, 5 on the board) to make the best 5 card poker hand possible.

* After the river, the 4th and final betting round will now begin. This betting round is the same as the second and third betting round with players having the option to check, raise, call or fold their hands.

Once this betting round has been completed, the remaining players will now flip their cards over and the player with the best hand will take down the pot.

* The dealer button now moves one seat to the left and the action now begins from the top.

Important Notes

* It is possible to not have to go to showdown. If at anytime a player forces all other opponents to fold, they will win the pot at that time without having to show their cards. This is possible on any betting round whether it is pre-flop, post-flop, on 4th or 5th street.

Playing Texas Hold'em

As you can see, learning how to play Texas Hold'em only takes a few minutes to learn. But once you do, you will realize that was just the beginning and will quickly understand why it has been said that it takes a lifetime to master, as there are countless poker strategies and tips to learn.