Texas Hold'em is arguably the most popular form of poker. It is widely considered to have the most strategy of all poker games, yet the rules are quite simple. Here is how a hand of Texas Hold'em is played: Hole Cards. Each player is dealt two cards face down. Three cards are dealt face up on the table. Texas hold'em rules are quite simple; however the strategies involved in winning are ever evolving. The rules of Texas Hold'em are just the beginning so head to our Other notes: The dealer will often take one card off the top of the deck before turning over the flop, turn and river for a total of three cards. Texas hold'em is a simple poker game, but it can be daunting to get to grips with. These hand rankings aren't specifically part of Texas hold'em rules, but apply to many different poker games. Easy Texas Holdem Rules must deposit a Easy Texas Holdem Rules minimum of £10 in one instance, for each bonus. New Player Welcome Bonuses will only be offered on your first four (4) deposits, unless otherwise stated.
The PDF rules of poker are provided below for Texas Hold'em, the most popular poker variant.
To get the PDF printable version of this post click on of the unlock buttons below:
Other popular game variants include Pot Limit Omaha and 5card draw.
Table Of Contents
- Texas Hold'em Rules
- Poker hand Ranking System
Texas Hold'em Rules
In Texas hold’em each player is dealt two cards called their ‘hole’ cards. Hole cards can only be seen and used by one person. The dealer button (denoted by a circular disc) is allocated before hands are dealt to allow for the positioning of the forced bets: small blind and big blind, and also to determine who will act first and last in the hand.
There are a total of four betting rounds: preflop, the flop, the turn and the river. The betting rounds will be detailed further on.
If you have a dedicated dealer (such as at a casino), the button will still move around the table so everybody will eventually have to pay the blinds. The button doesn't show who is dealing in a casino; the button shows who is seated the best position at the table and where the blinds are located.
If you just sat down (out of turn) you will have to pay the blinds in order get dealt a hand; otherwise, you can wait until the blinds come around to your seat. You should wait for the blinds as paying twice is unprofitable.
The size of the blinds depends on the limit; for example, a 1/2 No Limit Hold'em game would have a big blind of $2 and a small blind of 1$. The small blind and big blind are located to the left of the button.
This is shown in the case of a 6 handed game below:
The blinds are an important part of the rules of poker. These forced bets which give players an incentive to play; in other words ‘spice up' the game. Without the blinds, there would be no penalty for waiting and only playing strong hands. The only hand worth playing would be two aces!
Antes are another form of forced bets which are often used the increase the action in some game types such as tournaments and deep stacked cash games.
Pre-flop – The First Betting Round of Hold'em
The first round of betting takes places starting at the position to the left of the big blind (early position or EP). Each player has the following options:
Raise: you can raise the current bet to increase the stakes of the game. If someone has raised before you, you can still raise again – this is call a reraise. The minimum size you can raise is typically chosen to be twice that of the last bet or raise.
Call: When you do not want to raise the stakes but want to continue with your hand you can match the current bet.
Fold: If you feel your hand is not worth playing any further you can fold your hand and not commit any more bets.
Check: If there is no bet placed you can check in order to see the next card. This isn't applicable to preflop. The blinds are the first bet preflop which must be matched with a call or raised, if a player wishes to continue.
Players must act in sequence until all bets are settled. The button must always act last in the first sequence. This first round of betting called ‘pre-flop’ occurs before the flop is dealt.
The Flop – The Second Betting Round
The second round of betting takes places after the three community (shared) cards called the flop are dealt. The action will be to the first player to the left of the dealer. This is opposed to the action starting to the left of the big blind during the preflop betting round.
The first player to act has the option to check bet or fold; although you should not fold when you can check for free. The betting rounds after the flop is dealt is collectively known as ‘post-flop’.
The Turn – The Third Betting Round
The third round of betting occurs after the second community card has been dealt. This card is called the turn. Again, the action starts with the active player to the left of the dealer.
The River and Showdown – The Fourth Betting Round
The fourth and final round of betting occurs when the dealer turns over the river card. The hand ends with the showdown of hands or if there is only one live hand remaining (the other player(s) have folded).
At showdown, the player with the best five card combination from their hole cards and the community cards wins the final pot. Split pots occur when both players have the same best five cards.
After each hand, the button moves to the left of the dealer. This means everyone will have to play the blinds at some point.
Texas hold'em rules are quite simple; however the strategies involved in winning are ever evolving.
The rules of Texas Hold'em are just the beginning so head to our home page if you want to improve your poker game!Other notes:
home page if you want to improve your poker game!
Poker hand Ranking System
home page if you want to improve your poker game!
To get a printable winning poker hands ranking chart in PDF format click here.
Keep this printable PDF hand ranking sheet beside you when you play to make sure you don't make a mistake!
The strongest to weakest hands of them poker hand hierarchy are listed below with the poker hands probability listed in brackets. After reading there will be no debating with friends ‘who has the best poker hand'!
- Royal Flush (649,739:1)
Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Ten all of the same suit – the strongest poker hand.
- Straight flush (72,192:1)
Five sequential cards all of the same suit. The second strongest poker hand.
- Four of a kind (4,164:1)
Four cards of the same value. Also known as ‘quads’.
- Full House (693:1)
Three cards of the same value plus two cards of the same value. Usually a winner!
- Flush (508:1)
Five cards all of the same suit.
- Straight (254:1)
Five cards in sequential order. Also referred to as a run.
- Three of a kind (46:1)
Three cards of the same value.
- Two pair (20 : 1)
Two sets of two cards with the same value. A common hand which can sometimes win at showdown!
- One pair (1.37:1)
Two cards of the same value.
- High card
The player with the highest card wins. Unlikely to be a winner so play with care.
A kicker is much like a decider when both players have similar hand types. For example, if player A has A♠Q♣and Player B has A♣J♠ and the board is A♥K♦5♠ 7♠ 2♦ both players will have top pair with an ace but player A will win because the Q♣ is a better kicker than the J♠. The best five cards in this scenario are AAQ75 whereas the losing hand has AAJ75. A kicker is a very important concept when trying to understand the poker hand ranking system.
Lucky dino free spins fun. Split pots occur when both players get to showdown and have the same hand rank. The pot is divided up equally between each of the players.
To take an example, if player A has K♠J♥ and player B has K♣Q♠ on a A♥K♦5♠5♣2♠ board both players will have two pair and ace kicker as their best hand (A, K, K, 5, 5). Therefore the pot will be split between the two players.
Alternatively, if the neither player can improve the hand on the board it will also be a split pot. If the board is A♥K♦5♠5♣K♠ and player A has Q♠J♣ and player B has 4♣4♠ then both players will be playing the board and thus it will be a split pot. Hence, you cannot have three pair in poker and the best two pair will play.
Beyond hand rankings
The rules of poker and poker hand rankings are just the beginning for you on your poker journey. One of the core skills in poker is being able to determine whether your hand is strong or weak on a relative scale as opposed to an absolute scale. For example, three of a kind is extremely strong on a board with no flush or straight possibilities but very weak on a board with 4 to a flush or 4 to a straight (e.g. T♥9♥8♥7♥ – any heart or J or 6 beats three of a kind).
One key point to note is that in poker all suits are of the same value. An Ace high flush of hearts is the same value as an Ace high flush of spades.
The first step to this is remembering if a flush beats a straight, or whether a straight flush beats quads; the next stage is figuring out your hand's relative strength based on how your opponent is playing, his tendencies and most importantly the board texture as noted.
Additionally, we should take into account the following factors:
- How many players are in the pot
- The amount of chips in the pot
- The size of the bets made
If you can understand the poker hand rankings and relative hand strength you will be ahead of the game; get ready to beat all your friends and opponents at your home games and casinos! Want to accelerate your poker learning? Check out or poker training sites post for the quickest ways to improve your poker game.
If you are new to poker and are unsure of what hands you need to play, check out our starting hand charts over at the poker cheat sheet webpage.
Check out this poker hand ranking video for a more visual format of everything we said:
Make sure you check out the fan favorite posts:
Poker cheat sheet for beginners & Best Poker Books
Table Of Contents
If you want to learn how to play Texas hold'em games, then you need to start from the basic rules and hands. That's exactly what you'll find on this beginner's guide to the game.
Texas hold'em is a simple poker game, but it can be daunting to get to grips with.
But don't let that put you off. By the time you are down with this beginner's guide to Texas hold'em, you will know:
1. What Is Texas Hold'em Poker?
Texas Hold'em is the most popular of all poker variations.
All of the marquee tournaments around the world (including those played at the World Series of Poker, the World Poker Tour, the and the European Poker Tour) feature the no-limit variation of this game.
Texas hold'em is so popular that is the only poker game many players will ever learn.
It takes a moment to learn, but a lifetime to master.
Discovering how to play Texas hold'em poker is not difficult and the simplicity of its rules, gameplay, and hand-ranking all contribute to the popularity of the game.
However, don't let the simplicity of the game mislead you.
The number of possible situations and combinations is so vast that Texas hold'em can be an extremely complex game when you play at the highest levels.
If you are approaching the game of Texas hold'em for the first time, starting from the basic rules of the game is key. Not only these are the easiest ones to learn, but they are also essential to understand the gameplay and, later on, the game's basic strategy.Want to Practice Poker Online?
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2. Texas Hold'em Rules
So how do you play Texas hold'em?
The goal of a Texas hold'em game is to use your hole card and in combination with the community cards to make the best possible five-card poker hand.
Hold'em is not unlike other poker games like five-card draw.
However, the way players construct their hands in Texas hold'em is a little different than in draw poker.
It's always possible a player can 'bluff' and get others to fold better hands.
- In a game of Texas hold'em, each player is dealt two cards face down (the 'hole cards')
- Throughout several betting rounds, five more cards are (eventually) dealt face up in the middle of the table
- These face-up cards are called the 'community cards.' Each player is free to use the community cards in combination with their hole cards to build a five-card poker hand.
While we will see each betting round and different phase that forms a full hand of a Texas hold'em game, you should know that the five community cards are dealt in three stages:
- The Flop: the first three community cards.
- The Turn: the fourth community card.
- The River:The fifth and final community card.
Your mission is to construct your five-card poker hands using the best available five cards out of the seven total cards (the two hole cards and the five community cards).
You can do that by using both your hole cards in combination with three community cards, one hole card in combination with four community cards, or no hole cards.
If the cards on the table lead to a better combination, you can also play all five community cards and forget about yours.
In a game of Texas hold'em you can do whatever works to make the best five-card hand.
If the betting causes all but one player to fold, the lone remaining player wins the pot without having to show any cards.
For that reason, players don't always have to hold the best hand to win the pot. It's always possible a player can 'bluff' and get others to fold better hands.
READ ALSO: Common Poker Tells: How to Read People in Poker
If two or more players make it all of the way to the showdown after the last community card is dealt and all betting is complete, the only way to win the pot is to have the highest-ranking five-card poker hand.
Now that you know the basics of Texas hold'em and you start to begin gaining an understanding of how the game works, it's time to get into some specifics.
These include how to deal Texas hold'em and how the betting works.
Basic Rules Key Takeaways:
- A game of Texas hold'em feature several betting rounds
- Players get two private and up to five community cards
- Unless all players abandon the game before the showdown, you need the highest poker hand to win
How to Play
Let's have a look at all the different key aspects of a Texas hold'em game, including the different positions at the table and the betting rounds featured in the game.
The play moves clockwise around the table, starting with action to the left of the dealer button.
The 'button' is a round disc that sits in front of a player and is rotated one seat to the left every hand.
When playing in casinos and poker rooms, the player with the dealer button doesn't deal the cards (the poker room hires someone to do that).
In when you play poker home games with friends the player with the button usually deals the hands.
The button determines which player at the table is the acting dealer.
The first two players sitting to the immediate left of the button are required to post a 'small blind' and a 'big blind' to initiate the betting.
From there, the action occurs on multiple streets:
Each one of these moments (or 'streets' in the game's lingo) is explained further below.
The button determines which player at the table is the acting dealer.
In Texas hold'em, the player on button, or last active player closest to the button receives the last action on all post-flop streets of play.
While the dealer button dictates which players have to post the small and big blinds, it also determines where the dealing of the cards begin.
The player to the immediate left of the dealer button in the small blind receives the first card and then the dealer pitches cards around the table in a clockwise motion from player to player until each has received two starting cards.
READ ALSO: Poker Positions Explained: the Importance of Position in Poker
Before every new hand begins, two players at the table are obligated to post small and big blinds.
The blinds are forced bets that begin the wagering.
Without these blinds, the game would be very boring because no one would be required to put any money into the pot and players could just wait around until they are dealt pocket aces (AA) and only play then.
The blinds ensure there will be some level of 'action' on every hand.
In tournaments, the blinds are raised at regular intervals. In cash games, the blinds always stay the same.
In tournaments, the blinds are raised at regular intervals.
- As the number of players keeps decreasing and the stacks of the remaining players keep getting bigger, it is a necessity that the blinds keep increasing throughout a tournament. [*]In cash games, the blinds always stay the same.
The player directly to the left of the button posts the small blind, and the player to his or her direct left posts the big blind.
The small blind is generally half the amount of the big blind, although this stipulation varies from room to room and can also be dependent on the game being played.
In a '$1/$2' Texas holdem game, the small blind is $1 and the big blind is $2.
First Betting Round: Preflop
The first round of betting takes place right after each player has been dealt two hole cards.
The first player to act is the player to the left of the big blind.
This position referred to as 'under the gun' because the player has to act first. The first player has three options:
- Call: match the amount of the big blind
- Raise: increase the bet within the specific limits of the game
- Fold: throw the hand away
If the player chooses to fold, he or she is out of the game and no longer eligible to win the current hand.
Texas Holdem Rules Simple Present
Players can bet anywhere from the amount of the big blind (the minimum bet allowed) up to the total amount in the current pot.
The amount a player can raise to depends on the game that is being played.
In a game of no-limit Texas hold'em, the minimum opening raise must be at least twice the big blind, and the maximum raise can be all of the chips a player has in his or her stack (an 'all-in' bet).
There are other betting variations in hold'em poker.
In fixed-limit hold'em (or just 'limit hold'em), a raise is always exactly twice the big blind.
In pot-limit hold'em (played much less often than the other variations), players can bet anywhere from the amount of the big blind (the minimum bet allowed) up to the total amount in the current pot.
After the first player ('under the gun') acts, the play proceeds in a clockwise fashion around the table with each player also having the same three options — to call, to raise, or fold.
Once the last bet is called and the action is 'closed,' the preflop round is over and play moves on to the 'flop.'
Second Betting Round: The Flop
After the first preflop betting round has been completed, the first three community cards are dealt and a second betting round follows involving only the players who have not folded already.
A check simply means to pass the action to the next player in the hand.
Texas Holdem Rules Simple
In this betting round (and subsequent ones), the action starts with the first active player to the left of the button.
Along with the options to bet, call, fold, or raise, a player now has the option to 'check' if no betting action has occurred beforehand.
A check simply means to pass the action to the next player in the hand.
Again betting continues until the last bet or raise has been called (which closes the action).
It also can happen that every player simply chooses not to be and checks around the table, which also ends the betting round.
Third Betting Round: The Turn
Call – match the amount of the big blind
The fourth community card, called the turn, is dealt face-up following all betting action on the flop.
Once this has been completed, another round of betting occurs, similar to that on the previous street of play.
Again players have the option to options to check, bet, call, fold, or raise.
Final Betting Round: The River
Fold – throw the hand away
The fifth community card, called the river, is dealt face-up following all betting action on the turn.
Once this has been completed, another round of betting occurs, similar to what took play on the previous street of play.
Once more the remaining players have the option to options to check, bet, call, fold, or raise.
After all betting action has been completed, the remaining players in the hand with hole cards now expose their holdings to determine a winner. This is called the showdown.
Players construct their hands by choosing the five best cards from the seven available
The remaining players show their hole cards, and with the assistance of the dealer, a winning hand is determined.
The player with the best combination of five cards wins the pot according to the official poker hand rankings.
3. The Hands in Texas Hold'em
These hand rankings aren't specifically part of Texas hold'em rules, but apply to many different poker games.
- Royal Flush — five cards of the same suit, ranked ace through ten; e.g., A♥K♥Q♥J♥10♥
- Straight Flush — five cards of the same suit and consecutively ranked; e.g., 9♣8♣7♣6♣5♣
- Four of a Kind — four cards of the same rank; e.g., Q♣Q♥Q♦Q♠4♦
- Full House — three cards of the same rank and two more cards of the same rank; e.g., J♣J♥J♠8♦8♥
- Flush — any five cards of the same suit; e.g., A♠J♠8♠5♠2♠
- Straight — any five cards consecutively ranked; e.g., Q♣J♦10♥9♠8♦
- Three of a Kind — three cards of the same rank; e.g., 8♣8♠8♦K♣4♥
- Two Pair — two cards of the same rank and two more cards of the same rank; e.g., A♠A♣J♦J♣7♠
- One Pair — two cards of the same rank; e.g., 10♥10♣9♥4♦2♦
- High Card — five unmatched cards; e.g., A♣J♦10♠5♣2♥ would be called 'ace-high'
Players construct their hands by choosing the five best cards from the seven available (their two hole cards and the five community cards).
If the board is showing 9♣5♠K♦3♠A♥, a player with the two hole cards 9♠ would have two pair (aces and nines) and would lose to a player who has 9♦9♥ for three of a kind (three nines).
Learning hold'em poker begins with understanding how hands are dealt and the order of play as described above.
Of course, learning Texas hold'em rules is just the beginning, as the next step is to learn strategy which involves understanding what constitutes good starting hand selection, the odds and probabilities associated with the game, the significance of position and getting to act last during those post-flop betting rounds, and many other aspects of the game.
4. How to Play Texas Hold'em Games Online
Now that you know how Texas Hold'em works, it's time to put the theory into practice and play your first games.
The best way to start playing Texas Hold'em is to start from these free poker games available online and then move up to the real money action only when you feel comfortable enough to do so.
All the 'must-have poker rooms' below offer free games to practice online.
If you are completely new to the game, you should go for play money options, first. These risk-free games with fake money are an excellent way to familiarise with the different moments of play and the betting rounds.
The play money games are a great way to learn more about the hand rankings and begin to read the board fast enough to take all the right decisions at the right time.
After that, you should more to the poker freerolls. These are free poker tournaments with actual prizes on tap that range from free money to free entries into more expensive real money games.
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Texas Holdem Rules For Dummies
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