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(or Holdem for short) is a game of soaring popularity. It is the most popular poker game on the planet, and for good reason. It is a
fun, fast paced game that is easy to learn but difficult to play well. If you are new to poker, it is a great first game to learn, and
you can have the basics down in just a few minutes. If you are not familiar with a standard fifty-two card deck, or with how poker hands
are ranked, you should first read the Poker Hands article (linked on the left) before learning how to play Texas Holdem poker.
There are three main types of poker games: flop games, stud games, and draw games. Texas Holdem is a flop game. This means that
it is a game with “hole cards” and “community cards.” Hole cards are private cards, which are delivered face down to each
player at the start of the hand. Community cards are delivered face up, in the center of the table, for all players to
use. Each player combines their hole cards with the community cards to make their best five card poker hand.
Another characteristic of flop games is that the order of action, or betting, is always clockwise. There is a nominal dealer
button, simply called “the button,” which indicates the advantageous position of acting last after the flop. Each player receives
the button for one hand, after which it is moved to the player on the left. This insures that every player gets equal time at
each position in the betting order.
Before the start of each hand, the two players to the left of the button post (put up) mandatory blind bets, called “blinds.” These
blinds serve as seed money for the pot, in place of antes. The player immediately to the left of the button is called the “small blind.”
The small blind is usually required to post a partial bet. The player immediately to the left of the small blind is called the “big blind.”
The big blind is usually required to post a
full bet. Occasionally, you will see a Hold’em game with three blinds, or antes in addition to blinds. Having a firm understanding of
how blinds work is key to learning how to play Texas Holdem poker.
Before the flop, the action starts immediately to the left of the big blind, a position called “under the gun.” This gives the big
blind last action before the flop. After the flop the action starts with the small blind. This gives the button last action after the flop.
Hold’em is a game which is traditionally spread nine handed or ten handed (nine or ten players participating), although a
greater or fewer number of players can be easily accommodated. At the beginning of the hand, exactly two hole cards are
delivered to each player. This triggers a betting round. After this betting round the top card on the deck is burned
(taken out of play) and the community cards begin to be delivered, starting with the “flop.” The flop consists of three cards,
delivered face up in the middle of the table, all at once. This triggers the second round of betting. After this second betting
round, another card is burned and the card beneath it, called the “turn,” is delivered. The turn is a community card, placed face
up next to the flop, in the middle of the table. This triggers the third round of betting. Next, a card is burned and the final
community card, called the “river” is delivered face up next to the turn card. This triggers the final round of betting, and the
hand is over. The button is then moved one place to the left, and the next hand begins.
The betting rules in Hold'em depend on the structure of the game you are playing. In No Limit Hold'em, a player can bet all the chips he
has in front of him, whereas the betting amounts are structured in Limit Hold'em. Less commonly, you will see Pot Limit Hold'em, where
the bets can be no more than the size of the pot, and Spread Limit Hold'em, where the bet sizes may be anywhere between two specified
Texas Hold'em is known as game that takes a few minutes to learn and a lifetime to master. Now that you know how to play Texas Hold'em
Poker-Vibe has many articles (linked on the left) that can help you grasp some basic strategies before you try playing Hold'em
on your own. Once you feel comfortable with your newfound knowledge, playing online for free is a good way to get your feet wet
before putting your skills to the test in a real money game.
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