Texas Hold’em has quickly become the standard poker game played.
Online poker practice tables offer the perfect way for new players to play and learn, and there are always experienced poker games support staff observing the tables ready to help with any questions about the game you may have. Most sites offer chat support and all you need to do is click live chat on the poker site at the table, and a member of the poker support staff will be called to assist you.
Texas Hold’em rules
The object of Hold’em is to create the best five-card hand using seven cards. A list of poker hand rankings can be found on the IPNPoker site. IPNPoker also has an interactive poker tutorial which is great for learning the poker games.
Once the game starts a dealer is assigned. At the end of each hand the dealer changes to the next player to the current dealers left. Knowing who is the dealer is important, as it indicates who posts the compulsory bets (known as blinds) before each hand, it also indicates who is first to act in each betting round.
In Texas Hold’em there are two compulsory bets that are made before the start of each hand. These are known as the small blind and the big blind. These are important as it means that there are chips to be won in every hand. The player to the immediate left of the dealer pays the small blind and the player to the left of the small blind posts the big blind.
In limit games the small blind is equal to half the size of the small bet, and the big blind is equal to the small bet. So at a $1/$2 table the small blind is 0.50c and the big blind is $1.
In limit games the size of the bet that a player can make in the first and second betting rounds is equal to the amount of the small bet of the table (for example in a $3/$6 limit game, the bet players can make in rounds 1 and 2 is $3). In the third and forth betting rounds, players can bet the value of the big bet (for example in a $3/$6 limit game, players can bet $6 in the third and forth rounds).
There is a maximum of one bet and three raises allowed in each betting round. (For example, in the first betting round of a $1/$2 limit table, a player will pay a maximum of $4 – a bet of $1 and three raises of $1). The exception to this rule is if there are only two players left in the pot, in which case there is no limit to the number of raises that can be made.
Hole cards and the first betting round
Once the blinds have been posted, two cards are dealt face down to each player at the table (known as “hole cards”). At this point the first betting round begins, players must make a decision on how to act based on the strength of their hole cards only.
The player to the left of the large blind is always the first to act in the first betting round. This player has the option of folding, calling, or raising the amount of the large blind. The play continues clockwise around the table until all players who started in the hand have called, checked or folded, and the amount put in the pot by each player still in the hand is equal.
The Flop and the second betting round
After the first betting round has finished, the dealer places 3 cards face up in the middle of the table – this is known as the flop. These 3 cards are shared by all the players towards make their final hands. Players now have 5 cards out of the 7 available and have a good idea how their hand is developing. At this point the second betting round begins.
In this and all subsequent betting rounds, the action starts with the first player still in the hand to the left of the dealer. This player can either check or bet (he can not raise as no bet has been made in the round, and he shouldn’t fold because it costs him nothing at that point to stay in the hand). As in the previous betting round, the play continues clockwise around the table until all players have called, checked or folded and the amount placed in the pot by each player still in the hand is equal.
The Turn and the third betting round
After the second betting round, the dealer places a fourth card face up on the table – this is called the turn card. Like the flop, this is a community card that may be used by all the players to make up part of their hand.
The players should now know the majority of their hand, as there is only one more card to come. The betting round here is the same as the third betting round, with the player to the left of the dealer acting first.
In limit games the size of the bet that a player can make in the third betting round and final betting round is equal the size of the big bet (for example in a $3/$6 limit game, the bet players can make in this round is $6).
The River and the final betting round
After the third betting round, the dealer places a final card face up on the table – this is called the river card. There is a final betting round, which is the same as the third betting round.
After this, each player makes the best possible 5 card poker hand out of the 7 available cards. Each player can use any combination of the 2 cards in their hands and the five cards on the table. The player with the highest ranked hand wins the pot. If two or more players have the same value hand, then the pot is split between them.
And the poker game goes on…
Once the hand has finished, and the pot has been awarded, the dealer button moves to the next player on his left. The cards are shuffled, the blinds are posted by the next two players, and the cards are dealt. The game continues as long as there are at least two players at the table.