In Hold'em, each player is dealt two private cards (known as ‘hole cards’) that belong to them alone. Five community cards are dealt face-up, to form the ‘board’. All players in the game use these shared community cards in conjunction with their own hole cards to each make their best possible five-card poker hand. In Hold'em, a player may use any combination of the seven cards available to make the best possible five-card poker hand, using zero, one or two of their private hole cards.
The Blinds and the Button:
At the start of every Texas Hold'em poker hand there are two things that are a constant: The button and the blinds.
The button is a disc placed in front of a player, and signifies who is the dealer for that hand.
The blinds are forced bets (so called because the players have to post them 'blind' before they see any cards) placed by the two players to the immediate left of the button. The first player posts the small blind and the second player posts the big blind. The small blind is generally half the number of chips of the big blind. After each hand the button progresses one place to the left, and so do both the blinds.
Once a player has received their pocket cards (hole cards), they are faced with their first decision: to play or not to play. A player must decide if they are in or out of the hand, and do this by matching the bet that stands when the action reaches them (or indeed raising that amount if the feeling so takes them). Betting will go in sequence starting from the first player to the left of the dealer, and continue round the table sequentially in a clockwise fashion until all bets have been matched.
The possible actions available to any player are: Fold, Call or Raise.
As the action moves around the table pre-flop, players wishing to remain in the hand will have to at least call (match) the big blind bet, OR if a previous player has raised (increased the bet) then that bet will have to be at least called to remain in the hand. A player always has the option to fold any time the action is on them (it is their turn).
If there has been no raise when the action (betting round) returns to the big blind player, that player will still have the option to raise if they so desire. Any money put into the pot by a player before any cards are dealt counts as part of their overall bet. So if the blinds are $1 (sb) and $2 (bb) and there is no raise before the action gets to the small blind, then he or she will only have to put an extra $1 into the pot to match the $2 as they already have $1 invested prior to the dealing of the cards.
Once all bets are matched the flop is dealt.
The flop consists of three cards being dealt face up in the middle of the table. These are community cards, meaning that they are shared by all the players and may form part of anyone's hand.
A round of betting will now follow, starting from the player to the immediate left of the button and continuing clockwise around the table.
Once again any player will have the option to Fold, Check, Call or Raise.
A check is a situation where there is currently no bet that stands which a player would have to match, so a player may decide to continue that by checking (essentially calling a bet of zero). Betting will continue as detailed above until all bets are matched.
Once this happens the next card is dealt
The turn card (or fourth street) is dealt face up in the middle of the table and becomes another community card. A round of betting then ensues in the same fashion as detailed above. The players who remain after this round of betting will then see the final card.
The final card is the river (or fifth street); this is dealt face up in the middle of the table and is also a community card. Players now have all the cards they can. The idea is to make the best five-card poker hand from the seven available (the two pocket or hole cards and the five community cards).
The final round of betting now follows in the same fashion as previous rounds. Those players that still remain after the completion of the betting then go to the showdown.
Once all betting has been completed the players who remain show their cards.
If there was betting on the last round then the player who made the last positive action (last player to make a bet - not to call one) will show first, if the last round of betting involved all players 'checking' then it will be the player to the immediate left of the button who will show first then clockwise from there.
In Texas Hold'em Poker a player may use any combination of their two hole cards and the five cards on the board (the community cards). A player may even simply 'play the board' and only use the community cards to form their hand (this differs from other forms of poker).
The player with the best five-card hand wins the pot. In the event of player's poker hands being the same, the poker pot will be equally divided between the players.
The rules of Texas Hold'em give no differentiation between suits so split pots can be common.
The button now moves clockwise to the next player and a new hand begins.
Poker Hand Ranks:
The ultimate hand, the Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and Ten of any one suit. (649,739 to 1)
A straight in one suit, i.e. five cards of the same suit in ascending order. (64,973 to 1 including royal flush)
Four of a Kind:
Four cards of the same value. (4,164 to 1)
Three of a kind and a pair. The three of a kind, determines the strength of the hand. (693 to 1)
Five cards of the same suit. (508 to 1)
Five cards of assorted suits in ascending order. (254 to 1)
Three of a kind:
Three cards having the same face value. (46 to 1)
Two sets of pairs. (20 to 1)
One pair of cards. (2.36 to 1)