How to Play Texas Hold Em

Learn how to play Texas Hold Em and you'll be joining hundreds of thousands poker enthusiasts in the most popular poker game world. Texas Hold Em has a few variations, but here's how to play the basic game:

Unlike Five-Card Draw (traditional poker), Texas Hold Em is a more community-oriented game. At the beginning of the game, cards are dealt face up in front of the dealer. All players share these cards and can choose to use them alongside their own cards to form hands.

The "dealer button" is a small disc used in Texas Hold Em to determine the dealer of each hand. The button moves clockwise after each hand to ensure that every player has the same chances to post blind bets. 

Blind Bets

A blind bet is used in Texas Hold Em because the game does not require an ante (a required initial bet). Because of this, players could potentially fold without placing any bet. The blind bet makes every player sacrifice chips in order to play, therefore encouraging them to bet later, in order to earn their bet back.

The person to the left of the current dealer contributes a "small blind" to the pot. The "big blind" is the minimum bet and the small blind is half of that.

Playing the Game

Each player is dealt two cards, beginning the first round of betting. Starting with the player to the left of the dealer, each player has an option to see, raise, check or fold on previous bets. 

After the betting round, three community cards are dealt face up. This is known as "the flop." After this, there is a second betting round and then a fourth community card is revealed. This fourth card is called "the turn." A third betting round follows the turn, before the fifth community card (called "the river") and the final betting round.


After the last betting takes place, there is a round called "the showdown." At this point, each player plays the best hand of five cards using their two cards and any three of the five community cards. The player with the best hand wins. 


Texas Hold Em Hands

The hands of Texas Hold Em are the same as regular poker hands:

  • Royal Flush: Ace, King, Q, J and 10 of the same suit
  • Straight flush: five cards of the same suit in sequential order
  • Four of a Kind: four cards of the same value
  • Full house: three cards of one value and two of another same value
  • Flush: five cards of the same suit
  • Straight: five cards of varied suits in sequential order
  • Three of a kind: having three cards of the same value
  • Two pair: having two pairs of two cards of the same value
  • One pair: two cards of the same value

Even the best poker players know when to fold. As with all kinds of poker, remember to keep your poker face on and be realistic about how much money you bet. 

Once you've mastered this version of Texas Hold Em, challenge yourself by learning how to play some of the more difficult versions!

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