Texas Hold 'Em & No Limit Hold 'Em - How to Play
In Texas Hold 'Em, a small flat disk, called a “button” is used to indicate the dealer position. Prior to the cards being dealt, the first player to the left of the dealer position posts a small blind, and the second player to the dealer’s left puts up a big blind, which usually is equal to the first round bet. Blinds are “live” bets, which signifies two things. First, a blind is a “real” bet, and to enter the pot, a player in a blind position needs only to make up the difference, if any, between his blind and the current bet. Second, players in the blinds have the option of raising when the action gets back to them, even if there has been no prior raise. When each hand is completed, the dealer button is moved one position to the left, and the procedure of posting blinds is repeated, so everyone pays his fair share. To start the hand, each player, beginning with the small blind, receives two cards dealt face down one at a time. Action is initiated on the first betting round by the player to the immediate left of the big blind, who has the options of discarding his hand, calling the big blind, or raising an equivalent amount. The action moves clockwise in this manner until all players have exercised their options and all bets have been called. On all subsequent betting rounds, the first active player to the left of the dealer button starts the action.
After the first round of betting is completed, three cards - referred to as “the flop” - are turned face up simultaneously in the center of the table, and another round of betting occurs. The next two board cards - specified as either fourth street and fifth street or the turn card and the river card are then dealt face up one at a time in the center of the table, with a betting round after each card. As noted previously, these board cards are community cards and are shared by all active players in the hand.
At the showdown, the player who makes the best five card poker hand, using any combination of the five cards on the board and the two cards in his hand, wins the pot. In Texas Hold 'Em, more than one player often will have the best hand. When this happens, the pot is split.
Fixed-limit hold-em games have a two tiered betting structure, with the lower limit used in the first two betting rounds and the higher limit (which is usually double the lower limit) used in the final two rounds of betting. As an example, suppose you are playing in a $3-$6 hold 'em game. The first player to the left of the dealer position will put in a $1 small blind, and the second player to the dealer’s left will post a $3 big blind. On the first round of betting, the player to the immediate left of the big blind will have the options of discarding his hand, calling the $3 big blind, or raising $3, for a total bet of $6. Subsequent bets and raises both before the flop and on the flop will be in $3 increments. All bets and raises on the turn and the river must be in $6 increments.
Ranking of Hands
Royal Flush: Ten, Jack, Queen, King, Ace of the same suit – an ace - high straight flush is referred to as a “royal flush” and is the best possible hand in high poker.
Straight Flush: Five cards of the same suit in sequence.
Four of a kind: Four cards of the same rank, plus an unrelated fifth card that has no bearing on the hand’s value. The higher rank of the four of a kind, the better the hand is.
Full House: Three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank. The rank of a full house is determined by the three of a kind, not by the pair.
Flush: Any five cards of the same suit. The cards are not in sequence, and the suit has no bearing on the rank of the flush. If more than one player holds a flush, the highest flush is determined by the rank of the individual cards, starting with the highest card.
Straight: Five cards in sequence, not all of the same suit.
Three of a kind: Three cards of the same rank, plus two unrelated cards.
Two pair: Two cards of one rank, two cards of another rank, and one unrelated card. If two players each have two pair and their high pair is of the same rank, the winning hand is determined by the rank of the lower pair. If both lower pair are also of the same rank, then the winning hand is determined by the rank of the unrelated card.
One Pair: Two cards of one rank, plus three unrelated cards. If two players hold the same rank of one pair, the rank of their side cards determines the best hand.
High Card: The hand with the highest card wins.