So thought I’d put out the “basics” on how to play Texas hold’em for those of you who are new to the game. I don’t go into too much detail– I just wanted to give beginners enough to get out there and play a few hands (and that’s really the best way to learn how to play texas hold’em, in my opinion).
In this tutorial on how to play Texas hold’em, I’m going to go over:
- The rules
- The flow and play of a typical poker hand
- Basic betting & options
For you newbs out there– this is awesome! I’m so stoked for you because once you get goin’ you are going to absolutely LOVE this game. And I must also thank you for choosing me to be the one to teach you! I’m super honored.
Let’s do it!
So here’s your typical poker table and seats. No big deal. First let’s go over the flow of the game and how a hand plays out…
Notice the big white chip there? That’s the button & it tells us who the dealer is in each hand. The dealer button will rotate clockwise to the next player after every hand. This keeps the playing field even because, since the dealer position has an advantage throughout the hand.
(The reason the dealer is the best position is because you get to act last– you get to see what everyone does before you and make your move accordingly).
The first two players to the left of the dealer are called the small blind & the big blind, respectively. Both of these players have to put up their blinds (which are obligatory bets), out before any cards are dealt. This starts builds the pot and gets the action started.
Alright… so next is when the real fun starts. The dealer deals out every player 2 cards face down– these are your “hole cards”.
The blinds, like I said before, have started the action already so the player to the left of the big blind is the first to act once the cards have been dealt.
The betting round continues this way around the table until complete, after which time the dealer will “burn” or discard the top card in the deck and place 3 cards face up in the center of the table– these 3 cards are “the flop” & are community cards. Just like when playing judi online, this game requires focus and attention.
Once the flop is revealed, there is another round of betting– starting with the first player to the left of the dealer button that is still left in the hand.
*Remember: Preflop, the action starts with the first player to the left of the blinds (since they were forced to bet before being dealt their cards); From the Flop on, it’s the first player to the left of the dealer that is first to act…
After that betting round is complete, another card, called “the turn” is put face up in the center of the table– now there are 4 community cards for everyone.
So, as you may have already guessed, after the turn there is another round of betting again and the fifth and final card is put face up alongside the flop and the turn– this is called “the river”.
The river is the last stop in the hand, so after a final round of betting, any players left in the hand (if there are any) “show down” to determine a winner– usually by turning their hole cards face up– the player who can make the best 5 card poker hand out of any combination of the 5 community cards and their 2 private hole cards wins the hand and scoops the pot.
Okay… now let’s go over how betting works and your “options” when in a hand…
When in a hand and the action’s on you (that’s a fancy way of saying it’s your turn), if no other player has bet ahead of you, then you have 2 choices: you can check or bet.
Checking is choosing NOT to bet and waiting to see what the others choose to do before making a decision.
Betting is initiating putting chips into the pot. Doing so will force any other players in the hand to at least match that amount if they want to continue… otherwise they are folding and out of the hand.
If someone has already bet when the action comes around to you, then you have three options: You can call, raise or fold.
Calling is matching the bettor’s wager in order to stay in the hand.
Raising is exceeding the amount of the bet (by at least double), committing more chips to the pot and requiring your opponents to do the same if they want to keep playing.
Folding is when you choose not to put any more money into the pot and throw away your hand (if you’re in a live game, you’ll want to give your hole cards to the dealer while still face down).
- If you’re playing NLHE, then the minimum bet is going to be the size of the big blind of the stakes you’re playing. If you’re at a $1/$2 game, then the min bet is $2. While this is the minimum, as the name “no limit” implies– there is no maximum beyond what a player has stacked in front of them.
- If a player, in NL bets more than you have and you want to call, you can call “all in” and you will have the opportunity to win that many chips from any opponent still continuing in the hand. Any leftover chips or betting after this will go into a “side pot” for the aforementioned players to vie for.
- In LHE, the amount that you bet and/or raise is fixed. The blinds in LHE will usually be 1/2 of the stakes. So at a $1/$2 game the blinds will be .50 & $1. The set limit of the flops betting round will be a small bet– in the case of a $1/$2 game: $1… while the turn and the river are set as big bets– in this case: $2.
So. There it is. How to play Texas hold’em. It may sound complicated, but it’s a lot easier and fluid once you jump in and start playing. Poker is a really great game to sharpen you intellect and powers of perception. It also is a game that offers a ton of variety and opportunity for growth and new friendships.