In this article we present the basics of playing Texas Hold’em, which these days is by far the most popular variant of poker, perhaps even the most popular ever.
There are 5 actions the Texas Hold’em player can take:
1. Folding (or mucking) – discarding your hand and abstaining from any further action in the game
2. Calling – matching the last highest bet made before your turn
3. Checking – passing the action to the next player without betting
4. Betting – staking some amount of money, in particular to start a new round
5. Raising – staking more than the last bet made before your turn
Shuffle, Blinds and All That:
Before each game (also referred to as “a hand”), the dealer shuffles a standard 52-card deck. In a land casino the dealer does not play. If you are playing with a group of friends or in an online cardroom, the dealer can be and often is a player.
The dealer button (usually referred to as the “button”) is a small disc that moves clockwise from player to player with each new hand. The button marks the player that would be the dealer, but its main importance to the game lies in the way it selects “the blinds.” These are the two players to the left of the dealer who start the game by putting a fixed amount of money into the pot before any cards are dealt at all, making sure that the pot is never empty and there is something in it to compete for. This is called “posting the blinds.” The first player to the left of the button is called the “small blind.” He puts in up to the half the minimum bet, while the “big blind,” the player to the left of the “small blind,” puts 홀덤 in the full minimum bet. For example, in a $2/$4 game the “small blind” would be $1 and the “big blind” would be $2.
Each player is then dealt two cards face down. These first two cards are called “hole cards” and they remain hidden until the final showdown or until a player folds his hand if he ever chooses to reveal it.
Betting Rounds (sometimes also called streets):
The Pre-flop (the first round)
After the first two cards have been dealt to each player, a round of betting takes place, beginning with the player to the left of the blinds. Players can call, raise, or fold when it’s their turn to act.
The Flop (the second round)
After the first betting round, the dealer removes the top card of the deck. This is called “burning the card” and is done to ensure that no one accidentally saw the top card. The dealer then flips the next three cards face up onto the table. These cards are called the “flop” and they represent the first three community cards shared by all players. After these cards have been exposed, another round of betting takes place, beginning with the first player to the left of the button (the dealer) who still remains in the game.
During this and the next two rounds of betting, players can check, call, raise, or fold when it’s their turn to act. Each of these rounds starts with the first player to the left of the dealer who has not mucked his hand yet.