The Rules Of Texas Holdem Poker
The Deal, Blinds And The Ante
Texas Holdem hands begin with 2 events: the deal and contribution of the blinds. The dealer never plays the hand. In tournaments, there is one person designated as the dealer throughout the game. In non-professional games, the role of dealer is often rotated amongst the players after each hand.
Before the first cards are dealt, 2 (sometimes 3) players are forced to contribute "blind" bets to the pot. These "blinds" ensure that there is something in the pot for the players to pursue during each hand. In professional games, the blinds are contributed by players in a clockwise rotation beginning with those on the immediate left of the dealer. In non-professional games, the blind bet duties rotate with the rotation of the dealer.
In friendly games, players may be required to contributed an ante into the pot prior to the first cards being dealt. This can be done in addition to the blind bets or in the place of them.
Finally, after the blinds (and possibly the ante) have been put into the pot, the first 2 cards of the hand are dealt. These are called "Hole" cards and are dealt to each player face down. They are the only cards that are exclusive to the individual hands of each player (as each subsequent card dealt is a community card). After the Hole cards are dealt, betting begins.
Betting As The Hand Develops
The first round of betting begins either with the big blind player or the player to the immediate left of the dealer. Players can bet in 3 different ways at this point. You can call (match the bet of preceding players), raise (betting more than the preceding bets), or fold (throw away your hand).
After the first round of betting, the dealer deals 3 community cards face up in the center of the table. These cards are called the "flop" and can be used by all players to make hands. After the flop is dealt, a second round of betting begins. Betting again involves calling, raising, or folding with the addition of a fourth choice: checking (staying in the hand without betting to see what other players do).
Next, the dealer deals the "Turn" card. This is a fourth community card dealt face up in the center of the table next to the flop. A third round of betting begins.
After the third round, the dealer deals the "River" card. Like the Turn, the River is placed face up in the center of the table and is followed by another round of betting. This is the final round of betting and can lead to a showdown amongst the players. After this final round, the players who are still in the game are required to reveal their hands. The pot goes to the player with the best 5 cards (using a combination of the original Hole cards and the community cards).
Becoming A Good Texas Holdem Player
Texas Holdem is a game of strategy. While luck can deliver great hands on occasion, skilled players develop winning strategies over thousands of hands. Though learning the game doesn't take long, learning to play the game well can take several years. Becoming proficient at Texas Holdem requires knowing how to bluff well, how to note changing probabilities as community cards are dealt and how to read other players. Over time, with practice, you can become a formidable Holdem player.