Texas Hold'em Poker Rules & Strategy
Texas Hold’em (or simply, "Hold’em") is the most popular poker game in the casinos and cardrooms of North America and Europe. Each player is dealt two cards ("hole cards") which belong only to that player. Five community cards are dealt face-up on the "board". All players may use these cards in conjunction with their own hole cards to make the best five-card poker hand possible. To view the rankings of poker hands, visit our hand ranks page.
In Hold’em, a disc also known as "the button", serves to indicate which player is the nominal dealer for the current game. Before the game begins, the player immediately clockwise the button posts the "small blind", typically half a small bet (for example, $1 in a $2/$4 game). The player immediately clockwise the small blind posts the "big blind", which is always a full small bet ($2 in a $2/$4 game). Now, each player receives his or her two hole cards. Betting action proceeds around the table, starting with the player immediately clockwise the big blind.
Now, the "flop" is dealt face-up on the board. The flop is the first three community cards available to all active players. Betting begins with the active player immediately clockwise the button. All bets and raises occur in small bets (increments of $2 in a $2/$4 game).
When betting action is completed for the flop round, the "turn" is dealt face-up on the board. The turn is the fourth community card in a Hold’em game. Betting begins with the active player immediately clockwise the button. On this round, betting doubles from the small bet to the big bet. In a $2/$4 game, betting on the turn is done in $4 increments.
When betting action is completed for the turn round, the "river" is dealt face-up on the board. The river is the fifth and final community card in a Hold’em game. Betting begins with the active player immediately clockwise the button.
If there is more than one remaining player when the final betting round is complete, the last bettor or raiser shows his or her cards. If there was no bet on the final round, the player immediately clockwise the button shows his or her cards first. The player with the best five-card hand wins the pot. In the event of identical hands, the pot will be equally divided between the players with the best hands.
After the pot is awarded, a new game of Hold’em is ready to begin. The button now moves clockwise to the next player.
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