Texas Hold'em Poker: Game Rules & Strategy
|Object: The object of Texas Hold'em is to
have the highest five-card poker hand at showdown, or to be the only
player remaining in the hand after all other players have folded.
Hand Rankings: Hand rankings are as follows, with the highest hands first:
If two or more hands are the same ranking, the winner is the one having the higher cards. For example, a Flush with an Ace high beats a Flush with a King high. If the poker hands remain tied, then the highest card not being held in common (the kicker) determines the winner.
Should poker hands be absolutely identical in ranking, the pot will be split evenly between the two or more winning players. If there is an odd chip, then either the winning player to the left of the button will receive it, or the odd chip will remain in the pot for the next hand (depending on the card room).
The Play of the Game: The play of the game proceeds as follows:
At the showdown for texas hold'em, poker rules indicate that players may use either:
Betting Structure and Rules
There are four possible betting rounds in texas hold'em poker, shown in the list above.
Each bet and raise during the first two rounds is set at the lower limit of the stakes structure. For example in a $5/$10 texas hold'em game, all bets and raises are $5 for the first two rounds (after pocket cards are dealt and after the flop).
Betting and raising during the last two rounds is set at the higher limit of the stakes structure. Same texas hold'em example; all bets and raises are $10 for the last two rounds (after the turn and after the river), following accepted poker rules.
The maximum allowable number of bets per player during any betting round in texas hold'em poker is (usually) four. This includes a (1) bet, (2) raise, (3) re-raise, and (4) cap. The term cap is used to describe the 3rd raise in a round since betting is then capped and can't be raised further. Once capped, players will have only the option of calling or folding. Note that there is no cap to the number of raises in No Limit and Pot Limit games.
Check-raising is (usually) allowed.
Button and Blinds
A flat disk is used at the texas hold'em poker table. This is called the dealer button to indicate the theoretical dealer of each hand.
After each hand has completed, the button moves clockwise to the next active player. This player will be considered to be playing "the button" for that hand. In texas hold'em the player to the left of the button is first to receive a card and is required to post a small blind. The small blind is equal to half the lower limit bet rounded down to the nearest dollar. The player to the left of the small blind is required to post the big blind, equal to the lower limit bet.
Both blinds in texas hold'em poker are considered live bets and therefore, according to poker rules, have the option of checking, calling, raising or folding when the betting action returns to their position. After the flop and each subsequent betting round, the first active texas hold'em player left of the button is first to act.
When a player first sits at an active texas hold'em table they'll be required to post the equivalent of the big blind. All players have the option of sitting out and waiting for the actual big blind before starting to play texas hold'em poker. By preventing players from constantly entering poker games in late position and leaving before they're required to post, these rules stop potential abuse.
Position: Position is an important consideration in this game, and refers to your position at the table relative to the big blind. In a ten-handed game, when the big blind is one, two, or three players to your right, you are in early position; when the big blind is four, five, or six players to your right, you are in middle position; when the big blind is seven or eight players to your right (which, by the way, means that you are on the button), you are in late position.
I won't even try to provide a comprehensive strategy for what is known as the 'Cadillac of Poker'. But here are some basic tips.
Read, read, read! Then practice, practice, practice! Then, win, win win! :)
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