Basics of Texas Hold'em Poker
Texas Hold'em begins with each of the players being dealt two cards face down. These first two cards are
the player's "pocket" or "hole" cards and are the only two cards that are unique to each player. After a
betting round based upon the hole cards, where the money is collected into what is known as the "pot," three
community cards are dealt face up on the table or board. This is known as the "flop." These are community
cards and are used by all players in forming their hand. A second round of betting takes place after which
another community card is dealt face up on the board next to the flop. This is known as the "Turn" or "Fourth Street." A
third round of betting takes place and a fifth and final community card is dealt face up on the board. This is known
as the "River" or "Fifth Street." A final round of betting takes place and all remaining players (those who
haven't folded or "mucked" their hand) have a showdown and turn over their hole cards. The player that can
make the best five card poker hand using any combination of their own hole cards and the five community cards
wins the pot. Players are not obligated to use any of their hole cards to form a hand and can rely solely
on the board to make a hand.
Variations of Texas Hold'em Poker
There are three main variations of Texas Hold'em poker. There is a "limit" Texas Hold'em, a "pot limit" Texas
Hold'em, and a "no-limit" Texas Hold'em (said to be the Cadillac of poker).
Limit Texas Hold'em Poker: Bets and raises during the first two rounds of play (pre-flop and flop) must be equal
and are limited to the big blind. This is known as the "small bet." In the next two rounds of betting (the
turn and the river), bets and raises are must be equal and are limited to twice that of the big blind. This
is known as the "big bet." The limits placed on players keeps this game at a more reasonable level as
compared to "no-limit" Texas Hold'em where the sky is the limit. For this reason, Limit Texas Hold'em is
generally the most popular hold'em game found in casinos.
Pot Limit Texas Hold'em Poker: The maximum raise a player can make in this type of game is the current size of the
pot. Generally, if a player holds strong hole cards, he will attempt to increase the pot at every chance so
that when the final round of betting comes he has built up a large pot.
No-Limit Texas Hold'em Poker: As the name suggests, a player may bet or raise any amount over the minimum raise and
up to the maximum of all of his chips at the table (called an "all-in" bet). This type of game is most commonly seen on
television and is the main event game played at both the World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour.
Hole Cards and Hand Rankings in Texas Hold'em Poker