As they always say "Texas Hold em takes 5 minutes to learn and a lifetime to master". If you are currently learning the game, then luckily, you are still at the easy part. And you can make the learning process even easier by taking a look at the following rules for Texas Holdem.
The basic goal in Texas Holdem is to form the best possible five-card hand using two hole cards (face-down cards dealt to each player) and five community cards (face-up cards that everybody can use). The player with the best five-card hand at the end of the betting rounds wins. Look at our hand rankings for more on this.
Texas Holdem players can choose from several actions when its their turn. Here are the different betting options that players can perform:
Call - Betting the minimum amount of chips needed to stay in a hand.
Check - Choosing not to bet in an unraised hand (you still stay in the hand).
Raise - Betting more chips than whats currently needed to call.
Fold - Choosing not to call in a raised hand or when you need to call the big blind (discussed later).
A Texas Holdem hand consists of four different betting rounds, and here is a brief look at each betting round:
Before the Flop (Preflop) - After looking at their hole cards, each player gets an opportunity to make bets before any community cards are dealt.
The Flop - The second betting round ensues after the first three community cards have been dealt (flop).
The Turn - When the fourth card is dealt (turn), a third round of betting takes place.
The River - After the last community card is dealt (river), players get a final chance to make bets before the showdown. The showdown is when remaining players show their cards to see who won the hand.
While there is no actual dealer in an online poker game, the player who is sitting in the dealer position is signified by a button. The button rotates clockwise one seat after every hand so that each player gets a chance to be on the button; players on the button have an advantage because they act last in the hand and get to see everybodys actions.
The first player to the left of the button is also the first player to receive their cards. In addition to this, they are also called the small blind because they place a forced bet thats half the size of the big blind. The big blind is two seats to the left of the button, and they are forced to post a bet thats double the size of the small blind. In a $1/$2 game of Texas Holdem, the small blind would post a $1 bet while the big blind would post a $2 bet. The blinds are posted before any cards are dealt, and this is done to ensure that at least some betting action occurs in a hand. Just like the button, the blinds move clockwise one seat after every hand. If a player doesnt post blinds when its their turn, they sit out and can re-enter the game at anytime by posting the big blind.
Texas Holdem is broken down into three variations based on the size of bets players can make each round. Here are the three different Texas Holdem variations:
No-Limit- In No-Limit Texas Holdem, theres no limit to how much money players can bet. Essentially, a person can bet their whole chip stack in any betting round.
Pot-Limit - Players maximum bets can only be equal to the pot size in Pot-Limit Holdem; this includes the pot size and a players potential call. For example, if the pot size is $10 and a player needs to call $5 to stay in the hand ($15 total), they could make a maximum $15 raise.
Limit - Players bets are capped in every round when playing Limit Holdem. In the first two betting rounds, players raises are limited to the size of the big blind. In the last two rounds, players can bet twice the size of the big blinds. The most bets a single player can make in a Limit Holdem round is 4, which includes one bet and three raises.
First Round (Preflop) - After the blinds have been posted, two hole cards are dealt to every player. Each player can look at their hole cards, but they cannot see an opponents hole cards. Once everybody has had a chance to see their hole cards, the first player to the left of the big blind decides whether to call the big blind, raise or fold. Players cannot check before the flop because they must at least call the big blinds wager to stay in the hand. For instance, in a $5/$10 game of Texas Holdem, players must call or raise the $10 big blind wager. The betting action continues clockwise around the table, and if a player raises at any point during the hand, other players must either call or re-raise the initial raise to keep playing. Assuming somebody bet $20 in the same $5/$10 game, everybody would need to call the $20 raise or re-raise this amount to stay in the hand. The betting round is finished once everyone is done making their bets and raises (the amount of raises and bets made depends on the Texas Holdem variation).
Second Round (Flop) - Three face-up community cards are dealt on the flop, and these cards can be used by any player to make their hand. The small blind, or first player to the left of the button, leads the betting action off after the flop; they can either check or bet once the flop has been dealt. The betting action continues clockwise around the table, and every player has the same options until a bet is made. Once a bet is made, players can either call, raise or fold.
Third Round (Turn) - On the turn, an additional face-up card is dealt into the community cards. Once again, players have the same options as on the flop until somebody makes a bet. However, the one difference is that raises on the turn must be equal to the big blind or higher (instead of the small blind like in previous rounds); so in a $1/$2 No-Limit Holdem game, players must raise by at least $2. Along with this, the raises would be done in $2 increments, which means a player could raise to $4, $6, $8, and so forth.
Fourth Round (River) - The fifth and final community card is the river, and the betting action is exactly the same as the turn. Players get one final chance to make bets and raises before the cards are revealed.
Showdown - If two or more players are left in a hand after the fourth betting round is over, all of the players show their cards to see who has the best hand. The last person who raised is required to show their hand first, and if the other player(s) is beaten, they dont have to reveal their hand. Its important to note that in online poker games, mucked hands (non-shown hands) will still show up in the hand history. Whoever has the best hand will win the pot, while pots are divided between players when hands tie. For example, if two players have A-10 and the board is As-3h-6d-8c-9s, the players would tie for the pot with a pair of aces and 10 kicker. In No-Limit Texas Holdem, some of the betting rounds are skipped when one player is all-in, and there are only two players in the hand.
In the event that there are three or more players in a hand, and a short-stacked player (less chips than the other players) is all-in, a side pot will be created. When this happens, the two (or more) bigger stacks will continue playing the betting rounds as normal, while the short-stacked player waits to see the outcome of the hand. After the showdown, the short-stacked player can only win the side pot if they have the best hand. For example, if Player A is all-in with 400 chips against both Player B and Player C (1,200-chip side pot), Player A would not get an entire 3,400-chip pot at the showdown. But if Player A had the best overall hand, they would win the 1,200-chip side pot, and Player B and Player C would see who won the remaining 2,200 chips.