Texas Hold’em is a crowd favorite in tournaments around the world. The rules may be simple, but when playing on a professional level, the game can be very complex. Fabrice Touil, who is a professional poker player from France, understands the hardships involved with learning poker. Fabrice Touil also, understands that everyone needs to start somewhere. So here are Fabrice’s rules that will get you started with no-limit Texas Hold‘Em Poker.
When playing the game for the first time, you will be confronted with some of the basic rules which I will go more in detail below. But at the start of any Texas Hold ‘Em Poker Game, the dealer shuffles a standard 52-card deck. In casinos and card rooms, the dealer does not play. Each player is dealt two hole cards with the overall goal of making the best five-card hand. Play moves clockwise around the table, starting with action to the left of the dealer button. The first two players to the immediate left of the button are required to post a small blind and a large blind to initiate the betting. From there, the action occurs on multiple streets: preflop, the flop, the turn, and the river.
Blinds: Every hand requires two forced bets called blinds. Before every new round, the two players to the left of the dealer are obligated to put money into the pot before any cards are dealt. This ensures that there is something to play for on every hand. Most often, the small blind, who is the player to the immediate left of the dealer, puts up half of the minimum bet. And then the player to their left, who is called the big blind, puts up the full minimum bet. In tournaments, the blinds are raised at regular intervals. As players get eliminated, and the chip count of the remaining players keep on getting bigger, it is a necessity that the blinds keep increasing throughout a tournament. In cash games, the blinds will always stay the same for a given limit of which the game is being played.
The aim of the game: You need to be holding the best combination of cards. At the beginning of every game, each player is dealt two cards that are faced down. These are called the hole cards. It is very important that you keep these cards to yourself and away from the eyes of the other players. The object of the game is to combine these two cards with the five community cards laid out in the middle of the table making the best five-card holding. The five cards are displayed in the middle of the table on the flop, the turn, and the river. The flop refers to the first three community cards; the turn adds the fourth card, and the river completes the board with the fifth card. These five cards are visible for every player. Once all five cards are displayed, players have to make the best five-card combination from these seven cards A hand can consist of three different combinations, Two hole cards combined with three on the board, one hole card and four on the board and very seldom neither of your hold cards and just the board. The player with the best combination of cards wins the pot.
First round: (Pre-flop) After all hole cards have been dealt the first betting round begins. The first player to bet is the player to the left of the big blind. They have three options either:
Call: Bet the same amount of the big blind
Raise: increase the bet within the specific limits of the game
Fold: throw one’s hand away.
If a player chooses to fold, they are out of the game and can no longer win the hand.
The amount a player can raise depends on the game that is being played but most commonly must be at least twice the big blind.
Limit hold’em: you can only raise the amount of the big blind
Pot-limit hold’em: you can only raise a maximum of the pot size (the total bets that have been placed at that time)
No-limit hold’em: you can raise by any amount you want up to the maximum that your chip stack allows, and betting all of your chips is deemed “all in”
Second round: (The Flop) After the first preflop betting round has been completed; the second betting round takes place on the flop after the first three community cards have been dealt. In this betting round, and all that follow from now on, the action starts with the first active player to the left of the button. Along with the options to bet, call, fold and raise, a player now has the option to check if no betting action has occurred prior. A check simply means to pass the action to the next player in the hand
Third round: (The Turn) The fourth community card, called the turn, is dealt face-up following all betting action on the flop. Once this has been completed, another round of betting occurs, similar to that on the previous street of play. Again players have the option to options to bet, call, fold, raise and check.
The Last Round: (The River) The fifth community card, called the river, is dealt face-up following all betting action on the turn. Once this has been completed, another round of betting occurs, similar to that on the previous street of play. Again players have the option to options to bet, call, fold, raise and check. After all betting action has been completed, the remaining players in the hand with hole cards now expose their holdings to determine a winner. This is called the showdown.
The Showdown: The remaining players open their hole cards, and with the assistance of the dealer, a winning hand is determined. The player with the best combination of five cards will win the pot.