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The Texas Holdem Rules pic

How to Play Texas Hold’Em

 

  1. Introduction

    Texas hold’em is the most popular of all poker variations. All of the marquee tournaments around the world (WSOP, WPT, EPT, etc.) are played in a variation of this game.

    Don’t let the simplicity of the game mislead you. The number of possible game situations is so vast that, when playing at a high level, the game can be very complex. Thus the renowned expression: “It takes a moment to learn, but a lifetime to master.”

    When playing the game for the first time, you will be confronted with some of the basic rules which are explained below. For starters, each player is dealt two hole cards in Texas hold’em 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. Generally, 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, action occurs on multiple streets: preflop, the flop, the turn and the river.

  2. Button

    The button determines which player at the table is the acting dealer. In Texas hold’em, the player on button, or last active player closest to the button, receives last action on all post-flop streets of play.

    When playing in casinos or online, you won’t have to worry about who the dealer is. When playing with friends, everyone usually takes a turn at dealing the cards. After each hand has been completed, the button rotates one position to the left. While staff dealers handle the duty of dealing out the cards in brick-and-mortar casinos, and the process is automated online, this isn’t the case in home games. A small tip is to find the most skillful dealer in the game, offer him or her a beer or a small tip and have them deal the game while the button keeps track of which player is the “dealer.”

    While the dealer button often dictates who the first players are to begin the wagering with the small blind and big blind, it also determines where the dealing of the cards begin. The player to the immediate left of the dealer button in the small blind, receives the first card and then the dealer pitches cards around the table in a clockwise motion from player to player until each has received two starting cards.

  3. The Blinds

    Before every new round, two players at the table are obligated to post blinds, or forced bets that begin the wagering. Without these blinds, the game would be very boring because no one would be required to put any money into the pot. In tournaments, the blinds are raised at regular intervals. As the number of players keeps decreasing and the stacks of the remaining players keep 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 player directly to the left of the button posts the small blind, and the player to his or her direct left posts the big blind. The small blind is generally half the amount of the big blind, although this stipulation varies from room to room and can also be dependent of the game being played.

  4. The Aim of the Game

    Winning, of course! But in order to achieve this, you need to be holding the best combination of cards.

    In Texas hold’em, every player receives two cards face down, called hole cards. Every player keeps these cards to concealed until the end of all of the betting rounds, which is called the showdown. Texas hold’em is a game of community cards, where five cards are displayed in the middle of the table to be used in conjunction with a player’s two hole cards in order to make the best five-card holding.

    The five community cards are displayed in the middle of the table on the flop, the turn and the river. The flop consists of the first three community cards, the turn adds another and the river completes the board with one more. These five cards are visible for every player. Once all five cards are down, players have to make the best five-card combination from these seven cards. This can be done using both of your hole cards in combination with three community cards, one hole card in combination with four community cards or no hole cards and playing all five community cards as one’s hand. The player with the best combination of cards wins the pot, which is the sum of all bets that have been placed during that hand.

  5. First Betting Round

    The first round of betting takes place right after all hole cards have been dealt to each player. The first player to act is the player to the left of the big blind, and this player then has three options:

    Call: match the 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, he or she is no longer eligible to win the current hand.

    The amount a player can raise to 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 by 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”

    The players who follow have the same three options: call, raise or fold. In the case of raising, the minimum allotted amount for a raise must be equal to the original raise amount. For example, let’s say the big blind in a game is $10 and the first player to act raises to $40 in a game of no-limit hold’em. The second player to act has the option to call for $40, fold and no longer play the hand, or raise to $70 as the first raise amount of $30, the difference between the wager placed and the original big blind.

  6. Second Betting Round

    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, 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.

  7. Third Betting Round

    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.
  8. Final Betting Round

    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.

  9. 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.

 

Betting-shop-001

The 11 winning rules of betting


#1 Don’t Bet More Than You Can Afford To Lose
It’s the simplest of advices and the most pertinent to any punter. Betting can be approached as another form of entertainment that you spend your money on. You’d never book a £200 per night hotel room, when you could only afford a £100 one, and so you should approach betting with this one governing factor always to the fore. Bet within your means.

#2 Don’t Increase Your Stake After Winning
Unless you are adopting a specific betting method or staking plan, never arbitrarily increase your stake just because you’ve won. Betting shop mugs do this all the time and with very few exceptions their money will only go one way – back to the bookie.

#3 Treat Your Betting As a Business – Your Bookie Does
Businesses can increase profit by minimizing losses and outlay. Your bookie does this, and so should you. The one thing you are guaranteed to do when betting is back a loser. Finding ways to cut down on the losers will greatly affect your potential to make profit.

#4 Don’t Follow The Money
Unless you are in on a gamble right at the start, by the time you get to know where the money’s going all the best prices will be gone. If you dive in at that stage you could very likely be betting at no value or even negative value (the price is shorter than the selection’s actual chances).

#5 Use A Betting Bank
If you’re just betting from what available cash you have in your pocket at any given time you are unlikely to have much control over your betting. Lack of control is one of the quickest ways to get skint. A betting bank lets you know how much you have to bet with, helps you control stakes, and more importantly can let you see whether you are winning or not (in conjuction with #7 and #8 also)

#6 Use A Staking Plan
Using a Staking Plan is a great way to control your betting. Used in conjunction with #6 and #7 (Betting Bank and Recording Bets) this will help you become a smarter punter, one who is control of his/her betting. It won’t guarantee to make you a profit but it should help you in one respect – to cut down on those silly unnecessary bets. Level Stakes is the most popular Staking Plan and a very sensible one too, but there are others. Bank Percentage Plan, Sequence Plan, and others.

#7 Specialize In Just A Few Sports
Bookies will have you betting on everything from the US Election to the X-Factor. One of the reasons they offer so much is because it’s profitable to them. One of the punter’s best tactics is to specialize. Most of us know a varied amount about one or two sports, so when it comes to betting a major plus is to do the research and become more expert in just a few sports. That can give you an edge the bookies don’t have, simply because their oddsmakers have to cover everything. By specialising you gain an advantage, and can better spot potentially good bets.

#8 Don’t Panic In A Losing Streak
As stated previously you are guaranteed to back losers, but what happens when you start to back loser after loser? It’s at this point that the novice or undisciplined punter can start to panic, to question their methods, to start changing methods, and start chasing losses. All of these you must avoid. If you’re organized, have confidence in your methods, and you have a properly sized betting bank to allow for a losing streak, stick with the plan. Stay calm and don’t waiver from your methods. The dreaded losing run is all too familiar to all of us. It’s a part of betting. [**caveat – methods of course can be changed under the correct circumstances, just not under the panic of a losing streak because you’re not best placed to make the right judgements]

#9 Don’t Chase Losses
This can be read in conjunction with #12 Don’t Panic In A Losing Streak. Chasing losses is one of the main contributions to losing made by punters. When the main bet or bets of the day go down, some punters can’t accept a losing day and so go off in search of winners, despite the fact that their earlier studies dismissed the remainder for having the potential for winners. Or a punter bets money he/she couldn’t really afford to lose, then go off in a futile attempt to recoup the loss, and thereby losing more. Know when to walk away and call it a day.

#10 Don’t Look For A Bet, Wait For One
You don’t have to have a bet. Sure, we all like the thrill of a bet and watching its progress, but the punters who tend to lose more are the ones who can’t resist having that thrill, and therefore go repeatedly looking for a bet they wouldn’t normally have done. You’ll see them in betting shops all the time, moving from one race to the next, taking only the few precious seconds there now are between races to try to find a selection. The disciplined punter will have his methods, and if those methods don’t pinpoint a bet on a particular day they won’t go looking for one – they’ll do the right thing and wait till the next day.

#11 Singles Offer The Best Profit Potential
This is one of the obvious ones to the more experienced punter, but to the novice or to those lured in by the ‘bonuses’ and ‘enhancements’ of the ‘big-money’ bets that the bookies keep pushing to your attention (there’s a reason why they keep advertising these bets), it may not be so obvious.

You won’t win big-money with singles, that’s true. But let’s face it how many of you out there have won big-money with multiple bets? With singles you don’t face the furstrating situation where you can lose it. With singles, you don’t get a winner only to have wait on having another winner to have it pay off for you.

Bookies don’t like you betting singles, that’s why you’ll rarely see them advertising them. Singles allows you to shop around for the best price and give yourself the best chance of profit. Multiple bets are for the dreamers.