When you talk about poker, the first thing that comes to mind is Texas Hold'em, the most popular variant of this skill-based mind sport. As the name suggests, Texas Hold'em originated in the state of Texas and has since grown and become widely popular across the world. This variation of Poker has an aim similar to every other variation - to win the pot!
The player to create the best five-card hand is declared as the winner of the pot. Each player is dealt two hole-cards, and five community cards that are placed face down - these community cards are common to all players, participating on the table. A player must create the best five-card hand utilizing a combination of any of the two hole-cards and five community cards displayed in front of them.
- Texas Hold’em is played with a 52-card deck, not including the jokers.
- A minimum of 2 players are required to play the game with a maximum of 10 players.
- Two Hole Cards – each player receives two cards face down, known as hole cards. These cards are visible only to the player they are dealt to.
- Five Community Cards – the dealer deals five common community cards face down, once all the hole cards are dealt to the players. These cards are common to every player, the first three cards known as the ‘flop’ are revealed after the first round of wagering. The fourth card known as the ‘turn’ is revealed after another round of wagering. The fifth and final card is revealed after another round of wagering followed by the final round of wagering once all the community cards are revealed.
- Players must create the best five-card hand using a combination of any of their two-hole cards and five community cards. The player with the best five card hand according to the rankings is declared as the winner.
Every game of Texas Hold’em follows a particular flow, regardless of the type of the game. The first player to be seated at a table is earmarked as the ‘Dealer’ and has a round white disk denoting who the dealer is, known as the ‘Dealer Button’. The player to be seated at the left of the dealer begins the betting rounds. If players join the table at the same time or simultaneously, one card is dealt to each player and the player with the highest-ranking card is chosen as the virtual dealer and the player to the left of this dealer begins the betting rounds. The ‘Dealer Button’ moves clockwise amongst the players after every round.
Texas Hold’em is divided into 4 betting rounds, where the initial pot is formed using the ‘Blind Bets’. Below are the different stages that a user would encounter while playing a game of Texas Hold’em.
- Call: Calling a bet would mean equalling the previous bet amount, which in this case would be similar to the ‘big blind’
- Two players to the left of the dealer button initially post blind bets, the name is derived from the action as the player posts the bet without looking at their cards, hereon referred to as ‘blinds’. This is done to ensure that the pot holds some value to play for before the start of the game. The first player to the left of the dealer posts the ‘small blind’ and the second player to the left of the dealer posts the ‘big blind’ which is double of the small blind. The minimum bet posted by players after the blinds must equal the big blind. In a game of just two players, the dealer posts the big blind. In case a player has a total amount of chips that are lower than the big blind, they must go ‘All In’ to continue in the game.
Every player receives two hole-cards face down. These cards are visible only to the player receiving them. The first player on the left of the ‘Big Blind’ begins the betting round. This player has 3 actions they can choose from;
- Raise: Raising would mean a player will increase the bet amount
- Fold: When a player folds, they surrender their stake in that game and forfeit their cards until the next game.
In this round, the first three community cards are revealed to all the players, known as the ‘Flop’. Players must use their skill and knowledge to predict the possibility of their best five-card hand and of their opponents. The ‘small blind’ player begins placing his bets, in case the small blind player has folded the first active player to the left of that player begins the betting round. Once all bets are equal, the game moves on to the next round – ‘Turn’.
At this stage, the fourth card among the community cards is revealed, known as ‘Turn’. Once this card is revealed, the first active player to the left of the dealer button begins the betting round. Again, once all bets are equal the game moves on to the final round - ‘River’.
The final betting round begins after the fifth community card ‘River’ is revealed. Once again, the action begins from the first active player to the left of the dealer button. Once all the bets are equal, players reveal their cards.
Once all players have equalled their bets post the final round of betting, players reveal their cards to determine who has the best five-card hand. The player to raise or bet last reveals their card first, if such a situation isn’t possible or if all players check during their final round – the first active player to the left of the dealer reveals their card first. Thereon, moving clockwise around the table, all the other players reveal their cards. The player with the best five-card hand wins the pot. If a player has a weaker hand than the current best hand, they are presented with an option to show or muck their cards. If two or more players share an identical hand, the pot is split amongst the players. A player can claim their winning from the pot they were a part of.
Types of Games
Texas Hold’em has multiple versions that govern the betting structure of the game, below are the different types of Texas Hold’em
The most commonly played version of the game is No Limit Texas Hold’em. Players can place their bet with no restrictions on the amount that can be bet. Any player can bet any amount during any betting round; however, the minimum bet must be equal to the big blind.
In the pot-limit variation of Texas Hold’em, the maximum bet or raise by any player cannot exceed the current total amount in the pot. There are no caps on the number of raises in one round. For instance, if the amount in the pot totals to 100, the first player to act bets another 100, the third player can call the 100 and raise a maximum of 200 (which equals to the current total in the pot when the action reaches him).
In comparison to No limit and Pot-Limit poker, the Limit variation of Texas Hold’em has a cap on the number of raises a player can make. Each betting round can have a maximum of 4 bets that include; a bet, raise, re-raise and a final raise.
Missed Blinds Policy
- At times player’s enter games at a later stage to avoid paying blinds, to prevent such actions, any player entering at a later stage will either pay an initial fee equal to the big blind or sit out until the big blind reaches their table position.
- If a player misses the small and big blind, they will be required to post a ‘dead’ bet that equals the small blind and an amount equal to the big blind.
- If a player chooses to sit-out, they will not be able to take part in any action until the big blind reaches their position. In case a player is seated at the table and chooses to sit-out and misses the big blind, the player will also have to miss the small blind and the dealer button.
- When a player chooses to go All-in, the pot is divided into the Main Pot and a Side Pot. All the bets that follow, after a player goes All-in are included in the Side Pot. If a player is nearing the end of his chips, he need not fold his cards, he has the option of going All-in.
- If the player going All-in wins, he receives all the chips in the pot he was part of (main pot) and the Side Pot is won by the next player with the best five-card hand. If the player going All-in doesn’t win; the player who wins receives all the chips.
- In situations where multiple players go All-in, several Side Pots will be created. Players who go All-in can only win the pot(s) they betted in or in which they were a part of forming.