Since we have you here on this site we’re going to make the safe assumption that you know your stuff when it comes to playing poker, rules and all. Knowing how many cards should be on the table and in your “hand”, not to mention all possible poker hands and the probability of you getting a royal flush – you’ve got all of this down pat. But maybe you fall short of being a poker game crackerjack? If so, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll make sure you’ve got the ins and outs of poker basics covered so you’ll be fit to win. So put on your thinking cap ‘cause it’s time for some revision.
The rules of Texas Holdem Poker
Since Texas Holdem Poker is by far the most recognized and popular variant, it’s worth knowing the rules behind this exciting game. When your friends invite you for a round of poker in their basement or you end your night out with your buds by stepping foot in the casino, there’s a big chance that Texas Holdem is going to be choice of game. Same goes with searching the net for an online site where you can play poker games free – chances are you’ll probably stumble upon a holdem poker game.
First things first, what every beginner should know is that every Texas Holdem poker game consists of a Dealer who deals the cards or in the case of playing poker online free, the computer will be your dealer. The dealer has a deck of 52 cards – no Joker. Between 2 and 10 players can be sitting at the table and in most cases, the dealer (or croupier) will also be participating in the game. Players will take turns in being the dealer and the game progresses in a clockwise direction.
The role of the player sitting to the immediate left of the dealer is to place a small blind and a pre-determined amount of money into the pot. The following player to the left of him then places a big blind. This way, you’ll always have money remaining in the pot and the game can roll. Usually a small blind is half the amount of a big blind, so keep this in mind Now that we have the pool set, it’s time to get the game rolling!
Playing Texas Holdem
To start the first round of betting, all players are given two face down cards by the dealer. The player sitting to the left of the big blind begins the round. Something to bear in mind: small and big blind players are skipped because they’ve already contributed to the pot. The player who is to commence the bidding has three possibilities. He can choose to fold, enter the game by bidding the equivalent to a big blind or he can raise the bet amount.
The first round comes to an end when the player with a big blind has their turn, which is then followed by a flop, meaning that the first 3 community cards are placed face up on the table – they’re exposed for everyone to see them. The player to the left of the dealer then starts the betting. Aside from the possibilities we’ve already mentioned, the player to the left of the dealer also has the right to “check” without making a bet and he can wait for further developments. Depending on the agreement between the players or the rules of the online poker game, the number of raised bets may be limited. One bid and three overbets are usually allowed which gives a total of four bets.
Turn, river and showdown – what comes next
Once the second round is over, the dealer draws another single card (the fourth card) and places it face up on the table – this card is usually called the turn or fourth street and it represents the third betting round. The game progresses in the same way as the other rounds. The dealer then draws the fifth and final card and places it on the table (the river or fifth street). Then the fourth and final round of betting commences.
When the bets are made, the players need to show their cards – this is called a showdown. The player who made the last raise or bid is the first one to show off his cards. If it happens that in the last round every player at the table waited, then the player who began the bidding in this round shows his cards. On the other hand, if one of the players did make a bet, whilst the others folded, he’s the lucky one who ends up winning the pot and doesn’t need to make his cards known to other players. The same thing can happen earlier on in the game or even in the first betting round – but the difference there is that players don’t even get to see the community cards.
So what happens when all players reveal what they have? The answer’s quite simple – the player with the best hand (out of seven cards, two cards face down and five face up community cards) has the key to victory. And as you should be aware, a hand is made up of just five cards. Hence only community cards can be used and we’re talking about a “board” game here. Why not brush up on your knowledge and read up about the importance of poker hand rankings on the next page in our guide?