Texas Hold 'Em
- The dealer shuffles a standard 52-card deck.
- The first dealer is selected at random. The button rotates clockwise around the table between every hand. This is important as the "dealer" is the last to act, and thus has the greatest advantage for that hand.
- Texas Hold 'Em Poker games start with the two players to the left of the dealer (the button) putting a predetermined amount of money (small and big blind) into the pot before any cards are dealt, ensuring that there's something to play for on every hand.
- This is called "posting the blinds." Most often, the "first blind" -- the player to the left of the dealer -- puts up half the minimum bet, and the "second blind" puts up the full minimum bet.
- Each player is dealt two cards, face down. These are known as their "hole cards."
- A round of betting takes place, beginning with the player to the left of the two who posted the blinds. Players can call, raise, or fold when it's their turn to bet.
- All-In and the Side Pot
- In the game of No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em, any player, at any betting round, may bet all of his remaining chips on the table. This is called going "All-In". Any player at the table may call this bet, whether they have less or more chips at the table. If one of the other players has less chips than the opponent who has moved all-in, then a side-pot is created. For example, if Player A has moved all-in with $75, and Player B then raises and goes all-in with $100, then the main pot has $150, and the side-pot has $25. Player A may only win the main pot, and has no right to any of the money in the side pot. You may only win what you bet.
- In the above example, if Player C has more chips than Player B, then Player C can raise the bet or move all-in himself. If Player C has $200 in chips, and moves all in after Player B, then the main pot would have $225 ($75 * 3 Players), the first side pot would have $50 ($25 from Player B and $25 from Player C), and another side pot would be created, that contains $100 (all Player C). Let's assume that these are the only players in the pot, everyone else folds. Player C will automatically win the second side pot of $100.
- Now, if Player A wins the hand - his hand beats both Players B & C, then Player A only wins the contents of the main pot - $225. In this case, then we would look at who wins between Player B and Player C. If Player B wins, then Player B would win the contents of the first side pot - $50 - and the $100 of the second side pot is simply returned to Player C (no one else is competing for this pot). If Player C beats Player B, then Player C would win the first side pot of $50, and again, the contents of the second side pot is returned to Player C since it is uncontested.
- In this same hand, if Player B wins the hand by beating both Player A and Player C, then Player B would take down the main pot, and the first side pot, and the contents of the second side pot are again returned to Player C.
- If Player C wins the entire hand by beating both Player A and Player B, then Player C would win the main pot of $225, the first side pot of $50, and the second side pot which is uncontested.
- In all scenarios, Player C automatically wins the second side pot since there are no opponents competing for that pot.
- After the first betting round, the dealer discards the top card of the deck. This is called “burning the card” and is done to ensure that no one accidentally saw the top card, and to help prevent cheating.
- The dealer then flips the next three cards face up on the table. These cards are called the "flop."
- Note: Eventually, a total of five community cards will be placed face up on the table. Players can use any combination of the community cards and their own two hole cards to form the best possible five-card Poker hand.
- The dealer burns another card and plays one more face up onto the table. This, the fourth community card, is called the "turn" or "Fourth Street."
- The dealer burns another card before placing the final face-up card on the table. This card is called the "river" or "Fifth Street."
Final Betting and the Winner
- Players can now use any combination of seven cards -- the five community cards and the two hole cards known only to them -- to form the best possible five-card Poker hand.
- The fourth and final round of betting starts with the player to the left of the dealer (the button).
- After the final betting round, all players who remain in the game reveal their hands. The player who made the initial bet or the player who made the last raise shows their hand first.
- The player with the best hand wins.
- Anyone who has not folded after the last round of betting will now have the option of showing their hand and possibly winning the pot. The person who bet last is the first to show their hand, and then it proceeds clockwise from there, with each remaining player either choosing to show their hand, or muck it. Often times a player will muck their hand if they aren't going to win the pot, and don't want their opponents to see what they played.
- Texas hold ‘em rules dictate that there be two forced bets every hand, called blinds. There is a small blind, which is 1/2 of the low limit bet size, and a big blind, which is equal to the low limit bet size. Before the hand begins, the player to the immediate left of the dealer button is forced to post the small blind, and the player to the left of that person is forced to post the big blind. These bets count towards that player's first round bet, and are considered live, meaning the player may choose to raise even if nobody else has.
- Note: In a heads-up match (1-on-1), the player with the dealer button posts the small blind, and the other player posts the big blind. The player with the dealer button is the first to act before the flop, but acts after his opponent in the three betting rounds to follow.