Texas Holdem is the most popular variation of Poker today. Up to ten players play at a time. Each player gets two down cards followed by five community cards which are dealt face-up in the center of the table. This is how the game round goes:
- First, the two players directly to the left of the dealer must post "blinds", that is to place a bet before getting cards. This is to ensure that every winning hand wins some money. Since the dealer button moves on every game round, everyone has to post blinds at some point in the game. The player to the immediate left of the dealer button posts the "small blind," equal to half of the minimum stake (e.g. $2.5 for a $5/$10 game). The player to the left of the small blind posts the "big blind," equal to the amount of the minimum stake (e.g. $5 for a $5/$10 game).
Pocket Cards - After the blinds, first cards are dealt. Every player gets two cards face down. These are called pocket cards.
Bet round 1 - Betting begins with the player immediately to the left of the big blind and continuing in a clockwise direction around the table. Every player can fold, call or raise. Raising is possible by the lower table stake ($5 in a $5/$10 game) only. Betting is explained in more detail below.
The Flop Cards - Now three cards are dealt face up in the middle of the table. These cards are called the flop cards. These are "community" cards and can be used by all the players to make up their hand.
Bet round 2 - Second round of betting follows. This is carried out exactly as the first betting round.
The Turn Card - After the second round of betting, a fourth "community" card is dealt face up in the middle of the table. This is called the "Turn card". It is followed by a third round of betting.
Bet round 3 - This round, again, is carried out just like the first and the second, with one exception: raising is possible only by the higher table stake ($10 in a $5/$10 game).
The River Card - Finally, a fifth and final "community" card is dealt. It is called the "River card" and is followed by a fourth and final round of betting.
Bet round 4 - This final betting round is carried out exactly as the third.
Showdown - After the final betting round, the best five-card hand is determined. Both the pocket cards and the community cards can be used to make up a hand. The player with the best five-card poker hand wins the pot. Players can also split the pot if they have the same hand. In the rare case of the best hand consisting of community cards only, the pot is divided between all the players left in the pot at the showdown. If you see that you are losing, and do not want to show your cards, you can Muck, that is to give up your hand and lose the pot. Otherwise you can Show to compare your hand with others.
Start again - After a hand is completed and the pot taken by the winner, the dealer button is moved one player to the left, and the next hand begins.
Betting system - The player left of the big blind starts the betting round, betting order goes around the table clockwise. Everyone is betting according to what they think their hand will lead to.
Fold - If you don't like your cards, you can fold. If you have posted a blind, made a bet or raised a bet, you will lose that money. But you will not lose any more. After folding, you are out of the game until the next game round.
Check/Call - You can stay in the game by checking or calling. If no bet has been made before you, you can check without placing any money in the pot. If a bet has been made, you can call by placing the same amount in the pot.
Bet/Raise/Re-raise - If you think you hand is good enough, you can make a bet. If another player has already made a bet, you can raise it; amounts are fixed by the table stakes. For example, in a $5/$10 table, bets are $5 in the first two rounds and $10 in the last two. There can be one bet and three raises in each round (bet, raise, re-raise, re-raise). After three raises the betting round is capped and the next card is dealt (or, if it is the final betting round, the best hand is determined).
All-in - When a player runs out of chips during the course of a hand, he/she does not have to fold. Instead the player can choose to be All-in. When you are all-in, you call all your chips and the pot is divided into the main pot and side pot. All subsequent chips are hereafter added to the side pot. At the showdown if the "All-in" player does not have a winning hand, both the side pot and the main pot go to the winning hand, as usual. At the showdown if the "All-in" player has a winning hand, the main pot goes to the "All-in" player, and the side pot goes to the next best hand. When several players go All-in, multiple side pots are created. The pots are divided according to hand and order in which the players went All-in. If a player not all in at the showdown has the winning hand he wins all side pots and the main pot. If an all in player has the strongest hand he/she wins the pot or pots that were collected until he/she went All-in. Any all in player with a winning hand can only win the pot or pots they are involved in.