Texas Holdem poker has become one of the most played forms of poker after growing substantially in popularity during the explosion of online poker in the 2000s.
As a result, learning how to play Texas Holdem and possessing a good understanding of the rules opens up loads of opportunities if you want to play poker online.
How to play Texas Holdem poker: before you begin
You’ll find our guide to playing a game of Texas Holdem below. Including the aim of the game. Your betting options and a step-by-step guide to how the game unfolds.
However, if you’re an absolute poker beginner we would recommend checking out these pieces before you begin:
- How to play poker — A quick guide to the basic concepts that unite all types of poker
- Poker-hand rankings — A guide to the rankings that decide who has the best poker hand
If you already understand the basics of how to play poker deposit via pulsa and the poker hand rankings, take a look at our curated list of the UK’s best poker bonus sign-up offers, or scroll down to start learning how to play Texas Holdem poker.
How to play Texas Holdem poker: the aim of the game
The aim of the game in Texas Holdem poker is to make the best possible decisions in terms of betting to ensure you win as many chips as possible over multiple hands.
In each hand, players attempt to create the best possible five-card hand according to the poker-hand rankings, using their two hole cards and the five community cards that are revealed as the game progresses. This results in winning the pot or total of all bets made on the hand.
Players bet based on their perception of how good their potential hand is compared to their rivals’ hands, but can also attempt to bluff opponents into withdrawing from a hand (folding) by continuing to bet despite knowing their hand isn’t necessarily a strong one.
Hands can be won after any round of betting if all bar one player folds and don’t have to continue until the final round of betting after the fifth and final community card has been dealt.
How to play Texas Holdem poker: betting options
- Call — Matching another player’s bet or raise
- Raise — Increasing the size of your existing bet in the same round of betting
- Fold — To withdraw from the hand, sacrificing any bets already made.
- Check — Until the first bet in a round of betting is placed players can choose to check, or decline to make a bet while reserving the right to bet later in the round.
- All in — If you don’t have enough chips left to call a bet you can play all your remaining chips. Subsequent betting takes place in a side pot. In any subsequent showdown, the all-in player can only win the number of chips that were in the pot when they went all-in.
How to play Texas Holdem poker: the dealer
When playing Texas Holdem poker offline in private or social settings the role of the dealer is taken by one of the players and moves round the players after each hand in a clockwise direction.
In physical casinos and poker rooms or on online poker sites the dealer is not one of the players. For the purposes of game order the player that is nominally the dealer for each hand is marked by a token.
How to play Texas Holdem poker: a step-by-step guide
Before any cards are dealt, two players make mandatory bets. The player to the dealer’s left posts the small blind (for example £1), then the player to their left posts the big blind. Which is usually double the value of the small blind (e.g. £2).
Dealer deals each player two cards
After the blinds, the dealer deals two cards face down to each player. Beginning with the player immediately to their left (the one who posted the small blind). Keep them to yourself. These are called hole cards and are only revealed to other players during the showdown (see below) if at all.
First round of betting (pre-flop)
The first player who must make a decision on whether to bet based on the quality of their hole cards is the one to the left of the player who posted the big blind. This player isn’t allowed to check because the big blind counts as a bet in the first round of betting. They can fold, call or raise.
Following this, each player takes their turn to call, raise or fold until it comes back round to the turn of the player who posted the big blind.
The big blind already counts as their opening bet. So this player can now either fold, raise or check. Betting continues until all players have either folded, put in all their chips or matched the amount other players have put into the pot then checked.
First the dealer burns one card (removes it from the game), then deals the flop — three cards, face up.
Players who are still involved in this hand now decide upon their next move based on the perceived quality of hand they can create using their hole cards, the three flop cards and the two more community cards to come.
Second round of betting (post-flop)
The player on the dealer’s left bets first in this and all subsequent rounds of betting. Now all players have the option to check, as well as call, raise or fold.
Once again betting continues until all players fold. Put in all their chips or match the amount other players have put into the pot, then check.
The turn, otherwise known as ‘Fourth Street’
First the dealer burns a card, then adds the next one from the deck to the three cards from the flop.
Remaining players now decide upon their next move based upon the best possible hand they can make from their hole cards, the four community cards and a potential fifth card.
Third round of betting (post-turn)
Once again betting continues until all players fold. Put in all their chips or match the amount other players have put into the pot before checking.
The river, sometimes called ‘Fifth Street’
At this point the dealer deals the fifth and final community card. Completing the potential options players have to construct the best poker hand possible.
Fourth round of betting (post-river)
For the final time betting continues until all players fold. Put in all their chips or match the amount other players have put into the pot then check.
The showdown can come at any point in the game when there are just two players remaining and betting has finished. However, if two or more players remain in the game after the fourth and final round of betting then it’s time for the showdown no matter what.
Each player plays the best five-card hand they can from their hole cards and the five community cards. Players can use both of their hole cards, but can also play a hand based on one hole card and four community cards.
They can even play neither of their hole cards and use the five community cards as their hand. Although the best result possible in this situation is to tie.
Ties and kickers
If more than one player shares a best hand comprising five cards. Then the pot is shared between them, with any odd chips going to the player on the dealer’s left.
However, if multiple players share a best hand of fewer than five cards (a pair or three of a kind for example) then the highest one of their hole cards that isn’t part of the best hand is the kicker.
The player whose kicker has the highest numerical rank wins the pot.
When the showdown occurs after the turn (before all five community cards have been dealt) it’s possible for the hand to be tied even after the kicker is considered.
The fifth and final card is then dealt and if it’s of higher value than remaining players’ kicker card, they both have the right to include it in their best hand. Rendering the hand a tie.