Texas Hold’em

Texas Hold’em is the ultimate poker game. It’s played worldwide by amateurs and pros alike, and it’s available at almost every online poker site. You’re going to learn how to play Texas Hold’em poker, some useful tips and strategies for winning, and lots of other useful information about the world’s favourite poker game below.

texas holdem

How to Play Texas Hold’em

It’s not difficult to learn Texas Hold’em, but it is difficult to master it. The best place to start is to learn how a basic game would be played.

  1. To start, each player receives two down-facing cards called hole cards.
  2. After each player checks his hole cards, the first round of betting commences.
  3. Next, three community cards (the river) are turned simultaneously. 
  4. A new round of betting then takes place.
  5. The first of the remaining two community cards are turned over.
  6. Another round of betting takes place.
  7. The final community card is turned over.
  8. A final round of betting takes place.
  9. The “showdown” occurs, with each remaining player making the best hand possible.
  10. The player with the highest-ranking poker hand wins.

There’s more to Texas Hold’em than this, but these are the basics. In the next section, we’ll explore the betting rounds in greater detail.

Texas Hold’em – Betting Rounds

If you read the sequence of play above, you’ll already know that there are multiple rounds of betting as a game of Texas Hold’em progresses. It’s important to remember that you may “fold” at any time. Players fold when they feel they can’t risk making the next bet. In other words, you would fold if you weren’t confident about your chances of winning based on your current best hand.

Opening Bets – The two players to the left of the dealer post bets known as blinds. These are mandatory minimum bets. Typically, there’s a small blind and a big blind. Players can call, raise, or fold at this stage.

Second Round – After the opening bets, the dealer burns a card and deals three community cards known as “The Flop.” After this, the second round of betting occurs. Each player has the option to check or bet. Once a bet has been placed, each player can then raise, call, or fold.

Third Round – The dealer then burns another card and deals a fourth community card. This is called “The Turn.” The third round of betting then follows. It works in the same way the second round of betting.

Final Round – The dealer burns yet another card and deals a final community card. It’s known as “The River.” This is when the final round of betting occurs. This betting round unfolds the same way as the second and third rounds.

After the final round of betting has taken place, the showdown occurs. Each player has to try to make a high-ranking poker hand using her two hole cards and three community cards. The player with the highest-ranking poker hand wins.

If you’re unsure about what any of the above terms mean, refer to our Texas Hold’em glossary below. Many new players are confused about what check, call, raise, and fold mean. You’ll find the explanations below. Once you understand them, it could be useful to come back and read this section again.

Texas Hold’em Rules – Hands

You won’t get very far with Texas Hold’em if you don’t understand the hand rankings. You can pick up the rules and order of play as you go, but without having memorized the hand rankings, you won’t be in a position to calculate your odds of winning.

HandHow It’s Made
Royal FlushAce, King, Jack, Queen, and 10 of the same suit.
Straight FlushFive cards in sequence, all of the same suit. For example, a 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 of Clubs.
Four of a KindFour cards of the same rank. For example, four 10s.
Full HouseThree of a kind and a pair. For example, three Jacks and two Queens.
FlushFive cards of the same suit, but not in sequence. For example, five random Diamonds.
StraightFive cards in a sequence, but not of the same suit, For example, a 5 of Clubs, 6 of Diamonds, 7 of Spades, 8 of Hearts, and 9 of Spades.
Three of a KindThe clue is in the name of this hand. For example, three 8s.
Two PairTwo pairs. For example, two Queens and two 8s.
PairOne pair. For example, two 7s.
High CardWhen no other hand is possible, the players highest card is considered. For example, an Ace.

The Texas Hold’em hands above are listed in order of power. You can bookmark this page for reference when playing Texas Hold’em poker online. Alternatively, print it and use this as a cheat sheet until you have memorized these hand rankings.

Texas Hold’em Online – Tournaments vs. Casino Poker

Before you play Texas Hold’em online, be aware that there are two different kinds available. You can play in poker tournaments, or you can play against the casino. Games companies like Evolution Gaming power casino variants of Texas Hold’em.

Texas Hold’em Tournaments

When you play in online Hold’em tournaments, you play against other players from around the world. There’s no house edge to contend with, but the house will take a small commission on each winning hand. This is called the rake.

Tournaments consist of multiple rounds. You’ll start in a relatively large pool of players, and as you proceed through the rounds, this field will thin out. Eventually, tournaments come down to a final table, and only one player can be declared the winner.

There are many different types of Texas Hold’em tournaments. There are freeroll tournaments which are free to enter and high-stakes tournaments with pots worth tens of thousands. 

Please note that we do not offer Texas Hold’em tournaments at Getlucky.com. Here you can find gambling sites that offer different variations of the game. However, we do offer…

Texas Hold’em Casino Versions

When playing live dealer games of Texas Hold’em, the first thing to understand is that you’re playing against the dealer, not other players. While there’s no rake in this game, the house does have a built-in mathematical edge. It’s about 2.2% of your ante bet.

The gameplay is the same – you’re dealt two hole cards first, and five community cards will be dealt on the table. Your objective is still to make the highest-ranking poker hand possible using these cards.

It’s possible to win a payout of up to 500-1 on the blind bet in this game. You’ll need a Royal Flush to do so. Many players prefer this game. It’s simpler because you only have to think about what the dealer has. In tournaments, you have to calculate what sort of hand each player might have.

Texas Hold’em Tips

Before you play real money Texas Hold’em, remember these tips. They will prevent mistakes and help you win more often.

  • Play for Free – You should always play Texas Hold’em free before you risk real money. Play at least five games before you enter a real money game. You can’t replace experience, and the understanding you will gain from this initial risk-free trial of Texas Hold’em will be invaluable.
  • Understand the Odds – Each poker hand has mathematical odds. You can calculate what your chances of making a certain hand (e.g. a Royal Flush) are based on the hole cards you have and the current cards on the board. If you’re not great at mental calculation, consider using a Texas Hold’em cheat sheet or calculator to help you. When you play online, nobody will be able to see that you have a cheat sheet at hand.
  • Carefully Select Games – Be careful about playing in games and tournaments which are too advanced for you. There are highly experienced players just waiting to take your chips. Be aware that they sometimes come into lower-value games and tournaments for easy pickings. It’s better to play against the casino until you gain competence.
  • Claim Poker Bonuses – Using a casino bonus will boost your bankroll and give you extra chips to play with. These are essential as you learn and make inevitable mistakes. Every chip counts, and everybody likes something extra. Always be sure to read the terms and conditions of poker bonuses before accepting them.
  • Play the Long Game – It’s generally accepted that bluffing with a weak hand, calling and raising bets which risk more than 10% of your bankroll, and other emotional decisions are bad for business when playing Texas Hold’em. It’s better to fold and live to play another day, grinding out a slow and steady return on your bankroll. Of course, if you have an extremely high-ranking hand such as a Royal Flush, you can ignore this advice.

Texas Hold’em Glossary

Whether you’re playing Texas Hold’em online or offline, it will help to know what these terms mean.

Ante – This is the minimum amount each player needs to contribute to the pot before betting begins. Ante bets take place before any cards are dealt.

Blinds – A forced minimum bet. It is posted by the player immediately to the left of the dealer. There are small blinds and big blinds. Small blinds are typically equivalent to half the value of big blinds.

Bluff – Some players pretend to have a better hand than they do. This is called bluffing.

Board – Another word for the poker table. Community cards are said to be “on the board.”

Burn – When the dealer is about to deal another community card, she “burns” or discards one card first.

Buy-In – This can refer to the minimum amount you must bring to the game or the minimum price to participate in a Texas Hold’em poker tournament.

Call – If you place a bet equal to the previous player, you call.

Check – When you want to remain in a game but don’t want to bet. This is only permitted when no other bets have been placed within the round.

Community Cards – The cards on the table or board. There will be five in total.

Dealer Button – In a tournament, the dealer button is a disc which identifies the dealer.

Fold – When you discard your cards because you don’t believe you can win or aren’t willing to risk making the next bet.

Flop – The first three community cards. These are dealt face-up on the board.

Hand – Your hand is the best five-card combo you can make using your hole cards and the community cards.

Hole Cards – The first two cards which each player is dealt. They’re dealt face down.

Limit Game – A variant of Texas Hold’em where betting or raising is only permitted to the value of the big blind.

Muck – This is when a player discards her hand without showing the table.

Pocket Cards – This is an alternative name for hole cards – the first two cards dealt to each player.

Pot – The accumulated winnings which all wins are paid from.

Rake – The percentage of the pot which goes to the house for hosting the game.

Raise – When you increase the bet made by the previous player, you raise.

River – The fifth and final community card which is dealt before the showdown.

Showdown – The final revelation of different player’s hands to see who wins.

Turn – The fourth community card dealt. It comes after the flop but before the river.