The Game of Texas Hold'em
A full table of Texas Hold’em will seat 10 players and have a rotating blind system. The blind system is designed to start action and generate money for the pot. Blinds are forced bets. There are two blinds, the big blind and the small blind, which is half the amount of the big blind. For example, if the table is a $4/$8 table, then the big blind would be $4 and the small blind would be $2. The blinds move around the table in a clockwise direction, and are the 2 players to the left of the dealer; small is immediately to the left and big is the second seat to the left. A dealer button is used to indicate a dealer; the dealer button also moves clockwise after each hand so all players pay equal blinds. In some tournaments when the blinds get very high, an additional bet, or ante, is also used in addition to the blinds. In tournaments the blinds increase as time passes but at a cash table or ring game they never increase.
Opening Round (first round of betting)
After the blinds are on the table, each player will be dealt two down cards; these are called hole cards. A betting round will start with the player to the left of the big blind. This person may choose to call the bet (pay the same amount as the big blind), raise (pay more) or fold (give the cards up and get out of the hand). When the betting comes to the small blind the player in that position can call the partial bet they initially placed (meaning they must match the amount of the big blind of which they have already paid half of, assuming no raise to that point), raise the bet, or fold. The player in the big blind has the option to raise or check (to decline to bet more) since this player already has a full bet in the pot. Should a player raise, the betting action must go around the table again with each player deciding to match the raise, re-raise or fold. Typically there is one bet and three raises allowed. Once the 3 raises have been made the pot is “capped” but not all three raises need to be used. In this round the bets are subject to the lower limits of the table or equal to the big blind. You cannot bet less than the lower limit of the table.
The Flop (second round of betting)
After the first round of betting is completed, three community cards will be dealt face up on the table. This is called the flop. There is a second round of betting (also subject to the lower limit of the table as in the first round). This round of betting is started with the player to the left of the dealer button which is the small blind. Each player still active in the hand may check (only if no player before them has bet) or bet. After a bet, each player may call the bet, raise, re-raise if a player raises, or fold.
The Turn (third round of betting)
After the betting on the flop is complete a fourth community card is dealt face up in the centre of the table. This is called the turn, and is followed by another round of betting. With the third round of betting the amount of the bets goes up to the higher limit of the table. Take a $2/$4 table, the bets must be $4, a raise must be at least $8. Limit, Pot-Limit and No Limit (this limits the amounts that can be bet) is explained more in depth below.
The River (fourth betting round)
Now the last community card is dealt face up on the table. This is called the river, and there will be no more cards in this hand. The last round of betting is conducted and like the turn it is subject to the higher limits of the table. Here the players have the chance to check, bet, raise or fold, if there two or more players left in the hand a showdown occurs, all this means is that all players still in the hand show their hole cards to determine who wins the pot.
Players may use any combination of their hole cards and the community cards to make the best five-card hand possible. To see the relative value of each five card combination and the odds of finishing with each hand, please click the Poker option on the top menu to reach this page: http://www.g2gpros.com/poker.html.