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Texas Hold'em is a shared card poker game. Each player is dealt two private cards and there are five face up shared (or 'community') cards on the table that can be used by anyone. In the showdown the winner is the player who can make the best five-card poker hand from the seven cards available.
Since the 1990's, Texas Hold'em has become one of the most popular poker games worldwide. Its spread has been helped firstly by a number of well publicised televised tournaments such as the World Series of Poker and secondly by its success as an online game. For many people nowadays, poker has become synonymous with Texas Hold'em.
This page assumes some familiarity with the general rules and terminology of poker. See the poker rules page for an introduction to these, and the poker betting and poker hand ranking pages for further details.
Players and Cards
How Do You Break A Tie In Texas Holdem Tournament
Once you’ve mastered these 5 Texas Hold’em poker strategies, you’ll be able to incorporate many other strategies into your overall game plan. Luckily, these strategies will set you on the path to Texas Hold’em glory. Let’s get started! #1 – Opening Hands. Remember, poker is a battle royale. Don’t 4-bet it because if you get pushed on you’re basically dead. What do you think the other guy is pushing with? Related Reading: How to Play AQ: The Worst Best Hand; 2. Reading People is About Small Things. DN: It’s about noticing and picking up, but it’s not the same things for everybody. It’s not easy and it takes time. Texas Holdem Rules: Learn How to Play in under 10 minutes. Texas Holdem is the most popular variant of poker and the one we recommend beginners start with. Once you have a good understanding of Texas Holdem, other poker variants are quite similar and will be easier to learn. The object of Texas Hold em poker is to create the best five-card hand. In the chance of a tie between hands the following tie-breakers are used: Pairs– if two players are tied for highest pairs a “kicker” or the next highest-ranking card is used to determine the winner. You continue until one player has a higher-ranking card or both are determined to have the same exact hand, in which case the pot is split.
From two to ten players can take part. In theory more could play, but the game would become unwieldy.
A standard international 52-card pack is used.
The Deal and Betting
Texas Hold'em is usually played with no ante, but with blinds. When there are more than two players, the player to dealer's left places a small blind, and the next player to the left a big blind. The big blind is equal to the minimum bet and the small blind is typically half that amount. When there are only two players (a 'heads-up' game), the dealer places the small blind and the non-dealer the big blind.
The cards are shuffled and cut, the dealer 'burns' one card and then deals the cards one at a time face down until each player has two cards. These are known as the player's hole cards or pocket cards. Players may look at their two hole cards and must not show them to any other player.
The first betting round is begun by the player to the left of the big blind. The blinds count as bets, so the small blind need only pay the difference between the blinds to call. The big blind player acts last and is allowed to raise, even if the other active players have all called.
After the first betting round the dealer burns one card and deals three cards face up to the table. These three cards are known as the flop. There is then a second betting round begun by the first active player to the left of the dealer seat.
When the second betting round is complete, the dealer burns a card and then deals one card face up to the table. This card is known as the turn or fourth street. There is then a third betting round, again begun by the first active player to the left of the dealer seat.
After the third betting round the dealer burns another card and deals one more card face up - the river or fifth street. There is fourth and final round of betting before the showdown, again begun by the first active player to the left of the dealer seat.
In a fixed-limit or spread-limit game, any betting round that has more than two active players at the start is normally limited to one bet plus three (sometimes four) raises. In the first (pre-flop) betting round the big blind counts for this purpose as the first bet. If a betting round begins with only two active players, there is no limit on the number of raises.
In limit poker, the betting limits are usually doubled before the third betting round. So for example a $10-$20 game would typically have blinds of $5 and $10, bets of $10 in the first two rounds and bets of $20 in the last two.
Active players show their hands in clockwise order, beginning with the player who was the last to bet or raise in the final betting round. If everyone checked in the final betting round, the first active player to the left of the dealer seat is the first to show. See the betting and showdown page for further details.
Each player makes the best possible five-card poker hand from the seven available cards: the player's two hole cards and the five face-up table cards, which are known as the board. This can be in any combination: both hole cards with three from the board, one hole card with four from the board, or just the board cards without using the hole cards at all, which is known as playing the board.
- For a hand to be considered for winning the pot, the player must show both hole cards, even if only one or neither of them is used to make the best hand.
- The cards speak for themselves: the best hand is entitled to win the pot if shown, even if the owner does not realise that it is the best hand.
- As always, poker hands consist of just five cards. The two unused cards have no bearing on whether one hand is better than another.
Example. On the board is A-Q-Q-9-6. Player A has K-9; player B has 9-6; player C has 9-3. This is a three-way tie, since all three players have Q-Q-9-9-A as their best hand. The pot is split equally between A, B and C.
Because of its great popularity as a tournament and online game, much has been written about the strategy of Texas Hold'em.
The Poker Strategy page provides a list of sites with useful Texas Hold'em Strategy articles.
How Do You Break A Tie In Texas Holdem Rules
The Poker Books page reviews a couple of good books about how to play Texas Hold'em.
The game described above is Texas Hold'em as played formally in public card rooms. When it is played at home, the same procedure can be used, but in some informal games the burning of cards is omitted, and the five community cards are dealt face down to the table at the start. Three of these cards are turned face up after the first betting round, one after the second and one after the third. The result is similar to the formal game, but there is an increased risk that a player might, by accident or by cheating, learn the identity of some of the table cards before they are officially exposed.
The practice of dealing the community cards to the table at the start and turning them face up later is commonly found in community card poker games with more complex layouts, such as Iron Cross and Tic-Tac-Toe. Several of these are listed on the Poker Variants page.
This is played the same way as Texas Hold'em, except that each player is initially dealt three hole cards and must discard one of them before the first round of betting.
As in Pineapple, each player is dealt three cards, but in Crazy Pineapple they are kept until after the second betting round. Each active player must discard one card immediately before the fourth board card (the turn) is dealt.
Crazy Pineapple Hi-Lo 8 or Better
Crazy Pineapple is often played in such a way that the pot is shared between the players with the highest and lowest hands. The deal and betting are exactly as in Crazy Pineapple. At the showdown, as well as making their best hand, each active player makes the lowest possible hand from their seven cards. When making a low hand, the five cards must all be of different ranks, the aces count as low, straights and flushes do not count, and no card can be higher than an 8. So the best low hand is A-2-3-4-5 and the worst is 8-7-6-5-4. Cards are compared from the top down, so 7-5-4-3-2 is better than 7-6-3-2-A because the 5 is lower than the 6. Players can use a different selection of cards for their high hand and their low hand.
The pot is split equally between the highest hand and the lowest hand. If none of the active players qualifies for low (which will automatically be the case if there are three cards higher than 8 on the board), then the player with the highest hand wins the whole pot.
This Texas Hold'em variant is similar to Crazy Pineapple, but each player is initially dealt four hole cards. These can all be kept until the end of the second round of betting. Before the fourth board card (the turn) is dealt, each active player must discard two of their hole cards, keeping just two for the turn and river.
Texas Holdem is the most popular variant of poker and the one we recommend beginners start with. Once you have a good understanding of Texas Holdem, other poker variants are quite similar and will be easier to learn.
The object of Texas Hold em poker is to create the best five-card hand using seven available cards. Each player is dealt 2 cards which only they can see and use. There are then 5 cards dealt to the middle of the table which are community cards which everybody can see and use.
Once the game starts an imaginary dealer is assigned. Obviously with online poker the computer does all the dealing automatically but this nominal dealer is important as it indicates who posts the compulsory bets (known as blinds) before each hand and it also indicates who is first to act in each betting round.
The current dealer is indicated by a disc marked with a “D” known as the dealer button. At the end of each hand the dealer button moves along to the next player to the left of the current dealer and continues to move clockwise after each hand is finished.
In Texas Holdem there are two compulsory bets that are made before the start of each hand. These are known as the “Small blind” and the “Big blind” and ensures that there are chips to be won in every hand.
The player to the immediate left of the dealer places the small blind and the player to the left of the small blind posts the big blind.
In No Limit games the size of the blinds is set by the stakes of the table you are at. So for example at a $1 / $2 table the small blind would be $1 and the big blind would be $2.
How Do You Break A Tie In Texas Holdem Tournaments
Before The Flop – First Betting Round
Once the blinds have been posted, two cards are dealt face down to each player at the table, these are known as “hole cards”. Only the individual player can see these cards.
At this point the first betting round begins and each player must make a decision on how to act based on the strength of their hole cards. They have the following options:
- Fold – Throw the cards away and not play in this hand
- Call – Call the size of the big blind or highest bet if another player has raised, and take part in the hand
- Raise – Make a larger bet than the current bet (or big blind). Any other player who wants to continue would then have to call your increased bet in order to carry on. A raise must be at least an increase the size of the Big Blind so the minimum raise would be 2 times the big blind amount. In No Limit there is no maximum to your raise, It can be your whole stack if you wish.
Action always goes clockwise on a table. On the first betting round, the first person to act is the player to the left of the big blind. Each player acts in turn until all the players have acted at the table, and the amount put into the pot by each player remaining in the hand is equal.
The Flop – Second Betting Round
After the first betting round has finished, the dealer places 3 cards face up in the middle of the table – this is known as the “Flop”. The cards in the middle of the table are called “Community Cards” as they are shared by all the players towards making their final hands.
Players can now see 5 cards (2 hole cards + 3 community cards) out of the 7 cards to come and should have good idea of how their hand is developing. At this point the second betting round begins.
In this and all subsequent betting rounds, the action starts with the first player remaining in the hand to the left of the dealer. This player can either:
How Do You Break A Tie In Texas Holdem Card Game
- Check – not bet anything
- Bet – place a bet which the other players must at least call to continue in the hand. The minimum bet is the size of the big blind.
If everyone checks then this betting round ends with no-one betting. As soon as someone bets then the other players can either:
- Fold – drop out the hand
- Call – call the bet that has been made
- Raise – increase the bet that has been made which the other players must then call to continue in the hand.
As in the previous betting round, the plays continues clockwise around the table until all players have called, checked or folded and the amount placed in the pot by each player still in the hand is equal.
After the second betting round, the dealer places a 4th community card, face up on the table – this is called the “Turn card”, it is sometimes also referred to as “Fourth Street”.
After the Turn there is a third betting round, which operates in exactly the same way as the previous betting round.
After the third betting round, the dealer places the 5th and final community card face up on the table – this is called the “River card”.
After the River the fourth and final betting round takes place in the same way as the previous round.
After the final round of betting, each player still left in the hand can use any combination of the 2 hole cards in their hands and the 5 community cards on the table to produce the best 5 card hand.
The player with the highest ranking hand wins the pot. If two or more players have the same value hand then the pot is split between them equally.
If you have not already learnt which hand is better than another then please look at our Poker Hand Ranking Guide.
Once the hand has finished and the pot has been awarded to the winning player, the game moves onto the next hand.
The dealer button moves to the next player on the left of the current dealer, the cards are shuffled, the blinds are posted by the next two players and the cards are dealt again.
Where to Play Texas Holdem?
We recommend 888 Poker for a great place to play Texas Holdem. To find out more about them see our 888 Poker Review or to see alternate rooms to play Texas Holdem then see the Professor's reviews in our Poker Reviews section.