How Does Texas Holdem Poker Work

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.


Texas Holdem (Hold'em) is one of the world's most popular poker game. This article will teach you how to quickly master the rules and enjoy the game. At the start of the game. When playing Texas Holdem poker, every player is dealt two cards face down – these are called your 'hole cards'. The goal of a Texas hold'em game is to use your hole card and in combination with the community cards to make the best possible five-card poker hand. Hold'em is not unlike other poker games like. MSN Texas Hold'em will not load completely and it hangs. It did not do that before. Can you please give me suggestions? The goal of a Texas hold'em game is to use your hole card and in combination with the community cards to make the best possible five-card poker hand. Hold'em is not unlike other poker games like. 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.

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.

Dealer Button

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.

The Blinds

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.

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:

  1. Fold – Throw the cards away and not play in this hand
  2. Call – Call the size of the big blind or highest bet if another player has raised, and take part in the hand
  3. 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:

  1. Check – not bet anything
  2. 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:

  1. Fold – drop out the hand
  2. Call – call the bet that has been made
  3. 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.

The Turn

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.

The River

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”.

How Does Texas Holdem Poker Work In

After the River the fourth and final betting round takes place in the same way as the previous round.

The Showdown

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.

How Does Texas Hold Em Work

Next Hand

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.

In our lesson on the three main betting variations of poker, we used an example where a player in a no-limit game could bet far more than anyone else at the table, provided the player had such an amount. Poker is always played at table stakes, and this means you can only wager the amount of money you have in front of you when the hand begins. It is quite common for a player to run out of money during a hand. If you have more money than another player, it doesn’t mean you can bet them out of the pot because they can’t afford to call your bet. Otherwise the poker player with the most money would always win if he bet all his chips, and it wouldn’t be a very enjoyable game.

All-in Bets

When a player puts all his chips into the pot he is said to be “all-in”. The important thing to know is that a player can never be bet out of a pot because he always has the option to call for all of his chips. For example, a player with $50 goes all-in, and everyone folds apart from a player who only has $30 left:

Figure 1

This player cannot match the $50 bet, but he can also go all-in for his last $30. When nobody else is involved, the first player would get back the unmatched $20 bet (i.e. his bet is $30 rather than $50). This is shown in figure 2, below:

Figure 2

In this example the shorter-stack wins the pot, but the surplus $20 is returned to player 5.

The whole point of this is that players can take back any extra money when another player is all-in for less, when nobody else has called. The same applies to an extreme no limit example, where a player might bet $10,000 in a $1/$2 game. Here’s an example where it’s folded around to the big blind, who has $10 remaining in his stack.

Figure 3

He has $12 in total and clearly can’t match the $10,000 – but he can go all-in. If he does then the player with $10,000, would take back $9,988. No more betting would take place, as there isn’t anything left to wager. After the flop, turn and river, the player with the best hand would win the $25 pot ($12 from each plus the small blinds $1).

Side Pots

Texas Hold'em Poker Zynga

It can be a little more complicated when there’s more than two players involved in a hand. This is when a side pot is created for the other players, and any further bets cannot be won by the all-in player. The all-in player is eligible for the main pot only.

Take a look at figure 4, below, which shows three players remaining in a hand. Two players have $50 each, and another has just $10 remaining. In this example the pot already contains $40 from the previous betting rounds. Player 5 makes a bet of $20:

Figure 4

Player 6 only has $10 but he can call for his last $10 (and would therefore be “all in”) or fold. If player 6 decides to go all-in for his last $10, then the last active player (player 7), who has $50, can call, but must call for $20, which is the original bet, or he can raise. If he calls then a side pot is created, as is shown in figure 5:

Figure 5

The main pot now contains $70, which is made up of the existing $40 in the pot, plus $10 x 3. Player 6 is “all in” and can only win this main pot. A side pot containing the extra $20 is created, and can only be won by the players who contributed to this side pot (players 5 and 7). The next card will be dealt and further betting will take place. Any further bets are added to this side pot, and not the main pot. Players 5 and 7, who contributed to the side pot, can win the side pot and the main pot, if their hand beats the “all in” player. If player 6 has the winning hand after the final betting round, then he will win the $70 pot, but the side pot will be won by either player 5 or player 7.

Texas Hold'em Poker Superhry


There has been quite a bit of information in this lesson, which to the uninitiated could be confusing. As soon as you start playing poker you’ll quickly become familiar with these betting basics because they occur very frequently. Sometimes there can be lots of different side pots during a hand involving lots of different players – whether it’s limit, pot limit, or no limit poker. This is because not everyone has the same amount of chips – and players who have fewer chips than an opponent cannot win more from a player than they contributed themselves. The important thing to remember is that a player can never be bet out of hand because he doesn’t have enough to call.

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By Tim Ryerson

Governor Of Poker

Tim is from London, England and has been playing poker since the late 1990’s. He is the ‘Editor-in-Chief’ at and is responsible for all the content on the website.

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