Texas Hold'em is one of the most popular poker games and is enjoyed by fans from all over the world. The aim of the game is for a player to win the pot by showing the best hand at the end of a round or by being the last player in the game after the others have folded. A 52-card deck is used and the game is played at a table for up to 10 players. A special chip or "button"" is used at the table to indicate the dealer and the order in which certain actions must take place. The hand opens with the placement of blinds. The first player to the left of the dealer button places the small blind, while the next player places the big blind. The dealer then deals the first two pocket cards, which are face down; the player to the left of the big blind initiates betting, which continues clockwise. The round of bets is completed when all players have either folded or have covered the amount placed by the remaining active players, or a player has bet all of his chips. After the first round of bets, and assuming there are at least two players still in the game, the dealer flips three cards face up in the middle of the table; this is the flop. These are communal cards that any player can use. After the flop, there is another round of betting. In this round, as in all subsequent rounds, bet placement starts with the player to the left of the dealer button and continues clockwise. Once all bets have been placed on the flop, the dealer flips another card on the table, which is called the turn, and a third round of betting follows. Finally, the dealer flips a final (fifth) card, which is called the river, and a fourth and final round of betting follows. This concludes the betting and if necessary, players reveal their pocket cards for the showdown. The best hand of five cards combining both pocket cards and community cards, depending on the value of the cards, wins the pot. There is a total of four rounds of betting for each deal.
You can combine the five cards you need for your hand in the following ways: the two hidden pocket cards plus three of the five cards on the table, or one of the pocket cards, plus four of the community cards on the table, or even just the five cards on the table and none of your own. The remaining cards are of no concern; only the best five cards count toward your hand.
Betting options and terminology
Players have one of the following options when placing a bet.
When a player has not decided whether to place a bet, he can say "check", giving his turn to the next player so the game can continue. In this way, the player stays in the game until one of the following players decides to place a bet on the table, at which point players must decide whether to match the bet or to fold. A player can check only if there are no bets on the table.
When another player has placed a bet, it means you are matching, or "seeing", the bet and staying in the deal.
When a player opts to give up the hand, he folds the cards and does not "see" the bet.
When a player wants to open betting or increase the amount bet by another player, challenging him to raise the stakes. Texas Hold'em is played with "no limit", meaning there is no restriction on betting.
The best hand. It consists of the 10-J-Q-K and A in the same suit.
Five sequential cards of the same suit.
Four cards of the same rank, with any fifth. The higher the rank of the same cards, the stronger the hand, e.g. four 6s beat four 3s.
A combination of three of a kind and a pair. It is a queens full when there are three queens, a 9s full when there are three nines, and so on. Between two full houses, the one with the highest-ranking three cards wins.
Any five cards of the same suit. Between two flushes, the one with the highest-ranking card (the highest is the ace) wins. If the highest card is the same, the second-highest cards are compared, and so on.
Five cards of sequential rank which are not of the same suit. Between straights, the one with the highest rank wins (highest would be 10-J-Q-K-A and lowest would be A-2-3-4-5).
Three of a kind
Three cards of the same rank with any other two cards.
Two pairs of equally ranked cards, different from each other (e.g. two 8s and two 7s), plus another card. The highest pair wins. If two players have the same highest pair, the winner is the one with the highest lower pair. For example, Q-Q-10-10 beats a Q-Q-7-7.
Two cards of equal ranking and three other cards which are different from each other. Where two hands have the same pair, the strongest is the one with the highest card in the remaining three.
Five unrelated cards - the winner is whoever has the highest-ranking card (with A, K, Q being the highest and 4, 3, 2 the lowest). If the highest cards are the same, the winner is determined by the second highest card and so on.
This game is played with five communal cards, while players are dealt four face-down cards they use in combination with the community cards to make up a hand. Players must use exactly two of their four hidden cards, along with three of the communal cards to make up the best possible combination. The rules of the game and the rounds of betting in Omaha are exactly the same as in Texas Hold'em. However, Omaha is played with a different type of betting known as "pot limit".