Rules for Texas Hold em Poker
In a short time, Texas Hold em has gone from just another game to the game of choice for people everywhere. The rapid pace of the game combined with the tremendous exposure it has received from televised events like the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour have catapulted the game to the forefront. With its simple rules of play, the game can appear simplistic to the untrained eye. Only on closer examination can one detect the many nuances that go into the game’s strategy.
At the start of each hand, a small disk known as the dealer button is placed in front of one of the players. This disk indicates the theoretical dealer of each hand and marks the individual who will act last in each of the betting rounds. After each hand, the button moves clockwise one spot to the next player.
Two cards, known as hole cards, are then dealt to every player. Hole cards can only be used by the player that holds them.
The two players to the left of the button make forced bets called the small blind and big blind respectively. In limit hold em, the big blind is equal to the size of the small betting limit (i.e. in a R4/R8 limit hold em game, the big blind would be R4). The small blind is generally half of the big blind.
Action begins with the player to the left of the big blind and continues in a clockwise fashion. All players must at least match the amount in of the big blind in order to remain in the hand. If a player does not wish to match the big blind, he can throw his cards away and wait for the next hand to start. The player can also raise by an amount equal to the smaller bet. All players must now match this additional amount to remain in the hand.
The round is completed when action goes around the table without any player raising or the maximum number of bets allowed per round is reached.
Three cards are spread across the centre of the table. These are community cards, which means all players are allowed to use them.
The smaller betting limit is once again used. Starting from the left of the dealer button, the first player to act has the option of checking or betting.
Checking can only be performed when no bets have been placed in the current round. It refers to passing the action on to the next player. Once a bet has been placed, checking is no longer allowed.
After any player places a bet, all other players have the option of calling, raising or folding. Calling refers to matching the bet in order to remain in the hand. Raising refers to making an additional bet in addition to a bet placed by another player. If the player is unwilling to match the bet, you may throw away your cards and wait for the next hand to start.
A fourth community card is placed at the centre of the table.
The betting limit now doubles and becomes equivalent to the size of the larger betting increment. For example, in the R4/R8 game, the betting limit in this round would increase from R4 to R8.
The fifth and final community card is placed at the centre of the table.
Another round of betting using the size of the larger betting increment takes place.
All remaining players turn over their cards and the one with the strongest hand takes all the money in the pot. If two or more players tie, the pot is split evenly among those players. If there is an uneven amount, the remainder is given to the player closest to the dealer’s left.
The winning hand can be made by any of the following combinations:
The player's two hole cards and three of the five community cards.
One of the player's hole cards and four of the five community cards.
All five of the community cards.