Texas Hold’em is the most popular form of poker today, played with the 52 card deck. If you want to get familiarized with the rules of the game, these instructions can help.
A marker called ’the button’ points out which player is ’the acting dealer’. Before the game begins, the player immediate left of the dealer is obliged to post the big blind and the player sitting next to him must post the small blind. These blinds are known as forced bets. The small blind should usually be half the amount of the big blind. For each game, the button moves clockwise around the table, giving each player a turn being the button, small blind and big blind.
Each player is then dealt a card face down (’hole’ cards) until all players receive two cards. The first round of betting, called ’the preflop’ begins. Each player should look at their concealed cards and decide which action to take:
Fold – paying nothing to the pot, throwing their hand away
Call – matching the amount of the big blind
Raise - increasing the bet by doubling the amount of the big blind.
The first round of betting is complete and the following one, known as ’the flop’ takes place. The first three ’community cards’ are dealt face up available to all players. The same betting options as in ’the preflop’ apply with the difference that, if nobody has previously bet, a player can pass the action to the next player. This option is called ’check’.
The forth community card, known as ’the turn’ is dealt and the third round of betting follows. Again, players can chose from the same options: to bet, call, fold, raise and check.
‘The river’ is the fifth and final community card dealt in a game. There is a final round of betting with the same betting options as in the previous rounds.
After the final betting round, the remaining players in the hand show their cards. This action is called ‘the showdown’. The player with the best five-card poker hand from the seven cards available wins the pot.
Therefore, the aim of the game is to win, of course! But, in order to win the pot, you need to hold the best combination cards. When comparing cards, all suits (clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades) are equal and only card rank (from deuce to ace) matters. Poker hands fall into one of several categories ranked below, from highest to lowest:
Royal Straight Flush - an ace high straight flush
Straight Flush - five consecutive cards of the same suit
Four of a kind - four cards of the same suit
Full house - a set of a pair of one rank and three cards of another rank
Flush - any five cards of the same suit
Straight - five consecutive card ranks (the lowest – ace to five and the highest – ten to ace)
Two pairs – two pairs of cards of two different ranks
Pair – two cards of the same rank (the highest – a pair of aces)
High Card – the hand with the highest card wins.
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