Texas Hold'em Poker - How to Play, Step by Step
When Texas Hold'em begins, the dealer deals two 'hole cards' to every player in a clockwise direction. After this has been completed the betting begins.
Round one - The Betting Round
This is the round when each player considers his cards carefully and evaluates their potential in getting him the winning pot. The player seated immediately left of the big blind player starts the betting and from there it continues in a clockwise direction.
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In the first round, each player with the exception of the player posting the big blind may choose to fold, call the bet or raise the bet, increasing the bet to a full bet. From the players who remain in the game only the player who bet big blind has the option to 'check' and stay in the game without calling or raising the bet. This means the player who played big blind continues to remain in the running for winning the pot without chipping more money into it. The other players have to call or raise or fold their cards. If they choose to call they have to bet. If they raise they bet a larger amount.
By this time the dealer deals the first three community cards called 'the flop'. They are placed face up in the centre of the table. Players can use three community cards from these in combination with the two hole cards they have to consider their own chances of winning the pot.
In the second round betting commences from the player seated on the left of the dealer. This is true even if the dealer has folded his cards. Betting always begins with the player on the left of the dealer and moves clockwise across the table. The same structure as in the first round is followed. The first player who has bet is allowed to 'check'. If no one else raises, all the other players may also check.
After the second round betting ends, the dealer deals the fourth card - called the 'turn'. Now the players have six cards to consider, two pocket cards - the ones in their hands and four on the table.
In the third round betting, a similar structure follows. The players are now required to wager using the higher level of stakes at the table.
In round four, the fifth and final community card is on the table. Now all the community cards are shown and each player has to make his five card combination using any three cards from the table. Each player knows exactly how strong his own hand is. He however doesn't know whether his opponents have a stronger or weaker hand than his own.
In the betting of round 4, the players who're disappointed with the final cards fold rapidly. Betting follows the same structure as the previous round with the higher level of stakes at the table being the wager.
Now it’s time for showdown. This is when every player left in the game shows their hand. This begins with the last player betting on the cards and continues in that pattern. Players may also choose to 'muck' that is fold without showing their hand. If every player but one folds, then the remaining player is the winner by default. He has the option whether or not to show his cards. Most players choose not to reveal their cards and keep the other players guessing about the winning hand.
The Player with the best hand according to the Texas Hold'em Poker rules is determined the winner. If two players have identical hands, they are both considered winners and the pot is split evenly by the two.
If the five community hands are the best hand, then the pot is shared evenly by the players remaining in the game. This is known as 'the board plays'.