In order to understand the rules of Texas hold ‘em it is somewhat helpful to understand the basic rules of poker and how typical poker hands work, but with enough practice, anyone can pick up the basic rules of game play. Texas hold ‘em is a form of poker in which bets are placed blindly by two players and antes can be used in addition to blinds in the latter stages of play in a tournament.
With Texas hold ‘em, the dealer deals two cards, face down to each player, and then deals five cards face up in front of him or herself. The first three of these face up cards are called ‘the flop’, the next card (the fourth) is called ‘the turn’, and the last card (the fifth) is called ‘the river’. As there are three main variations of Texas hold ‘em, limit hold ‘em, no-limit hold ‘em, and pot-limit hold ‘em, rules are described per type of game.
Limit Texas hold ‘em is perhaps the favored form of the game in casinos and other live action venues. Bets and raises that occur in the beginning two rounds, when the first three cards are dealt face up in front of the dealer (the flop), and must equal the big blind bet. This bet is called the small bet. In the next rounds, the fourth and fifth cards (the turn and the river) are dealt and the bets and raises must be at least twice the size of the big blind and is called the big bet.
No-limit Texas hold ‘em is the variation of the game you most likely see on televised tournaments such as the World Series of Poker. Players bet and rise in any quantity as long as it’s higher than the last bet or rise. If someone raises or re-raises with all of their money and cannot equal the last raise amount, the initial person cannot raise again. With pot-limit Texas hold ‘em, a person can only rise as much as in the pot currently and includes the amount that is necessary to call.
The decks of Texas hold ‘em poker games are typically regular decks of 52 cards with the jokers removed. The person who sits in the small blind seat is dealt their cards first and the person sitting in the button seat receives their cards last. The two face down cards dealt to players is called the pocket cards. Those cards are only shown at the end of play, the showdown, which makes Texas hold ‘em a closed version of poker.
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