Texas Hold'em Game Rules

Posted by John Taylor on

(In Texas Hold'em, you build a hand with two hole cards and three community cards)

(In Texas Hold'em, you build a hand with two hole cards and three community cards)

Card Game Rules

Texas Hold’em Poker is a casino type game where the objective is to win the best hand out of a group of players. Players are initially given two cards, called “hole” cards, that they hold throughout the game (hence the name). They then try to make the best five card hand out of their initial holes and five community cards. 

For other casino type games, see our guides for Blackjack and Seven Card Stud Poker.

Ranking of Hands

Below is the list of hand rankings from least to greatest:

High Card- If nobody has any pairs, the highest card wins.

One Pair

Two Pair

Three of a Kind

Straight- Five sequential cards that are not of the same suit.

Flush- Five cards that are of the same suit.

Full House- Three of a kind and a pair.

Four of a Kind

Straight Flush- Five sequential cards that are of the same suit.

Royal Flush- 10 through Ace of the same suit.

Set up

In Texas Hold’em, there are three roles that rotate clockwise after each game: Dealer, Left Blind, and Right Blind.

Dealer

Before the game begins an initial Dealer must be chosen. To do so, every player is given a card from a shuffled deck and whoever receives the highest card becomes the first Dealer. Ties are broken by a repeated deal. The Dealer is given a token or button to illustrate the title. The initial Dealer shuffles the deck and the player clockwise to them cuts it. The Dealer will then advance the steps of play as discussed below.

Left Blind

The Left Blind is the player clockwise to the dealer. They make the initial bet before anybody gets their cards.

Right Blind

The Right Blind is the player clockwise to the Left Blind. They must double the bet of the Left Blind.

How to Play

After the Blinds have added to the pot, the Dealer passes out two cards to everybody in play. In Texas Hold’em, players have five moves they can make with each round: Fold, Check, Bet, Call, and Raise.

Fold

To fold, players surrender their hand, losing whatever bets they may have made in the game the pot.

Check

To check, players pass on the option to make a bet. Checks can only happen if no bets had been made in the round thus far.

Bet

To bet, players put in any amount of money they think matches the worth of their hand into the pot. The first bet determines the stakes of the round

Call

To call, players make a bet equal to the amount of the previous bet.

Raise

To raise, players make a bet larger than the amount of the previous bet.

Rounds

In Texas Hold’em, there are five rounds to a game: Pre-Flop, Flop, Turn, River, and Showdown.

Pre-Flop

After the Dealer has passed out two cards to everyone, the player clockwise to the Right Blind has the option to fold, call or raise the previous bet. Play then proceeds clockwise around the table.

Flop

At the start of the Flop round, the Dealer places three community cards upright in the middle of the table. Normal play then proceeds starting with the player clockwise from the Dealer.

Turn/Fourth Street

At the start of the Turn Round, or Fourth Street, the Dealer places a fourth card in the community.

River/Fifth Street

At the start of the River Round, the Dealer places a fifth and final card in the community.

Showdown

If there are still players in the game after the River Round, players must over turn their cards for all to see with the highest hand taking the pot.

At the end of the round, the Dealer, Left Blind and Right Blind rotate clockwise and gameplay begins again.

For additional information about the rules of Texas Hold'em, check out pagat's article here.

 

History

(Texas Hold'em came to the Las Vegas casino the Gold Nugget in the early 1960's)

(Texas Hold'em came to the Las Vegas casino the Gold Nugget in the early 1960's)

As the name implies, Texas Hold’em originated in the state of Texas. While its specific origins are unclear, the Texan Government recognizes Robstown, Texas as the game’s birthplace, dating it to the early 20th century. During the 1960’s, Texas Hold’em came to Las Vegas, Nevada where it quickly became popular at the Golden Nugget Casino. Before Hold’em, the main game played was Draw Poker, which only allowed two bets. Because Hold’em allowed for four bets, there was opportunity for bigger winnings and strategic play. Texas Hold’em increased in popularity throughout the late 20th century. Doyle Brunson's influential 1978 book Super/System was the first professional book to discuss Texas Hold’em in great detail. In 1988, the court case Tibbetts v. Van De Kamp declared that Hold’em is legally distinct from Stud Horse and that it is a game of skill.

For more information about the history of Texas Hold'em, check out this article here. If you are interested in the wider historical narrative of poker in general, check out David Parlett's article here.

Variations

Limit/No Limit

Limits or no limits may be applied to almost every betting game. They refer to betting procedures. Some casinos may enforce limits on how much somebody can bet, while others may allow for unlimited bet amounts.

Double-Board Hold 'em

Double-Board Hold 'em possesses the same general rules and procedures as Texas Hold’em but, as the name implies, there are two boards of community cards. The same dealing procedures apply for these boards (i.e. during the flop, the dealer reveals three cards for each board and then one card for each board at the end of every round thereafter). The two boards share one pot. If a player has the best hand for one board, the player receives half the pot. If their hand is the best for both boards, they receive the full pot.

Omaha Hold 'em

In Omaha Hold’em, players receive four hole cards instead of two. The game is still played to the best of a five card hand, with players using two of their own cards and three of the community cards.

Pineapple Hold’em

In Pineapple Hold’em, players initially receive three hole cards but, they discard one of their cards before betting begins. Afterwards, play proceeds with traditional Texas Hold’em rules.

Recommended product for casino type games.

If you want to know more about the world of gambling and casinos, check out this book by Hugh Miller here.

Interview with Inside the Casino

John Nielsen from Inside the Casino interviewed us during the summer of 2018. They know all about casino games and equipment and we were happy to talk with them about the playing card industry. You may view the interview here

Looking for more card games to play?  Check out this article:

40+ Great Card Games For All Occasions

About the author: John Taylor is a content writer and freelancer through the company Upwork.com. You may view his freelancing profile here. He has a B.A. in English, with a specialty in technical writing, from Texas A&M University and is working towards a Masters degree in English at the University of Glasgow. You may view his previous articles about card games here and his LinkedIn profile here.

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Last update date: 08/30/19

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