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Texas holdem poker Rules

Texas Hold'em Poker, among all other casino poker games, is the most popular poker game not just in brick and mortar establishments, but Online as well. You can find it being played in a neighbors kitchen or in your local Poker cardroom... all the way to big time celebrities playing Hold'em in the finest and most extravagant Casinos of Las Vegas.

Texas Hold'em Poker continues to attract more and more people from all walks of life and has quickly become the preferred poker game found in nearly every corner on the world. While Texas Hold'em has become the most popular poker game ever, the stakes have increased at a mind boggling rate. The 2004 WSOP No Limit Texas Hold'em first place winner Greg Raymer took home a cool 5 million! Texas Hold'em Poker, is the 'creme de la creme' for sophisticated poker players. If you apply yourself and put enough time in to learn to play correctly, you may just find yourself joining the ranks of the illustrious who can claim themselves as the best Texas Hold'em Poker players in the world. Of course you don't have to be among the best in the world to win money playing Texas Hold'em, you just need to be slightly better than your opponent.

To play Online Texas Holdem or to play in your local poker room, the following covers the basic Texas Hold'em Poker Rules and guidelines for getting up to speed quickly in this exciting Poker game. The basic strategies for Texas Hold'em Poker can be applied both Online and off-line. For more advanced players ready to hone their Hold'em skills, the book "Hold'Em Poker for Advanced Players" by Sklansky and Malmuth, is recommended by many professional players as a must read.


Bet against other players, not the house.

Unlike the typical gambling game you will find in any Las Vegas style casino, there is no 'House Edge' in Texas Hold'em Poker. The 'edge' resides with you, or with your opponent. Whoever's skill is more refined in the knowledge of cards and the rules of Texas Hold'em, along with the talent of understanding the 'tells' of his/her opponent, will win more consistently as long as lady luck is being even-handed.

In Texas Hold'em poker, there are typically 4 betting rounds with each betting round having the possibility of one bet and 3 raises. As you play Texas Hold'em, you will see that there is often no betting in some rounds because every player 'checks' (or passes) on betting. One thing to keep in mind is that if one player bets, every player at the table must either match the bet ('call'), raise the bet, or fold their cards, thereby forfeiting their chance at winning the pot.

Below is the normal sequence for betting in Texas Hold'em Poker.

1- The small blind and big blind are placed.
2- The dealer deals every player on the table two cards face down. These two cards are known as 'hole cards' or 'pocket cards'.
3- First Betting Round proceeds at the lower betting limit. Because the 'big blind' is considered a live bet, all players must call, raise or fold.
4- The Dealer deals 3 cards face up in the middle of the table. These 3 cards are called 'community' or 'board' cards. These same three cards and are used by every player, hence the name 'community cards'.
5- Second Betting Round proceeds at the lower betting limit. All players have the option not to bet ('check') unless a player makes a bet. If someone bets, then all players must either call, raise or fold.
6- The dealer deals 1 more face up community card.
7- Third Betting Round proceeds, this time at the higher betting limit. Any remaining players once again have the option not to bet ('check') unless a player makes a bet. If someone bets, then of course, all players must call, raise or fold.
8- The last community card is dealt, making for a total of 5 community cards on the table.
9- Fourth and final Betting Round proceeds at the higher betting limit with the same check, bet, raise or fold options as the earlier betting rounds. If after the fourth betting has been completed and there are still at least 2 players left, then comes the Showdown!
10- The Showdown is where the winning hand must be shown to the table for a winner to be declared. If there are not two players left at showdown, no cards are shown. The only player that did not fold during the earlier betting rounds is the winner of the pot.

To make a hand in Texas Hold'em poker, players make their hands in one of the following three ways.

- By using both of their 'hole cards' and any three community cards,
- By using only one 'hole card' and any four community cards,
- By using only the five community cards (also known as playing the board).

Texas Hold'em Poker Betting Structure

To better clarify the betting structure rules in Texas Hold'em poker, we will look at a typical 'Fixed Limit' game with a $2/$4 table limit. The small blind is $1 and the big blind is $2. In the two lower limit betting rounds, all bets and raises are done in $2 increments. In the two higher betting rounds, all bets and raises are done in $4 increments. The maximum number of bets during any betting round in Texas Hold'em Poker is four. This includes a (1) bet, (2) raise, (3) re-raise, and (4) cap. The 'cap' is the third and final raise. After a betting round is capped, players only have the options to match it (call) or to fold.

Some Texas Hold'em games have 5 bets or may not even have any caps at all. These Hold em games are typically 'heads up' games, also known as 'One on One'.

The Dealer Button

At your house, everybody can take a turn dealing. In Texas Hold'em Online poker rooms or brick and mortar cardrooms, players are not allowed to shuffle or deal. In order to keep the blinds moving around the table so that every player gets his/her fair share of putting starting money into the pot, a 'Dealer Button' marking the dealers virtual position of where the cards are dealt from, moves clockwise around the table, stopping at every player for one hand each before moving on to the next player.

Blinds and Missed Blinds

In the poker games that most of us played when we were growing up, we always needed to put up an 'ante' before the cards were dealt. This seeded the 'pot' so that everyone had an interest in seeing the hands played out. In a normal Texas Hold'em game, only two players need to put up money before any cards are dealt. These two bets are called 'blind' bets because they are bets that are made before anybody sees any cards. There are two different 'blind' bet amounts. One is called the 'small blind' and the other is the 'big blind'. The 'small blind' is half the amount of the starting bet level and is placed by the player to the immediate left of the dealer. The 'big blind' is the full amount of the starting bet level and is placed by the player to the immediate left of the player that placed the 'small blind'. After the initial cards are dealt, the first betting round proceeds at the same limit as the 'big blind'. The player to the immediate left of the big blind is the first person to act. Blinds are considered a 'live bet' and are treated the same as any other bet on the table according to the standard Texas Hold'em poker rules.

As discussed above, the pot in Texas Hold'em poker is seeded by the use of Blinds. In Texas Hold'em, every player is required to post both a small blind and a big blind every round. As soon as you take a seat or if you took a break from the game and the dealer button moved passed your seat without you paying your blinds, you will be required to post the blinds you missed before you can start receiving cards again. You have the option of posting the blinds immediately or you can wait (sit out) for the big blind button to come back around to your seat before posting your missed blinds and to start receiving cards.

The missed blinds rules prevent a player from abusing the blinds and not contributing their fair share to the pot. This rule also prevents players form constantly entering poker games in a late position and then leaving early before it comes their time to post the blinds.

First Betting Round


After the blinds are posted, two hole cards are dealt face down to each player starting with the small blind which is the closest seat next to the dealer button. In this round, betting starts with the player to the left of the big blind because as we learned before, blinds are considered live bets. All players have three choices to make, either CALL ( matching the previous bet size), BET ( being the first to make a bet), RAISE ( adding an additional bet on top of any bets before you), or FOLD (throwing your hand away and forfeiting any chance of finishing the hand). Checking is not allowed this round. The small blind in this round must also match the largest bet on the table, which if there were no raises, means putting enough additional money in to match the big blind.

Second and Subsequent Betting Rounds


On subsequent betting rounds, the first player to act is the player in the small blind position just to the left of the dealer. All players, according to the rules, must either ChECK (staying in the game without having to bet), Call, RAISE, or FOLD. In Online poker games, there are advanced buttons that you can select to automatically respond for you when it becomes your turn to act. If you 'sit out' or close the table window by accident in the middle of a hand while you still have cards, you will be considered as 'folding'. Sitting out will prevent you from receiving cards. If you are sitting out, you will not receive cards until you sit back in and a new hand is dealt.


If there are at least two players left at showdown, the last player to initiate a bet or raise must show his/her cards first. Any player that has lost can fold (muck his cards).


Because Texas Hold'em and other poker games are not played against the house, the house charges a 'rake' to be able to pay for hosting the game. The rake amount is predetermined according to the betting levels at the poker game you are playing. The rake in Online Texas Hold'em poker at Pokertropolis is set to be taken when the pot reaches certain size levels.

Pokertropolis has a 'No Flop - No Drop' rake policy which means that no rake is taken if there is no flop no matter how large the pot gets. Please see our rake schedule for a complete listing of rake levels for each poker game and limit.

Getting Started at Pokertropolis

We hope this helps in making you feel comfortable in giving Texas Hold'em Poker a try as entertainment or possibly even to start you on your way to becoming one of the best and most rewarded Hold'em poker players in the world. Pokertropolis provides Free Money poker tables for Texas Hold'em and the other poker games we have on our site for you to test out new ideas and become familiar with our software and the exciting world of poker.

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Saturday, March 18, 2006, 7:59:23 AM EST