How To Play Texas Hold'em Poker

This page provides a simple guide of how to play Texas Hold’em games. It’s meant for people who have a bit of experience with poker and know what the different poker hands are but want to learn the fundamentals of playing Hold’em. If this is you, you’re at the right spot – if you are a complete beginner we suggest our other article which outlines Texas Hold’em rules, providing a more comprehensive overview for beginner’s learning the game.

Texas Hold’em is the most popular variation of poker in the world and comes in three basic types being Limit, Pot-Limit and No-Limit games. Each class of the game differs in terms of the betting, however the basic premise remains the same and it’s a really easy game to learn. Hold’em consists of of four rounds of betting and there can usually be up to nine or ten players at a table depending on where you are playing. Below is a summary of how you can expect a typical game of Hold’em to be run both in live poker & online poker.

Texas Hold'em Step By Step

This list summarizes the stages and betting in a standard Hold’em game:

  • The object of the game is to make the best 5 card poker hand you can
  • You do this by using two private cards (hole cards) with common cards
  • Using your hole cards with the public cards, you form a five card hand
  • You may form the hand with either both or only one of your hole cards
  • Game begins when the players post their blinds to start off the round
  • The blinds are two wagers placed by players who are left of the button
  • The two blinds are the small blind and big blind (which is 2 times the small)
  • The button represents the dealer and is rotated clockwise around table
  • The button controls where the blinds are to ensure equal distribution
  • Once blinds are posted, dealer deals two hole cards to each active player
  • After hole cards are dealt, pre-flop betting begins with player left of blinds
  • This player may fold and discard hand, call the blind or make a raise bet
  • If you fold your hand, you are out of that round and must wait to play
  • If you call the hand, you must put in a bet equal to the size of the blind
  • If you raise the hand, you can increase the amount to call for players
  • If you raise, other players are allowed to re-raise the bet you make in turn
  • After the first player acts, the next player may fold, call, raise or re-raise
  • This continues around the table until it gets back to the big blind position
  • After this, the flop is dealt which are three community cards seen by all
  • Betting commences again going from left to right around the table
  • Any remaining players will now be dealt the turn card a single 4th card
  • There is another round of betting with the remaining players in the hand
  • Lastly, the river is dealt which is another single card seen by all players
  • Final round of betting occurs & then remaining players must show cards
  • All remaining hands are compared to determine who has won the pot

In a nutshell that’s essentially how you play this poker game. That being said, there’s a lot more you should plan on learning if you are thinking of playing the game in any sort of serious environment. Luckily however, there are tons of different free Texas Hold’em sites where you can play with no risk to wallet.

Further Information & Tips

So now that we’ve gone over the basics, I figured I would provide you with some more information and tips about the game. You’ll find these especially useful if you are going to play real money Texas Hold’em and want to increase your chances of winning each time you play. Right off the bat, you absolutely need to master what’s known as bankroll management which provides a solid foundation for managing money that you use for poker. I can’t stress to you enough how vitally important this is in maintaining both a healthy and profitable relationship with the game. I won’t force you, but you should really read up on that topic!

Some of the other things you may want to consider while learning how to play are improving your strategy by researching and applying different concepts to your game. This would include things like Hold’em odds, getting an understanding of poker mathematics, reading some Texas Hold’em books or even finding the best Hold’em site for you based on your personal preferences. As much as I’d like this single page to teach you all of the basics of how to play, the topic is simply too vast and complex to cover on just one section of this site. If you have the time and desire, there’s a ton of other information pages you can read on our website to help improve your game.