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Home > How to play Texas Holdem Poker

Texas Hold'em Poker

Number of Players: 2 to 10

Texas Hold'em is the fastest, and certainly the most popular, game in poker rooms today.


Blind Bet This is a forced bet made "blind", that is, before you get your cards, to get the action going. The player to the dealer's left posts the Small Blind which is half of the lower-level bet. The player to his left then posts the Big Blind which is a full bet.
Pocket The two "hole" cards dealt to each player, face down.
Flop The first three communal cards.
Turn The fourth communal card dealt.
River The fifth (and final) communal card dealt.
Button/Buck/Puck A moving disc that determines the player in the dealing position for each hand. This player is the last one to act in the hand. The button moves from player to player in a clockwise direction after each hand is dealt.

Betting Structure (Example for $10/$20 game)

Small/Big Blinds 1st Round 2nd Round 3rd Round 4th Round
$5/$10 $10 $10 $20 $20

Note: Bets and raises are limited to 1 bet and 3 raises per betting round. Therefore, in the $10/$20 example, betting would be capped at a total of $40 in rounds 1 and 2, and $80 in rounds 3 and 4.

Starting a Game

In Texas Hold'em, the game is started with the two players to the left of the dealer posting a Big Blind and a Small Blind, the value being determined by the stakes of the game. Then the two pocket cards are dealt to each player. The betting begins with the player to the left of the Big Blind. Because the blinds are bets, not antes, players can not check in the first betting round; they must either fold, call or raise.

Second Round

After the first round is complete, three cards (the flop) are dealt face up on the table. These cards are common to all players. Betting starts with the first active player to the left of the dealer button and he/she may either check or bet.

Third Round

For the third round, a fourth communal card (the turn) is dealt, and another round of betting ensues.

Fourth Round

A final communal card is dealt, called the river, and is followed by another round of betting. Players then use their two pocket cards and the five communal cards (shared by everyone) to create the best five-card hand possible, with the winner receiving the pot. If two or more players have the same winning hand the pot is split equally between them.


  • Five out of the total of seven cards are available on the second round of betting, giving you a very good idea of how strong your final hand will be.
  • Because five cards are communal, any good hands there (such as trips) don't really affect the outcome, as it is how they interact with your pocket cards that determines if you win or lose.
  • After the flop you haven't lost much if you have a weak hand and fold. Make your decision about whether to hold'em or fold'em early on.