Texas Hold’em – Known as the “Cadillac of Poker”, this heart stopping poker game is about positioning strategy and analyzing your hand.

A round disc -known as a dealer button – moves clockwise from player to player with each hand. The button marks which player is the dealer as the deal advances from player to player and the game goes on.

Before play begins, the first two players to the left of the dealer/button must post the blinds. The first player to the button’s left posts a small blind and the second player posts the big blind.

The dealer deals two cards (called hole cards) to each player. With blinds in place, the first player after the big blind (under the gun) is the first to act. That player is facing a bet equal to the big blind and can fold his hand, call , or raise. Each player in a clockwise rotational order now faces the same decision. The dealer will control the action around the table until the betting round is completed with all bets being met by all players still holding cards.

With the first betting round complete, the dealer burns the top card on the deck and then deals the next three cards simultaneously face up in the center of the table. These three community cards are called the flop and are used by all players equally. The first player to the button’s left, still in the hand, acts first after the flop. He can check, bet or fold. If he checks, the next player’s options are the same. If during the round any player bets, all players must call, raise, or fold.

With the second round of betting complete, the dealer now burns another card and then deals a fourth community card face up. This card is commonly called the turn or fourth street.

With the third round of betting complete, the dealer burns one more card and deals the fifth and final card commonly called the river or fifth street. At this point, there is the fourth and final betting round.

The showdown is the final step of the game. The players will turn over their hole cards and a winner will be determined. Players may use two cards, one card, or none of the cards in their hand in combination with the five community or board cards. Any cards turned face up will be read by the dealer. The dealer will push the pot to that player. In the case of a tie, the pot will be split. All cards will be collected and shuffled by the dealer for the next round of play. The button will be moved to the next seat to the left and blinds will move around the table accordingly.

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Standard five-card Poker hands are ranked here in order of strength, from the strongest Poker hand to the weakest.

  • Royal Flush – This is the best possible hand in standard five-card poker.  Example: Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10 of the same suit
  • Straight Flush – 5 cards of the same suit in sequence. Example: 8, 9, 10, Jack and Queen of clubs; or 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 of diamonds.
  • Four of a Kind – 4 cards of the same rank. Example: 8, 8, 8, 8; or Queen, Queen, Queen, Queen.
  • Full House – 3 cards of the same rank and two cards of the same rank. Example: 10, 10, 10, with 6, 6; or King, King, King with 5, 5.
  • Flush – 5 cards of the same suit but not in sequence. Example: 4, 5, 7, 10 and King of spades.
  • Straight – 5 cards in sequence but not in the same suit. Example: 7 of clubs, 8 of clubs, 9 of diamonds, 10 of spades and Jack of diamonds.
  • 3 of a Kind – 3 cards of the same rank. Example: 3, 3, 3; or Jack, Jack, Jack
  • 2 Pair – 2 cards of the same rank and two other cards of the same rank. Example: 2, 2, Queen, Queen.
  • 1 Pair – 2 cards of the same rank. Example: 7, 7.
  • High Card – If a Poker hand contains none of the above combinations it’s valued by the highest card in the hand.
Texas Hold'Em Rank of Hands

In any basic poker game, players strategically wager using a number of actions available to them. The actions are as follows:

  • CHECK – If there is no wager on the current betting round, a player may check. The act of checking passes the action to the next person, immediately clockwise from the player. A check does not forfeit interest in the pot, only the current right to bet. If all active players check during a round of betting, the round is considered complete.
  • BET – If there is not yet a wager on the current betting round, a player may bet. If a player bets, the player immediately clockwise from him or her (and any subsequent players) may fold, raise, or call.
  • FOLD – The act of folding forfeits all interest in the pot. A player who folds is not required or allowed to wager any further money during the current poker hand, but cannot win that hand either.
  • CALL – If there has been a bet on the current round of poker play, a player may call. The act of calling requires the player to match the current bet made by his or her opponent(s).
  • RAISE – If there has been a bet on the current betting round, a player may raise. The act of raising requires the poker player to match the current bet, and then make a greater one. All subsequent players are required to call the raise or raise again (“re-raise”) to maintain interest in the pot.
  • Ante – A small portion of a bet contributed by each player to seed the pot at the beginning of a poker hand. Most hold’em games do not have an ante; they use “blinds” to get initial money into the pot.
  • Big Blind – The larger of the two blinds typically used in a hold’em game. The big blind is normally a full first round bet. (See also “blind” and “small blind.”)
  • Blind – A forced bet (or partial bet) put in by one or more players before any cards are dealt. Typically, blinds are put in by players immediately to the left of the button. (See also “live blind.”)
  • Bring in bet – To open a betting round. A forced bet in stud games. In the first betting round, the holder of the worst (lowest or highest, depending) upcard must post a bring-in bet.
  • Burn – To discard the top card from the deck, face down. This is done between each betting round before putting out the next community card(s). It is security against any player recognizing or glimpsing the next card to be used on the board.
  • Button – A white acrylic disk that indicates the dealer. Also used to refer to the player on the button. Example: “Oh, the button raised.”
  • Community Cards – Cards that are presented face-up in the middle of the poker table and shared among players in games like Hold’em and Omaha. These are also referred to as board cards or “the board”.
  • Dealer – The professional dealer in a poker game who is dealing the cards.  It is necessary to identify the dealer because the blinds and the betting action are to the left of the dealer. This is done by utilizing a marker called a dealer button, which travels around the table in a clockwise manner, moving to the next player after each hand is completed.
  • Door Card – The door card is the name given to the first visible card on a poker table that is either placed on the board or dealt out to a player. The card that is called the door card changes according to the type or format of poker that is being played.
  • Flop – The first three community cards, put out face up, altogether.
  • Hole Cards – Cards dealt face-down to a player – most commonly used when describing the first two player cards in Hold’em and the first four player cards in Omaha.
  • Live Blind – A forced bet put in by one or more players before any cards are dealt. The “live” means those players still have the option of raising when the action gets back around to them.
  • River/Fifth Street – The fifth and final community card, put out face up, by itself. Also known as “fifth street’.
  • Small Blind – The smaller of two blind bets typically used in a hold’em game. Normally, the small blind is one-third to two-thirds of a first round bet. (See also “big blind” and “blind.”)
  • Showdown – The point at which all players remaining in the hand turn their cards over and determine who has the best hand – i.e. after the fourth round of betting is completed. Of course, if a final bet or raise is not called, there is no showdown.
  • Third Street – The first three cards in seven-card games constitute “third street.” It is less commonly used to refer to a flop in Texas Hold ‘Em.
  • Turn/Fourth Street – The fourth community card. Put out face up, by itself. Also known as “fourth street”.
  • Under the Gun – The position of the player who acts first on a betting round. For instance, if you are one to the left of the big blind, you are under the gun before the flop.

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