Poker is a popular card game, a favorite among most gamblers. Poker is a game that has many variants. One of the most popular versions of Poker is Texas Holdem Poker.
How To Play Texas Holdem Poker: An Explanation Of The Game
Texas Holdem poker is extremely popular at casinos as it is also the version of poker played at the World Poker Tour and the Poker World Series. It is defined as a ‘community card’ variant of the game. What this means, is players share a set of cards that are dealt by the dealer. This is in contrast to variants of Poker where players’ cards or hands are not shared with the other players or ‘community’.
Basic Mechanics Of Texas Holdem Poker: Texas Holdem Poker Rules
Before we take a look at the 4 stages of Texas Holdem Poker, it is essential to give a brief description of the basic rules of the game.
Firstly, what is important to note is that with Texas Holdem Poker, each round or hand is played with of full deck of cards which is reshuffled or replaced before the beginning of the next hand. The dealer must always deal the cards to the players in clockwise order.
How To Play Texas Holdem Poker For Beginners: The 4 Different Stages
Lets take a look at and explain the 4 different stages of Texas Holdem Poker.
- “Pre-flop”: Two cards are dealt face down to all players.
- “Flop”: Three cards are dealt revealed in the middle of the poker table
- “Turn”: Another card – the fourth community card is dealt face up or revealed in the middle of the poker table.
- “River”: Lastly, a fifth card is added to the visible community cards in the middle of the table.
So, to begin the dealer deals two cards face down to each player at the table. Before this is done, in Texas Holdem Poker, however, usually the first two players clockwise or to the left of the dealer must put forward what is called the ‘small blind’. This means they must place an ‘ante’ or mandatory bet to start the hand. This is the first stage of the game, or the ‘Pre-flop’. Players are then allowed to either raise the initial bet amount, call a raise, or fold. Usually, players are only allowed to raise four times per betting round.
After the first stage or the ‘Pre-Flop’, three cards are dealt by the dealer revealed, or face-up, in the middle of the poker table. Players, starting in clockwise order are then allowed to raise, call or fold again. This is the second stage of Texas Holdem Poker known as the ‘Flop’. Players can now compare their own two cards with the three community cards dealt in the middle of the table. These cards are used in conjunction with their own two cards to form their player’s hands.
Following the ‘Flop’, and all betting is finished – the game proceeds onto the second last stage – known as the ‘Turn’. Here a fourth card is dealt revealed or face up in the middle of the table and thus added to the community cards to be used by players that are still left in the round or hand, with their own two cards that they were initially dealt. Again, players engage in betting either by raising, calling, or folding like in the other stages.
Following this, a fifth card is dealt. This is known as the ‘River’. It is placed face-up and forms part of the community cards. Again, players bet against each other. When this is done, the hand or round of Texas Holdem Poker is won by the player who has the strongest hand and has not folded. Remember even if other players had a stronger hand than you and folded – you can still bluff your way to victory!
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How To Play Texas Holdem Poker – Different Types Of Texas Holdem Poker Hands (Poker Hands Ranking)
Let’s take a look at the different types of poker hands – ranking from least to most valuable.
- “High Card” – In a flush or by itself cards can be ranked in order of their value. So a three is greater than a two, A king than a queen.
- “One Pair” – If a player has two of the same cards – this is known as a pair. It is one of the weakest potential winning hands of poker and is also determined by what pair you have. For example, a pair of twos is not as valuable as a pair of kings.
- “Two Pairs” – If a player has two sets of cards that are the same value this is known as a hand with two pairs. For example, if the overall hand has two aces and two kings – the player has two pairs.
- “Three of A Kind”(or a trip) – like a pair, but more valuable – and more valuable than two pairs, players’ overall hands (their cards and the community cards) have three cards of the same value.
- “Straight” – 5 cards going in consecutive order. Aces may represent one or 13 depending on the hand.
- “Flush” – 5 cards of the same suit. If more than one player has a flush, the highest card/cards are compared to determine the winner of the hand
- “Full House”- A pair and a trip or three of a kind. Again, if more than one player has a full house, the highest card/cards win.
- “Four of a kind” – unlike two pairs, four cards of the same rank or value. Again if more than one player has four of a kind – the highest cards are compared.
- Lastly, the strongest hand is a “straight flush” (more specifically a royal flush). Here 5 cards of the same suit and in consecutive order are included. If 5 cards are in a straight flush and are royal cards -10, jack, queen, king and ace, this is known as a royal flush. It is the most valuable hand in poker.
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