Here in the Lone Star State, Texas Hold‘em is one of the favorite games you’ll see played at private casino parties and poker tournaments. Would you expect anything less from Texans?
Before you take a seat at the table it’s proper poker etiquette to learn the basics of the game. Below our dealers explain the game and share their top tips on how to play Texas Hold‘em like a bona fide riverboat gambler.
Texas Hold‘Em: The Basics
Texas Hold‘em is a little more complex than other poker games, but once you learn the basics it’s fairly easy to play. You still make the same types of five-card hands as other poker games (flush, straight, etc.). However, instead of each player being dealt a unique set of cards that only they see, all players use two hole cards as well as five community cards to make a hand.
Hole cards are dealt face down and should be kept to yourself. Community cards are dealt face up and are used by all of the players.
Below is a step-by-step rundown of a Texas Hold‘em game:
Before cards are dealt, the first two players to the left of the dealer must place bets. The first player to be dealt cards will place what’s called a small blind bet, and the second player must place a big blind bet. The big blind is always twice the amount of the small blind.
Each player is dealt two hole cards.
Once the hole cards are dealt, the first round of bets is placed (called the pre-flop bet). Betting starts with the player to the left of the big blind. Players can also choose to fold and not risk any chips if they don’t like their hole card.
The dealer will then lay out three community cards (also known as the flop) for everyone to see.
Then, players can place a second post-flop bet, check or fold. The player closest to the dealer’s left starts the betting.
The dealer lays down a fourth community card (called the turn).
The remaining players place another bet, check or fold.
The fifth and final community card (called the river) is laid down.
The players will then place one final bet.
Now that you’ve got the basics down it’s time to start learning how to win Texas Hold‘em.
Tips for Upping the Stakes of a Texas Hold‘Em Game
All of the poker greats are fantastic at hiding tells and reading others, but they also spend hours to improve their game. Here are a few dealer secrets that can help you fast track your way to winning the pot.
- Commit winning hands to memory. In the midst of an intense game you don’t want to be distracted by trying to remember how to make hands or how they rank.
- Pay attention to your position. Where you’re at in terms of the way the cards are dealt determines when you have to bet. Most players think the most advantageous position is “on the button” (just to the right of the dealer) because it’s the last position to bet three out of four times.
- Consider carefully when you’re placing blind bets. The big blind must be double the small blind, and it’s the minimum bet for the round. The small blind essentially locks everyone into betting a certain amount, so choose wisely.
- Never fold when you’re the first up on the post-flop bet. It’s a better option to simply check and pass the baton to the next player to see what they do. If another player raises the bet you can then choose to call, raise or fold. You’ll have more information to go on at that point, which is why it’s advisable to check at the start, even if you are not sure about your hand.
- But understand that folding is common. With so many rounds of bets, players often fold in Texas Hold‘em. Don’t think you need to see each hand through to the end. Most players wait until the flop and then fold if the cards aren’t looking good.
When you’re ahead, come in hot during the pre-flop bet. When the chips are in your favor and your hole cards look good placing a big bet on the pre-flop could be a good strategy. Being aggressive early on gets other players to fold and increases your odds of winning.
You may not be Cool Hand Luke just yet, but you’re ready to get in on the Texas Hold‘em action at a private game or charity poker tournament!