Texas Hold’em Rules Simplified: A Friendly and Informative Guide

Photo of author

Written by: Matt E.

Last Updated:

Texas Hold'em, known as the most popular poker game in the world, is a card game where players use a combination of the two hole cards dealt to them and the five community cards on the table to make the best possible five-card poker hand. With a variety of betting rounds and scenarios, learning the basic rules of Texas Hold'em is essential for success at the poker table.

In this game, each player is dealt two private cards (hole cards) which belong to them alone, and then five community cards are revealed on the table. As the game proceeds, players must strategically use their bets, raises, calls, and folds to win the pot. Understanding the different positions at the nine-handed poker table, along with simple hand rankings, is critical for mastering the game and determining your best course of action during each hand.

Key Takeaways

  • Texas Hold'em is a popular poker game involving hole cards, community cards, and strategic betting
  • Mastering positions at the table and hand rankings is essential to success in the game
  • Players must use strategy in betting rounds and scenarios to win the pot

Texas Hold'Em Rules Overview

Betting Rules

In Texas Hold'em, the main goal is to make the best possible five-card poker hand using your hole cards and community cards. Throughout the game, you'll be involved in various betting rounds. Here's a quick rundown of the betting rules:

  • Pre-flop: After receiving your hole cards, you can choose to bet, call, raise, or fold.
  • Flop: Three community cards are dealt face up. You can check, bet, call, raise, or fold, depending on the actions of other players.
  • Turn: A fourth community card is dealt face up. You can again check, bet, call, raise, or fold.
  • River: The final community card is dealt face up. This is your last chance to check, bet, call, raise, or fold.
  • Showdown: If more than one player remains after the last betting round, the players reveal their hands to determine the winner.

Dealer Button

The dealer button is an important aspect of Texas Hold'em, as it determines the order of play in each hand. The button rotates clockwise around the table, moving one position to the left after each hand. Here's a rundown of what you need to know about the dealer button:

  • The player directly to the left of the button posts the small blind.
  • The player two positions to the left of the button posts the big blind.
  • Action starts with the player to the left of the big blind.
  • The dealer button is used to determine the order of betting throughout the hand.


Blinds are forced bets that help create action and build the pot in Texas Hold'em. There are two blinds in each hand: the small blind and the big blind. Here's what you need to know about blinds:

  • The player immediately to the left of the dealer button posts the small blind. This is typically half the minimum bet for the hand.
  • The player two positions to the left of the button posts the big blind. This is equal to the minimum bet for the hand.
  • Blinds rotate clockwise around the table along with the dealer button, ensuring that all players contribute to the pot over time.

By understanding the betting rules, dealer button mechanics, and blinds, you'll be well on your way to mastering Texas Hold'em poker. Good luck at the tables!

Hole Cards and Community Cards

In Texas Hold'em, hole cards are the two private cards dealt to you at the beginning of each hand. The community cards are the shared cards placed face-up on the table. Your goal is to combine these hole cards with the community cards to make the best possible five-card poker hand. Let's break it down step by step.


At the start of each hand, you'll receive your two hole cards. Before the community cards are dealt, there's a round of betting called the preflop. You'll have the opportunity to call, raise, or fold. This is the time to carefully evaluate your hole cards and consider how they may work together with potential community cards.


After the preflop betting round, it's time for the flop. The dealer will reveal three community cards on the table. Now, you can start making some decisions about your hand. Look at your hole cards and the flop, and think about possible combinations.

During this phase, you should also pay attention to your opponents. What kind of hands might they be holding, and how do their actions indicate the strength of their hand? Poker is not just about playing your own cards, but also about reading others and understanding their potential moves.


Next comes the turn. The dealer will place a fourth community card on the table. At this point, you should have a better idea of the value of your hand. Again, take this opportunity to evaluate possible combinations and the strength of your current hand.

See also  String Bet Poker: What Is It and How to Avoid Making One

Another betting round follows the turn. Remember, just because you've come this far doesn't mean you should hold onto a weak hand. If it doesn't seem like you can make a strong five-card poker hand, it might be best to fold.


Finally, we've reached the river. The dealer will reveal the fifth and last community card. With all of the cards now on the table, you'll be able to see your final poker hand.

In the last betting round, focus on your hand's strength and how it compares to the hands of your opponents. Consider the possible combinations that they might be holding. Be prepared to make tough decisions based on your insight and analysis of the game.

Remember, the key to success in Texas Hold'em is to be adaptable and strategic throughout the entire hand. Keep an eye on your hole cards, community cards, and opponents to make the best possible decisions at every stage of the game. Good luck!


In Texas Hold'em, the showdown is the final phase of the game where players reveal their hole cards to determine the winner of the pot. Let's go over this important aspect of the game and how it plays out.

What If the Hand Doesn't Go to Showdown

Sometimes, a hand of poker never reaches the showdown stage. This happens when one player bets, and all the other players fold. In this case, the bettor wins the pot without having to reveal their cards. They may choose to show their cards if they wish, but it's not required.

Chopped Pots

Occasionally, two or more players at the showdown have the same winning hand. This is known as a chopped pot, and the pot is divided equally among the winning players. For example, imagine both you and your opponent end up with the same hand, such as a pair of aces with the same high card kicker. The pot would be split evenly between the two of you.

At the showdown, the player who last took aggressive action during the final betting round is the first to show their cards. If everyone checked on the last round, it's the player to the left of the dealer who reveals their hand first. Players then reveal their cards clockwise, and the winner is determined by comparing the hands according to the standard poker hand rankings.

Remember, the goal in Texas Hold'em is to create the best possible five-card hand using any combination of your two hole cards and the five community cards on the board. Knowing the importance of the showdown phase and how it works can help you make smarter decisions during the game. As you gain experience, you'll develop a better understanding of when to push your hand, when to fold, and when to be cautious during the showdown. Just keep practicing, and you'll improve over time.

Betting Turns Pre and Post Flop

In Texas Hold'em, the betting rounds play an important role in shaping the outcome of the game. You need to understand the different betting turns and what strategy to use in each. So, let's break down the key betting aspects before and after the flop.

Pre-Flop Betting: The game starts with the pre-flop betting round. This is when the small blind and big blind are posted, and each player is dealt two hole cards. As the small blind and big blind bets set the tone for the round, it is crucial to evaluate your hand and decide on your betting strategy. The action begins with the player to the left of the big blind and continues clockwise. You have the option to fold, call, or raise, and any raise must be at least equal to the amount of the previous bet or raise.

Post-Flop Betting: Once the first three community cards (the flop) are dealt, the post-flop betting round commences. Again, the action starts with the player to the left of the dealer, continuing clockwise. This time, players have more information to make their decisions, as they can combine their hole cards with the community cards on the table.

  • Flop: The initial betting round after the first three community cards are revealed. Players can assess their hands and decide on their betting strategy, such as whether to check, bet, call, fold, or raise. Remember, folds and raises can be crucial in determining your position and pot size.
  • Turn: The fourth community card is dealt, followed by another betting round. Players need to reevaluate their hands and determine whether their odds have improved or worsened. It is crucial to adapt your betting strategy according to new information and the actions of other players.
  • River: The fifth and final community card is dealt, followed by the last betting round. At this point, players need to make their final decisions based on all available information. This is the time to make a value bet if you have a strong hand or bluff if you believe your opponents have weak hands.
See also  Short Deck Poker: Our Quick and Friendly Guide

You'll need to think about your hand strength, your position at the table, and the actions of other players in each betting turn, both pre and post-flop. Stay observant, flexible and adaptable to make the most of each betting opportunity and improve your overall game strategy. Remember, practice makes perfect, and the more you play, the more comfortable you will become with the betting turns in Texas Hold'em.

Betting Actions Each Hand


In Texas Hold'em, a check is an action that allows you to pass your turn without placing a bet. You can only check when no bets have been made during the current betting round. If someone else bets after you have checked, then you'll have the opportunity to call, raise, or fold on your next turn.


When you decide to raise, you are increasing the current bet. You can raise if there has already been a bet during the current betting round and if you think your hand is stronger than your opponents'. For example, if the current bet is $4, you might decide to raise it to $8. When you raise, other players at the table will then have the chance to call, re-raise, or fold.


A call means matching the current bet in order to stay in the game. If there is a bet of $6 and you want to remain in the hand, you would call by putting in $6 to match the current bet. Calling allows you to remain in the hand and see the remaining community cards that will be dealt.


Placing a bet is when you put money or chips into the pot, starting off the betting round. Bets can vary in size depending on the game's structure: fixed-limit, pot-limit, or no-limit. In a fixed-limit game, the bets have a set amount; in a pot-limit game, the bets can go up to the total amount of money in the pot; and in a no-limit game, you can bet any amount of your chips at any time.


Choosing to fold means you are giving up on the current hand and losing any bets that you have already placed. Fold when you think your hand has little chance of winning or when the bets have become too high for you to continue. Remember, folding can sometimes be the smartest move, saving you chips for better opportunities.

In summary, during each betting round in Texas Hold'em, you have the options to check, raise, call, bet, or fold. Use these actions strategically to stay in the game and maximize your chances of winning.

Positions at the 9 Handed Poker Table

When you're playing Texas Hold'em poker, especially with 9 players, understanding the positions at the table is crucial to making strategic decisions. Let's explore the positions you'll encounter when seated at a 9-handed poker table, and what role each one plays.

In a 9-handed poker game, positions can generally be divided into three categories: early, middle, and late positions. These positions define the betting order, and therefore, your strategy depending on where you're seated. Here's a breakdown of the positions in order before the flop:

  • Under the gun (Early): This player acts first pre-flop and is seated two seats to the left of the dealer button. Being under the gun means having to act with limited information regarding other players, so you need to select your starting hands very carefully.
  • Under the gun +1 (Early): The player who acts second pre-flop. This position calls for a slightly tighter range of hands compared to the middle and late positions since there are still many players to act after you.
  • Under the gun +2 (Early): The last of the early positions, this player must still be cautious when it comes to hand selection as they're also acting with limited information.
  • Lowjack (Middle): The first middle position player has more flexibility in hand selection and betting strategy, as fewer players are left to act after them.
  • Hijack (Middle): The second middle position player, also known as the hijack seat, has even more flexibility as they have only three players left to act after them.
  • Cutoff (Late): The last player to act before the dealer button, the cutoff player, has a significant advantage as the majority of players have already revealed their betting intentions, allowing for more aggressive betting and bluffing opportunities.
  • Button (Late): The most advantageous position at the table, the button player acts last pre- and post-flop, allowing for maximum information and strategic decision making.
  • Small blind (Blinds): Positioned to the left of the dealer button, the small blind player posts half of the minimum bet and has the second-to-last action pre-flop.
  • Big blind (Blinds): The last player to act pre-flop, the big blind is responsible for posting the full minimum bet and is seated immediately to the left of the small blind.

As you can see, understanding these positions and their implications is key to playing effectively in a Texas Hold'em poker game. So, next time you join a 9-handed table, ensure you use this knowledge to your advantage and adjust your strategy based on both your position and the players around you.

See also  String Bet Poker: What Is It and How to Avoid Making One

Simple Hand Rankings

Hey there! Let's dive into the world of Texas Hold'em and explore the hand rankings that will help you become a poker pro. Remember, understanding these rankings is crucial to your success at the table. So, let's get started!

Royal Flush: This is the best possible hand in Texas Hold'em, and it consists of A, K, Q, J, and 10, all of the same suit. You're basically unbeatable with this hand, so enjoy the moment if you're lucky enough to get one.

Straight Flush: A straight flush is just a step below the royal flush. It's made up of five consecutive cards of the same suit that aren't the highest possible cards (A, K, Q, J, 10 of the same suit). These hands are strong and tough to beat, so get ready to rake in some chips if you have one!

Four of a Kind: As the name suggests, this hand has four cards of the same rank and one unrelated card. This hand is still quite rare and can often guarantee a win.

Full House: A full house is a combination of three of a kind and a pair, making up a hand with five cards. This hand is strong, but watch out for opponents with a stronger full house or better.

Flush: A flush means that you have five cards of the same suit, regardless of their numerical order. It's a strong hand, but be cautious if the board has high cards, as others might have a better flush.

Straight: A straight consists of five consecutive cards, regardless of suit. While it might not be the strongest hand, it can still take down decent-sized pots.

Three of a Kind: This hand includes three cards of the same rank and two unrelated cards. Keep in mind that others may have a higher three of a kind, so proceed with caution.

Two Pair: When you have two different pairs and an unrelated card, you have a two pair hand. It's fairly common, and your odds of winning will depend on the strength of your pairs.

One Pair: A single pair means you have two cards of the same rank and three unrelated cards. It's a pretty basic hand, so try not to get carried away when playing with just a pair.

High Card: When none of the above hands apply, your hand is ranked by the highest card. It's not promising, but sometimes you can still win with a high card if nobody else has a better hand.

Now that you're familiar with the hand rankings in Texas Hold'em, get out there and practice to master your poker face and strategy. Don't forget, poker is a game of skill and understanding these hand rankings is the foundation to build upon. Have fun, and good luck!

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the basic structure for the betting rounds in Texas Hold'em?

In Texas Hold'em, the game starts with two blind bets: the small blind and the big blind. After the blinds are posted, each player receives two hole cards. The betting rounds are divided into four stages: pre-flop, flop, turn, and river. Each stage begins with players betting, checking, folding, calling, or raising based on the strength of their hands.

How do the blinds work in Texas Hold'em?

The blinds are forced bets posted by two players to the left of the dealer button. The small blind is posted by the player immediately to the left of the button, and the big blind is posted by the player two seats to the left. The blinds help generate action and ensure there's a pot to be won.

What is the proper sequence of actions during the flop, turn, and river?

After the pre-flop betting round, the dealer reveals three community cards on the table, known as the flop. Another betting round follows the flop. Then, the dealer deals a fourth card (the turn) and a final betting round occurs. Finally, the dealer reveals the fifth community card (the river), which is followed by the last betting round. Players remaining in the hand proceed to the showdown, where the winning hand is determined.

When does a hand end in Texas Hold'em?

A hand of Texas Hold'em ends in one of three ways:

  1. All but one player folds, and the remaining player wins the pot without revealing their cards.
  2. A betting round occurs where no more bets are made, and players proceed to show their cards, determining the winner.
  3. The final betting round after the river card results in a showdown where players compare their hands to decide the winning hand.

What are the possible hand rankings in Texas Hold'em?

Hand rankings in Texas Hold'em, from highest to lowest, are as follows:

  1. Royal Flush
  2. Straight Flush
  3. Four of a Kind
  4. Full House
  5. Flush
  6. Straight
  7. Three of a Kind
  8. Two Pair
  9. One Pair
  10. High Card

How is the winning hand determined in Texas Hold'em?

In Texas Hold'em, each player tries to create the best possible five-card hand using their hole cards and the community cards. The player with the highest-ranking hand wins the pot. If two or more players have the same ranking hand, the pot is split accordingly. In cases of identical hands, the pot may also be split, or the player with the highest ‘kicker' card (the card that doesn't contribute to the hand strength) might win.

Written by

Matt E.

I've been immersed in the world of poker since 2003. Poker is hard. It has undoubtedly been a roller coaster of experiences for me over the years. My poker journey spans from playing at .01/.02 NL tables to engaging in intense sessions at $5/$10. Poker isn't just a game to me—it's a passion. Outmaneuvering opponents in this test of mental strength and strategy offers an unparalleled thrill. To deepen my understanding of the game and to assist others, I initiated this blog. It aims to elucidate the ever-evolving technologies, strategies, and legal landscapes of poker, especially in the online realm. We're now in the age of solvers, but both online and live poker continue to thrive. A quick visit to a local $1/3 game would be ample evidence of its vitality. Regardless of your proficiency level, from novice to expert, I hope my blog posts offer you valuable insights. Feel free to engage with me through messages or by commenting on my posts. Cheers!

Leave a Comment