Texas holdem poker
Texas Holdem can be played with as few as two players (known as heads-up) or as many as thousands.
A Single-Table Tournament (STT) is usually played with up to ten players.
A Multi-Table Tournament (MTT) is only limited by space (enough space to put all the tables) and time (enough time to complete the tournament).
Texas Holdem is played with one full deck of 52 standard playing cards.
Using two hole cards dealt to you in your hand, and the five community cards in the centre of the table, players form their best five-card poker hand.
The two players sitting to the left of the dealer place forced bets before the deal is made – these are called the small blind and the big blind respectively. This action is called “posting the blinds” and forces action in each ‘hand’.
The small blind bet is equal to half the minimum bet. The big blind bet is equal to exactly the minimum bet.
On dealing each player is dealt two cards face down, which are known as “Hole Cards” or “Pocket Cards”.
The first round of betting (“Pre-Flop” betting) starts with the player to the left of the big blind who must decide to either call the big blind, raise, or fold. Each player thereafter has the same options, including the small blind but who only has to put in the other half of the bet if he wishes to call (if there was no raise) until you get to the big blind. The Big Blind has the option to raise or say “no raise/check”. They also have the option to fold – but this would be inconceivable as they already have the exact amount of money in the “middle” to stay in the game, so they should “check” (providing no raise has been made).
After this round of betting the dealer burns a card (discards the top card from the deck and places it face down on the table so no-one can see it) and then turns “The Flop” – three community cards face up in the middle of the table.
A second round of betting starts with the player to the left of the dealer and in turn each player can check, bet or fold.
Once a bet has been made, each player can call, raise or fold – in turn.
After this round of betting the dealer burns a card (discards the top card from the deck and places it face down on the table so no-one can see it) and then turns “The Turn” – a single community card face up in the middle of the table.
A third round of betting starts with the player to the left of the dealer and in turn each player can check, bet or fold. Once a bet has been made, each player can call, raise, or fold – in turn.
After this round of betting the dealer burns a card (discards the top card from the deck and places it face down on the table so no-one can see it) and then turns “The River” – a single community card face up in the middle of the table – the 5th and final card for this poker hand.
Players can use any of the five community cards on the table along with any of their own two hole cards to form their best five-card poker hand.
A final round of betting starts with the player to the left of the dealer and in turn each player can check, bet or fold. Once a bet has been made, each player can call , raise or fold – in turn.
After a final round of betting, using the best five-card combination of their hole cards and the community cards, players show their hands.
The person to the left of the dealer shows first if no betting has taken place (ie everyone checked) and then clockwise thereafter if a player wishes to ‘claim’ the pot. If a player cannot win the pot having seen another player ‘lay claim’, then they may fold without showing their cards (ie their hand beats your hand). However, if betting has occurred then the first person to have bet shows their cards first if no raise has been made, or if a raise or a series of raises have occurred then the last person to raise shows first,. In both instances players lay ‘claim’ to the pot in a clockwise direction (or fold if not laying claim) in turn. The highest five-card hand wins the pot. When two or more players have the same hand, the next highest card that each player can use is used to break a tie; this ‘highest card’ is called the ‘kicker’ (but the maximum cards to be used in any hand are 5).
If two or more players have the same ‘value’ hand after 5 cards are used each, then the pot is split between the tied players. A ‘hand’ consists of any 5 cards from an individual’s 2 ‘hole cards’ and the 5 community cards. IN ALL INSTANCES THE CARDS IN A PLAYER’S HAND ‘SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES’ – THIS MEANS THAT IF A PLAYER CALL OUT HIS HAND INCORRECTLY, THEN IT IS ‘HIS ACTUAL HAND’ THAT LAYS CLAIM AND NOT WHAT HE ACCIDENTALLY SAID.
The deal is then passed clockwise to the next player and another hand is dealt. The Blinds increase usually after a set period of time, therefore as the tournament progresses the blinds get bigger and bigger, eventually forcing players to play. Games progress (ie Players decrease) to a final table of eight players and then to a final of two players playing one-on-one, know as ‘heads-up’. When playing ‘heads-up’, the person who would have been Big Blind on the next hand will post the Big Blind and the opponent will deal, therefore the dealer will always be the Small Blind in ‘heads-up’. When the last ‘opponent’ is eliminated the player remaining is the tournament winner.
Rank of Hands
Poker hands are ranked in the order specified below, lowest to highest. Note that only card rank (deuce through ace) matter in poker when comparing individual cards. The suits of clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades are all considered equal.
High Card: Cards are ranked deuce (2) as the lowest to ace as the highest. If two or more players have the same high card, then the second highest card (and so on, to the fifth card if necessary) determine the winner.
Pair: A pair (two cards of the same rank) beats high card. The highest pair is a pair of aces. If two or more players have the same pair, then the highest of the three remaining cards (known as kickers) determine the winner.
Two Pair: Two pair beats a pair. If two or more players have two pair, then the highest pair determines the winner. For example, a pair of aces and sevens beats a pair of kings and queens. If two or more players have the same two pair then the fifth card kicker determines the winner.
Three of a Kind: Three of a kind (three cards of the same rank) beats two pair. Three aces is the best of these. If two or more players share the same three of a kind hand, the two remaining kickers determine the winner.
Straight: A straight beats three of a kind. A straight is five consecutive card ranks. Aces can be high or low so the lowest straight is ace through five while the highest is ten through ace. There are no kickers with straights since all five cards are needed to make the hand.
Flush: A flush beats a straight. A flush is any five cards all of the same suit (i.e., all diamonds or all spades, etc.). If two of more players share a flush then the player with the highest card (all the way to the fifth card if necessary) in the flush wins.
Full House: A full house beats a flush. A full house is the combination of three of a kind and a pair. If two or more players have a full house then the player with the best three of a kind wins. If those are the same then the player with the best pair wins.
Four of a Kind: Four of a kind (four cards of the same rank) beats a full house. If two or more players share the same four of a kind, then the fifth card kicker determines the winner.
Straight Flush: A straight flush (five consecutive cards all of the same suit) beats four of a kind. Aces can be high or low. An ace-high straight flush is called a royal flush, the best possible hand in poker.